OCELOT RACING ATACAMA DESERT TIRE
— Testing Chaparral’s lower-priced performance tire — By the staff of Dirt Wheels:
Chaparral Motorsports has been an off-road product distribution and sales company for quite a long time and has long had Ocelot Racing as its house brand of budget gear. Ocelot now has a full range of tires.
Ocelot specializes in ATV and UTV tires of all types, and we recently picked up a set of its Atacama tires designed for 4×4 machines to tackle the rough, rugged and unrelenting terrain of the desert. We mounted them on our 2018 Honda Rincon and tested them thoroughly.
Ocelot built this tire with a six-ply carcass to help prevent flats out on the trail. They aimed for lightweight construction that won’t hinder the handling of your machine. It has a more aggressive tread design and more sidewall protection than the OEM tires they replaced. The tread pattern is non-directional and has lugs that wrap around the shoulders of the tire to improve cornering traction and to grab in ruts and mud. The lugs are spaced apart for easy mud clean-out, so they don’t pack up and cause you to lose traction. You can only order this tire in 25×8-12 or 25×10-12, which are perfect for 4×4 ATVs and smaller UTVs. We liked the tires so well, we wish there were more available sizes.
Traction is abundant on hardpack surfaces and on rocks. The side lugs grab well while cornering, and the front did not tend to push. When we transitioned from hardpack terrain into mud, the Atacama had tall-enough tread blocks to pull the Honda through it. As we expected with the tall, widely spaced tread blocks, the tires worked well in sandy terrain. The tire clawed its way through sand without sinking in, and we never felt like we were going to slide uncontrollably.
The only real downside is that the tire feels a little stiff. We ran the tire at a low pressure to improve the feel, and that helped traction and smoothed out the ride, but that makes it more prone to getting flats. That said, we didn’t get any flats despite many sharp rocks on the trail. The Atacama feels like it is a heavier-duty tire than most 4×4 quads need, but it worked fine. We believe that the Atacama would be even better for UTVs that use a 12-inch wheel.
We are a fan of the Ocelot Racing Atacama tire, and we have many more abusive and fun miles to put on them! The Atacama may be named after a desert, but it has a wider range than simply as a desert tire. The price is good, starting at $99.99 for a rear tire and $89.99 for a front, and it is durable and provides great traction! Again, it is too bad that it has limited sizes. We hope it soon comes in a 14-inch rim fitment. Go to www.chaparral-racing.com or call (800) 841-2960 for more information on the Ocelot Racing tire lineup for ATVs and UTVs.