Are Wider ATV tires better?

This question might arise in everyone’s mind who owns an ATV. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the proper technical knowledge and think that wider tires will dramatically enhance the ATV’s performance. However, this is not entirely true nor entirely false. Somewhat wider tires do improve the performance of the ATV, but significantly wider tires decline the performance of the ATV. In this article, we shall answer the question if wider tires are better for an ATV. 

Dirty wheel of AWD all-terrain vehicle closeup. Concept of travel and adventure, repair and maintenance vehicle, extreme rally

Smaller Front Tires

If you look at a standard ATV, you will notice that the front tires are smaller than the rear ones. This modification is done intentionally because the smaller front tires make the ATV relatively easier to control while being handled on off-road terrains. Additionally, smaller front tires are installed to avoid the tire rub. 

Easier To Steer

Smaller tires are a lot easier to steer as compared to wider tires. Because of their less weight; therefore, you can turn your ATV almost effortlessly, whereas if your ATV has wider and heavier tires, then the effort is required to turn the vehicle. Additionally, it would be hard for the rider to handle the vehicle on rough terrains or sharp turns. Therefore, shorter tires are better and easier to steer. 

Avoid Tire Rub

ATVs are designed to be ridden on rough terrains. The suspensions of this particular vehicle are designed to control a lot of vertical movements and jerks of the vehicle keeping the ride smooth. Suppose the tires are wider. It’s most likely that the tires will hit various parts of suspensions and body panels. For an ATV to avoid this, smaller tires are a better choice than the wider ones. 


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Handling and Cornering

An ATV with narrow tires is far easier to handle on tight corners and spaces than wider ones. It might be a little challenging to gain forward momentum and decent traction for an ATV. When your ATV is equipped with a smaller and narrower tire, it would be easy for you to corner and make a sharp turn on trails that have gravel or dirt. 

Less Handlebar Whip

ATV riding also comes with a significant interference with bumps, jerks, and hitting into obstacles. Each bump will most likely affect and turn your steering in a random direction. This is known as the Handlebar whip. If you’re using lighter and thinner tires, you won’t experience much of a handlebar whip. However, wider tires have much more of this phenomenon, and sometimes it makes the ATV almost impossible to control. 


Without any modifications to your ATV smaller the ATV tires, the smoother the ride will be. On the other hand, the wider the tires get, the rougher the ride becomes. This is because the wider tires have more surface area in contact with the terrain, which causes more bumps and jerks for the ATV. 


This one is relatively easy to answer. The smaller the tire means the lighter the tire. The less weight the tire has, the less weight the ATV will have. This means the engine will need to generate less power to move the ATV. Additionally, smaller tires have less friction as compared to wider tires. Therefore, ATVs go faster when equipped with smaller tires as compared to wider tires. However, smaller tires don’t work well at higher speeds because they cannot produce enough movement at high-end speeds. 

Gas Mileage

If your ATV is not battery-powered, a gas ATV rather, then choosing wider tires over thinner ones will decrease its mileage. The engine will require more power to move the ATV. Therefore, more fuel will be consumed. 

Traction and Ground

Wider tires will help you gain traction and help you gain ground for sure when it comes to muddy or snowy terrains. Each ATV is equipped with the tendency to increase tires by 2 inches without compromising its performance; however, going beyond that will most likely affect the performance drastically. 

If you are riding your ATV on simple sand terrains, wider tires will struggle compared to thinner ones due to more resistance provided by the sand to the ATV. 


Wider tires tend to put more stress on the ATV Tires as compared to lighter and thinner ones. This is because the suspension and the drivetrain of the vehicles are not designed for heavier and wider tires. For an ATV to sustain such weights and stress, modifications must be made on the vehicles. 

Raised Centre Of Gravity

Wider tires raise the center of gravity of the vehicle compared to thinner ones which in turn make the vehicle unstable while making sharp turns or going through the corners. In addition, the increased width and weight of the tires will reduce the turning radius of the tires, making them a lot harder to control. 

In short, both wider and thinner tires have their pros and cons. However, the pros of narrower tires are much more as compared to wider tires. Thinner tires provide easier handling, less friction, and less fuel consumption than the wider ones. Hence, Wider tires are not better for ATVs. 

Some recommendations

Carlisle Knobby ATV Tire  – Find on Amazon here

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