The ATV tires you thrashed all summer in the mud and rocks may work in some snow conditions. With snow, however, you can’t choose the conditions available – any more than you can choose your relatives. You get what you get, and hope it’s a smooth ride. Just like relatives, snow comes in many varieties – some easy to deal with and some not.
Once a big snowfall is a few days old and all packed down, almost any tires will work okay. That is not, however, when the driveway needs to be cleared, or the trails are the most fun, or the path to the icehouse needs attention. You need snow tires for new snow, heavy snow, wet snow and deep snow.
In that case, the best tires will help your ATV stay atop the snow. Just like in soft sand, you don’t want to dig a hole; you want to cruise over the top of this terrain. That means a wider tire with treads more like sand paddles that run across the tire. Deeply lugged mud tires are generally not good snow tires.
The Holeshot XCT shown above (for sport quads) and the Holeshot ATR (radial tread for utility quads) are designed for high performance riding in a variety of conditions. The manufacturer does not refer to these as snow tires, but their tread pattern, size and shape give them good snow performance.
This is the ATV industry’s first snow-specific tire, featuring nearly 100 carbide-tipped steel studs built into the treads. More than anything, the steel studs help these tires provide far superior braking control for your ATV. And if you’ve ever tried to stop a vehicle on the ice, you know the importance of braking control.
These 22-inch tires work well on sport quads and smaller recreational ATVs, such as the Suzuki® Ozark, Honda® Recon, and Polaris Trail Boss. The 4-Snow tires use a soft rubber compound that expands during use, kinda like big drag-racing slicks. These tires stick to ice and snow and provide all-season control.
Maxxis M918 Bighorn Radial
Another radial construction, these Maxxis tires have proven quite popular for mountain trail riding year-round. They’re available in 12-inch width sizes. (The Bighorn 2.0 is a narrower tire, not quite the snow performer as the M918.)
Kenda K299 Bear Claw
This is an aggressive mud tire, and although we wrote that those seldom work well in the snow, here’s an exception. The tread runs longitudinally like a good sand paddle, it’s not too deep, and the tires are available in 12-inch widths. That all adds up to decent all season performance.
These radials are similar to the Kenda Bear Claw tires, with a paddle-like tread design and good width that can help your machine stay moving atop the snow.