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When it’s time to pick up a new set of dual sport tires, count on Rocky Mountain ATV/MC to be your source. We carry dozens of fantastic options from major brands like Dunlop, Michelin, Heidenau, Bridgestone, Avon and many others.
In the motorcycle world, dual sport tires are unique because they have to accommodate so many different styles of riding. As such, there is significant variation among the different options, so it’s essential to pick up a set that best matches your riding preferences. Do you mostly ride on pavement? Do you mostly ride off-road? Or is it about 50/50?
There are three primary components of any dual sport motorcycle tire: longevity, street performance and off-road grip. However, because there are inherent tradeoffs between these different components, you can’t have the best of all three. A tire that can hook up really well in loose dirt simply won’t be able to work as well on the highway. Knobby tires wear out quickly on the street, and they can also be loud or uncomfortable. Meanwhile, street-oriented tires with a limited tread pattern might work great on the road, but they’re going to have difficulty getting enough traction in looser terrain. Some tires use a soft rubber compound that approaches the strengths of both street and dirt, but they wear out quite quickly as a result of the soft rubber. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what tradeoffs you need to make to get a tire that best meets what you’re looking for.
Of course, it’s easy to think of dual sport riding in simplified terms of how much pavement you ride compared to off-road, but this doesn’t really give the full story. While pavement is pretty consistent all around (as far as tire requirements go), off-road terrain varies considerably, so it’s also important to assess the types of off-road environments you expect to ride in. Even if your off-road endeavors will be only a small part of your overall riding, if you expect to find yourself in mud or sand at those times, you’re still going to need a tire with an aggressive tread pattern. However, if your off-road excursions are primarily limited to mild dirt roads, you can stick with something a little more street-oriented and a little less knobby.
Keep an eye out for the tread pattern when searching for a dual sport tire. Ask yourself what your tires will be displacing: soil, gravel, sand or something else? Tread depth and spacing will determine what your tires can displace (and how much). The layout of the tread pattern is also very important. Some tires include paddle-type features for loose terrain. Others are more crisscross in order to accommodate rockier environments. Many tires maximize the contact area to improve street handling while still providing large enough gaps to handle different types of off-road situations. No tread pattern is ideal for every rider.
Fortunately, many of these tires have accumulated customer reviews that can provide further details into their performance. The reviews come from real-world feedback and can offer you invaluable insight that can take away some of the guesswork. Make sure to utilize them. (And be sure to come back after you’ve tested your new tires to provide your own wisdom for others to benefit from.)
One word of caution: If you are primarily a dirt rider and don’t spend as much time on the street, you might be tempted to use dirt bike tires instead of dual sport tires. If your motorcycle is going to be on the street in the slightest, it is imperative that you have DOT-approved tires. For one thing, it’s illegal to run tires that aren’t DOT approved on the street. But it can also have important liability repercussions that can affect your insurance payouts (should they ever be necessary). When it comes to dual sport bikes, don’t risk tires that aren’t DOT approved. It isn’t worth it.
Here’s a final word of advice when you’re on your dual sport motorcycle: If you find yourself on terrain that isn’t suited for your tires, simply slow down and take it easy. No tire can perfectly handle every type of terrain. But you’ll be able to get through most unideal situations by just slowing things down. Sure, you might not be able to go quite as fast as your buddy’s more adequately equipped machine, but as least you won’t find yourself laying the bike down.
Take a moment now to assess your riding needs, and then browse our selection. Pick up a new set of tires today, and get back out on your next dual sport adventure!
john in UT
For any displacement moto where traction and flexibility is key, this tire will make you happy. It performs at low pressure and is just fine ripping fast through the desert. Where it shines is technical lines. It wears better than more aggressive track tires and is the perfect combo with a tubliss system.Read All Reviews
Ken in NC
This is on a KTM 530 for Dual Sporting. I picked them up to ride out a few hundred miles do some little offroad camping. If you plan to do anything more than hard pack dirt road this is not the tire for you. Its expensive for the lack of off road performance. Looks good and mean but doesn't do great offroad. Zero traction if its muddy or wet. Slips in a turn with no warning. Rear spins very easy. Great on road with good street traction.Read All Reviews
Leonard in FL
Stock tire on Yamaha WR250R. It makes a great dual sport tire on hardpack dirt and pavement. Not good in the wet. I have run at least 10 of these on my pair of WR250R because they work for 95% of my riding. I have to stay away from mud, and slow down on wet pavement, but they handle very well when the surface is dry. Not much use in sand, as another reviewer noted. Quiet and long-lasting (7K miles average).Read All Reviews
Aaron in GA
Put a set of these on my klr650. I ride mostly hard pack roads and some pavement. They perform great. When I find myself in some sand or mud they hold their own and will get you home. Exactly what I wanted at this price point.Read All Reviews