4 Ply Vs. 6 Ply ATV Tires: What to Choose?

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by ATVNotes

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You’ve bought your ATV and are now ready to take it out for a spin. But before you do, one of the many crucial things you should ensure is the right ply rating in your choosen ATV tyres. Ply rating or load range determines the load hauling capacity and the puncture resistance of your machine tires.

So, whether you are getting your maiden ATV or want to upgrade the existing ATV tires, you must give a damn about the ply ratings of ATV tires. Two of the most common options are 4 Ply and 6 Ply tires. But how do you know which one is right for you?

If you want precise information from experienced people and bypass the speculations, 6 ply ATV tires are the best option for trail riding and for increased loads. Conversely, 4 ply tires are meant for racing and they are easier on brakes and bearing. Whereas 6ply tire rating is meant for challenging barbed wire, sage brush, cactuses, scrap metal and jagged rocks; 4ply tire rating are for off-road tracks with mud heaps.

The increased ply rating gives more puncture resistance and lower ply rating offers increased traction. Say, 8 ply ATV tires will offer more load capacity and puncture resistance than it closer 6 ply rated ones but when its more traction to consider, 6 ply tires are preferable.

To determine the right tire for your ATV, you need to select the tire construction – Bias vs Radial ply – and other crucial factors besides ply ratings. But in this blog post, we’ll stay focused only on the differences between 4 Ply and 6 Ply ATV tires and their corresponding load range so that you can decide what ply rating tire is best for your needs.

4 Ply Vs. 6 Ply ATV Tyres Comparison

What Are 4ply and 6ply Tyre Ratings for ATV?

They are the two most popular ATV tire load ranges or the ply ratings ATV tires come with. We will go into detail on ATV tire ply ratings later on but now let’s define the two-ply ratings the debate is meant for. 

4Ply Ratings: 4 Ply ATV tires are made up of 2-3 layers of rubber. They are too light to carry heavier loads and move on, but they are not heavier enough to become a dragging issue and spend much of your battery charge. If you are bound for outdoor fun in the woods, curves of the valley, and the like, 4ply ATV tires will be the best bet. 

6ply Ratings: 6ply tires have 4-6 layers. The additional layers in a 6ply tire make it tougher and more resistant to punctures. As a result, they are heavier than 4 ply tires and can carry heavier loads and more passengers. So, if you ride your ATV mostly with your family and for hanging out with friends, 6ply ATV tires are a fitter alternative. 

Read on to learn more about how they differ and which one is suitable for your level of riding.

4 Ply vs. 6 Ply ATV Tyre: Which is Better for You?

When shopping for ATV tires, you have to decide on the right ply options, which refers to the number of layers of Kevlar or nylon used in the tire’s construction. To go by popular ATV tire ply options, 4 ply and 6 ply come to the fore. So, what’s the difference between the two?

The main difference is in durability ensured by the number of nylon or Kevlar layers used in construction. A 6-ply tire with 3-4 layers is more resistant to punctures and can carry heavier loads than a 4-ply tire made of 2 layers of nylon or Kevlar. If you do a lot of off-roading or ride in rugged terrain, a 6-ply tire is a good choice. A 4-ply tire may be all you need for lighter use on easier trails.

Another factor to consider is price. 6-ply tyres are typically more expensive than 4-ply tyres because they’re more durable and offer better performance. A 4-ply tyre may be the way to go if you’re on a budget.

When choosing between 4-ply and 6-ply ATV tyres, it’s important to consider how you’ll be using your machine and your budget. Let’s brief you on this point by point.

The terrain you’ll be riding on: If you are doing a lot of off-roading, then ATV tires with more plies will give you better puncture resistance and durability. However, if you mostly stick to paved roads or trails, then lesser ply tires should be fine. 

So, if you do a lot of off-roading or ride in rough terrain, opt for a 6-ply tire. For lighter use on easier trails, a 4-ply tire should suffice.

4 ply vs. 6 ply ATV Tyres differences

The Price: The more Ply layers used in the tire construction, the higher the price it will claim. So, it is obvious that 4ply tires will be cheaper than its 6ply counterparts. Here the budget will not be a deciding factor, as a cheaper tire will not make a significant difference when buying the ATV. 

But the matter to consider is that if you are a novice and a fan of easier trails, 4ply tires are your cup of tea, and you need to invest less in 6ply ones. But if you are a daredevil and want to beat the rough, rocky, and curved terrains, 4ply tires will not be the bet. 

How much weight your ATV can carry: Heavier ATVs need tries with more plies to support the weight. So, if you want to enjoy the seclusion of woods or off-highway parks and deserts with friends and family, tires made with more ply is the best bet. 

If you’re mostly riding on trails or smooth terrain, 4 ply tires will be just fine. But if you’re doing a lot of off-roading or riding in rough conditions, you’ll want the extra protection of a 6ply tire.

