LAST UPDATED: December 23, 2019
Best Dual Sport Tires: Enhance Your All-Terrain Adventure
A quality dual sport tire improves street and trail riding experience
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON December 23, 2019
A dual-sport motorcycle has two purposes: to go on and off the road with ease. To accomplish this, it needs a matching pair of tires to conquer tough terrain. The tire you choose should be durable and provide comfortable handling and reliable traction in different environments. Considering all these factors, we have compiled a list of the best dual sport tires on the market.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Dual Sport Tires
- Superior all-around performance.Dual sport tires are specifically designed to perform both on-road and off-road, which means you can be sure of decent traction and predictable handling over a range of different surfaces.
- Versatility. Everybody wants to have the best of both worlds, but most people don’t have the budget—or space—for two different bikes. Dual sport tires give you the freedom to hit the trails whenever you want while still being able to ride to work.
- Cost-effectiveness. Dual sport tires are no more expensive than regular motorcycle tires and they offer much better fuel efficiency. Plus, it’s way cheaper than maintaining separate bikes.
- Safety. Wherever you’re using your bike, safety should be paramount. Dual sport tires give you the peace of mind and confidence to spend time riding both on and off the road.
- Fun factor. A motorcycle is intrinsically fun, but it can get tedious if you’re just up and down the same bit of highway every day. Dual sport tires might be just what you need to fall in love with riding again.
Types of Dual Sport Tires
These tires are for people who are likely to spend most of their time riding on the street and, when they occasionally go off-road, stick to gravel roads anyway. They’re definitely not recommended for any serious off-roading.
80/20 and 70/30
Still mostly designed with regular street riding in mind, these will hold their own on their trails if you’re a bit of a weekend warrior. However, they are by no means the best tires for off-roading.
If you do nearly as much off-roading as you do on-roading, these tires are probably your best bet. They’re much better for off-roading than anything above and still perfectly fine to use on the highway. As long as you don’t mind sacrificing a little precision and responsiveness when it comes to corners, then they’ll work well.
As you’d likely expect, a 50/50 tire doesn’t give superior performance either way. You’ll get decent performance in both environments and if you’re not quite sure what to expect, they’re probably a good bet.
This type of tire is a solid choice if you want a decent performance on the trails. The improved off-road handling translates to better stability at high speeds, so highway and street use is still quite admirable.
30/70 and 20/80
Although street performance remains high, these tires are primarily intended for use on the trails and other off-road conditions. A good choice if you do a lot of regular on-road riding but like to let loose on weekends on the less demanding trails.
These tires are legal for street use, but very much designed with off-roading in mind. Although you can still ride on the road, long trips are not recommended due to considerably diminished handling and precision. It’s probably best limiting street use to just the ride from your house to the trails and back again.
Italian company Pirelli was born in 1872 when Giovanni Battista Pirelli starting making elastic rubber goods. Today, the company they have production plants in 12 countries and an annual turnover of around $5.5 billion. Since 2011, Pirelli has been Formula 1’s tire supplier of choice. Their dual sport offerings include tires in the Scorpion range.
In 1889, Edoard Michelin took over a factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France that manufactured farm equipment and rubber balls. In 1891, Michelin developed the world’s first detachable bicycle tire. They’ve since expanded into a whopping 171 countries and some alternative markets, including tourism, restaurants, and sustainable mobility. The Anakee lines are specifically designed for dual use.
Continental has been making tires for all kinds of vehicles since they were founded nearly 150 years ago. Founded in Hanover, Germany, in 1871, they took over General Tire in 1987 and successfully established a subsidiary company, Continental Tire North America, Inc. for a significant presence in the U.S. Check out their Twinduros here.
Mitas started making tires designed for agricultural, industrial, and off-road riding use in Prague, Czechia, in the 1930s. They now operate in 14 countries worldwide and have three international production bases, including Charles City, Iowa, which has been operational since 2012. The DAKAR range is where you’ll find their dual sport tires.
Dual Sport Tires Pricing
- Budget range (under $50):Even at the low end of the price range, you should be able to find a perfectly good set of 4-ply or even 6-ply tires with decent enough grip that are also approved by the Department of Transportation.
- Premium range (over $150): Unsurprisingly, at the top end, you’ll get tires that last much much longer while also providing better off-road precision and grip, particularly in wet conditions.
When it comes to performance, including grip, handling, and precision, it’s all about the tread. Different types of tire feature different tread patterns and manufacturers will favor one design over another. Some patterns will be designed for superior grip in wet conditions, some for riding on sand, and still others for improved traction on bare rock or mud.
