Imagine never having to worry about the tire pressure in your UTV. Imagine never getting another flat tire, or having to carry around a spare just in case. That’s exactly what airless UTV tires will offer you. But it’s not all sunshine and watermelons, they have some serious drawbacks too. I’ll go over the pros and cons so you can decide if airless tires are right for your UTV.
What Is An Airless UTV Tire?
First let me explain what an airless UTV tire even is. They were originally designed with military applications in mind. Never worrying about getting a flat tire in some risky situations would be a game changer for the military. Not to mention more space to carry gear without the need to bring a spare tire with you.
They are designed to replace the traditional tire assembly. That include the pneumatic tire, the accompanying valve assembly and the wheel. You would just bolt the airless tire on just as you would a normal UTV tire and wheel.
The big difference here is that once the airless tire is on, there is no additional maintenance at all. I mean, just bolt it on and that’s it. No tools needed, no repair kits, no spare tire, no checking tire pressure, nothing.
Pros And Cons Of Airless UTV Tires
I think I’ve already gone over the pros quite a bit, I can’t help it they seem like such a game changer to me. I spend a lot of time with maintenance of my machine, the idea of not dealing with tires or wheels is a dream. But, they do have some major setbacks that might sway your decision to get yourself a set.
- No Maintenance
- No Flat Tires
- High Damage Tolerance
- Fewer Parts
- Great On Rugger Terrain
First, no maintenance, I think I’ve gone over that already. Second, no flat tires, yea I mentioned that too. But don’t forget a flat tire can ruin a nice day of riding, and not to mention the cost of buying new tires if you can’t repair it. That adds up over the years. So for me, this is a huge perk.
Third, the high damage tolerance. An airless tire can take a beating. I mean you could put giant holes in these things and they’ll still run. They were originally designed for the military, so you could shoot these tires 20 times and they will still work just fine. (don’t do that)
Another big plus is there are fewer parts. I’m a big fan of just bolting on the whole assembly as one piece and go. They are great on rough or rugged terrain. Because of the design of the airless tires, they can make the tread deeper, more open, and more aggressive. Making them good for traction when you need it most.
- Top speed 37mph
- Rocks Get Lodged In Wheel
- Balance Issues
- Shock Problems
- Overheating At Speed
Even with the huge benefit of not having tire or wheel maintenance, there are too many drawbacks for my liking. The top speed limitations is actually fine for the most part for the trails I ride on. But, there are some straight-aways I love to open up on. The problem is the airless tires overheat and start to lose their rigid structure.
That’s another problem as well, the structure of the tire is not as rigid as a pneumatic air filled tire is. It gives your shocks a beating, so the no maintenance tire ends up causing maintenance in other parts of the machine.
There are some balance issues going over obstacles, but they aren’t that bad. It’s not a reason I wouldn’t get these tires, but worth mentioning. Another issue I had with the airless tires was that because there is no sidewall, probably because of the overheating issue, rocks and mud get lodges in the wheel part of the tire.
Now the mud was actually fine, it just gets flung out right after you get out of the muddy area. But when a rock gets lodged in there real tight, it’s a major pain to deal with if you want to get it out of there.
Are Airless UTV Tires Worth It?
This depends on the type of riding you plan on doing. If you will be mostly off road on rugged or tough terrain full of obstacles, then yes, these will benefit you. If you like to open up the throttle and ride on a lot of open straight trails, I would think twice before getting these.
They almost act like normal tires just under-inflated a bit. So for large rocks and obstacles, these tires work great. They can be a bit pricey, but for the money you save on tires and repairs, they end up being worth it in the long run.
If you like speed, be very careful with these tires. The handling gets tricky once you get over the manufacturer recommended speeds. It stops feeling safe and honestly it can get a little sketchy. For higher speeds you want fully inflated tires to handle as you need.
Where To Get Airless UTV Tires?
A few companies are making airless tires now. Companies like Michelin, Bridgestone, and Polaris all have their own versions. I had a hard time finding them myself when I first started looking.
Here is a link to the Tweel Kit Tires By Michelin on Amazon. Check those out to at least get an idea on where to start your search and the price you can expect to pay.
They will be more and more common I think as the technology gets better and better. Hopefully as they make and sell more the price will come down a bit too. Overall if you do get yourself a set or airless tires, I think you’re gonna love not dealing with tire maintenance anymore.
The main thing to take away, is that the airless tires are great for reducing maintenance cost and time, but you need to be sure they will fit your riding style. If you love opening up on straight-aways, I would suggest waiting for the technology to improve a bit more. If you absolutely hate buying new tires or repairing flat tires all the time, these could be a game changer for you.
To check out some other gear I’ve tried and tested for you, visit the Recommended Gear section of this site.