That said, ATV tires with a 6ply rating seem to be the potential winner in the debate as they can face the challenge of extra loads and abuse of the beaten paths. Moreover, it will create issues while riding on friendly terrains. But tires with lesser ply ratings are not a good fit for a ride on too rugged terrain and that involves huge weight – of man and goods.  

ATV Tire Ply Rating or Load Range

Vehicle tires keep moving and are the only component in contact with the road. On top of keeping the car mobile, tires withstand the friction and beating of the terrain and bear the weight the vehicle has on it. That’s why the construction of vehicle tires must consider the load to carry and the abuse to face from the road and off-road trails. 

ATV tire manufacturers are more concerned about these factors, so they use different layers of Kevlar and nylon in tire construction. That is understood from the ratings tagged, indicating the strength and load capacity they are built with. And the most popular ATV tire ratings include – 4, 6, and 8. 

While the number of ratings refers to the layers of nylon/Kevlar used, the number of layers applied is less than the ratings shown. As already made clear, a tire featured with a 6ply rating has more layers of materials bonded together than that of a 4ply tire rating. And thus, an ATV tire featuring a 6ply rating offers tougher resistance to puncture and more load capacity than its weaker rival – a 4ply rating. 

Your understanding of ATV tire ply rating will only be complete if you see the other reality of ply rating. Yes, a lower ply rating means lesser strength and capacity, but it also stands for flexibility and cutting down to moving weight. Some easier terrains may not need that tougher and more rugged tire. So is the case when you ride alone instead of riding in a group. Now, you can understand why there are several ply ratings. 

With tire technology sophistication, tire materials have improved, and now, it is possible to achieve more tire strength by bonding fewer layers. So, ply ratings originating from the number of layers used in tire construction are going out of fashion and load range as a more appropriate term is gaining favor. To better understand the ATV tyre load range, you have corresponding load range ratings of the ply rating. This infographic can be of some help.

ATV Tyre Ply/Load Range Rating


Are 6 ply tires good for ATVs?

In general, 6 ply tires are a good choice for those who frequently ride on rough terrain or encounter sharp objects like rocks and sticks. They provide extra protection against punctures and cuts, making them more durable than their lower-ply counterparts. However, if you primarily use your ATV for light recreational riding on smooth trails or roads, 6 ply tires may be optional.

It’s worth noting that while 6 ply tires offer added strength and durability, they also tend to be heavier than lower-ply options. This can affect your ATV’s performance in terms of acceleration and handling. Ultimately, choosing a tire with the appropriate ply rating is important based on your specific riding needs and preferences.

Is 4 or 6 ply tire thicker?

While both types of tires can be thick, they differ in construction and durability. A 6-ply tire has 4-6 layers of fabric within its walls, making it more durable and thicker than a 4-ply tire with only 2-3 layers. The added resistance helps the tire withstand punctures and rough terrain better than its thinner counterpart. On the other hand, a 4-ply tire may provide more comfort on smooth roads since it has less rigidity due to fewer plies.

Is a higher ply better?

It depends on the situation. A higher ply tire would be more durable and able to handle heavier loads than a lower ply tire. However, it also means that the ride quality may suffer as the thicker sidewalls of the high-ply tire are stiffer and provide less cushioning.

Another factor to consider is that high-ply tires are typically heavier, which can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and increased wear on suspension components. Additionally, high-ply tires may cost more upfront compared to their low-ply counterparts.
In conclusion, when deciding whether a higher ply tire is better for your vehicle, it’s important to consider factors such as load capacity requirements, driving conditions, and budget constraints.

What does 6 ply mean in tires?

A tire’s ply rating refers to the number of layers of rubber-coated fabric, called plies, used to construct the tire. So a 6 ply tire means that there are six layers in the tire’s construction but 4-6 layers are used in those tires. Typically, higher-ply tires are designed for vehicles that carry heavy loads or travel off-road frequently.

How thick is 6 ply tire?

The thickness of a 6 ply tire varies depending on the brand and model. A typical 6-ply tire will have a tread depth of around 10mm to 15mm, deeper than most standard passenger car tires. This depth provides better traction on rough terrain and ensures the tire lasts longer.

Generally, a thicker tire means better durability and resistance to punctures and other types of damage; however, it can also result in reduced fuel efficiency due to increased weight.

4ply vs. 6ply: What ply tire is best for ATV?

Many recommend that if you are looking for a tire that can provide the best performance and durability on rough terrain without sacrificing too much comfort, 4-ply ATV tires are the way to go. On the other hand, if you want maximum protection against punctures and cuts without compromising your ride quality, then 6-ply ATV tires may be the right choice for you. Not to lose comfort and flexibility, just keep the air pressure a bit low.

Ultimately, choosing between 4 and 6-ply ATV tires will depend on your individual needs and budget. But we hope this comparison has helped give you an idea of what each ply rating in tire offers.

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