There has been a shift in wheel sizes recently for two reasons. Long-travel suspension on both ATVs, UTVs and trail-legal, 50-inch-wide UTVs now require a wheel that is different than what we are used to. Typically, ATV wheels have been close to a center offset. Some machines may have used a little more of a narrower setup and some a slightly wider one. IRS quads are even more different by using a very flush rear wheel and a more center or zero-offset front one.
Both the long-travel machines and the 50-inch-wide models are trending more toward the zero-offset or flush wheel, both front and rear, currently. The flush wheel can allow you to run as long of a suspension arm as possible while still coming in under the manufacturer’s intended width.
For example, if you took a 50-inch RZR 800 or 570 and put a typical aftermarket wheel on it, most likely you will now be too wide to fit through the gates on some restricted trails.
STI’s latest HD3 wheel has taken on the problem by introducing a brand-new wheel with a narrow 6+1 offset. That means the 7-inch-wide wheel has 6 inches of wheel extending inward from the hub and only 1 inch going outward from the hub. This wheel is a cool-looking, eight-spoke design with gloss black paint throughout, except for a few raw-machined accents on top of each spoke. The wheels are only available in a 14×7-inch size and for Can-Am and Polaris bolt patterns. The standard 4+3 and 5+2 offsets are available in every bolt pattern. The HD3 is also available with a single beadlock. We have seen prices at places such as www.rockymountainatvmc.com starting as low as $70 each.
We’ve been using the new trail-legal wheel for a few months now, and we can tell you it is tough. While not totally intended for the RZR XP 1000, we ran a 125-mile desert race with the wheel, and it performed flawlessly. On that car, the stock wheels have a similar flush offset, and we didn’t want to upset the handling any or put any unneeded strain on the steering components. It worked very well for that extreme situation.
Our full test took place on a Polaris RZR 570, where we replaced the stock steel wheel with a full set of the HD3 6+1 offset wheels and took it for a ride. Actually, we rode the machine in several western states and put nearly 500 miles on the little machine. For traction, we wrapped the wheels with STI’s thick Roctane tires using 26×9-14 sizing. The tires gave the 570 a full inch of ground clearance and did not widen the machine at all. Actually, the wheel may be a fraction of an inch narrower than stock, but the widest part of the RZR is still at the fenders where it measures 50 inches exactly.
Again, the wheel performed very well and looked far better than the stock black steel wheels. Even with the taller tire and increased traction the Roctanes offered, the RZR is still super sporty and a blast to drive. If you are looking to keep a trail-legal machine as narrow as possible or want to keep a long-travel machine handling as precise as the manufacturers intended, STI’s HD3 trail-legal 6+1 offset wheels will do just that. Plus, it will make any machine look better as well. STI’s wheels and tires are available pretty much everywhere. You can check out their complete catalog at www.stitireandwheel.com.