Trials Tire Brands Cost & Performance

Discussion in 'Trials' started by motobene, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    I had not bought tires for years and have been net with extreme sticker shock! I've also had great difficulty getting specific info on the following brands:

    Michelin Trial Winner in the X11 and X-Lite Series (all made in Spain?)
    Dunlop 803 (Made In?)
    IRC Trial Winner TR-11 (Japan?)
    Mitas ET-01 (Czech Rebublic - the old Barum people)
    Vee Rubber VRM 021 (Thailand)

    Very helpful would be more specific and complete info from your collective wisdom in one thread that would go beyond comments like, "IRC is all we use around here", and "Vee Rubber are the tits!" That doesn't answer why, or help much with a buying decision.

    I incline toward the Michelin X11 on the rear and maybe the Michelin X-Lite on the front, for purely performance-durability reasons, but please challenge my assumptions and contribute to dense info in this one thread:

    Your specific terrain types, class and level of throttle aggression

    Tire brands you have used

    When and where bought, tire and shipping costs

    Specific problems - where on the tire and what

    Wear life of knobs and carcass (durability)

    Your specific summary recommendations in rank order by brand/model (best at top) or by terrain type

    Other comments: Flip your tires? Accurate weights of each brand and model tire you buy before mounting! Etc.

    Thanks so much for your expert contributions!
    #1
  2. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    I just ride my bike and try to remember to put air in the tires.
    #2
  3. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Sshh, it`s a secret.
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  4. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Michelins X11 is just about best. (I never buy them unless a deal) Bead sucks.
    Xlite, too light.
    I usually use D803`s Stay beaded better(no matter which bike)
    Chaparral has the pair 160 free freight.
    Irc I used to get a smoking` deal on, no more.
    The rest don`t exist.:lol3
    PS. I never flip a tire(unless it`s someone`s spare I use) complete waste of time.
    Check out most champ tires, usually no tread left. (and they still out ride everybody)
    Traction comes from control, throttle, clutch and body.
    #4
  5. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    Do you prefer IRC over D803?

    So where are the Michelin deals?

    I checked Chaparral: The X11 is on 'sale' at $162, the D803 is $93, and the TR-11 IRC is $113.

    Dry rocks out west, a really worn tire is not such a big deal. The D803 on my 300 Raga now is trashed, yet works fine on the ranch's dry rocks. But on the dry soils it plain sucks, but maybe with square knobs it would not?

    Where I live it's slicker rocks and mostly dry gravels and soils. Very slick when dry, so rounded-off knobs do matter more.

    And then there's feel. A big uptick in yummy feel when putting on new skins. That points to the carcass also being a dynamic element. Run tires to their end and the carcass imparts a more vague and less dynamic feel.
    #5
  6. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Every so often one of the importers will bring in a load of michelins for a deal. I prefer the 803 over the IRC but not by much as far as traction. I also like the 803 for using a tube as it holds a bead.
    #6
  7. nwcycle

    nwcycle Long timer

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Dunlop 803
    Cheaper, last longer, less prone to punctures also:evil
    But..........I have had a Pirelli MT43 on our 07 for quite some time, works very well.....
    #7
  8. jonnyc21

    jonnyc21 Trials Ninja

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    Was on a friends bike that had Pirelli MT43's, they where good, but felt stiff in comparison to my wife's X11's or the D803's on my bike. I am guessing because they are DOT approved.

    Over all I like the X11's the best and the D803's second, was thinking I might try the Xlite next time around, but not sure I need them as I am still a bit of a noob...
    #8
  9. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    I found the following as of 3 July 2013. The big distributors are often the best for tire deals, as they deal more in volume and compete against each other for that volume. Many sites show ridiculous retail prices because they don't stock tires, but drop ship to any sucker who bites at that price.

    Here are some of the bigger outfits:

    Chaparral: Set of Michelin Trials Comp (X11 rear tubeless and bias tube type front) is $272.76 plus shipping.

    Bike Bandit: Same Michelin set for $296.90 but orders over $100 ship free.

    Bike Bandit: Michelin X-Lite set for $299.90, but I have determined to avoid the 1-pound-less X-Lite rear tire because it's not as tough as the X11. I could see buying the X-Lite front with an X11 rear.

    Motorcycle Super Store: Trials Comp set $288.98, but I think there is shipping on top.

    With all three outfits the Dunlop D803 front-rear set runs about $110 lower than the Michelins, and the IRC TR-011 set runs about $80 cheaper than Michelin.

    RYPUSA.com has the Dunlop set for $195 + shipping.

    I'd stick with the Michelin front, but that's my assumption that it is superior for traction and feel, and as a higher level trials rider that matters to me. But please challenge that. Some of you like the Dunlop rear. A big savings in a set, and substantial with rear only in a set.

    Price-performance-wise the Dunlops seems to be best at present, and the Michelins worth paying for only if you want that added bit of performance they either promise or really have. Sometimes positive reviews are proportional to what people pay for something. Perception is reality, as I like to say.


    There remain outliers like Vee Rubber, Shinko, etc. Someone gutsy and with a lot of experience should buy a set to objectively evaluate. There would be a heck of a market for any tire company if they could imitate close enough the performance of the Michelin rubber and half the price. There's also the Shinko 255 rear. But often these tires make the too-hard rubber mistake.

