STI OUTBACK TIRES
New all-terrain shoes
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
❏ Can-Am’s Outlander 650 is a darn
good machine. It’s one of the best.
Probably, though, its weakest link is
its tires. The stock four-ply Carlisle
meats are smooth-rolling and handle decently; they just don’t have
the same strength as the rest of the
machine. Not many stock tires do.
That’s why the number one item
people upgrade on a utility ATV is
the tires. After our stock testing was
through, a tire change was the first
order of business so we could keep
enjoying the fun Can-Am.
We chose to try out STI’s latest tire
on the Outlander, which is fittingly
named the Outback. The Outback
is a six-ply bias construction that is
designed as an all-terrain tire with
just enough aggression for mud riding and a flexible knobby that will
work well on hardpacked terrain as
well. Keeping the tire light yet durable was also a high priority of STI’s
development team. The tires weigh
right around 20 pounds. These tires
are the same height and only slightly
wider than stockers. The semi-ag-gressive open lugs are situated in a
tight V-shaped pattern with terraced
steps on the backside for strength.
Speaking of strength, the tires are
rated to hold 340 pounds up front
and 420 pounds each in the rear. The
12x7-inch HD4 wheels are even stronger with a 1000-pound rating. STI set
an MSRP of $113-$128 for the tires and
All Outlanders are a blast
to ride. The stock tires on
this DPS model are probably the machine’s weakest
link. STI’s Outback tire was
a great replacement for the
stockers. They have a ton
more traction and better
braking. Plus, their six-ply
rating will resist flats way
STI’s brand-new Outback
AT tire is an aggressive
stock replacement that still
rolls smooth and stays
predictable. The V-shaped
lugs have a small step on
the back of them that keep
them from bending under
acceleration. Those steps
help with braking too.
$90 for each wheel. The kit price would
be a little less at around $850. You can
save even more dough by calling a
company like RockyMountainATVMC.
com ( 336-5437) and get their discounts. Currently, the AT is also available in 25× 8-12 and 25× 10-12 sizes.
The XT is available in 26× 9-12 and
26× 11-12 sizes.
Coming soon are 27× 9-12, 27×11-
12, 28× 9-12, 28× 11-12, 27× 9-14, 27×11-
14, 28× 9-14, 28× 11-14, 29× 10-15 and
ON THE TRAIL
The lugs on this set of Outback tires
are 3/4 inches tall, which is about
twice as tall as the knobbies on the
stock Outlander tires. For serious mud
riders, STI also carries an Outback XT
tire with 1 1/8-inch-tall lugs. The HD4
wheels widen the Outlander about
an inch per side, but the stock fenders
still protect the rider from flying mud.
On hardpack, the tires roll as
smooth as the stockers and grip way
better. The 650cc V-twin engine in this
machine likes the way these tires grab
the dirt and propel it forward. Oh,
and you can still roost and slide the
machine around the corners for fun,
but getting the machine up to speed
in a hurry is what these tires do best.
Cornering is precise, and the tires do
not push or slide on off-cambers like
most more-aggressive tires do.
What impressed us the most was the
way the tires dug in under braking.
Most V-shaped lug patterns usually
slide a lot under braking. Not these.
When you grab a handful of brake
lever, they dig into the dirt hard. You
can probably give most of the credit to
the steps on the backside of the lugs.
They have multiple biting surfaces
to help dig in. The fact that the tires
weigh slightly less than similar-sized
mud tires doesn’t hurt, either.
You can tell the guys at STI put a
lot of thought into these tires. They
are a perfect stock replacement tire,
with more aggressive lugs and a
thicker carcass without adding a ton
of weight. They roll smoother than we
excepted and stop better than most
tires with similar lug patterns.
We took these tires over our normal torture-test trail, and all four of
them came through with flying colors.
They gripped as well on moss-cov-ered rocks as they did on sand-cov-ered hardpack. They are equally as
predictable in loam and sand. For
tacky or full-time mud riding, we
would surely opt for the tall-lugged
XT model, but for our drier conditions,
these meats will do just fine. It’s easy
to say the Outback tire and STI’s
HD4 wheel make our Outlander even
more fun to ride. ❏