Sand Tire Buyer’s Guide
Scoops and smoothies to shred the dunes
ATV tires come in all shapes, styles and sizes. Straying away from a stock tire can dramatically change the way your quad or UTV handles. And in no other arena is the departure greater than when changing to sand tires. A sport quad can get away with not using sand tires, but the ride with them is incredible.
On the other hand, it’s a fact that sand robs power in a big way, so using a paddle can definitely help a heavier or underpowered UTV stay afloat and move forward in the dunes. Tire companies are making a big push in the sand tire market these days, as machines are getting faster and more riders than ever are exploring the great sand dune areas of the world. The following are the latest offerings of sand tires that the major tire companies have on the market this season.
AMS Sidewinder Rear
AMS is the in-house brand of Parts Unlimited. It’s the same parent company as Thor clothing and Moose
Utility Division. Parts Unlimited products are found stocked at any legitimate accessory shop across the country. As for paddle tires, they have one offering called the Sidewinder, and it’s available in two sizes: 22×11-10 ($73) or 20×11-9 ($83). The offset V-shaped paddle is 1 1⁄8 inches high and sits on a two-ply carcass. These rear sport quad tires are directional, so you have to buy a left- and right-hand side.
DWT Beach Rear DWT Doonz Rear V DWT Doonz Rear
DWT Doonz Front
DWT DOONZ (800) 722-3746, www.dwtracing.com
DWT’s sand tire is appropriately named Doonz. Originally, this tire was developed and marketed toward the sport quad rider. For rears, three versions are available. Two are V-shaped paddles. One is an $80 21×11-10 and is directional, so left- and right-handed tires have to be ordered, but should give a great feel of control when carving the bowls. The second tire is a straight-cut paddle measuring 25.5×12 for UTVs in four or six plies at $119.95 to $127.95.The third tire is a tall (rear only) 22×11-10 that was designed for beach racing in Europe at $80. UTV ($98) and sport quad ($60) front tires are also available as smoothies, with a small rib of knobbies running around the tire providing precise steering.
EFX Sand Slinger front/rear
EFX (800) 734-4890,
EFX has one of the most complete lineups of ATV and UTV tires in the industry. However, until recently, they didn’t have a sand tire. Their first offering is a UTV tire set that consists of full smoothies up front and a 14- scoop paddle tire for the rear. The $124 fronts are four-ply and measure 27×10-14, and the $148 rear also carries a four-ply rating and comes in one size: 27X13-14.
Another great thing about the EFX Sand Slinger tire is that their sister company, MSA, has an endless choice of wheels to put them on. Check out www.cocomponents.com for details.
GBC Paddle Master rear GBC Sand Shark rear GBC Shark Fin front
GBC Dune Tracker front
GBC’s sport quad offerings are all about the Shark. For front-tire choices, they have the appropriately named Shark Fin. This is a two-ply tire with a knobby-type fin running the circumference of the tire. For a reasonable $48, the front Shark Fin is only available in one size: 21×7-10. Out back, the choices of “Sand Shark” paddles are a bit deeper. They are all 20 inches tall but can fit on 8-, 9- or 10-inch wheels with prices ranging from $65–$60. The paddles themselves are an offset V-shaped design, so you do have to order a left and a right. There are eight paddles filling up the carcass and can fill up the laps (with buckets of sand) of anyone riding too close behind you.
While GBC is leading in some segments of the UTV world, for sand tires, they only have one choice this year for sand tires. It’s a small, $99 25×8-12 called the Paddle Master. It’s only a two-ply and will basically fit any older or smaller UTV like a Rhino, Teryx or RZR. The tire has a row of centered scoops, along with smaller scoops between the center sections. This tire would be good choice for a 4WD utility ATV as well. GBC has one more sport quad front- tire offering in the Dune Tracker. It comes with a strong four-ply rating and in two sizes; 21×8-10 ($47) and 22×8-10 ($56). It has a solid, non-directional rib running the circumference of the tire.
GMZ Sand Stripper HP rear GMZ Sand Stripper front/rear
GMZ (619) 244-5811, www.gmzraceproducts.com
GMZ is concentrating full force in the UTV market these days and put all their efforts into the Sand Stripper. For the front end of the UTV, GMZ has a three-ribbed design and smooth tires that come in a wide 28×12-14 size at $166. The ribs should help turn short- and long-wheelbase cars around in the dunes or point them straight up comp hill without throwing sand into the cockpit.
