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Old 05-14-2014, 03:36 AM   #1
Ever Onward OP
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21" Tire choices for 50 / 50 ?

Here's the deal.

Im trying to get opinions on the various options for a true 50 / 50 use front tire.

Only actual long term experience please, not just repeating what you heard somwhere.

Im currently running a IRC TR 8. Works pretty good off road, except its not good at speed in medium size gravel roads, seems real unplanted, and starts to tankslap (its not a bike issue, as it didnt do this with bridgestone trailwings).

Its horribly unstable on pavement, and felt really disconnected when new, and now a few thousand later, better, but totally unacceptable.

All things are correct on bike, and wheels are balanced. Like said, no stability issues with worn Trailwings beforehand.

Seems the TR 8 cross section is very peaked in the center, that may be the initial source of the problem.

Im leaning toward some Michelin or Pirelli at this point, but want experienced opinions as to the pro's and cons of the different models.

A true 50 / 50 tire is allways gonna be a compromise. Im looking for a tire that isnt to bad in medium soft sandy roads and gravel roads, but isnt tankslap crazy unstable at 65 on pavement. Im not concerned with its grip when railed over hard on pavement too much, but just dont wanna make the mistake of getting a deathwish pavement tire either.

Basically a good trade off between decent offroad ability, and stability and reasonable manners on pavement.

Negative feed back on certain tires and why is also appreciated.


BTW, just for referance, I am a former MX racer and also a former lightweight roadrace champion, im quite familiar with good and bad tires……….just dont wanna have to sort through 15 different trial and error tires to find the one that works decent.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:07 AM   #2
kingrj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ever Onward View Post
Here's the deal.

Im trying to get opinions on the various options for a true 50 / 50 use front tire.

Only actual long term experience please, not just repeating what you heard somwhere.

Im currently running a IRC TR 8. Works pretty good off road, except its not good at speed in medium size gravel roads, seems real unplanted, and starts to tankslap (its not a bike issue, as it didnt do this with bridgestone trailwings).

Its horribly unstable on pavement, and felt really disconnected when new, and now a few thousand later, better, but totally unacceptable.

All things are correct on bike, and wheels are balanced. Like said, no stability issues with worn Trailwings beforehand.

Seems the TR 8 cross section is very peaked in the center, that may be the initial source of the problem.

Im leaning toward some Michelin or Pirelli at this point, but want experienced opinions as to the pro's and cons of the different models.

A true 50 / 50 tire is allways gonna be a compromise. Im looking for a tire that isnt to bad in medium soft sandy roads and gravel roads, but isnt tankslap crazy unstable at 65 on pavement. Im not concerned with its grip when railed over hard on pavement too much, but just dont wanna make the mistake of getting a deathwish pavement tire either.

Basically a good trade off between decent offroad ability, and stability and reasonable manners on pavement.

Negative feed back on certain tires and why is also appreciated.


BTW, just for referance, I am a former MX racer and also a former lightweight roadrace champion, im quite familiar with good and bad tires……….just dont wanna have to sort through 15 different trial and error tires to find the one that works decent.

Although I have not tried nearly as many 50/50 tires as others I have run T-63, TKC 80, Trailwings and MT-21's on both street and dirt/rocks/gravel/mud/sand.

My favorite are the T-63's and the TKC-80 because they are stable and grip like a street tire on the street but do quite well on anything else but mud. The MT-21 feels a little squirrely to me on the tarmac and the Trailwings don't grip off the paved road. None of these tires are good in bad mud!

However I don't get but maybe...4000 miles out of either the T-63 or the TKC 80 but as a sport bike guy you know that tires are cheap compared to hide!
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:29 AM   #3
Ever Onward OP
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Yes, I hear the MT 21 is not good on pavement, I had allready looked beyond it.

Mud will not be a issue. No sticky mud around here. Mostly gravel backroads and a variety of sandy and firm dirt forest roads. No deep soft sand either.

Tire life wont be a consideration either……….like said, a high speed tank slapper resulting in a serious getoff will outweigh the price difference of the tire.

Slapping a $ 500 steering damper on to deal with a inferior tire isnt the smart answer either.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:14 AM   #4
markk53
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over 30,000 miles and 10 years running Duro Median HF904/903 tire sets. Stick incredibly well for road use (I chase around friends on supermotos occasionally and lead frequently). A lot of miles running dirt and gravel back roads without any problems. Seem to clean out good when on a muddy (Ohio clay) road or trail. Work much better when inflation is lowered to about 20 psi.

