What UTV do you remember the most after a weekend out at the ride park? Is it the fastest one? Is it the one with the best wrap? Is it the one that’s packed to the gills with machine protection and light bars? It’s probably not any of those. We’re willing to bet that the one you remember best is the one with the biggest tires.
There’s just something about massive tires that draws the eye. They make any machine look incredibly capable and totally dominant. Just imagine the kind of crazy stuff you could ride right over if you had tires that big. You’d be like a tank!
We’re here to help you go from wishing you had tires that big to actually rolling on them. We’ll break down all the ways to get massive tires and the extra considerations you need to make when your goal is going big.
Putting bigger tires on a UTV isn’t as simple as, well, putting bigger tires on a UTV. There’s only so much room in your wheel wells. If you increase your tire sizes without making more room, those tires will rub on your plastic every time you hit a bump or turn the wheel.
So here are all the ways you can make more room.
Almost every UTV out there has way more room for rear tires than for front tires. That’s because the front tires have to pivot left and right to let you turn.
The good news is you can get more tire clearance just by changing your front suspension with forward offset A-arms.
Forward offset A-arms move your hubs forward to get your tires farther away from the wheel wells and extend your wheelbase. They usually come in 1.5” or 2” offsets and can increase your maximum tire diameter by up to 4”, depending on your machine.
Go with offset A-arms if your goal is bigger tires only and you don’t want more ground clearance.
Lift kits are the most obvious way to upgrade tire size. They work by pushing your suspension farther down so that there’s more space between your hubs and your machine.
That’s how both small lift and big lifts work. There are plenty of differences between small and big lift kits though.
Your choice of lift comes down to the tire size you’re hoping to get and the price you’re willing to pay. Adding a big lift kit is one of the most impressive and imposing upgrades you can make, but there’s another option that does it even better.
A portal gear lift is the best way to lift your machine.
But if you’ve never seen one in person, you might be confused about how they’re different. Here are the key points:
That’s the secret: GDP Portals are a lift and a gear reduction combined. That’s a big deal since big tires need a few extra upgrades to keep them from bogging down your machine.
And with stock suspension angles, they won’t put undue strain on your axles, shocks, and drivetrain either. That also means you can combine it with a lift kit for a truly monstrous combo lift.
Check maximum tire size increases with portals:
*Different machines and models fit tires differently, so you wont see these increases on every UTV out there. But remember, you can combine GDP Portals with offset A-arms and lifts—do that, and you can go way beyond these tire sizes in most cases.
Plus, there are multiple gear reduction options for you to consider:
The bigger the gear reduction, the better it is at turning big tires. For example, 15% gear reductions are ideal for tires from stock diameter up to about 2” bigger than stock. At the other end of the spectrum are 70% gear reductions—ideal for tires that are bigger than 50”.
Play around with our Portal Gear Reduction Calculator to get a feel for what these gear reductions can do.
But why are gear reductions so important? Let’s find out.
If you throw on massive tires without making any other modifications, you’re going to feel them. There are two main reasons for that:
The effects of weight are obvious—heavier tires slow everything down and your powertrain has to work harder to turn them. You will feel this.
But a larger diameter tire also increases your machine’s overall gear ratio. That means your top speed will be higher with larger tires, but your torque will be lower. So acceleration will be sluggish. You will feel this too.
Good news: you can have big tires and all the power you want too! Let’s see how.
Gear reductions lower your gear ratio which is perfect for balancing out an increase in tire size. They give you back the low-end torque and acceleration that you lose when you upgrade to bigger tires.
There are two ways to get a gear reduction:
A transmission gear reduction kit swaps some gears in your transmission to increase torque. It’s an OK solution, but GDP Portals are so much better.
GDP Portals give you the room to run bigger tires and the gear reduction you need for low-end torque and acceleration. It’s a win-win.
Plus, they put the gear reduction in the hub instead of the transmission. That means it comes after the axles, differential, prop shafts, and transmission in the powertrain. So all those parts benefit from the gear reduction too—they work less and wear less with GDP Portals than with a transmission gear reduction.
You still have all that weight to worry about whether you have a gear reduction or not, and that can be hard on your clutch.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to get a clutch kit and upgrade your drive belt.
Clutch kits change the way your drive belt engages at certain RPMs. A good clutch kit can give you more power quicker when you hit the gas and maintain that increase in power as you accelerate to top speed. It’s good for getting even more of your machine’s power back from heavy tires.
Even then, you need a better drive belt that can handle all the extra power and weight. We have a variety of GBoost drive belts that are perfect for big lifts and tires.
Check out our World’s Best Belt, Extreme Badass Belt, and Mud Monster Belt. They’re all tough enough for your lifted and loaded machine, but they cater to different ride styles to get you the performance you need most.
The tire size you need for your specific machine and build is totally up to you.
But sometimes, even reading the advertised tire sizes can be confusing. Brush up on your tire size knowledge with our comprehensive guide to ATV and UTV tire size.
It’ll make tire sizes easy to understand so you can get exactly what you want. And it’ll help you find the right wheels for your needs. For some killer options, check out our tire selection.
When you’re ready, head on over to SuperATV to get lifted and loaded. Soon, you’ll be rolling in that showstopping side-by-side that everyone goes home to tell their buddies about. You won’t—you’ll just be rolling over logs, rocks, and anything else you want with your massive tires and unbeatable ground clearance.
ll their buddies about. You won’t—you’ll just be rolling over logs, rocks, and anything else you want with your massive tires and unbeatable ground clearance.