A man driving an ATV in the woods

Off-Road Riding Tires

May 06, 2020

It’s starting to warm up! Time to hit the trails! But hang on. We want to make sure you’ve got all the right gear to help you make the most of every outing. And while gear like a helmet and extra water is important, you’ll also want your off-road vehicle to have the right parts, including tires. Gordon Bay Yamaha has provided you some information you’ll need to know to pick out the right tires. If you need additional help, or if you’d like to check out some of our side by sides, like our Yamaha line, then stop by today and let our experienced staff know how we can help you. We’re near Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario.


One of the most important considerations is size. UTVs are big. The size of your tire is going to affect how it performs. From traction to speed to ground clearance to even the location of the center of gravity, there are many areas of performance that change depending on how big or small your tire is.

Take for example the tire’s height. Tall tires provide you a higher gear ratio (so conversely, small tires give you a low gear ratio). This means if your tall tire as a lower weight and less rolling resistance, there’s a potential for higher top speeds. Not to mention, you’ll have higher ground clearance, which can be really important for some terrains. However, tall tires can also get in the way of other parts and can raise the center of gravity, not to mention they’re naturally heavier so they’ll be more difficult to maneuver. This can actually hurt acceleration and speed to some degree, unless you know how to adjust your UTV to handle the change.


Another important size consideration is weight. As we touched on earlier, weight will affect how easy it is to control your side by side. It’s true that if the tire is bigger, than it will probably weigh more, but there are ways around this. If you can get a big tire that is also lightweight, then you can probably use a bigger tire without worrying about fighting the weight. One of the biggest defining factors of weight is the thickness of the sidewall, often referred to as ply. A thinner ply will mean less material and less weight. However, this should only be a concern if you need to hit top speeds quickly, like a racer.


One of the biggest differences you’ll notice from one tire to the next is tread design. As with cars, your tire’s treads will change how it performs in a particular environment. For off-road vehicles of any kind, this means adhering to the type of terrain you’re most likely to encounter. For example, narrower treads are generally better for soft terrain like mud or snow, because they’re easier to steer and provide better grip. But you’ll want something thicker and sturdier for hard terrain so you don’t get stuck in a rut.

Rolling Resistance

Safety is probably one of your top priorities. UTVs generally come with their own roll protections, which can often include a cage, but one of the first lines of defense against rolling is your tires. If you give it a little thought, the defining characteristic of a tire’s roll resistance is its width. The narrower the tire, the easier it will be to roll. If you need narrow tires, like many people who ride on soft terrain do or those looking to hit top speeds, you’ll want to get the clutch recalibrated. This is probably a good idea no matter what kind of tire you choose, as the center of gravity changes with each tire switch.

This should give you some good background information on UTV tires, but it’ll probably take some searching and consultation to find the right tires for your vehicle. If you need help narrowing down your options, or if you’d like to look at some of our utility vehicles, stop by Gordon Bay Yamaha. We proudly serve Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario.