Story By: Craig Goley
Photos By: ATV Source & Scott Wilhelm
Meet Pirelli's "Mud Wiser" and "Rut Buster"
One of the best-known names in motorcycle tires (street, track or
dirt) just upped the ante in the ATV tire market. ATV Source
press launch of Pirelli's two newest
ATV tires, the Mud Wiser and the Rut Buster. The testing ground
Wisp Ski Resort, located in McHenry, MD. This is
location were round 9 of the GNCC series was held in 2005. The GNCCer's were there just a week before the press launch, which
provided for excellent trails and conditions to test these two new tires.
Pirelli's long history of performance made tires behind them,
you can bet these ATV tires will incorporate the
same winning technology and performance. Pirelli said, "These tires aren't just ATV OEM replacement tires, but OEM
upgrades." In addition to decades of performance
history built into Pirelli's tires, they also had help from
ATV-racing legend, Donnie Banks. Donnie Banks helped with
testing and development which makes these tires top-notch contenders.
With all this history and expertise in development, how did
these ATV tires perform? Not so fast, we will get to that in a
bit; let's get a closer look at each ATV tire.
The Mud Wiser, as the name suggests, is
aimed at dealing with the nasty stuff, those deep pits full of
thick gooey mud.
More than just a mud tire, Pirelli also employed
all of its racing technology to produce an ATV mud tire that has straight-line
and lateral high-speed stability. The Mud Wiser's
tread pattern provides that get-out-of anything traction both
forward and in reverse. These tires have 6-ply construction for
durability and puncture resistance, and the deep tread carries
an “over-the-tire-shoulder” design for grip, traction and
tractability in all sorts of conditions. Pirelli developed its
first ATV tire to be an exceptional handler, whether it’s
in deep mud or on regular trails.
The Rut Buster, as you might have guessed, is aimed at
dealing with the loose stuff, such as, ruts and rocky trails. "Pirelli has pegged the
Rut Buster to be a “get it done” set of ATV tires, excelling in
everything from the loosest sand to the most formidable rocks."
design of these tires gives the rider excellent stability
and smooth handling. They designed the Rut Buster to provide
constant traction, on and off the trail. In addition to the
smooth, excellent traction control, this tire features Pirelli's
contoured profile, which makes them easier to steer.
The Rocking Test
The Wisp Ski Resort was kind enough to provide Pirelli with
fleet of 12 Suzuki 400 Vinson
4x4 Automatics for their tests. Six of the
Vinson's where outfitted with brand new rims and Mud Wiser
tires, and the other six were outfitted with brand new rims and
Rut Busters. This gave each test rider a chance to swap rides
throughout the testing to see how each tire performed on the
trails and in the mud.
Rocks, Roots and Ruts were no
The trip to the trail location, which Pirelli scouted out a
day earlier, was filled with roots, loose rocks, an off-camber
rock climb, and plenty of ruts. To get to this trail, we had to
climb the steep ski slopes and then access an asphalt roadway
for a very short distance. We noticed on the asphalt, the Mud
Wiser tires gripped the asphalt and hooked up extremely well. When purposely doing carving maneuvers to see how well they
turned, they felt like a performance car tire gripping the road.
At times, the ATV wanted to two wheel because of this gripping
The same goes for the Rut Buster; the contoured profile, allowed
the tire to easily float or push from side to side with
total steering control. Now, both of these tires are not built for
asphalt riding, but for the rare occurrences where one has to
use paved roads to access their trail system, you will like the
soft easy ride and grip these tires provide.
As mentioned before, the trail obstacles were tree roots,
loose rocks, an off-camber rock climb, and plenty of ruts. The Mud Wiser
tires provided very good traction and climbing control when
traveling the trails. We noticed that the grip,
especially when the tires got down into a rut, easily
pulled themselves out. As for the rocks and
roots, they tend to slip some and push the ATV to one side,
making the rider shift their weight to regain control of
the ATV. This isn't a huge shift, but more a slide and
glide of the ATV tires. Once you ride these tires more, we
are certain rider control will become second nature when
one has to conquer such obstacles. The off-camber rock climb was
easy to navigate. On several approaches we hammered our
way up and through the rocks and protruding tree roots. The Mud
Wiser tires bounced and clawed their way to the top with ease.
We did several attempts in the same fashion, and each time, the
tires performed very nicely on the rocks and tree roots. After a few
additional attempts, we slowed things down and crawled up
the rocks and over the tree roots to see how well the Mud Wiser
tires handled. To our surprise, since this tire is not made for
rock climbing, the Mud Wiser tires easily
crawled up and over the rocks and tree roots. Very limited
slipping occurred at these slow speeds.
