Drag Radials vs Slicks – Which Is A Better Choice For You?

How many types of tires can you name? Many cannot go beyond 2. But there are many more varieties that you should be aware of especially if you want to get more traction. During your search, you will come across 2 popular types of tires – drag radials and slicks. They are both great options, but they also have a few differences. Our focus today is on them

Drag Radials vs Slicks – a brief

Let’s start by focusing on the basic differences of these two tires. Drag radials have a beaded pattern with the cords following the beads. Slicks, on the other hand, do not have any tread on them because they are used for drag racing. You cannot use them for regular driving.

Drag Radials vs Slicks

Drag RadialsNow, let’s walk through their features and see what the main differences are:

  • Tread pattern: Both these tires are used for drag racing and that is why they have little to no tread pattern. This is to ensure that most of the tire is in contact with the ground during racing. Such tires are not suitable for daily driving at all especially if it rains. 
  • Wear bars: Drag radials and slicks need to have an additional wear bar to be able to determine when they need replacement.
  • SlicksUsage: Radials and slicks are suitable for road racing, drag racing, and autocross. However, we recommend using slicks for autocross only if your vehicle can give you enough horsepower.

Drag Radials vs Slicks – the verdict

By now you may have realized that there are quite a few similarities in these tires, and they have the same main purpose. But their pattern and specific usage are slightly different. So, the right choice for you will totally depend on what you expect and what you are going to use the tires for. There’s no “best” here. There are only tires that are “best for you” and you should pick accordingly.

People also ask

1) Why are radials faster than slicks?

Radials don’t absorb as much power as slicks. Therefore, they are faster.

2) Are drag radials street legal?

Yes, but we advise against using them.

3) Can you daily drive drag radials?


4) Are drag slicks bias ply?

Bias ply are also known as slicks. They are popular mostly in drag racing as bias ply.

5) Are drag radials good in rain?

No, they are not.


A lot depends on the type of tires you have for drag racing. Slicks and drag radials are both good choices but they have a few small differences. Make sure you go through this guide to make a sound choice. All the best!

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