Sell for maybe $120 or less a set, I get around 4000 miles on a KLX650, not taking it easy on them, when I replace them. I replace the rear NOT when it gets bald, but when the center has flattened enough I don't like the grip on dirt/gravel and the handling gets a bit wonky on pavement when you transition from the flat center to the outside. I replace the front at the same time, doing two rear to a front has the front really cupped and bad.

Others may or may not back my comments, I just know what works for me in a very good fashion. I have run the one popular Kenda tread when Yokohama made it, not as good per my experience. It was a tread Honda used on the late 70s XL series and was not impressive. The Duros were.

Tread design is trick, webs side to side on the blocks to cut squirming in cornering, but full depth around giving a bit of a paddle effect in a forward drive.

Worth trying for the price.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:06 AM   #5
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Shinko 244. Good tread, handles ok. Cheap.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:12 AM   #6
wizz
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I've been really impressed with the Michelin T63. Good street manners and have performed well off road, including steep, rutted rocky trails at the ohv park. Deep gravel, sand and mud they lack, but thats typically what you give up with a 50/50 tire.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:27 AM   #7
robberst
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I found the IRC GP110 to work very well for me as a 50/50 tire on a KTM 640.

My unpaved riding is a lot of sandy, loose gravel and grassland in the wide open areas of North Dakota and eastern Montana.

I found the GP110 to perform well on the pavement always.

Off pavement:
The rear tire has a solid stripe in the center of the tread that appears when about half worn. This causes rear tire grip to deteriorate significantly off pavement especially on wet grassland. That said, I liked them enough to keep buying them many times over. They have a similar tread pattern to the Metzeler Sahara 3 that came on the bike when new.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:28 AM   #8
Sparrowhawk
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I also have had good experiences with the T63 and find the MT21 squirrely on road. My current favorite front is the Pirelli Scorpion Rally. It looks like a full on dirt tire but is also excellent on the street. Stable, holds well in hard turns, and doesn't care if the pavement is wet or dry. It works like a true dirt tire in sand, rocks, and mud and wears better than the T63 too.

This is mounted to a KTM 640.

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Old 05-14-2014, 07:29 AM   #9
Pantah
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Well, if you are a lightweight road race champion then you know the handling differences between a triangulated front tire and a round one when it comes to DOT race rubber. I find the same characteristics apply to DOT knobby tires on dual sport bikes.

Rounder knobbies will wobble at high speeds while triangulated front tires will track true. Example, I ran Conti TKC 80 tires on my KTM 950. Above 95 mph the front got very sensitive and would go into a wobble just from the buffeting on my shoulders from turbulence. That same motorcycle was rock steady with Mefo Explorers or Pirelli OEM tires. You could see the difference in the shape compared to the TKC 80. The problem with the two stable tires is that they are more street tires and not good in mud or soft surfaces. The Mefo wasn't bad in gravel, though. The Mefo had much more aggressive tread blocks and wore like iron.

My 690 came with MT21's. It also wobbles at speeds much above 75mph so I installed a damper, which pretty much cured the wobbling. Again, the wobble is induced by turbulence on my shoulders. If I concentrate on keeping my hands quiet, the wobble is minimal.

I use Michelin T63 tires on my small dual sport. I've used two sets and found them decent on tar with no wobble. But my top speed on that bike is only about 90mph. I just ordered a T63 front tire for my 690 as well. I will match that to a Michelin Desert Race on the rear. Hopefully that pairing will work on tar.

I found the TKC80, MT21 and T63 to be pretty good in mud and soft dirt. I have ridden the T63 in quite a bit of deep sand and am happy with it when it is fairly fresh. Not so good when thin, though. The TKC80 is good on tar, except for the high speed wobble. Even on cold wet tar it sticks well. The MT 21 not as good on tar. The rear has stepped out on me downshifting while entering a tight apex. Both the TKC and MT 21 are very noisy too. The Pirelli howls like crazy, so no more of them for me.

My vote so far is the T63 as a front tire because it is quiet, doesn't wobble at speed, is good in sand and decent on tar. Doesn't last very long, though. If I need long tire life for something like a 5k mile trip I'd probably use Mefo Explorer tires front and rear and hope I don't encounter much mud.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:47 AM   #10
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I have completely different impression of the TR8 as mounted on my KLX680.
First it is hardly a 50-50 tire. I think it is a good dirt choice and seems to wear forever.

