Choosing The Right Tires For Your Kubota RTV
Dec 5th 2022
The 25-inch ATV tires, HDWS tires, and Turf tires that come stock on Kubota RTVs can definitely do the trick -- but they aren’t the best general-use tires you can get for a Kubota side-by-side, nor are they the best for any particular terrain type. Depending on where and how you ride, you might do well with some Heavy-Duty Work Site tires, which perform well on pavement and gravel. But even in thin mud, Work Site tires will begin to lose traction almost immediately. Most riders like using tires with tread patterns that prevent mud from sticking in the grooves, but most riders usually don't want this at the expense of strength and durability. Many Kubota owners log countless road hours in their vehicles, and for them, a DOT tire geared more toward street use is preferable. Other riders encounter things like ice and snow when riding, and for them, quality snow tires would be optimal. Nevertheless, because Kubota UTVs are on the heavier side – especially with a full load in the bed – every user will want a tire that's strong enough to support the heft of their buggy. Whether it’s some GBC Grim Reapers to use when riding through fields of thorny Honey Locusts, or a set of 26” Swamp Witch tires for that slippery Louisiana mud, here is some advice to help you choose the right tires for your Kubota side-by-side!
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again: Kubota side-by-sides are not lightweight vehicles, so be sure to check the load rating of the tires you plan on buying. In addition to telling you how much weight a particular tire can carry, the load rating on a potential set of Kubota RTV tires will also tell you how much pressure they can handle.
Historically, ply measurements were used to indicate a tire’s load strength. But today, ply ratings refers to a ply-equivalent strength, rather than an actual number of rubber / cord layers. That being said, instead of sticking with the 4-ply or 6-ply equivalent tires that come stock on Kubota RTVs, some riders take things one step further with an 8-ply or even 10-ply radial tire like Tusk Terrabite. You can get Tusk Terrabites in the same size as your stock Kubota tires, but many riders choose to go slightly bigger with 27x11x12 Tusk Terrabites.
In addition to the load rating of your tires, another factor to consider is the thickness of a tire’s sidewall. Some aftermarket UTV tires for the Kubota Sidekick, the Kubota RTV, and the Kubota RTV X series are great at handling heavy loads, but lack the sidewall protection necessary when riding over sharp stumps and jagged rocks. While you should alway have a good patch kit with sidewall slugs at the ready when riding far from home, you can avoid sidewall gashes and stick punctures in the first place with tires like the Swamp Lites by Interco.
OEM Vs. Non-OEM Kubota RTV Tire Sizes
Whether you’re wanting improved tire performance or simply needing a new set of tires to replace your current ones that are old and worn out, size is an important thing to consider when shopping for new Kubota tires. The question we get most is, "Should I stick with tires that are the same size as my stock ones, or should I upgrade to something bigger?". Some riders like to run wider tires in the back for better traction, while others choose to run taller tires for more ground clearance. When choosing bigger-than-stock tires, though, it’s important to think about both fitment and power. Go too big with your tires and they might rub, and if your tires are overly-heavy, you could see reductions in power. Kubotas are sluggish as is. Even if you can go a bit faster with taller tires, the time it’ll take to get there is the real problem.
While you have the option to choose skinnier steer tires with vehicles like the Kubota 1140 CPX, the only RTVs that come standard with wider rear tires are the Kubota RTV 500 and Kubota 400. One of the benefits of running identical tires all around is that you can rotate them for even wear. But with fatter drive tires, you’ll be able to pull better and brake better due to the extra surface area.
Best Off-Road Tires For Kubota Side-By-Sides
Maxxis Work Zone radials work well on both pavement and turf, but for those who ride strictly off-road, there are various options that are made specifically for muddy fields, wet pastures, or leafy woodlands.
ITP Blackwater Evolution Tires are extremely tough, with more than enough weight capacity for a heavy Kubota RTV. They’re combined weight rating will easily handle a 2,000 Lb UTV with double that as a payload. Plus, because they have a high ply rating, things like brambles and prickly shrubs will never to turn them into Swiss cheese. Where other tires would slip like a pig on roller skates when going uphill on wet red clay, Blackwater Evolutions will grip firmly until you reach the top! The only drawback to Blackwater Evolution tires is that they’ll wear quickly on blacktop. So if you’re a road warrior, a street-specific tire will last much longer.
Although they’re not dedicated off-road tires, Sedona Rip Saws work great in mud. But unlike other off-road UTV tires, Rip Saws wear extremely well on pavement. They’re smooth and handle amazingly while road riding, yet they’re aggressive enough to never skip a beat when hill climbing or crossing wet grassy fields.
Another great tire by Sednoa is the Rockabilly, which can handle tons of street use but still perform like a champ in grass, mud, woods, and rocky pastures. Unless you really goose it, Rockabillys won’t tear up your sod. And even if you pick up a nail or two, it’s extremely rare to get a blowout when running Rockabillys!
We mentioned their Grim Reapers already, but GBC is also responsible for making other off-road UTV tires for the Kubota RTV that are excellent for work and traction. The 10-ply Kanati Mongrel tires by GBC are amazingly rugged, while the Kanati Terra Masters excel on various types of terrain. GBC Dirt Commanders and Dirt Devils are also highly sought after for their unyielding performance across many different ground conditions. Not only are they slow to wear, but they’re also quite affordable compared to other aftermarket Kubota RTV tires.
Final Kubota RTV Tire Considerations
With a set of wheel adapters, some 29” take-offs from a Polaris RZR will give you more ground clearance without the need for a lift kit. Alternatively, if you have the 5-lug wheels, some tires from a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Ranger will fit a Kubota -- and certainly handle the weight. A few other tires worth thinking about for the Kubota Sidekick, the Kubota Diesel, and the Kubota RTV-X Series are ITP Mud Lites, Carlisle Mud Lite XTRs, and the tires by QuadBoss. But what works for one rider might not be the best solution for you. Tires with aggressive tread, for example, are great in mud, but they’ll tear up your lawn if you’re not careful. Similarly, street tires are built to handle hard surfaces, but they may not grip well on slippery rocks or other wet environments. So before you go swapping out the stock lawn-mower-looking tires on your Kubota UTV for some robust agricultural work tires, make sure that ones you choose are appropriate to tackle the specific challenges you face!