March 23, 2012
ITP Tires on a Foreman (Part II)
Are you looking for ATV tires and wheels for your 4 Wheeler? The kind of tires you will want to look for depends mainly on the environment where you will be riding. As you might have read in the first part of this tire test in our last issue, the needs of our friend Martin weren’t specific at all, but rather varied like the conditions he rides in. This meant that he was a perfect candidate to determine if these ITP Mud Lite XTR tires were as great all-around as their maker claims they are. This also meant that we would need to ride Martin’s faithful Honda, everywhere, and in as many different conditions we could find. This is the main reason why we needed to do this test in two parts.
If you missed it, in the first part of this product evaluation, we covered installation guidelines, our findings on how the tire change affected the ride characteristics in normal conditions, and on how we came to choose this particular tire model, one of a myriad offered by KIMPEX, one of the largest ATV parts and equipment distributor in the country. Replacement parts, aftermarket upgrades, gear for all types of riding, you name it, they have it, and we thank them for their continuing support and collaboration, which has become essential to our coverage of various products and our needs, while we test units from many different sources.
Whether it’s their Shot line of MX style gear and clothing while we test under the hot summer sun or CKX line of winter ready helmets, coats, pants, boots etc… as we brave the cold Canadian winters out on the trails, the equipment they provide us with is not only essential, but of good quality and simply looks great. We also covered installation guidelines, wheel size choices and explained what wheel offset means, and how to use those parameters to your advantage. We finally decided on going with Martin’s stock wheels, which have less offset and would keep the overall width of the vehicle down, which would help him steer the ride more easily. As a reminder, the offset is what determines the position of the wheel center, or in other words, where the wheel nuts are positioned in relation to the wheel’s inner and outer edges.
To recap on some of the essential things we talked about in part 1, we had a great time riding Martin’s Foreman with his stock tires and had an even better time discovering how these awesome-looking and aggressively threaded ITP tires, gave this quad a totally new life. To sum it all up, Martin’s reaction when first seeing this 27’’ choice we made for him was of disappointment in us and he feared that they would render his quad too tough to steer, and that the ride would lose a lot of comfort and control on dryer, more normal type grounds. It would later turn into total satisfaction on his part, in all any and all conditions we tested his quad in.
Despite reverting back to the plain-looking stock wheels, much less shiny than the mags Martin had bought a few years earlier, the look was improved quite a bit. The quad simply looks more capable now and the ground clearance gain not only improves the all-around performance of the quad in rough conditions, but gives it as well a much cooler look. The main factor to take into consideration in Martin’s case was that he needed extra traction for certain trouble spots in the trails he enjoys riding, but that he still rides on fairly well-groomed trails in between those few more challenging areas. So, we did discover them to be without a downside, unlike most such extreme choices with such tractor like, 1 1/8" deep threads, which in turn, also help the structural strength of the tire. Our ITP Mud Lite XTR tires feature a tough 6 ply construction, which surely adds peace of mind for the always present risk of flats, usually associated with off-road riding. They gave the ride better feel when pushing hard in tight turns, as the sidewalls stayed rigid and kept optimal grip throughout, suffering less from roll under.
Tire maintenance is very important. Possibly the most vital part of maintaining your ATV tires, is keeping them pumped up to the right pressure. Tires without enough air pressure are much more susceptible to damage, yet these will deal with such treatment a little better than a regular bias tire. However, it is just as important to not over inflate the tire, as it will lead to expedited wear, since only the center lugs will do most of the work. Although Martin isn’t really keen on purposely conquering deep mud holes and said that he had a tendency to try and avoid them all together by going around, the more mud we encountered during the dirtier part of our testing, the more confident he would get, up to the point where he realized that his quad was much more capable than before, and there was no need to break his momentum, or even switch into 4WD, which was now rarely necessary. If you find yourself frequently changing tires, it could be down to the nature of your riding environment and would require a well-balanced different kind of tire such as this one.
Not only will you profit from their performance, but they will help you stay in line with the trail, despite deep ruts and mud, which also means you will thread more lightly, since you won’t need to roll beside the trail to avoid them. It is important to ride your ATV in an environmentally friendly manner and that you have fun, but it is just as important to be confident that you have a sturdy set of wheels and tires beneath you, to conquer terrain with maximum efficiency and minimal wheel spin. We did just that when riding in one of our favourite challenging bit of trail in Léry Quebec. Keeping a slow, steady pace was possible, and there was no need to go crazy with the throttle or turn from one side to the other to find grip. Even through some of the thicker mud, with the underside rubbing, we could stop in the middle of it, and go again without throwing it all in the air aggressively. Just a few days later, the same area was totally covered in snow and we discovered our ITP’s to be just as efficient. We all ended up being totally impressed with their efficiency. Usually, one would need to invest in multiple sets of ATV tires and wheels, to get the most from an ATV in all terrains and conditions, but these can do a great job all year-round, which makes their price all the more appealing. They grip like crazy! They never spin and make the mud or snow seem like hard-packed dirt with regular tires.
After you have your new tires installed, you need to dispose of your ATVs old tires responsibly. The tires have to be recycled or disposed of properly. You can find a local recycling company to dispose of them for you, or you can let the ATV dealer handle the disposal of the old tires for you.
While many other choices would have been able to offer an improvement, this one proved to be highly efficient in the really tough stuff and stayed user friendly in normal conditions. Riding Martin’s beautifully maintained Foreman was always very enjoyable, it was like riding a completely different machine with these highly efficient tires. I can hardly wait for sunrise tomorrow, so we can go out again! Oh that’s right, I forgot that Martin installed enough lights on his pretty Honda to turn night into day, so I think I’m going to call him back right now to go out and play some more. Oddly enough, so equipped, in the snow anyway, I think I like riding his quad more than the brand-new big bores also tested in this issue.
Tires are every trail rider’s best friends. Of course, you will need more than just four nice tires to conquer your favourite trails, but there is no use having phenomenal power and suspension, if your tires lack in traction. On the other hand, it is possible to have too much traction, or just simply that some elements of the tire’s design improve traction, but can take away something else, like for example, comfort and control when riding in normal conditions. After much deliberation and having tested these rubbers in just about every true to life situation, you can end up being challenged with, in any type of trail riding, we strongly recommend this highly advanced tire choice, that is the Mud Lite XTR from ITP, the lightest 6-ply mud/trail tire on the market.
Have fun and thread lightly!