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Thread: Tyre choice for adventure riding? (Mixing road and off-road)

  1. #1
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    Tyre choice for adventure riding? (Mixing road and off-road)

    What are your favourite on / off road tyres?
    Looking for the best all rounder

    Bridgestone trailwings: Road: Good, Gravel (Dry) Ok, Gravel (Wet) Urrrrrgh, Mud NO WAY
    Continental TKC80 Road Good, Gravel Good, Mud Ok
    Last edited by XP@; 6th July 2006 at 10:27.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by XP@
    Looking for the best all rounder
    There's no such thing, but it's a good way to start an argument

    Adventure/Dual Sport tyres are just like Adventure/Dual Sport bikes - a compromise between road and off road and what anyone says is the best depends on what they use them for in their world. IE how much importance they place on their road or off road riding.

    I tend to buy tyres biased more towards the off road side of things giving good traction in mud, soft sand, shingle etc, while hoping to maintain reasonable road traction and wear. The other end of the spectrum would be the mainly road user that wants to ride shingle roads too.

    Anyway, my 1st tyres were the stock Bridgestone Trailwings - I found themto be great on the road and OK on shingle, but crap if you ventured into the rougher stuff. I replaced these when they were half worn with Pirelli MT21's front and rear - I found them to be great in off road conditions far from the beaten track and great traction on the road, although I was always careful and never pushed them on wet roads, though still managed to pass the Harleys with no trouble in the wet - well you have to really don't you They'd done 6000km when I replaced them and they were absolutly rooted by then. Great tyres happy to use again. Replaced them with Mitas E09's front and rear, because they were recommended, cheaper, and I just wanted to try something different - I'm finding them to be great in all off road conditions and great on road so far, they seem to be wearing OK so far, time will tell - I haven't had the opportunity to pass a Harley with them yet though
    The views expressed above may not match yours - But that's the reason my Dad went to war - wasn't it?
    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, .... but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,... shouting "man, what a ride"!!!

  3. #3
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    Doing mostly road i.e. commute every day as well as a gravel road toy and the occassional foray into Woodhill and Riverhead forests on the TTR600 I've used Dunlop D505s (I think) MT21 and TKC80s. The 505s and MT21s were great on gravel and off road but are completely shagged by 6000ks the contis are better on road and last longer. The MT21 front is also hellishly noisy on tarmac at 60ish kmph. Next will be something even more road oriented since I do 96% road 3% gravel and 1% or less off road. It's a game of compromise as with the bikes, and both are good starters for religeous arguments.

  4. #4
    I do mainly gravel roads,so my choices are biased on what I ride.I've used Kenda K760 Trackmasters on both my bikes,they work better on the heavy XT on seal,the lighter and more powerful DT230 skitters over the road,and on gravel they don't seem to bite that well.I think if I was doing more off road they would be great.....that was the idea,but I'm stuck on gravel lately.

    I had IRC GP21/22's on the DT,and I was very impressed,they are soft and really stick on seal,wrap around along way so it had 10mm chicken strips no matter how hard I tried.On gravel they hooked up better than a new Trackmaster even when bald.I thought they were pretty good in wet clay too,considering.I'm impressed with how well the front works,but it could be because a 2 stroke makes the front lighter.I had an IRC GP110 on the rear of the XT for awhile,but it was dangerous under brakes in gravel,it just wouldn't hook up... a good road tyre only.I'm putting it back on the XT and matching it with a Pirelli MT17,looks aggressive,but has good side knobs for cornering on seal.

    The TKC80 always gets good reports,and I was very impressed with the one I had on the front of the XLV750 - I don't know how the hell it hung on cranked over on seal,it was well off the sides of the knobs but never moved a mm.Gave me good confidence in gravel,but still wouldn't hold the bike up in mud...nor could I,it was a really heavy bike,and I'm not big.

    I need a rear tyre for the DT230 now,and it seems hard to find something in 18in....I'm surprised at that,17in are the adventure size.I'm trying to find a GP22.The 4.00 x 18 TKC80 looks more like a front tyre,with small close knobs,more like a trials tyre.So if that's the case I'll go for a trials tyre,the Mitas ET01,being stiffer and harder compound than a real trials tyre...but still better than a trials universal.