    And then there's the fast offroad bike distortion effect. I think they buy more trials tires than we do, and when a tire is being reviewed, it's not always clear if it for trials or dualsport. Their needs differ somewhat from ours, which is why you see so few Pirelli MTs on trials bikes, for example.
    #9
  10. nwcycle

    nwcycle Long timer

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    95% of us, dont need anything better than the cheapest Dunlop tire,
    With all the hoopla with a $300.00 super light filled with helium with crypto biotic bead set, and hollow spokes.
    I honestly feel any of us Mortal riders couldnt do any better on the the top of the line tire vs the cheapest
    FYI anyone looking for tires , and those mail order whorestores , try giving the local small shop a call, most ( Like me ) will try to match or close to those deals....Those whoresale stores are one of the main reasons small shops have gone down the toilet.....
    Remember also that if you buy tires from those whoresale places, and if you have any issue with tires, its YOUR problem, you buy local from a dealer its his problem........:eek1
    #10
  11. lamotovita

    lamotovita Ageing Adventurer

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    I agree that anyone with a good local dealer should make an effort to support that dealer, but you are quite wrong about tire performance. Although if riders spent more time practicing, and less time debating tire price/performance, I suspect there scores would improve.
    #11
  12. lamotovita

    lamotovita Ageing Adventurer

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    I should elaborate. A skilled rider can maintain traction with good technique (weight centering, throttle and clutch control) and precise line selection, where a lesser rider could benefit from better tire performance to get up the rock.
    #12
  13. laser17

    laser17 Been here awhile

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    Rear tires.

    Dunlop - My favorite value tire. 95% of the performance at 70% of the price. They wear a bit faster than Mich but less likely to puncture so I trade that off. Im a heavy rider, so the stiff sidewall isnt noticed as much as a light rider. So maybe the performance drops to 90% if your light. I run 3.5lbs in them and never had a problem.

    X11 - Great all around - sometimes can find on sale ($105) and take the value crown away from the D's. Maybe best if your light.

    X-light - Best all around grip - but you pay for it. Never seem to go on sale when you need one. $145+ is tough to justify for me.

    All I know is that going from a worn of anyone of those above to any new one, I notice a substantial improvement in typical NE riding. Except, I have to say I really didnt like my last vee rubber. Jumping to a bike with x-lights seemed like cheating.

    Front tires - I prefer x11's - dont like the knob and sidewall shape of the dunlops as much. Mostly just my own head issues probably...

    The problem with supporting your local shop for tires is that if you pin them against the wall with the superstore prices, then your really NOT doing them much of a favor if they also have to warranty it. Theres not much margin in tires in my experience. Let them make a few bucks and maybe have them mount it (Take your own wheel off) and give them $20 for the swap.
    #13
  14. ivsforever

    ivsforever Adventurer

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    Mark Cope sells the Vee Rubber trials tires he posts on TC a lot. He should be able to supply more info on the tires.
    #14
  15. ridenm

    ridenm Long timer

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    I run whatever I win at the annual NMTA awards banquet...

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    #15
  16. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    Good contributions... valuable info.

    The high prices for all the tire options force some cost-performance-longevity. BTW, I'd have bought my Michelins from RYP had he stocked them.

    Dunlops are OK tires, but regarding tires, while I may not be Tony Bou, I don't think better stuff is somehow above my station. If I adopted an above-my-station attitude, I'd be on a vintage bike. My last bike was a 280 Econo, because that's what I could afford at the time, but it turned out to be one of my sweetest rides ever. I hope the 300 Raga will turn out to impress me even more. Maybe my Econo bike was a Dunlop 803 analog, but it came with Michelins!

    Ideally, I'd have two wheel sets, run practice tires, and reserve the best for competition. But two wheel sets are a reality in some parallel universe.
    #16
  17. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    I mounted the new Michelin Trials Comp front tire on a front wheel I took 2 hours to true. Rim ran really true. Then I mounted the tire. The bead ran dead-on true... but what's this? A side-to-side waviness in the tread?
    A first defective Michelin! Works OK slow, but when I go down the road in 6th I feel it in the front end as a wavy pulsing. Sucks!

    I think I'll buy an X-Lite front tire to check that out and put this wavy one on another bike.
    #17
  18. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    The Michelins used to have the yellow dot to align with the valve stem.
    #18
  19. motobene

    motobene Motoing for 44 years

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    Perhaps the yellow dot assumed a tubeless scenario? Trials front tires have all reverted to tube type, and the rim lock throws dynamic balance for a loop. Might as well imprint an un smiley face on the tire! Good thing we don't road race!

    The X-Lite front tire is on the way. Maybe Lance will want the slightly laterally wiggly new Trials Comp because he isn't as so machine sensitive and picky as me.

    So I'll end up sticking with Michelin... with Trials Comp rear and X-Lite front on the Raga (assuming the coming front tire runs true). I went with the older design on the rear because it reportedly is just a bit tougher in the sidewall, though it also gives up a tad to traction due to the slightly stiffer sidewall.
    #19
  20. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

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    Almost all tires have the balancing dot. The tire sounds like it was stacked wrong or had other damage along the way. It is strange for a Michelin.
    #20