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UTV Sand Paddle Tires - What is the best choice?

Posted by KB One on

What Sand Paddle Tires Should I Choose?

If you are like many of our customers, you may find that choosing the right Sand Tires for your Side By Side can be a confusing proposition. Most of the info you have comes from a variety of sources: friends of friends, message boards, manufacturer advertisements or just the local gossip. What makes it so confusing is that all that info is likely correct, yet at the same time not necessarily for you. What do I mean by this? Well, when it comes to Sand Tires so much of your decision comes down to personal preference. What one owner may love another may hate based on where they ride and their style of riding. There are some general guidelines to follow when choosing sand tires, and definitely some set ups that work better for some machines than others but just know when it comes to Side By Side Sand Tires, there is not a one size fits all for each machine. This article is was created to provide a general overview of the more popular Paddle Tires and which UTVs they work the best on, but as mentioned earlier there is no perfect set up for every consumer.

General Sand Tire Theories

Here are some broad concepts that apply to UTV Sand Paddle Tires:

  • Larger tires require more horsepower to spin than shorter ones.
  • Tires with more paddles grip more and require more horsepower to spin than tires with less paddles
  • Tires with larger paddles bite more than tires with smaller or staggered paddles again requiring more horsepower to spin them.
  • Most consumers are looking for a balance of bite and wheel spin

Sand Paddle Tire Choices

Sand Tires Unlimited Blaster

Sand Tires Unlimited, or STU, built a name for themselves by making some of the best buggy and sand car tires around for years before they entered the UTV Market. Their first foray into the market for was the 26” Blaster. The 26” Blaster is a great tire for Turboed RZR 800s and the RZR XP 900. Both the 75/25 staggered cut and the #1 paddle are preferred for those vehicles. The 75/25 staggered cut will provide your RZR with a little bit more wheel spin and the #1 paddle will provide a more bite, but again it really comes down to preference. The #2 Paddle on the 26” Blaster is perfect for a turboed RZR XP 900, but might be too much paddle for any a non turboed version or any version of the RZR 800.

With the emersion of the 1000cc class and factory turboed machines, came the 28” STU Blasters. Sand Tires Unlimited actually removed 2 paddles to bring the paddle count down to 14 on the 28”. Don’t let the paddle count fool you, this is still a whole lot of tire. The 28” #1 paddle is typically the “Go To” tire for the RZR XP 1000s, you can run both the #2 and the staggered cuts on the 1000 as well, but the #1 typically gives you your best all around performance. The Can Am Maverick is also an ideal candidate for the 28” #1 paddle STUs. For those looking for more wheel spin. The staggered cut 75/25 is an good option as well for the Maverick.

When it comes to the factory turboed UTVs, The RZR XP Turbo and the Can Am Maverick Turbo, the 28” #2 Paddle Blaster is the way to go. Both machines put out enough power that they need the larger #2 paddle to give them the correct amount of traction.

STI Sand Drifter

The STI Sand Drifter is a 28” Tire with 14 full paddles. Unlike the STU Blasters the Sand Drifter is not available with different paddle options. The paddles on the Sand Drifters are not as tall as the #1 Paddle STUs, which means they are a little easier to spin. The Sand Drifters do not require as much horsepower to get them going. This makes the Sand Drifter a popular choice for the Arctic Cat Wildcat and the Can Am Commander. Being similar in size and design to the Blasters, the STI Sand Drifter can still appeal to those RZR XP 1000 and Can Am Maverick owners looking for a more economical package than the STU Blasters. We have also found the Sand Drifters tend to be a great choice for the Yamaha YXZ1000R. Even though the YXZ1000R presumably has enough power for the STUs, a gearing issues can make it hard for the YXZ1000R to spin the 28” STU Blasters.

GMZ Sand Stripper

GMZ initially entered the sand paddle market space with the 28” Sand Stripper. The 28” Sand Stripper was available in two paddle styles,the staggered and the HP full paddle. Both paddle styles consist of 14 Paddles. Like the STI Sand Drifter, the GMZ Sand Stripper paddles are not as tall as the STU, making them easier to spin. Furthermore the staggered sand stripper is probably the easiest 28” paddle to spin, which makes it ideal for riders who really like to keep their wheel rpms high. The 28” HP full paddle Sand Stripper, shares a similar vehicle profile to the STI Sand Drifter. The Arctic Cat Wildcat and Can Am Commander are ideal vehicles, but budget minded RZR XP 1000 or Can Am Maverick owners will find value in these tires as well.

GMZ also produces a 30” Sand Stripper. As far as sand tires go, 30” is the tallest UTV specific Sand Tire available. Being such a tall tire, you really need a lot of horsepower to effectively spin the 30” Sand Stripper. Unlike its 28” little brother the 30” Sand Stripper only has 10 paddles, this reduction in paddle count helps reduce the impact of the extra 2”. A 30” Sand Tire is ideally suited for the high power UTVs like the RZR XP 1000, RZR XP Turbo and the Can Am Maverick and Maverick Turbo. The GMZ Sand Stripper is also the only fully UTV specific sand tired that is designed for a 15” rim. 

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