Radials by design, have more "footprint" because the tread is able to lay flat because the sidewall is not part of the tread.
Bias Ply the side wall and tread are the same material. That's why you see Bias Ply with massive thread on the sidewall.
Notice the sidewall of Bias-ply is much thicker, because it has to support the whole tire. Whereas the radial is thinner and has more flexing, with the a larger footprint.
This is GREAT...for asphalt. It makes for a much smoother ride, with more control and traction.
On rocks at low pressure...you have a thinner sidewall...and more tire height lost....causing more chance for damage, pinches and bead popping. So to compensate, people run with higher pressure or bigger tires with bead lockers to go lower pressure, but have the same height of a lower diameter bias ply.
The same bias ply will be higher with lower pressure than a radial. On my jeep tires. I ran my Radials at 12PSI for rock crawling.....much harder ride and less gripping around the rocks. My Super Swamper TSX Bias Ply's....I run them at 9 PSI and they are nearly the same tire height as with full pressure.
One interesting fact I've discovered, is IROK's are very popular rock crawling tires...both in Bias Ply and Radial. This guy on the Pirate4x4 website, did a little comparison...He loves the radial tires and has been impressed with their ability to withstand damage on the sidewall.
However...it looks like it's been at the expense of weight. Read on his post:
The biggest difference between the bias and radial versions is weight. I read in an earlier thread that the radials are supposedly lightweight. Well, that is absolutely not the case. While the bias ply version is definitely lighter than it looks (supposedly 66lbs for a 36/13.50-15), this radial of the same size measured 82 pounds on the scale at our shop. For comparison's sake, I weighed a 37/12.50-15 SSR (which are known for being heavy) and that tire was only 78lbs on the same scale. Mounted on the steel 15x8, the total for the IROK came to 108lbs.
66Lbs - 36" Bias Ply
78Lbs - 37" Bias Ply
82Lbs - 36" Radial
I'm not sure how this all translates to ATV Tires...but it certainly bears noting.
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"An application which has a high risk of sidewall damage, such as loader applications, would greatly benefit from bias tires."
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matter in fact in muds and moutain 3 ken broke a rim and didn't put a hole in his big horn.
25inch maxxis big horns.
On our ride last weekend, I think we all were running Bighorns. I am not a big rock crawler but like the durability of the Bighorns - they ride well and climb rocks well! (I remember Ken's recommendation: "BUY THESE TIRES") Most of the roads and trails that I ride are bumpy and rocky so they are perfect.
Read more about Bighorns than you probably wanted to know here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=618
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So wait, I'm confused Dave - are you radial or are you biased???hemingray wrote:For me, radials win big time. Better ride is what I wanted. Of course, my only experience is with Bighorns, so I'm biased.
and I would have said Bias ply beat Radials for rocks.
But technology changes...and Radials...at least Bighorns....are superior.
I've had 589's, Mudlites, Carlises, Rawhide Grips and Bighorns.
Bighorns win hands down...unless you're a mud bogger. Then I'd look for a mud specific tire.
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I do agree the the radials provide a smoother ride over bias ply. Another benefit to radial tires is generaly they will support quite a bit more weight than a comparably sized bias ply which is a plus for us "heavy" riders with large fully loaded machines. This also make's them the ideal choice for sideXside owners.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest down sides is overall tire weight where a radial will be substantially heavier than a comparably sized bias ply. One other somewhat important downside is that radial's are almost always more costly to purchase...
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