What Is the Effect of Tire Size on ATV Performance?

atv tire performance

Savvy rider seek out the best ways to tweak their bikes’ performance, speed and handling. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with upgrade choices made purely for aesthetic reasons. Either goal can motivate bike owners to shop for street bike tires online and swap their current tire set for bigger-sized wheels.

No matter what your objectives are, the key question to consider is, “How will a tire size upgrade impact my ATV?” To avoid making unwise changes, it’s important to understand how your tire’s size and physical properties directly contribute to its performance.

Why Increase Your Tire Size?

Upsized tires can do much more than give an ATV a decidedly aggressive look. Higher ground clearance is ideal for off-roading, especially on tough terrain where there’s a higher risk of damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage. Their increased surface area can also provide more traction on sandy, snowy, muddy or rocky surfaces.

Generally speaking, it may be safe to increase your vehicle’s tire size by one or two greater than original factory specifications. It gets a trickier, however, if you try to install tires larger than that. Your ATV’s gear ratio increases, as well as the weight and rotational mass. When you search for “motorcycle cruiser tires near me,” it’s important to consider the risks that come with extreme upgrades:

  • Impaired tire spinning abilities
  • Reduced low-end grunt
  • Increased wear on drive belts and clutches
  • Tire friction damage on body and suspension parts
  • Premature axle, drive line and wheel bearing failures
  • Increased risk of roll-overs

A Few Last-Minute Tips

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For ATVs with engines greater than 500cc, you may be able to increase your tires by up to two sizes. If your machine has a smaller capacity engine, limit your upgrades to one size greater than stock. Gear reduction and clutch kits may help along with lift kits, wheel spacers and upgrades to your drivetrain, belts and suspension. A trustworthy powersports supplier can get you in touch with these and other essentials.