A tire for the masses, not the massive
March 31, 2003
Filed under Features
Our goal was to create a tire that would perform in the mud like our AT589 mud tire, but that handled better on the trails and would be light enough to work well on a 300cc ATV,” says Craig Petersen, general manager of ITP tires.
During the last three years, aftermarket tire manufacturers adopted a “bigger is better” approach to tire design. Almost every manufacturer of ATV tires now has a 27-inch or 28-inch mud tire with deep lugs and a six-ply rating. ITP Tires has these items, too, but took a different approach with its latest product launch, building tires that it hopes will appeal to the masses of ATV owners, not just those with the massive ATVs needed to power those big mud tires.
ITP introduced its new ITP Mud Lite tire line to distributors and dealers in November 2002. With 24 unique tire sizes available in this line — from 22-inch replacements to 28-inch mudders — ITP believes it has tires to satisfy almost every ATV owner, as well as ATV accessory retailers.
“Dealers in my region have been mounting these new tires on ITP C-Series wheels,” said Todd Cooperider, a regional sales manager for Parts Unlimited, “and they’ve been selling like crazy.”
The Mud Lite tires come in two versions: The Mud Lite AT tires are made in 22-inch to 25-inch sizes for front and rear tires and feature a tread depth of about two-thirds of an inch. The Mud Lite XL tires are available in 26-, 27-, and 28-inch sizes and use the same tread pattern in a taller size; the lugs are slightly more than an inch high.
Unlike some more aggressive aftermarket tires, the Mud Lites use a rounded shoulder pattern with the lugs tapering down and just barely getting over to the tire’s sidewall. This construction uses less material, which helps keep the tire lightweight. A 26-inch Mud Lite XL weighs about 26 pounds, while a same-size ITP Blackwater weighs about 30 pounds. The smaller and lower-lugged ATs are even lighter. The construction is rated at six-ply for durability and long life.
Even in a crowded and competitive tire market, there is room for more product, according to Petersen. “We may lose some Blackwater tire sales,” he admits, “but not much. The Mud Lite line should bring in new business for us at our competitors’ expense.” Petersen defines the Mud Lite tires as ITP’s first line of economy-priced trail and mud tires, and says they’ll compete with tthe imported tires. They will not be available through mail-order retailers.
“The key to our success with the Mud Lite program is with design and manufacturing in the U.S., we were quick to get them to market, and are quick to fill and turn around orders,” says Petersen.