It’s taking the tire companies some time to get the UTV market figured out. Ten years ago, they were just selling ATV tires to customers buying and using the much heavier UTVs. It didn’t take long for both customers and tire companies to figure out they needed a stronger product. Now we are in a refinement era in which the tire companies are taking what works and experimenting with different tread profiles and compounds, trying to balance weight and tire life. ITP’s most successful tire in the high-performance UTV arena has been the Ultracross R Spec. Oddly enough, the eight-ply radial tire comes in any size you want as long as it’s 30 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Oh, you can choose to get them for 14- or 15-inch wheels. While we are not in total agreement, this 30×10-14 size mounted on all four corners is by far the number one choice for high-performance UTV owners who have upgraded from the stock size.
To test out ITP’s R Spec tire, we mounted four tires on the RZR XP 1000 that we ran in a local series. Other than the required safety features, the car is basically stock. We knew the stock tires weren’t going to hold up to the sharp rocks the California desert offers, so at the beginning of the season, we opted to only change the tires and wheels. Our plans included not running a spare, so beadlocks were a must just in case.
Each tire started the race with 18 pounds in them. It seems hard, but the ride is still super plush on the RZR. After viewing some slow-motion video we filmed, we could tell the tire was still flexing almost all the way to the rim. Straight-line speed was hindered slightly versus the stockers, but we were still able to race at speeds of over 80 miles per hour. Even at those speeds, the tires didn’t wobble or shake. Traction was completely predictable around corners, and we never felt a hint of pushing. After each race you could tell the rear wheels were spinning faster than the fronts, but tire wear was not bad at all. In fact, we kept the same four tires on the car all year and put well over a 1000 hard miles on them, and the lugs are still gripping, protective and capable of many more miles.
We ran race after race with smashing success. Other than a couple pin-sized sticks going through the tire and causing a slow leak that wasn’t noticed until after the race, they were bulletproof. The pinhole leaks were easily plugged between races, and our team finished the season having traveled over 50 miles more than our closest competitor. Although we still wish ITP—or anyone— made a 30×9-14 tire to use up front, we can’t argue with success. This size, especially in the ITP Ultracross R Spec, works. It provides great acceleration and sliding control in the back and helps soak up the bumps and steers the car precisely up front. The R Spec sells for $255 at all ITP retailers and may be a bit cheaper online. To see ITP’s complete tire line, log on to www.itptires.com, or to find a dealer, call them directly at (909) 390-1905.