Off-the-Road (OTR) vehicles can be driven on and off gravel or paved surfaces. They generally have large tyres with deep, open treads and flexible suspensions. In comparison, vehicles such as tractors, cranes, bulldozers, forklifts, and backhoes, have different characteristics and are termed off-highway vehicles.

There are several types of off-road vehicles, including 4-Wheel drive trucks, SUVs (sport-utility vehicles), ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), UTVs (utility terrain vehicles), and Dirt Bikes. Some of these can be used in a variety of terrains, while others are terrain specific.

Most Off-the-Road vehicles have four-wheel or all-wheel-drive systems for better traction on slippery terrains. But for a vehicle to be considered an off-road vehicle, it should have the proper ground clearance to avoid obstacles like rocks and branches. They also require a low ground pressure, which can be achieved through larger tyres, tracks, or a flexible suspension, which helps to prevent the chances of sinking in soft ground such as sand or mud.

When it comes to off-roading, everyone has a preferred riding style according to the environment they are driving in. To meet these differing needs there are various types of OTR tyres with a wide range of tread patterns depending on the exact application for which the tyres will be used.

All-Terrain Tyres

As the name suggests, all-terrain tyres are suitable for a wide array of driving conditions. This makes them an excellent choice for both everyday driving and off-road exploring, and they can even handle some ice and snow in the winter. The all-terrain tyre has reinforced sidewalls, an open-tread design and softer rubber, giving it good traction on unpaved surfaces. But while all-terrain tyre will capably handle multiple driving needs, compromises must be made, and compared to a standard road tyre, its life span is shorter.

Mud-Terrain Tyres

Mud-terrain tyres are designed for sloppy surfaces that other tyres can’t get through. They will give you the confidence to safely traverse rough, muddy roads and terrain without the fear of damaging your vehicle or getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. The wide tread block and deep grooves between the treads, provides increased traction in mud or sand, and the reinforced sidewalls have many added plies to protect from damage caused by submerged objects.

Rock Tyres

Rock crawling tyres are made from a softer compound with a higher void ratio than radials. They have big tread blocks for protection against stony edges and are specifically designed for driving over rocky terrain with the constant impact and grinding of hard surfaces. Rock tyres are constructed with strategically placed biting edges and which maximise the contact area. It’s ‘horses for courses’ depending on your needs – a wide tyre with a large footprint enables more grip surface and traction, while a taller, narrower tyre prioritizes agility.

Snow Tyres

Snow tyres operate on a variety of surfaces but they are designed to perform best in winter conditions. Regular tyres become rigid in cold weather and lose traction, while these tyres are made from a special rubber compound to provide better grip in cold environments. The tread design of snow tyres allows penetration of the snow into the tread of the tyre where it compacts and provides resistance against slippage.

Off-the-Road (OTR) tyres are designed to address the challenges of a variety of off-road environments. These design elements incorporate traction, tread volume and rubber compounds to best manage differing road conditions and driving styles. It is important to understand tyre differences and choose purposefully to ensure wheel durability, enable the safe operation and maximize your driving experience.


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