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Four Wheelers: Durometers and Racing Tires

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

DRR USA ATV Youth Mini Quad Four Wheeler

It takes a great engine to win a race. Yet, there’s another major factor that contributes to being the first across the finish line. Tires make a big difference to a vehicle’s speed and maneuverability. Overlooking tire care could cost precious seconds whether it’s a great dirt track, motocross or pavement you have to have the right ones for the job.

So what makes the right or wrong tires for the job besides tread pattern?  The toughness of the tire, matching the right hardness level to the right terrain. To determine the hardness level, there’s a tool called a durometer. The higher the durometer measures, the harder the tire is. Shore ratings range from 0 (jelly) to 100 (plastic). Certain durometer ratings match certain track surfaces.

So no matter what vehicle is used, whether it’s a car, motorbike, ATV, or anything else the terrain will dictate the appropriate tire type, grip, and inflation.

So why does the hardness of the tires matter?  Each type of track has a tire hardness or grip level that will run effectively on it. Running a paved track with hard tires will create bounce and loss of control, whereas running a dirt track with the same tires will result in better performance. Knowing the track and matching with the appropriate tires gives the vehicle a significant edge.

Using this tool is simple. Just place the pointed end of the tool on the tire and press down slightly. Then, read the gauge. The higher the gauge reads, the harder the surface of the tire. The harder the surface of the tire, the softer track it should be used on.

A Durometer is an essential tool in any racer’s toolbox. It’s easy and quick to use and provides valuable information to the driver. It might even make that difference when crossing the finish line.


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