As you’d likely expect, tread depth is massively important for safe and predictable handling in off-road conditions. The deeper the tire’s tread, the greater traction, and grip you’ll have in soft surfaces like sand or mud. Deep tread also makes it easier to drop rocks that may stick in the gaps and compromise your performance.
The knobs that make up the tread pattern determine the surface area of the tire. Large, wide knobs means a smooth flat surface will be in contact with more of the tire at any given time. This is therefore recommended for street-riding. More frequent but smaller-sized knobs provide a more uneven but greater surface area, which can get into the nooks and crannies of an uneven off-road surface, and vice versa.
- Technical Specifications. Buying dual sport tires is a little trickier than buying regular tires because there are a lot more factors to take into consideration when you’re trying to have the best of both worlds. If you feel like it’s too complicated, ask an expert for help.
- Roadworthiness. The deal with dual sport tires is that they can be used both on and off-road. It’s vital to make sure that any tire you buy meets these requirements and is certified street legal.
- Street to Off-Road Ratio. The best type of tire for your needs will depend on how much of each type of riding you’ll be doing. There’s no point sacrificing precision handling on the highway for superb off-road capabilities if you spend very little time on the trails, for example. If you’re not sure of your expected ratio, start with a 50/50 tire and adjust accordingly when you come to buy your next set.
Best Dual Sport Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This rear tire from Continental’s Twinduro range of dual sport tires is rated 60/40, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to spend a decent amount of time out on the trails but also need reliable, precise performance on the road, too. This is reflected in the wide block tread pattern, which is the ideal shape and depth for optimal traction on both loose and hard-packed surfaces.
You can also be confident of stable cornering on soft ground alongside decent self-cleaning capabilities. It’s approved by the DOT and, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, it’s 150mm wide and weighs 15 pounds, while having an S-rating for speed. This 17-inch tubeless model is designed for Kawasaki KLR600/650s from 1985 onwards but it may be compatible with tube-wheels and on other makes and models of bikes of a similar size.
With Continental being a big-name brand, this is relatively more expensive than others with similar specifications. It also might not wear evenly, but it should last you around 3,000 to 4,000 miles, as long as you don’t live anywhere with excessive temperatures. This tire may not hold up so well in the Nevada desert heat, for example.
The Shinko 244 series is an aggressive-looking tire with a 4-ply carcass construction. It has a dual street and trail design that allows you to comfortably spend most of your time off-roading, and its on-road performance isn't too shabby either. It provides a good grip in dry and wet conditions, and is designed to outlast most high-end tires since one pair can last for about 7,000 miles. Also, the treads maintain maximum grip when you are leaning over or taking a sharp corner.
The tire is tubed and has a 14-inch rim diameter, but you can get it in other sizes to fit your rear tire. It has a P speed rating, which means it’s good for up to 95 miles per hour. It can maneuver easily on soft sand, light gravel, and loose dirt, and also feels smooth on the highway.
Unfortunately, we have noted some complaints that the central tread can absorb the bike’s thrusting power, which can make your vehicle stall when you’re trying to accelerate. Another issue that mostly plagues Suzuki bike owners is that the tire may be wider than your stock rear tire.
This dual sport tire from Shinko is designed for 80 percent street riding and 20 percent off-road riding. The Shinko construction resulted in a 4.3-inch wide tire that weighs 13 pounds and has a speed rating of P. Its rubber compound, 4-ply construction holds up well and resists tearing on rocks and uneven surfaces.
This tire is DOT-approved and fairly affordable. Conveniently, it’s designed to fit either your front or rear wheel. It should fit a 13-18 inch wheel, but you should measure it first to be sure. It features a versatile tread that channels water well on the road, yet maintains stability on loose or wet ground.
However, performance on loose deep gravel leaves a little to be desired. Unfortunately, the shape of the thread also results in a particularly noisy ride, even on smooth ground, which is not found with other 80/20 rated tires.
Bridgestone has a great reputation in the tire industry for its reliable tires and the Trail Wing is a great example. This 4-ply, tubed tire is designed to excel in both wet and dry conditions thanks to its uni-directional tread pattern. The large knobby treads extend to much of the sidewall to offer optimal edge to edge grip and superb cornering stability. What’s more, it has self-cleaning tread blocks, which will not only help you maneuver through muddy or loose terrain but will also help keep your tires light in such situations. Also, the tread blocks are large enough to move water effortlessly for increased wet weather performance.
