How to Pick ATV Tires for Drag Racing

How to Pick ATV Tires for Drag Racing

Author: Yellowstone Drag Strip

You have two ways to pick the best drag racing tires for your ATV. The first involves browsing the internet for recommendations from fellow drivers, checking out specs of their recommended tires, reading their reviews and purchasing the tires which have received the most glowing feedback.

The second way involves reading this article to the end. That is it. This route is so small because this article contains everything to guide you on how to pick ATV tires for drag racing. All you have to do is to follow the instructions of our experts, and you’d have the ideal drag racing tires for your ATV.

Have doubts about this claim? Scroll down to leave them behind.

How to Pick ATV Tires for Drag Racing

Follow these tips to pick the best drag racing tires for your ATV:

Type of Dirt

The type of dirt on which the drag racing event is being held should play a crucial role in your selection of tires. ATV tires that do well on hard-packed dirt won’t be able to hold their own on loose dirt, and vice versa. It would help if you kept this fact in mind

Hence the reason why after checking the dirt on which you’d be racing your ATV, you should check the type of dirt the tire you’re looking at is made for. Only then you should proceed ahead and take the upcoming tips into account to pick ATV tires for drag racing.

With these facts in mind:

Choose tire with less biting edges (sipes) if

You’re going to race on hard-packed dirt. The traction provided by the surface in such a scenario will be enough for the tire to stop within a safe distance after you have applied the brakes.

There is another reason why you might want to choose a tire with less biting edges on hard-packed dirt. Doing otherwise will land you a model whose friction will combine with that of the road and place a bottom pressure on your ATV’s speed and power.

Choose tire with more biting edges (sipes) if

You’re going to race on loose dirt. The traction provided by the surface won’t simply be enough for you to apply the brakes and stop your ATV if and when it’s needed to be stopped.

That is to say that all the traction that would be needed from your side to stop the vehicle must come from the tire itself. And it won’t be able to provide that as long as it doesn’t have a lot of biting edges

The hardness of the compound

Most drag racing drivers think that the softer the compound of the tire, the better it is for drag racing. That is not always true. Some of the races have been lost by drivers who were driving tires with the softest compounds, so, clearly, something else is at play here.

That something else is the weight of your ATV. Veteran drivers know that not all ATVs are created equal. The differences in their engine size and seating capacity make some ATV lightweight and others heavy, and these differences dictate what level of the compound’s hardness is better for them.

Choose softer rubber compound if

You’re driving a lighter-weight vehicle. Such tires blend in well with the lower weight of the vehicle. They also maintain the sturdiness of their tread to remain flexible on dirt.

What is more, these tires have biting edges on their tread compound that enables them to grip the dirt better. That, in turn, lends the driver more control over the vehicle.

Choose harder rubber compound if

You’re driving a heavy-weight vehicle. That is because tires that are too heavy on a lighter vehicle tend to cause a reduction in traction, with that not being the case if you use them on a heavy vehicle.

Aside from that, harder rubber compound tires have enough ruggedness and stability to withstand the extra weight of your ATV as it is slaloming through the dunes.

Transmission of the ATV

Depending on the type of ATV and what you regularly use it for, it may have either manual or automatic transmission. Most sport quads have a manual transmission as manually changing gears while competing with your fellow drivers gives you more control and help keep the ATV in best RPM range possible.

Automatic transmission, though a rarity on ATVs built for drag racing, is still preferred by some drivers who are conquering the dunes. Such ATVs provide as much power as their manual transmission counterparts while driving fast, though their power at low speeds is more than a few notches less.

With these facts in mind, let’s look at which type of tires work best for both transmissions:

Choose a tire with a controlled amount of spin if

You’re driving a manual transmission ATV. That is mainly because manual-transmission ATVs don’t have a torque converter and launch much more violently than their automatic counterparts.

In plain English, that means that these ATVs don’t give the driver the room for having a soft launch. They need tires that can support and complement their higher pick.

Choose a tire with a dead hook if

You’re driving an automatic transmission ATV. Such all-terrain vehicles have a torque converter that increases their horsepower in increments and saves them from launching violently.

Having a dead hook – one that won’t control the amount of spin the tire will experience, will work best with these tires as they won’t be subjecting the tire to too much abuse.


Picking the best drag racing tires for your ATV isn’t an easy process. You have to take into account the terrain you’re going to race on, the softness/hardness of the tire’s tread compound, the transmission of your vehicle and the tire’s biting edges to make the best choice possible.

We have explained in simplest possible terms why you must consider all this. The onus now is on you is to go out in the market, take the knowledge you’ve gained from this article with you, and make the best selection possible. Good luck!