Neil from Messick's here today to talk tires with you. Your tire selection on your tractor is perhaps one of the biggest determining factors in how your machine is going to perform. It has a lot to do with the way that your tractor puts power to the ground, and different tire options are better in different scenarios. We're going to talk about every option that you have available to you today, but we're going to spend more time than usual talking about R14s.
This new hybrid tire has taken the market by storm now, and I've held back my own impressions on that tire, but I now have about 60 hours now on my own set of R14's. We're going to talk about the places that I have seen this hybrid tire shine and why it may or may not be right for you.
We're going to start here with the least aggressive tire option and work our way up to the most aggressive one. Now, when you look at this set of tires right here, you see like lawn mower, probably, right? This is a turf tire. It might surprise you when we're looking at different pieces of machinery here, that we can get just about any tire tread pattern on virtually just about any tractor.
You are going to see cases where even 100 and 150 horsepower machines can sometimes actually be fitted with a turf tire when the application calls for it, and that can go the whole way down to the smallest lawn tractor that you're going to see around as well. Now, obviously, a turf tire, as its name implies, is going to be the kindest on your turf. You're not going to have a whole lot of deep tread in this tire, so when it comes to applications like mud, they don't clean out real well. You tend to get that loose material up into the little bit of cleating that's there, and that tire is going to lose traction.
Now, at the same time, it's going to be the easiest on your turf. If you're working around a lawn and that kind of thing, it's going to be a tire that you can make sharp turns with and that kind of thing, and not tear the grass up as you go. Now, one thing that might be surprising to you, while we're going to say that this tire is not great in mud, we get a lot of reports that it can actually be quite good in snow, believe it or not. Snow tends to clear out of them fairly well, and you've got a number of biting surfaces and stuff in here that can give you a little bit of traction.
This is actually a pretty good tire to consider if you're going to be working in, say, lawn, residential-type applications, even when snow is involved. If any of our tire options here are under purchased, say, and discarded too quickly, I would say it's probably the turf tire. Our next tire option here is the R4. This is an industrial tire, and it is by far, for us here at Messick's, the most popular tire that we sell. It is a little funny when you refer to this as an R4. These different tread patterns have R codes. An R1 is an ag tire, an R3 is a turf tire, an R4 is this industrial tire.
For whatever reason, you don't usually see turf and ag tread tires referred to by their R number, but these are. Most people will refer to this as an R4 tire. Now, what this tire is about is really industrial durability. You're going to see these larger blocks on here for your treads. They're not super, super deep, so it's going to give you a little bit more tractive power than, say, what a turf tire is. The cleating here isn't so deep that it's going to be super aggressive and really tear your grass apart. You will find people who will mow grass very happily with this. Also performs a little bit better in mud and snow applications because the tire clears out very, very easily, but it is not the most aggressive.
The place that this tire really shines, though and what this tire is mostly about is that industrial durability. The origins of this tire really start with skid steer loaders, where we need really heavy sidewalls and hard durability in that tire because of the abuse that it can take. You're going to find that this tire is much better suited to taking side loads or punctures than what the other tire tread patterns can be. A much more aggressive than the R4 tire is this, the R14. Now, the R14 is meant to be a hybrid between a very aggressive R1 ag tread tire, that we're going to cover here next, and the R4 that we have just talked about.
When you look at this tire here, you're going to find attributes of both of those tires. This tends to have that heavier sidewall that you're going to find on the R4 tire, so it's a little bit better off-road, a little bit better with the side loads. The cleating on here, though, is a little bit more aggressive than what's on the R4. The tread is a little bit deeper. The bars here, if you look at the corners, are going to stick out a little bit more, but they're making an attempt for this tire to be good at some other things. You notice this center line here, these pads that run down the middle. This helps the tire road better than most of these other options because your tire rides on this line, and you don't get the thunk as the cleats of your tires hit the ground as you drive along.
I've had these on my own personal tractor now for about two years, and it's a tire that I've been very, very happy with. It's done an excellent job for me, and particularly in getting out of mud and sloppy areas, for working in looser soils that I have in my backyard and some wooded areas. It is a little aggressive on the turf, sometimes. You're usually okay driving in straight lines across things, but as soon as you get any twisting action on the tire, even in two-wheel drive, it can do some turf damage pretty quickly.
I do not mow turf with my tractor, and that might be part of the reason why I've accepted that pretty handily. I use a zero turn mower for my mowing chores. I might have a little bit of frustration with this if I was on that sensitive turf a lot more often than what I do. Making a judgment call, I've been a big fan for it. I haven't encountered a whole lot of people who have found this tire to be too aggressive, but it is not the most aggressive option.
Last up is the most aggressive tire here of the bunch, the R1, or the ag tread tire. Now, there is perhaps the most variety in this tire than any of the others that we have talked about, especially when you get the tractors over 75 horsepower. You can find all kinds of options out there for radius and bias plies and low sidewalls. There are tons. You can make a whole video about just the variety that happens in an R1 ag tread tire, but you should know the basics here that it is the most aggressive of all of these options, and it is also the least expensive, and sometimes significantly so.
You might see a lot of ag tread tires sitting out on dealership lots because in a lot of cases, these tires can lower the cost of a tractor by nearly $1,000 compared to, say, an R4 and an R14 tire. That might not necessarily be out there because it's the best tire for every application or what the dealership sells a lot of. They may be equipping that machine with those tires in order to drive the cost down as low as possible.
It's good to think through the applications of each of these different tires and making sure that you're buying the right one for the chores that you have. Now, if you're looking at this tire, that chore, unsurprisingly, tends to be agriculture. This is the most aggressive of all of these tires. You're going to put the most power to your ground from your tractor in the most effective way possible, but it's going to be extremely aggressive if it comes to any turf application.
Because they have the least amount of rubber in them, they also tend to have the shortest wear life compared to some of these other options. You will sometimes see an ag tire on a small tractor like this needing to be replaced at 1,500 to 2,000 hours, where you might get more time than that out of a thicker, heavier tire, that's going to be more costly. Keep that in mind, it's a tire that probably only represents maybe 3% or 4% of our sales here at Messick's. There's not too many people doing purely field-oriented work with tractors like this, but it's a surprisingly popular tire in the marketplace because of the cost.
That's a little bit on tractor tires and which one might be the best option for a machine that you're shopping with. As you can see here, there's some very obvious answers to these things. The turf tire is best for turf. The ag tire is best for farming. It's the in-betweens where the gray area usually happens, and in my opinion, with some experience now in these R14s, I think we're going to see the industry shift to a point where we almost go 50/50 between that R4 and R14.
I would make that distinction saying, just how aggressive do you want that tire to be? Which side of that equation do you want to be on? Maybe erring towards that R14 for the people who tend to road tractors a lot because they are a nice driving tire on the asphalt.
If you're shopping for a piece of equipment, we can help. New tires for your tractor, parts of service needs for a machine you've already got? Give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at messicks.com.