The tire has a 14-inch diameter with a P speed rating and is designed to replace the rear stock tire in all 1987 to 2009 Yamaha TW200 models. In addition, it maintains a good accelerating grip and stops predictably.
The main downside to this model is that it can be quite noisy for on-road riding, and that could be attributed to the aggressive tread pattern. Also, it may be too large on non-Yamaha bike models. Ensure that your bike has enough clearance before you buy it.
The MOTOZ Tractionator is one aggressive-looking tire that you need in your corner if you frequently blast across hard terrain such as gravel roads, rocky trails, and sand-packed deserts. It’s built from a 100 percent natural rubber compound that’s rated for 90 percent hard traction and 10 percent soft traction.
This tire has thick sidewalls and a carcass wrapped in thick rubber to prevent punctures and to somewhat cushion the impact from aggressive off-roading. It features large knobby treads with a slightly concave midsection that helps to optimize grip on steep climbs or loose terrain.
The main issue that comes with the large treads is that they can catapult rocks to anyone following closely behind you. Also, the tires can get so loud on the highway that it might drown the sound of your engine.
The Pirelli MT 21 is designed to withstand aggressive off-roading even over long distances. It’s a DOT-approved tire with an aggressive tread design that’s designed to offer stable handling, and adapt to the dynamic nature of dual-sport riding. It’s rated for 90 percent off-road performance and 10 percent street performance, meaning that it’s designed for the trail but can also tolerate a smooth pavement.
The treads maintain commendable grip on gravel, boulders, and loose dirt. They also wear evenly and you can expect them to last for about 3,000 miles. It’s recommended for most Yamaha, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, and Suzuki motorbikes.
Unfortunately, it’s not the tire to rely on for wet terrain performance. It can get slippery on wet pavement and grass, and it may take a long time to get unstuck from muddy terrain. Also, the treads are not large enough to maintain the best grip on rocky terrain.
This tubed tire is designed with large, aggressive knobs and deep treads for improved on- and off-road performance. It’s DOT-approved for 90 percent off-road and 10 percent on-road application. The treads can effectively latch on a variety of terrain, but also clears easily when you are moving down a slope.
The tire is made from a durable 6-ply rubber compound for prolonged tread life. In addition, it has a tough sidewall construction for the best cornering capability on dirt and asphalt. It’s designed to be a rear tire and has a rim diameter of 18 inches.
However, it’s more of an off-road tire and might wear out faster with frequent on-road riding. Also, it might not win you any races since it only has a C speed rating, meaning that it’s only good for up to 37 miles per hour. Despite that, it’s recommended for cruiser, touring, and street bikes.
MMG offers a tubed, 2-ply tire that can be used both on- and off-road. It has a P speed rating, and can handle a maximum load of 396 pounds. It’s a universal fit and it has non-directional tread, meaning that you can turn the tire when it starts showing signs of wear to get more from it. Additionally, the tire features a special rubber compound, which provides maximum grip on wet and dry surfaces without compromising on handling.
The tire features a distinctive and attractive tread pattern for maximum stability on streets and winding roads. The tread design also contributes towards making the tire less noisy, although you may experience slight vibration on smooth terrain.
- Always remember to inspect your tires thoroughly before any ride or after a long trip. This maintenance practice ensures you minimize flat tire occurrence when riding.
- Since there is no tire that can perfectly fit dirt, gravel, sand, on-road, and other off-road conditions, it is vital to know your riding habits in order to choose the tire that best suits your needs.
- Ensure your tires are correctly balanced to improve your riding comfort and safety in all road conditions. If you do not know how to balance them, it is advisable to visit a mechanic.
Q: What are dual sport tires?
A: Dual sport tires are designed to be used with a dual-sport motorcycle. These tires can be used in both on- and off-road conditions.
Q: How long do dual-sport tires last?
A: The durability of any tire depends on the construction technology and the user’s riding habits. On-road tires last longer than off-road tires. However, a dual-sport tire can last 4,000 to 9,000 miles.
Q: Should I replace both tires at the same time?
A: Most tires on the market are made to wear evenly. It is, therefore, advisable to replace both tires for improved traction, riding safety, and comfortable handling.
We recommend the Continental Twinduro TKC80-Dual Sport Rear Tire, as it is durable and optimized for both on- and off-road use.
If you are looking for an economical tire, consider the Shinko 244 Series Rear/Front Tire.