Understanding ATV Tire Sizes: How It Works | Hunt or Shred

Durable and quality tires are essential to enjoy a smooth ATV riding experience. Learn how ATV tire sizes work so you can keep your ride performing at it’s best.

1st no. is the overall height of the tire when inflated. The 2nd no. is the overall width of the tire when filled with air. The 3rd number is the overall diameter of the rim. So an ATV tire with the dimension 25-8-12 represents its height, width, and rim diameter when it is inflated.

Wondering how the tires work and how their size impacts your experience? I’ll share my personal experience. I have better ground clearance, and my ATV has an improved performance ever since I changed the stock ATV tires with bigger ones that I recently bought. ATVs are a popular vehicle option for most owners in the US, with 1.2 million ATV owners. I am going to guide you all about the ATV tire sizes and how they impact your ATV ride in this article.

Tires are the most popular upgrade option for most ATV owners, and “Bigger is better” when it comes to ATV tire sizes. However, there are limited size options for your all-terrain vehicle. So, I will help you learn all about ATV tires and how they work so that you have a good idea the next time you want to buy tires for your vehicle.

Table of contents


How do Wheel Sizes Work?

Getting a comprehensive idea of how ATV tires work will help you make the right ATV vehicle choice. Note that all this information comes from my personal experience and has helped me enjoy some of the best riding experiences. I am pretty sure that it will do the same for you as well.

ATV Tire Sizes: Metric Tire Sizing Chart

In a metric ATV tire sizing chart, you will have numbers and a letter that explains your tire. You may find letters and numbers before and after the tire width in mm, wheel diameter, the wheel ratio in %, and a construction type letter (but they do not matter).

Understand the Tire Diameter

The general ATV tire diameter ranges between 20 and 30 inches, depending on the kind of ATV you own. Let me explain these sizes as per the vehicle category.

  • Factory mud or rock equipped quad bikes have a tire diameter between 27 and 30 inches
  • Utility quads have tire diameter between 24 and 28 inches
  • Sports quads have tire diameter between 20 and 25 inches

Understand the Tire Width

ATVs usually have a bigger tire at the rear end than the front to get the best cumulative effect. A typical rear wheel is 10-11 inches wide, whereas front tires range between 8-9 inches in width. I suggest always keeping in mind that the tire width needs to match your riding style and vehicle design. There are two ways to ensure that your tire fits on your ATV perfectly.

1. Go for a wheel that is two inches narrower than the width of your tire; while this tip doesn’t work for everyone, it helps most of my customers.

2. Another great way is to take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can show the tire width range that can fit your vehicle. I always see the user’s manual if I do not find information on the web.

Understand the Wheel Diameters

While I have experimented with the other two factors in my ATV tires, I do not think you should negotiate on this one. I always make sure that my tire’s wheel diameter matches my actual wheel diameter. Most off-road vehicles have 10-12 inches wheel diameter, which is perfect for riding your ATV.

Choosing the right Tire Sizes for My ATV

There is no absolute answer for this since it depends on the riding style of the owner. For example, I like trail or dune riding, so I prefer a wider, flatter tire to keep my grip intact. However, bigger and narrower tires are better when riding on a muddy surface.

An aggressive tread pattern also helps keep my ATV balanced in these situations. So, it all depends on how you wish to use your ATV. I think it is about how you visualize your perfect ATV vehicle, so experiment a little with different tire sizes to find the right one, as I did.

What Sizes Will Fit My ATV?

Different tires helped me improve my ATV riding style. I started enjoying my rides even more on different modes, including sand, mud, and snow, when I swapped my ATV tires with bigger ones. Most UTV vehicles can easily handle an increase in the tire size or two size increase in some cases than the stock tires.

I would suggest choosing your tire size according to the size of your engine. Generally, 1 size larger tire work best for 500cc ATV vehicles. But if you have a more powerful UTV, you can move up 2 sizes than the stock tires for your ATV. Thus:

Engine Power Tire Size Upgrade
500 cc 1
500cc - 1000cc 2

Negative Impact of Bigger UTV Tires

You surely get more traction control on terrains and a more aggressive look with a bigger ATV tire size, but there are still a few setbacks that you should keep in mind when you change your All-terrain-vehicle tires.

Low-End Grunt

Getting instant hole short torque is one of the things that I love most about riding my ATV. And if you agree, you might have to compromise on the low-end grunt if you install bigger tires in your vehicle. Your ATV will probably have a lesser pull when you give it half throttle with larger tire sizes.

Increased Clutch Wear

Clutch wear is a mechanical problem that occurs over time when the acceleration peddles get pressed halfway or when the clutch plates rub against each other when you engage the clutch. Bigger tires may increase clutch wear, which increases the need to change them frequently.

Tire Rub between Panels

A tire rub occurs when there isn’t enough space between the UTV rims and the wheel. Thus, the rim smashes into the wheel whenever you hit a bump while riding your vehicle.

Increased Drive Belt Wear

A squeaky noise is an early indicator of drive belt wear. ATV with bigger tires experiences belt wears faster.

Drive Line Failure

Installing bigger UTV tires increase the angles, which can cause premature driveline failure in your vehicle.

Axle Failure

ATV axles have a higher chance of failure if you install bigger tires on your all-terrain vehicle since it produces constant stress on the frame.

Roll-Over Rate

ATVs with bigger tire sizes have a higher chance of rolling over and encountering damage since it affects the stability and grip of the ATV.

Can I Use Different Sized Tires for my ATV?

The size of your tires depends on your wheel setup, so if you have a wheel with different tire sizes, you can fit them into your rim. Tip: vehicles with bigger rims can fit in bigger vehicles easily as compared to other vehicles.

So, I just keep my vehicle in mind and the riding style I enjoy when choosing tires for my ATV. So, I never have problems with tire sizes.




29 years old. I'm from Texas. I've been riding ATV's for the last couple years here in TX. I'm learning a lot about this hobby right along side you.

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