GMZ offers two versions of their rear UTV tire: standard and HP. Both feature a nice rounded profile that will provide plenty of floatation. The standard version has sets of small, staggered scoops measuring only 3⁄4 inches tall with lower horsepower machines in mind. For the big 1000cc cars that dominate the dunes these days, the HP version is offered. It has a total of fourteen 1 1⁄8-inch-tall paddles running around the entire carcass to put power to the ground.
ITP Dune Star front/rear ITP Sand Star front/rear
ITP (909) 390-1905, www.itptires.com
ITP has been a big name in ATV tires since ATVs only had three tires. For the sand-dune crowd, they have two choices of front and rear paddles. The Sand Star is ITP’s original paddle-tire offering. The rear paddles have an offset V-shaped pattern, so different left and right tires are need- ed. The front tire is smooth, except for two tall ribs that run around the circumference that allows the tire to knife in on turns. This tire was designed for sport quads, and there are a ton of sizes available, including front sizes: 19×6-10, 21×7-10, 22×8-10 and 22×8-12; and rear sizes: 18×9.5-8, 20×11-8, 20×11-9, 20×11-10, 22×11-10, 22×11-12 and 26×11-12, which could be used on a UTV or 4WD ATV.
The Dune Star rear is a V-shaped paddle that can be used on the right or left side of a 4×4 quad or smaller UTV. It comes in 26×9-12 and 26×10-12 sizes. The front tires come in the same sizes and are also two-ply. This tire is relatively smooth, other than a rectangular knobby that runs the circumference of the tire and thick ITP logos that are found on both sides of the rib.
Kenda Gecko rear Kenda Dune Runner front
Kenda has two rear tire offerings for sport quads: the original Gecko and the Gecko Plus. Both have a V- shaped pattern that can be used as a left or right tire. The Plus gets two extra (10 total) 5⁄8-inch-tall paddles running around the two-ply tire. The Plus tire is only available in 21×11-10 sizing, whereas the standard Gecko is available in 18×9-8, 21×11-8, 21×11-9, 21×11-10 and 22×11-10 sizings.
For front-tire options, Kenda’s smoothie is called a Dune Runner and features a single 1⁄2-inch-tall rib running around its circumference. Sizes include 21×7-10, 22×8-10, 22×11- 8, 22×11-9 and 22×11-10. Dealers have
great deals on all Kenda tires.
Maxxis Razr Blade rear Maxxis Razr Blade front
Maxxis (800) 4-MAXXIS, www.maxxis.com
While Maxxis covers the UTV world well, both in aftermarket and OEM products, they strictly sell their sand tires to sport quad riders. This tire is known as the Razr Blade. Front-tire sizes are available in 19×6-10, 21×7- 10, 22×8-10, 22×8-12 and 18×9.5-8, and have two knobby ribs for precise cornering capability at any speed. For the rears, offset V-shaped patterns offer good hook-up, and the size selection is just as strong—20×11-8, 20×11-9, 20×11-10, 22×11-10 and 22×11- 12.
The Razr Blade tire has improved tremendously over the years and works great under any sport quad. If there was a quad that came stock with paddle tires, the Maxxis Razr Blades would probably be on it. Prices for front tires start at $89, and the rears max out at a reasonable $144.
STI Vortex front/rear
STI (318) 255-0049, www.stitiresandwheel.com
STI has one offering for sand enthusiasts who drive in the dunes instead of ride, and it’s a good one. We have tried this 27×14-11-inch tire up front and 14 inches in the rear on our Polaris RZR XP 900, and it works awesome. Called the Vortex V-Roll, this sand tire is relatively light at 19.4 pounds up front and only 21.6 pounds in the back.
STI has kept the prices of this UTV tire reasonable. The front single- ribbed smoothie sells for $139.95, and the V-shaped paddle retails for $176.95 each. So unless you have 14-inch wheels on your UTV, you will have to buy a set, and STI has a great selection to choose from.
RP Advanced Delta FX rear
RP Advanced (503) 434-9446, www.rpadvanced.com
RP Advanced is the company that brought us one of the first run-flat tires that they exclusively designed for the military. Their sand-dune offering, the Delta FX, is just as impressive. It’s a UTV tire measuring 27×10-14 for front applications or 27×13-14 for the rear in four-or six-ply. It has a staggered low profile, 5⁄8- inch-tall paddles, and a round pro- file that should float well. A center rib is also supplied on all tires to help you travel over hardpack terrain if needed. The front and rear four-ply tires sell for $188 and $195, respectively.