PRODUCT TEST: STI Roctane XS Tires

Tires are the number one accessory installed on a UTV after the sale. Stock tires are typically good for a wide range of terrain, but not very terrain-specific or puncture-resistant. So if you want to dial in your machine for where you ride, new tires should be considered. Save the stockers for spares, or sell them off to help pay for the new set.

Aftermarket tires are not cheap. Some styles can cost upwards of $250 per tire. Yes, that is insane, unless those tires actually improve the ride of your machine. A common upgrade on a high-performance 1000cc UTV is to install 30×10-14 tires on all four corners. It gives most machines a meaner look and adds traction, especially up front.

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TIRE TEST
This month we took a look at a set of Roctane XS meats from STI. The XS tire is a completely new tire and not just a different version of the Roctane XD. The knobby pattern has been changed slightly and uses shorter lugs. The carcass, too, is slightly thinner but still feels bulletproof to the touch. Overall, the XS tires are about 2 pounds lighter (each) than the XDs. Size availability ranges from 28×10-14 ($189) or 31×10-17 ($199) wheels. We mounted our test setup on STI beadlock wheels and tortured them in Baja and in the California desert underneath an Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000. For this machine we chose to run the 30x10s on 14-inch wheels since we still wanted some tire flex and pinch-flat resistance for the high-speed roads. The larger 17-inch size would be better suited for lowerspeed rock crawling and, of course, that cool look.

In the desert the XS tires performed great. The Wildcat continued to slide predictably at the back and cornered much better with the front end at slower speeds. We ran 15 pounds in each tire and could barely feel them flex. We would feel safe running as low as 10 psi, but for our race situation we didn’t want to chance it. The Roctane XS-equipped Wildcat has now competed in two 200-mile desert races with no flats and barely any signs of wear. All in all, we are very impressed with the new tread pattern and carcass. If we would change anything, we would ask that they come in more sizes. But for traveling the high-speed roads of the Southwest or Baja to the rocks of Texas or Moab, Utah, the sizes available now should work great for almost everybody. See the complete and growing line of STI tires at www.stitireandwheel.com.

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