If you’re in the process of researching tires for the Polaris Ranger, you have probably narrowed down your selection a bit. You can find online reviews of some tire brands, but there are numerous companies that make a wide variety of UTV tires for an even wider variety of terrain types and driving styles. While some riders may prefer an all-terrain tire, other riders look for specialized tires that are designed and manufactured to handle a specific type of terrain. Add tire size options, wheel size options, and weight differences and you’ve got a lot of variables that can each have a dramatic impact on the performance, handling, and rideability of your Polaris Ranger. But fear not, because here at Everything Polaris Ranger have decades of experience in the powersports world, and we’ve seen first-hand the interplay between a side-by-side and it’s tires. So let's dig in and see what separates a mediocre UTV tire from an outstanding one.
Whether you’re riding the Cheese Trails in wisconsin or the Turkey Bay OHV routes in the Oak Grove area of Kentucky, if you want your machine to truly excel on its primary terrain domain, you’ve got to tune your machine to the appropriate specifications -- which means running the right style of side-by-side tire.
In terms of longevity, Maxxis tires (as well as others like the the Roctane X2s by STI) are known to last the test of both time and the trails. You can easily get a couple thousand miles off of them if all you do is ride asphalt with some intermittent field work and light offroading every now and then. However, many of these tires are designed with more openly spaced lugs, diminishing their performance on hard packed snow and wet pavement. If the lugs were a little less spaced out they would function better, but this is a small sacrifice to pay for tires that last.
If you do ride mostly hard-pack trails with a bit of road riding thrown in there, wear is a partially important factor. But if your machine’s performance is a higher priority, domain-specific UTV tires are a must. The Warriors from SuperATV does especially well in the mud, while still allowing riders to navigate other things they encounter on the trails; from mud and rock gardens to steep grade hill climbs. Aggressive mud tires will tend to hum a bit when going down the road, but other than that they tear up the slop… be it clay or mud.
With UTV tires, size does matter. Not only can large, aftermarket, side-by-side tires affect the handling of a Polaris Ranger, but they can also rub and scrub at various points on the machine’s chassis should you go to large. If you don’t lift your Ranger, the biggest you can go with your UTV tires is about thirty inches. Otherwise, you may hit your fenders or wheel well -- especially when turning. A tire setup measuring 30x10 should measure a true thirty inches and give you about a quarter-inch of clearance when flexing. If that’s too small but you don’t want -- or can’t afford -- to lift your rig, forward a-arms will help you clear larger wheels and tires. Plus, the bigger you go with your tires, the more you have to upgrade your stock Polaris Ranger
In addition to simply fitting large tires, you also have to power them. If you go to big with your UTV tires, you will lose power and likely experience some gearing issues vis-à-vis the clutch. But with some clutch weights and an upgraded primary clutch spring, you should be able to handle up to 33 inches no sweat.
Getting the right tires for your Polaris Ranger the first time will save you a great deal of stress and effort in the future. If your UTV tires match your riding style and the terrain where you ride, you’ll not only be better suited to conquer every obstacle you encounter, but you’ll do it faster, easier, and funner.