There are a dizzying array of options when it comes to dirtbike tires. From tread patterns, to compounds, to the brands themselves, it’s difficult to decipher what is the best tire. That’s mostly because deciding on the best tire requires a lot of input from the rider themselves. What kind of dirtbike are you riding? What kind of terrain are you riding on? Are you looking for longevity or for the most traction possible just to get through a hard enduro race? These are just a handful of the questions you need to answer for yourself before embarking into the deluge of different off-road tire choices.
Since my conversion five years ago to dual-sport from pure dirt bikes, with the purchase of my 2013 KTM EXC 500, the question of tires has been an ongoing experiment. My tire requirement list covers a wide range of needs. My favorite riding spot is about 25 miles from the garage including a quick freeway trip, a country road, then a winding paved climb where I practice my supermoto skills. From there, the dirt is your typical California mountain fare: super loose silt, baby-head sized rocks, roots and everything in between. The goal has always been to find a tire that can endure the pavement abuse, corner like a street bike and then inspire that rare confidence in the dirt – hooking up like we actually have had some moisture in the last six months – while lasting a good long while.
For this four-part series, we take a look at five easy bolt-on parts that will transform your ADV bike from a Starbucks-destined road queen, to a Dakar-ready desert blasting rally winner. Or something like that. This series is designed to show how much of a difference a few well-thought-out adventure bike upgrades can make to the off-road prowess of your big ADV bike.