Since the release of the Polaris WV850, there have been many questions about the new TerrainArmor tires. Here is what we know.
Polaris Defense is the wing of Polaris industries dedicated to supporting Military units across the world. The TerrainArmor tires were originally designed to be utilized on the MV850, an ATV designed for U.S. Special Operations Forces.
The wheels are comprised of three major components
- The hub section of the wheel. Initial production runs of the TerrainArmor are utilizing a cast aluminum hub section. Since the web section of the tire is permanently bonded to the hub, the TerrainArmor tires must be constructed for specific vehicle fitment. We know that Polaris will be able to adjust the thickness and density of the web section to support different vehicle weights, environments, and vehicle load capacities, it’s just up to them to determine which vehicles.
- The center section or web. The web is constructed of a man made polymer. During initial testing it has been found that as much as 30% of the web can be damaged without compromising the integrity of the tire. Due to manner in which the web is constructed, the TerrainArmor tires exhibit exceptional lateral stiffness under side loading (tight turns for example). This increased stiffness also improves steering feel and responsiveness.
- The outer section or tread. This section is constructed of a heavy duty band reinforced with steel. The size of the TA tires is currently 26″ x 8″ x 14″.
Since the tire is a non-pneumatic or airless design, flat tires are a thing of the past. In military testing with a full vehicle load, the tires have shown a lifespan of over 5000 miles. The TerrainArmor tires were also tested for over 1000 miles of use after having been shot with small caliber rounds (M4 or AK-47) or having a railroad spike driven into the tread. The TA tires were also tested for over 350 miles of use after being shot with a .50 caliber rifle.
The web design of the center section flexes as the tires pass over objects on the ground. This flexing tends to push mud, snow, and other debris out of the web in order to maintain flexibility.
While Polaris has announced future availability of these tires for other vehicles (but with no firm timelines), currently they are only available for the Military MV850 and the civilian WV850. Polaris has specifically stated that at this time, the TerrainArmor tires are not recommended for any other vehicles (and based on the Sportsman 850 wheel design we are not even sure that they would bolt up to a Ranger due to interference with the suspension components). Initial estimates place the cost for a set of TerrainArmor tires at somewhere around $4000.
It should also be noted that since all three components of the TA tires are bonded together, whenever any one piece is damaged or worn out, the entire wheel/tire assembly will need to be replaced. Talking about the TerrainArmor also makes us question whether we should call it a wheel or a tire.
We will follow up with more information as it is made available.