Sooner or later we all suffer from a flat and although punctured tires on a 4×4 rig can leave you feeling deflated, they can cause a major road bump on an ATV trip. Trucks have room for spare tires. In fact, most even have a space dedicated to them. Unfortunately, ATVs suffer from limited space and the assumption that you’re less likely to run over a nail. The fact of the matter, however, is that sharp tree stumps and rocks shaped like sword blades are scattered along the trail. And when you encounter one, it’s probably going to take the wind right out of your sails…Or, um, rather your tire.
The solution? Unless you plan on packing around an extra wheel and tire assembly for your quad, run flat tires gift ATV riders with the ability to continue to ride even after suffering tire damage. In fact, Goodyear claims that their Mud Runner Run-Flat tire is capable of carrying riders up to 50 miles at speeds of up to 25 MPH with punctures, gashes or slashes up to 2” in length. Other manufacturers like Super Swamper have also received reviews that their densely constructed Vampire series of tires can roll out with little to no air, when need be.
Smaller ATV tire manufacturers, such as Essex, offer an alternative to big name brands with rubbers that are constructed with Kevlar radials designed to withstand the heavier load weights of today’s larger ATV’s.
No matter what the brand, though, one common feature of run flat tires is thicker sidewalls designed to give riders the freedom to traverse terrain they otherwise may shy away from. This rugged construction lends itself to avoiding flats in the first place, which is even better than just getting back to your tow rig with a bum tire. Typically, run flats are also designed to handle muddy, extreme terrain, causing the most widely available tread patterns to be aggressive mud knobs.
However, using highly durable and stiff materials is what allows run flats to, well, run while flat. By manufacturing a tire that temporarily holds its shape under heavy loads with minimal or no inflation, tire crafters have given riders a freedom to keep trekking without damaging wheels… or their pride.