Being made of hard rubber, it doesn't hook as well on some terrain, like gravel over hardpack, unless you let some air out. I don't have stability issues on pavement. The one fault is, it just does not deal well with tight radius pavement turns. It flops in and takes muscle to straighten up again.

On my bike it is not so much setup, but design. A LOT of trail and a long wheelbase.

The T63 is OK. Short knobs that don't go up the sidewall as far as a TKC80. I didn't get much mileage out of them.

The TKC is good tire on my F800, but it is not long wearing either, because of the soft compound. Some report stability issues when mounted on the F800gs. I think it is bike setup, as I had it and fixed it.

I have just received a Pirelli MT-90 front tire. It is what I would call a 50-50 tire. I don't see a lot of feedback here about them, but customer reviews are excellent. Not sure which bike to mount it on.
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itsatdm screwed with this post 05-14-2014 at 09:42 AM
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:58 AM   #11
Hannda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingrj View Post
Blah, blah, blah TKC 80
and
the TKC-80 because they are stable and grip like a street tire on the street


Yes, there are less expensive tires. And there are tires that last longer. But these tires are popular for a reason, and that reason is they work very well. And at $30 more than the cheapie tires it's really not that big a deal. Miss 1.5 meals eaten out per the life of the tire and you've paid that last $30. If you want, get a less expensive rear tire - there are plenty that last as long as the TKC80 but have better traction (even if they are louder). The TKC80 front will last twice as long as a D606 rear and it's a great 50/50 combination.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ever Onward View Post
Here's the deal.

Im trying to get opinions on the various options for a true 50 / 50 use front tire.

Only actual long term experience please, not just repeating what you heard somwhere.

Im currently running a IRC TR 8. Works pretty good off road, except its not good at speed in medium size gravel roads, seems real unplanted, and starts to tankslap (its not a bike issue, as it didnt do this with bridgestone trailwings).

Its horribly unstable on pavement, and felt really disconnected when new, and now a few thousand later, better, but totally unacceptable.

All things are correct on bike, and wheels are balanced. Like said, no stability issues with worn Trailwings beforehand.

Seems the TR 8 cross section is very peaked in the center, that may be the initial source of the problem.

Im leaning toward some Michelin or Pirelli at this point, but want experienced opinions as to the pro's and cons of the different models.

A true 50 / 50 tire is allways gonna be a compromise. Im looking for a tire that isnt to bad in medium soft sandy roads and gravel roads, but isnt tankslap crazy unstable at 65 on pavement. Im not concerned with its grip when railed over hard on pavement too much, but just dont wanna make the mistake of getting a deathwish pavement tire either.

Basically a good trade off between decent offroad ability, and stability and reasonable manners on pavement.

Negative feed back on certain tires and why is also appreciated.


BTW, just for referance, I am a former MX racer and also a former lightweight roadrace champion, im quite familiar with good and bad tires……….just dont wanna have to sort through 15 different trial and error tires to find the one that works decent.
Have you experimented with pressure yet? I have no issues on pavement or gravel with the TR8 front.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:44 AM   #13
TexaNate
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I ran T63 front and rear on my WR250R for about a year, ~2,000mi. Very good on the road, predictable (even in rain), fairly smooth and GREAT for dirt/gravel, but the rear in particular is not as good in mud and sand as a D606. I was really impressed at how well the front tracked through deep sand, even with 1,500mi on it. (then again, that might be because WRRs don't weigh anything )

I forecast the rear needing replacement in the next 1,000mi for sure. I would call it the closest thing to a true 50/50 tire that I have ever run.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:55 AM   #14
itsatdm
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Some tires work better on some bikes than others. Weight makes a difference on both wear and handling. Hard rubber compounds need to be run with lower pressures, but you kind of lose the flexibility, if you need to change tire pressures to match the road all the time.

I had forgotten about the Duro Median. I mounted a rear tire backwards on the front of my old TDM 850 for a long road trip. I chose it because it had tallest aspect ratio I could find. It worked surprisingly well over a wide variety of terrain that included, sand, loose steep gravel, one river crossing and pavement.

But that was on a converted 500lb street bike with a 18"front wheel.
It had a funny wear pattern after 3,500 miles, but that was expected.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:55 AM   #15
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TKC are good. I kinda liked the MT21, even on the pave, but I run 30psi in it on the slab. I air down on the dirt, both front & rear.

what bike are you talkin?
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