    She's a hard road finding the perfect tyre Boy.....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motu
    I need a rear tyre for the DT230 now,and it seems hard to find something in 18in....I'm surprised at that,17in are the adventure size.I'm trying to find a GP22.The 4.00 x 18 TKC80 looks more like a front tyre,with small close knobs,more like a trials tyre.So if that's the case I'll go for a trials tyre,the Mitas ET01,being stiffer and harder compound than a real trials tyre...but still better than a trials universal.
    Have you looked at the Mitas E07, it looks like a good tyre that may suit what you want to do with it?
    The views expressed above may not match yours - But that's the reason my Dad went to war - wasn't it?
    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, .... but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,... shouting "man, what a ride"!!!

  6. #6
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    I'll put in another vote for the TKC80 front. It's a very good compromise. I'd try a TKC80 rear but they're expensive & the KTM eats rear rubber for breakfast. I use a Pirelli MT70 on the back which performs really well & is near $100 cheaper, important as I'm on my 3rd rear for the year already.

    The stock TW302 bridgestones were pretty much crap, I've tried an MT21 Pirelli on the rear, great hookup on gravel & mud but they wore way too fast, an MT90 rear wore really well but was pretty skittery on gravel, MT70 front was great on road & OK on gravel with good life but the TKC80 is as good on road & much better on gravel or mud, & looks like it will last almost as long.

    I use Kenda Trakmasters for trail rides, they're good for that but wouldn't last long on the tarseal under the KTM.

    BT45 Bridgestones showed excellent harley & sportbike passing ability but the front can let go without much warning when you're on the limit & they'd be crap on gravel.

    YMMV

    Cheers
    Clint

  7. #7
    I think it's important to run as aggressive a front tyre as you can get,once you are off the seal you've just got to have a front tyre that gives you control.Any smoothish tyre is going to roll and give no directional stability in gravel,and in mud be next to useless.I find a knob no problem on seal,so long as you get the throttle on early in the corners.....they only push or slide if you come charging into corners too fast,just a slight change in riding style and you'll be able to go as fast as a more street tyre.A TKC80 is as street as I would go,although I'm impressed with the IRC GP21 - but I need to experiment with more front tyres on the DT230,I suspect the 2 stroke with no engine braking keeps the front light,letting me get away with a less aggressive tyre.

  8. #8
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    I agree with Motu.

    A more aggressive tyre on the font will work OK on the seal but will be heaps more planted off. And the loading on the front isn't as high so even an aggressive tyre used on seal will get you 5,000km or more.

    The rear is another matter. When its dry and hard you can use almost anything. When its wet, loose or soft you need knobs. The more aggressive the tyre the quicker it gets chewed-up, especially at highway speeds on seal when a lot of heat is concentrated in the knobs in the middle section of the tyre. Comparing tyres is therefore quite easy. Look at the tread/knob pattern. The more rubber in contact with the ground the longer the tyre will last but the less effective it will be when the going gets tough.

    At the (highway approved) aggressive end of the spectrum I have experience with Pirelli MT 21 and Kenda Trackmaster. Both of them work OK in the gravel/dirt. Both move around on the knobs under hard cornering on seal - but thats OK because they are warning you they are getting near their limit. Both wear fast on seal (less than 2,000km). So, for me it comes down to buying the cheapest one which was the Kenda the last time I compared them.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogson
    At the (highway approved) aggressive end of the spectrum I have experience with Pirelli MT 21 and Kenda Trackmaster. Both of them work OK in the gravel/dirt. Both move around on the knobs under hard cornering on seal - but thats OK because they are warning you they are getting near their limit. Both wear fast on seal (less than 2,000km). So, for me it comes down to buying the cheapest one which was the Kenda the last time I compared them.
    Isn't there a Vee Rubber tyre that is pretty much a cheap MT21 copy? might be worth a try.

    Cheers
    Clint

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint640
    Isn't there a Vee Rubber tyre that is pretty much a cheap MT21 copy? might be worth a try.
    Yep, if it's MT21ish and its the cheapest - and I can get one! - I'll try it.

