Best Dual Sport Tires: Enhance Your All-Terrain Adventure
A quality dual sport tire improves street and trail riding experience
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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.
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to 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
- 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.