What are the biggest tires that I can put on my stock Honda Foreman 500? That is one of the most often asked questions among Honda TRX500 owners around the world, which is not a big surprise.
I mean, what is the first thing that you do after buying a new ATV? You start modifying it, of course! And what better way to modify your heavy-duty Honda Foreman 500 than with a set of new aggressive tires?
Now, what are the biggest tires that you can put on a Foreman 500 before it starts rubbing? Can bigger tires damage your Foreman’s transmission and differential? We’ll discuss that, and more in this brief article.
Biggest Tires on a Stock Honda Foreman 500
The biggest tires that you can safely put on a stock Honda Foreman 500 are 27” with a 12” wheel. Any more than that, and your tires will start rubbing and you will also increase drivetrain and powertrain wear if you don’t use gear reduction.
As for width goes, it’s not really a problem. You can generally run pretty wide or narrow tires without any problems. But to give you an example, a decent strategy would be to run 9” tires in the front for better handling and light steering, and 11-12” in the rear for maximum floatation and traction. This is what a lot of people choose as well.
The Best Tires for a Stock Honda Foreman 500?
To get the most out of your money and your Foreman 500, you would probably want 27” tires that aren’t overly aggressive and don’t come with huge lugs, like the ITP Mud Lite, which is probably one of the most popular choices for the Foreman.
This is to reduce the load and wear on your ATVs ring gear, pinion gear, bearings, etc. Otherwise, if you want big and very aggressive tires with big lugs, it would be a good idea to go down a size or reduce your gearing (more on that later).
Now, I firmly believe that the Maxxis Bighorns are the best tires for the Honda Foreman 500 overall. They do extremely well on all surfaces, while also being smooth, comfortable, and durable due to their 6-ply radial design.
If you’re unsure which tires to buy for your Honda Foreman 500, then our guide on the top 5 best tires for the Honda Foreman 500 might be a great starting point.
Can I Put Even Bigger Tires on My Foreman 500?
If 27” tires are not enough for you, then you can add 28” and bigger, but to do that, you need to make a few compromises to do it properly.
First of all, 28” tires will likely rub on the plastic if you don’t have a lift kit on. Some people trim the plastic a little bit, but if you don’t like the sound of that, it is possible to heat the plastic with a heat gun and reshape it. It’s not easy but people have done that successfully.
Now, as far as lift kits go, you can get a 2” lift kit for around a hundred dollars. It will lift the body up enough to fit bigger tires, but you won’t be getting any more ground clearance if it’s a shock spacer lift kit (which most of them are).
While 2″ spacer lift kits are completely fine, a 2.5″ or higher lift kit will put the cv axles at an awkward angle, which will wear them out much faster. These are the tradeoffs that you have to make.
Next, running really big tires, with large lugs will increase the wear on your ATV’s transmission and differentials. I’m talking 28”, 29” and up. When Honda engineers designed the Foreman 500, they calculated the ratios for certain size tires that come stock. The ATV is simply not designed to withstand extra stress in the long run and after some time, you will strip your ring gear, pinion gear, or axles.
Furthermore, the 500cc engine probably won’t have enough power to turn big tires and will bog down at times, since big tires are heavy and difficult to spin. Therefore, the only way to reliably run big tires is with a gear reduction.
Gear Reduction for Big Tires on Foreman 500
You can buy gear reduction kits online or make a custom order and get them machined.
Now, if your Foreman 500 is bogging down with 27” tires, then you should be fine with a small gear reduction, like 14% for example. If you want to run 28” tires, then you might want a 25% reduction. A 35% gear reduction for 29.5-30” tires. 50-69% reduction on 32”.
Nothing beats modifying your ATV and changing how it looks and performs according to YOU.
One of the best ways to mod your Honda Foreman 500 ATV is putting on bigger tires, but this has to be done properly. You need to make sure that your tires won’t rub on the plastics, or that you’re willing to trim them or reshape them if you want to run really big tires.
With that said, running big tires on a Foreman 500 comes with its own set of problems and additional expenses. For example, a lift kit or gear reduction kit.
While they might be pricey and it’s tempting to just mount big tires without any supporting mods, by doing it properly, you will save time and money in the long run when your Foreman 500 won’t be breaking down due to too much drivetrain and powertrain stress.
Jake is the site’s primary contributor.
Motorcycles and automotive repair have been a big part of his family for generations, therefore it’s only natural that he decided to become a heavy-duty diesel tech.
Outside of work, you’ll find Jake restoring and riding rare street bikes and ATVs.