  11. #11
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    Yes the Vee rubber is a VRM147 lasted 5000km's on the XT. Grips really well on the road even in the wet. Have ridden around the outside of road bikes on the coro loop on this tyre. Costs about $100 retail. The kenda K270 was good on the road but squirmed a bit mid corner when new. Was hopeless in the wet on the seal but lasted 8000km's on the XT. I use a TKC80 on the front and wouldn't consider anything else fot the gravel/street mix on some of our rides. But I remove it between these rides and replace it with the original Dunlop trailmax for commuting duties. At the moment I have a bridgestone Trailwing 018 on the rear and was super impressed with that on the Mmmmm ride espacially in the snow and ice (i won this special section by a good margin :lol ) and it works extremely well on the road even in the flood like conditions we had all the way home from this ride. Was only $80 from Boyd Honda too.
    If I was only using the bike for rides like the Mmmmm and waikato gravel rides we have done I would just leave the TKC80 on the front and the VRM147 on the rear.
    Keep in mind that the Silk Riders did 19000km's in all sorts of conditions on 2 sets of Metzeler Enduro 4 tourances with nothing but praise and these resemble road tyres! Even a road biased tyre will get you places you wouldn't expect it to - Just drop the pressure a bit.
    Andy

    Pic 1 - Vee Rubber VRM147
    Pic 2 - Continental TKC80
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    Last edited by XTC; 6th July 2006 at 13:22.

  12. #12
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    Cool can o' worms

    The TKC80 is doing well on the front as an all-rounder, such that I don't see the need to go any more road-oriented for any reason, but I didn't like the rear. The MT21 rear has indisputabley more dirt grip, more feel and thus for me more tar grip wet or dry. Half the price and half the life of the TKC80.

    My MT21 hasn't chunked too much, but lots of folks on advrider report severe chunking. Lots of reading on that site leads me to the conclusion that the "hot ticket" for aggressive tyres on the mid-range bikes is Pirelli MT21 front and Dunlop D606 rear. The D606 grips the same as the MT21 but doesn't chunk. The D606 front is the poor cousin by all accounts.

    The TKC80 on the front off-road is just "OK" but the 640 Adventure is a bit of a point'n'squirt kinda bike anyway. Took me a while to work that out. Ride it as such and the front doesn't seem to do too much; the rear via the throttle does all the steering! One day I will try an aggressive front to see if it will steer and/or grip a bit better, but from many reports I've read it just has too much weight up front to rail around corners. Keen to give it a go, but I've got an IRC TR-8 waiting to go on next.

    Would like to try an MT70 since Clint keeps on buying them. I'm also using an MT90 A/T as a long-life road-only tyre and it's OK on gravel but poor in the slop. But I'm quite happy to ride gravel roads on road tyres. I only go for more aggressive tyres for more challenging conditions than a groomed road offers.
    Cheers,
    Colin

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve McQueen
    All racers I know aren't in it for the money. They race because it's something inside of them... They're not courting death. They're courting being alive.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC
    Yes the Vee rubber is a VRM147 lasted 5000km's on the XT. Grips really well on the road even in the wet. Have ridden around the outside of road bikes on the coro loop on this tyre. Costs about $100 retail.
    That is a complete rip-off of the MT21, apart from the textured finish...and the price.
    Cheers,
    Colin

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve McQueen
    All racers I know aren't in it for the money. They race because it's something inside of them... They're not courting death. They're courting being alive.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motu
    I had an IRC GP110 on the rear of the XT for awhile,but it was dangerous under brakes in gravel,it just wouldn't hook up... a good road tyre only.
    Sounds like a "must avoid". Good to hear some feedback on them, as the tyre place was suggesting I give them a go. The continuous centre knob pattern is supposed to improve on-road perfomance (grip & life) but sounds like it also compromises dirt too much to be worth while.
    Cheers,
    Colin

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve McQueen
    All racers I know aren't in it for the money. They race because it's something inside of them... They're not courting death. They're courting being alive.

  15. #15
    Yeah,that centre section makes it a street tyre.I find you can run any rear tyre under power - if they spin up too much you just feather the throttle.But traction problems really show up under braking - overshooting on a downhill off camber with no gaurd rail and a 100mtr drop off is just too damn late to find out it won't slow you down.

    The GP110 is street end of the spectrum for me.I like the look of that BR92,it comes in my 4.60 x 18 size and looks to have enough side knobs to handle some pushing on seal.

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