Situated between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Moab offers a central location to explore some of the most rugged and majestic views in the nation.
The “slickrock” of Moab is actually anything but slick. The term was used by early settlers of the area to describe the sandstone because of the low traction between horses’ metal shoes and the rock’s sloping surfaces. However with today’s modern UTVs with locking differentials and rubber compound tires, the traction is actually incredible.
However, with that traction comes the real challenges of Moab. The way the rocks grab on to parts can really create havoc on your rig and individual parts. It can create additional stress on your drivetrain. The stair step climbs can ram into the front or rear of your machine. The ledges and boulders can mash into the belly your machine. Tight squeezes and off camber technical sections can destroy your rockers quickly.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite upgrades for some of the most popular machines, including the Kawasaki KRX 1000, Polaris RZR XP 1000 and XP Turbo and the Can-Am X3. While a stock machine can go out and have a great time on some of Moab’s more mild trails, for those that really want to see the best of what the area has to offer should take a serious look at these recommendations.
Why Upgrade Your UTV Tires for Moab
The single best upgrade that a UTV owner can make before taking on the trails in Moab is to change out their factory tires. Honestly, just about any tire on the market does pretty good on the traction friendly rocks of the area, however if you’re really looking to take things to another level, then upgrading what actually meets the ground can make a huge difference on whether or not you’re able to climb or drive over some of the area’s most iconic obstacles.
All tires aren’t equal and it’s not always about the visual tread pattern you see, but the compound of the tire itself. Generally, the soft the tire, the more “sticky” it is. Competition compound tires are generally the ones that are considered sticky. They’re great for traction, but wear fast and combined with the traction that sandstone provides, they will find the weak link in your driveline quickly. Unless you’re prepared to spend thousands on upgrading your axles, differential internals, driveshaft and transmission, then we recommend sticking to softer compound tires that are light weight and not too tall. 30″ and 32″ tires will get you through most everything in Moab without much issue, especially in two door UTVs.
BFGoodrich KM3 UTV
The BFG KM3 was engineered for sport and multipurpose UTVs. Built with steel-belted radial construction and adapted from race-proven technology designed for Baja 1000-winning tires, the KM3 balances maximum toughness with minimal weight. The tires are highlighted by superior sidewall toughness, which is normally only seen in much heavier tires.
While Moab doesn’t get a ton of rain, it does see precipitation on occasion. When tackling wet and muddy terrain, the KM3 features “Mud-Phobic” bars on the tire’s shoulders that are designed to release compacted mud for enhanced traction in muddy or soft soil conditions. The tire’s Terrain-Attack tread pattern includes massive tread blocks designed to deliver incredible grip from any angle of approach.
The UTV-specific tread compound in the BFGoodrich KM3 is designed to deliver enhanced grip on rock and other slick surfaces. The tire’s Linear Flex Zone allows it to envelop objects at reduced inflation for even more grip when climbing. The Traction-Armor Sidewall Sculpture and notched shoulder design also boost traction capabilities in soft soil and mud. The tires perform very predictably in hard pack conditions as well.
The BFG UTV tires are designed to conquer the toughest off-road challenges with extreme sidewall protection, pinch shock resistance and chip-and-tear resistance on gravel.
We believe that if you’re looking for an all around tire that performs well in multiple conditions, the UTV tires from BFG are very hard to beat. Despite not looking as aggressive as some other tires on the market, the traction afforded from these tires is very surprising. BFGoodrich has knocked it out of the park with their latest offering of tires.
BFGoodrich tires are made in the USA. The KM3 is available in a variety of sizes from 28″ to 32″ for both 14″ and 15″ wheels. The tires run true to size and in a couple of instances, slightly larger.
If ultimate traction in the rocks is what you’re looking for, the Maxxis Roxilla is absolutely the best tire on the market today. Keep in mind that you should really look into driveline upgrades for your Kawasaki KRX, Polaris RZR or Can-Am X3 if you’re going to run these tires though.
Taking many cues from their full size competition Trepadore cousin, the Roxilla has a super soft “sticky” compound that features incredible grip on rocks and dry surfaces. The more the tire spins, the more it heats up and grabs even more traction. Alternating staged side lugs help in finding traction and help protect the sidewall from cuts. The tread pattern and aggressive side wall makes for a menacing looking tire.
The Roxilla is no slouch in the mud as either. The deep tread depth cleaning out fairly easily with some wheel spin. They also do very well is side hill situations We’ve been continually impressed with the variety of conditions that these tires excel at. Weight is fairly managable as well, with the 32″ version weighing 42 lbs and the 35″ version only weighing 48 lbs. However, make sure that you have upgraded your UTV, because the traction provided by these tires will find the weak link in your drive train quickly if you decide to get rowdy.
The Maxxis Roxilla is available in 30″ and 32″ sizes in their “non-sticky” version for 14″ wheels, along with 32″ tires for 15″ wheels. 32″ and 35″ versions for both 14″ and 15″ wheels are available in the competition compound.