Testing DOT-rated desert treads 

By the staff of Dirt Wheels


We are stationed in Southern California, which means we have a ton of desert trails to ride. Mud and tight, wooded terrain is a lot more difficult to come by, so we do a lot of testing in rocks and wide-open desert. We test what matches that terrain, like the Maxxis Liberty UTV tire. This well-designed piece of rubber has been out for a while, but we wanted to get some hard miles on a 30-inch set before we wrote down our thoughts.


Maxxis has the size, capability and motivation to do a ton of design and testing, which means their tires are generally great. Most UTVs come stock with Maxxis Big Horn 2.0 tires, which is a testament to Maxxis. It functions well on most terrain, and suspension designers love the light weight. The Liberty was designed specifically for desert terrain that consists of packed surfaces with rocks and coarse sand mixed in.

This tire is designed to resemble a light off-road truck tire. The tread blocks are spaced closely together, and the tire is DOT-rated, so it can be driven on the street. The radial carcass of the Liberty is eight-ply-rated. It is durable, strong and resists punctures. This tire comes in four different sizes, including 28×10-14, 30×10-14, 32×10-15 and 29×9.5-16.



We sent these Liberty tires through almost every desert terrain we could find for miles to get accurate results on how they perform, how long the tread lasts and how durable they are. We installed them on a RZR XP Turbo four-seater for the abuse. On hard-packed desert surfaces, the Liberties hook up very well. On occasion the rears broke loose on turns a few times, but it was controllable. Steering is precise, and the corning bite surprised us for the tread design. On dry, rocky trails, the Liberty really shined. The traction was abundant with minimal slippage, and we ran through a ton of sharp rocks and never got a flat.

Usually, we find that a DOT-rated tire tends to be stiff and not too grippy so it can last a while. The Liberty still remained supple while having a long tread life. The only negatives we found with this tire is that it doesn’t enjoy deep sand, so don’t take it to the dunes, and it doesn’t hook up well in the mud, either. If the dirt is tacky, the tread loves every second of it, but if it’s wet and slick, the tread blocks don’t clean out the mud easily.

Overall, the Liberty is one of the better desert tires we have come across, and it starts at a price of $231 each. Maxxis has a large lineup of tires for your quad or UTV, so go to to check out their tread lineup and find a dealer near you.

To subscribe to Dirt Wheels Magazine in print or digital form click here 

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.