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Sure you'll get lots of feedback on this one. Here's my take for what it's worth.

Radial.... More flexible sidewall, larger footprint or contact patch ,usually a smoother ride, usually long wearing, sidewall more easily damaged in rough terrain, generally more expensive, sometimes benefit from larger diameter wheels because of the softer sidewall.

Bias Ply.... Stiffer sidewall, less roll in hard cornering, most consider the sidewall better protected because they don't bulge like a radial, cheaper than radials, generally considered more rugged for heavy abuse.
 

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Radial- Cars and Trucks

Bias-Plys- ATV's




Just my opinion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've never had radials on an ATV before (until now), so it's never been an issue.

So are Radials less durable on rough terrain then? These Rincon stockers are 4 ply as are most stock Honda tires.

I went riding with 3 friends Saturday and came back with 7 punctures in 3 brand new tires. We all pretty much rode in the same places and no one else got a flat.

Maybe I got into some metal somewhere without noticing, but I have never had this many plugs in a new set of tires before.

I was even running at 3 psi, so I can't figure out how the heck it happened.

Anyway, now I'm looking for some nice bias-ply 6 ply tires. Something good all around with more emphasis on speed and smooth ride than hardcore mudding. 2) 25 x 8 x 12 and 2) 25 x 10 x 12s.
 

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For trail riding or in the snow I can see the advantages of the radials. For the sharp rocks, stumps, sticks and ruts that I spend a lot of time riding in I would not even consider anything but a 6 ply bias-ply tire. Never had a problem with the Bearclaws in almost two years and I am expecting the same results with the Super Lights. Stock tires were full of plugs as are the stock tires of just about everyone I ride with. Worst of the bunch are the stock radials on my brothers Sportsman.
As for tire options, read thru the posts in this Tire and Wheel section. Lots of opinions and suggestions. I think the Bearclaws would work great for the riding you described.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks H4. I'll read through some more threads on all the different tires out there.

The Bearclaws look like a pretty nice choice.

I don't want to bog my Rancher 350 down with huge lugs or way oversized tires.

I have the Warn 424 kit installed and I like kicking the rear end out and riding a moderate to fast pace when the trail is smooth. That's why an agressive tread pure mud tire probably wouldn't do me any good.

At the same time, I also like slogging in the mud, so a fair sized lug would be good.

Something probably more on the side of fast trail riding, though.
 

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The XL or deeper tread versions, usually avail on the larger tires would perform better in the mud . Not sure what size Bearclaw you would have to step up to for the deeper tread but the MudLite XL is now avail in 25". I ran my 27" Super Lights (same as MudLite XL) at almost 45 mph and they handled great. ( 3 psi ) Waiting on a 424 I just got on Ebay so I will soon know how well they handle when I start sliding the rear around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, I'm getting conflicting information on radial tires now.

There are two members on here with a good amount of miles on Maxxis Bighorn radials.

One guy has 2,200 miles on a set with zero problems, and another guy has almost 4,000 miles on a set.

Those are pretty impressive numbers to me.
 

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I stated in my first post that radials are usually long wearing. No personal experience with the Bighorns so you got to rely on the opinions of the guys running them and getting good results. The problems I've seen and heard about radial atv tires , including your 7 flats , have all been on stock tires. Have you ever seen a stock tire, radial or bias-ply that was any good?
I'm sure there are lots of people getting good results with radials. For where and how I ride I just don't see the need to spend the extra $ to find out for myself if they are any better.
If you're considering radials be sure to check out the Mud Lite XTR and also the Carlisle ACT XLR's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I've been looking at every tire known to man (or so it seems) for the past couple of days.

So far it's a toss-up between the Bear Claws and the Bighorns.

I think both of those would be pretty even although I think the Bear Claws would have a clear advantage in mud.

I am also looking at the Swamp Lites pretty hard, but I don't think they wear as well as the other two. Their advantage would be how light they are in comparison to the first two I mentioned.


Too many choices is making my head spin.
 

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If you're looking at radials, make sure you look at the ply ratings. I think that might have something to do with the puncture resistance of the tires. My ACT XLR's are 6 ply, but the standard ACT's are only 3 ply. The only other difference in the tires is the XLR's are 1 inch lugs where the standard ACT's are .75inch.

So you can see if you have the standard tire, you would have more chance of a puncture, but the two tires look almost the same. I'm sure all of the radials you were saying had punctures on your ride were stock tires, which are probably 3 ply.

Just something else to make your head spin

I myself would go for the better ride/traction of the radial, even if I thought I had to bring a repair kit with me. So far, I've had no problems, and I ride some pretty rocky terrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the input, GM DOC.

I've never run radials before (until now with the stock Rincon radials) but I must admit that they are extremely smooth, especially at speed. And yes, they are 3 ply stockers. The thing I like the most is if you let your bike set for a week, there are no flat spots in the tires like the bias-ply tires I am used to. You don't have to drive 10 miles to get them round again.

I think I just got into some metal somewhere on the trail, because none of the 5 other guys got a single puncture, where I now have 8 plugs in a set of tires with just over 200 miles on them. I don't think Honda would put a set of crap tires on their flagship utility quad.

I'm still putting my pennies together while I narrow my choices down, but I'm leaning pretty hard to the Bighorns. I like all types of riding, and it's hard to find a tire that does everything the best. I always go straight to the mudholes, so I want a deep lug, but I also like flying on the smooth trails and I know a radial shines there. If the Bighorns had a slightly more agressive tread, it would be a slam dunk for me.

The plugs are holding up just fine until I figure it out. I have a 30 pack of plugs, so now I am going to buy a 12vdc compressor to take on the trails just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I finally broke down and did it. I ordered some 25" Bear Claws last night because I am tired of plugging the piece of crap OEM Rincon radials that I'm running on my bike.

No one I ride with has plugs in their tires but me, and we all ride in the same areas. We all have stock tires. After almost 20 plugs in just over 200 miles, I have come to the conclusion that the tires are pure junk.

I'll have my Claws in 6-8 business days. Woo-Hoo!

I'm just curious to see if I'll be able to slide the rear in 2WD with the new shoes.
 
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