Aiming at being best in the desert 

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

We were happy to have Maxxis Razr XT tires on our RZR Turbo S. They have the toughness to handle the speed, power and suspension performance the S is capable of.


Maxxis tires run the gamut from full mud to super-gummy specialty rock tires. Until the release of the Razr XT, the company didn’t have a dedicated, purpose-built desert racing tire. Now, Maxxis took aim at Tensor and BFGoodrich desert race tires. At the moment, the Razr XT comes in a 32-inch to fit 15-inch rims for $318 each.


Since the Razr XT is a desert race tire, it is expected to get traction on everything from silt and soft sand to solid rock. To provide traction, the tread blocks are low and closely spaced, but there are a lot of them to provide biting edges.

The tread blocks extend over the sidewall to improve traction in desert terrain that is often rutted where the tire can grab with those side knobs. The desert-specific compound provides tread block and carcass tear-resistance and sidewall stiffness for even more traction.

Desert racing is largely a high-speed business, though there are slow and technical sections. As a result, the Razr XT needed to be able to take big hits with a fast, heavy car making serious speed. Maxxis designed it with an 8-ply rating and made it a steel-belted radial with a high-density, double-steel-belted carcass. Being a radial makes for strong cornering and steering qualities.

Unlike some desert tires that have a very flat tread profile, the Razr XT has a round profile, so steering is light feeling and accurate.

Top: The tread profile is rounded for low-rolling resistance, as well as traction in two-track rutted terrain. Note that the tread blocks are low and compact with many biting edges to grab traction.



While it is currently available in a single size—32X10.00R15—the tire actually measures 32.6 inches tall. We mounted the Maxxis tires on Method Beadlock rims. Polaris rims have virtually no offset, and the Method wheels have very little. The offset can change the way a car handles and the suspension works, so we wanted to stay with something close. A Turbo S comes stock with ITP 32-inch Coyote tires with 15-inch rims. Those stock Coyote tires weigh in at 42 pounds, and a Tensor Regulator tire is 44 pounds. Our Maxxis Razr XTs weighs in at 43 pounds. We started with the air pressure set at 15 psi but soon dropped them to 10 psi looking for additional ride comfort.


This tire looks like it can handle anything except perhaps mud. It rolls and carries speed well. The shape doesn’t feel like it has any drag at all. As you might expect from a desert competition tire, it thrives on speed. The harder you push the car, the better the tires work. Some of our local trails see a lot of UTV traffic, so stretches are run into a double-rut two-track that feels much like a desert course. The Razr XT allows you to run hard into those rutted turns.


That 8-ply, steel-belted carcass is supposed to prevent punctures, and it did just that for us. We never had a hint of a flat or cut tire in 400 miles of desert running with lots of rocks with edges sharp as knives. Braking and acceleration traction are very good as well. We even had the Razr XT in the sand at Dumont Dunes, and while it clearly wasn’t the optimum tire, it worked fine.

Middle: This is one of our rear Razr XTs after 400 tough miles. You can see that the rocks were doing their best to chew up the knobs, but they are hanging tough.


The Turbo S hits hard and accelerates with a fair amount of rear squat and wheelspin. Despite what we would consider harder than average use in rougher than normal terrain, the tires held up well. 

We have seen the Razr XT tires with well over 1000 miles on less powerful cars, and they wore even better. Our fronts look new, but that is not surprising. Polaris’ on-demand AWD only engages the front wheels when the rear tires spin, so we would expect the front to look fresher.

Bottom: This is one of our front Razr XTs, and despite the same miles and all-wheel drive, it looks nearly new. We like the light steering and easy turning the tires provide.



We were fortunate to have a stock Turbo S along, and the Maxxis Razr XT does have a crisp feel thanks to the sturdy carcass. That makes the car feel accurate and planted at speed, but the ride quality suffers a little at slower speeds. That is to be expected from a race-bred tire, and especially one that has steel belts. Off-road radials like the Bighorn and the Carnivore (stock on the Polaris RZR Pro XP and Kawasaki KRX 1000) do not have steel belts, though the Carnivore is 8-play. They have a supple ride, but can’t match steel belts for slamming impacts and high-speed running.

If you want a tire that is stunning at high speeds and ready to conquer rough terrain, the Razr XT is it. Go check out or a local Maxxis dealer to look at their full lineup of tires.

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