If you spend any time traveling on dirt roads or mountain trails, you've probably encountered gravel on the side of the road. While it may look daunting at first, the right tires for gravel roads can make all the difference between a fun ride and an uncomfortable experience. You don't want your vehicle to slip and slide on slick rocks, so it's vital that you choose the right tires for gravel roads.
The best tires for gravel roads primarily are designed for the terrain. They typically have a thicker tread pattern and provide better traction in these conditions, though some are made with a softer tread depth for use in other terrains. In general, you'll find that low-tread tires are more suitable for dirt roads. However, they may not be able to handle as much weight, and they can easily break down in the snow.
When shopping for tires for these kinds of roads, it's important to know how each type of tire works. A typical sidewall tire is shaped like a round tire and is ideal for use on soft mud. The sidewall is reinforced with steel to help with the abrasion and compression. It has large amounts of rubber for traction and has grooves in the sidewall to promote contact with the gravel. This makes it very comfortable to drive in, especially for drivers without a lot of handling experience.
There are a number of different types of tread blocks used on tires for these kinds of conditions. Some of them, such as Nokona block pattern, feature small triangles of rubber in a slightly taller pattern than the usual. Others, such as the Big Tex sipes, feature straight rectangular patterns. These usually work well because they have narrow slots in the middle that allow traction.
Another important characteristic of off-road tires is their responsiveness. As gravel and sand is blown over the truck, it acts like snow and can create a deep furze on the road. Because of this, responsiveness is an important feature to consider when choosing a tire. A good example of this is the Maxxis Invader, which features a number of different configurations, all designed to give the driver more control.
Tires with better braking are also preferred by drivers because they can also improve steering response. Drivers need to take note, though, that getting the right size for tires with excellent braking can also mean getting the wrong size of tires for driving on gravel. Tires with larger tread blocks tend to be too heavy to be of any benefit when driving over gravel. So it's best to choose treads that have smaller tread blocks. On the other hand, tires with smaller rear tire blocks can also be a problem when going on a long distance drive, as they can quickly lose traction.
To improve steering control in wet or loose surfaces on gravel roads, a truck with at least a 2.3 axle is ideal. Trucks with axles higher than this may cause trouble while driving on gravel roads because it can be difficult to stop in time when attempting to make turns. The Maxxis Invader is a truck with a well balanced axle, making it easy to control.
If your main goal is to have a smooth drive regardless of whether or not you're going off-road, then a medium to light snow bike tire is your best option. These types of tires are best for drywall and loose surfaces. A medium to light snow bike tire will grip the road without a lot of effort, while providing enough grip to prevent slipping. This is important to remember when going on a gravel road, as slipping and losing control can easily happen.