Under the same conditions, the Rut Busters had a different
feel to their travel and we noticed there was a slight push of
the front-end. The loose rocks and roots, were easy to climb
and the ATV tire didn't slip off to one side unlike the
Mud Wiser. Ruts were just as easy to crawl through and pull out
of, and the
off-camber rock climb was a blast with the Rut Busters.
Hammering over and around the tree roots was much easier with
the Rut Busters. At slower speeds, the Rut Busters allowed for
more tire tread surface to rock contact, which gives the rider more
control and less wheel slippage. In all, the Rut Buster proved
to be an excellent rock climber.
Since we were there to put these tires to the test, we
purposely thrashed and pounded the tires. Every rock,
tree root, and rut we encountered, we hit hard and sometimes
fast. Talking to
some other test riders, they too mentioned they purposely tried
to get a flat and or break the bead around the rim. To our
amazement, not one tire produced a flat nor did anyone break the
bead on the entire trail ride. The 6-ply rating on the tires
truly held up to its purpose.
The formidable mud hole.
Mud Wiser's and Rut Buster's
tackling the mud hole.
The Muck Test
The Wisp Ski Resort and Pirelli had one more test to produce. They dug out and flooded a portion of their
half-pipe and created a monster of a mud hole. On one
side, there was a three-foot ledge, which for any quad, would be
a major obstacle. The mud was about 2 1/2 feet deep and very
soupy. With the Mud Wiser tires on board, the first attempt into
the slop was the first mistake of the day. We tried to
conquer the deepest and longest part of the mud hole on the
first try. As you can guess, we sunk the ATV up to the
floor boards and had to be pulled out. We decided to ease
our way from the outer edges back into the deeper mud on each
pass. We made several runs without getting stuck, until we felt
we could conquer the deepest part of the mud hole again.
Unfortunately, we did get stuck a second and third time, but
onlookers pointed out, our Suzuki Vinson wasn't in full
four wheel drive. This had us thinking how when we first
attempted the mud hole, we heard something pop in the front
end. We checked out the suspension and rode the ATV
to make sure everything was all right. However, we
overlooked the fact that the front wheels were not under power
while in 4x4.
After learning this, we were actually amazed, as our ATV was
really only in two wheel drive going through the mud hole.
This gave us the confidence that the Mud Wiser tires were
definitely some awesome mud tires. In addition, the tires
provided great cleaning ability, which we credited in helping
our Vinson push rather than pull and push our way through the
mud hole if we had all four wheels under power.
The Rut Busters did an fairly nice job of tackling the mud hole, but
they encountered more wanting to be pulled out than conquering
when attempting the deeper parts of the mud hole. Tackling
sections of the hole that was less than a foot deep was easy for
the Rut Busters. Overall, the Rut Busters cleaned themselves
well, and also provided a little extra flotation, but the
deeper the mud, the harder it was for the Rut Buster to stay
on top of the mud.
Pirelli got two thumbs up for making two excellent tires for
the ATV market. Not only has Pirelli put a lot of thought
into these tires, but they have also put all their knowledge of
tire manufacturing and design into them. This gives the
Mud Wiser and Rut Buster the extra leverage when one is looking
to replace those worn out OEM tires, or just wanting to upgrade
to something miles ahead of the competition. We recommend
you stay with the stock tire size when replacing the OEMs if you
own an ATV 400cc or below. We noticed that the extra
gripping power of these tires brought down the overall
horsepower of the smaller engine sized ATVs. One cannot go
wrong if you put either the Mud Wiser or Rut Buster on your ATV.
Be on the lookout for ATV Source's long term evaluation test in
the coming months.
Finding your Size and Price
The Mud Wiser is available in two front and four rear sizes, all
tubeless. The fronts are sized AT 25 x 8-12 and AT 26 x 10-12.
Mud Wiser rears are offered in AT 25 x 10-12, AT 26 x 12-12, AT
25 x 11-10, and AT 22 x 11-10 sizes.
The Rut Busters come in four sizes. There are AT 25 x 8-12
and AT 24 x 8-12 tubeless fronts, and for the rear there are AT 25 x
11-10 and AT 25 x 10-12s.
Both of these new Pirelli ATV tires are competitively priced.
Suggested retail for the Mud Wiser tires range from $53.95 to
$97.95. The Rut Busters are priced from just $37.95 to $77.95.
See price list below for entire pricing and sizes.
|Parts Unlimited MSRP Price List 2005