You've probably seen similes of motorcycles to women but how about tires to beer? I make this observation in an upcoming article in ADVMoto magazine on our #xladvproject990 when talking about the new VRM 401 tire from Vee Rubber that, similar to the craft beer renaissance in the American beer industry, it seems there's also a budding "craft tire" movement underway.
Just as our choices in beer used to be limited to the mainstream of beers like Coors, Miller and Budweiser, our choices in tires used to be mostly from the big three: Michelin, Continental and perhaps Pirelli. Just as beer drinkers used to care more about what the bottle looked like and who was going to see them drinking it than the product inside, riders are now finding some pretty amazing innovation and features they find they prefer to what everyone else is doing.
Take a look at three new tires I've seen come to market that I think fit this new "craft tire" definition:
This is what I'd call a "Samuel Adams Boston Lager" of a tire. I've had the opportunity to test two sets of these tires on the #xladvproject990 bike and I was extremely impressed. It seems to me they took a look at the venerable TKC-80 and thought "how can we make this better?" The off road traction and clean out is even better I think due to the greater block spacing but one can also see a "faceting" of alternating rows of blocks I think as a way to mitigate road noise. The pavement grip is still on par with the TKC-80. Initial mileage reported was below that of the TKC-80 but a little bird has told me they probably, just as Kenda did with their Big Block, are hardening up the compound to be at parity. The rubber they're using is 100% natural and straight from the largest rubber producing country: Thailand (not pronounced "thigh-land" like Alan from "The Hangover"). I'd call it a 60/40 (dirt/street) tire like the TKC-80.
Motoz's Tractionator Adventure
Here's some video
This tire I'd liken to a bold and hoppy West Coast double IPA like Stone's Ruination. I got a glimpse of these at the KTM Adventure Rally last year in Crested Butte, CO and when I posted a photo online, it went viral! It's review here has gotten more views than any other. They just look super chunky don't they? These too are made from 100% natural rubber from Thailand (even though Motoz is an Aussie company; pronounced "Mote-Oz"). This natural rubber gives better longevity as well as grip even when worn down. The secret though is that they just give you more tread to begin with; 15mm on the rear lugs. This is more a 70/30 (dirt/street) tire so try not to complain too much about the front tire's behavior in the first 100 miles or so.
I really can't say it better than Lyndon Poskitt:
Again here's Lyndon Poskitt's
So what do you think? Let your big bike riding friends know your thoughts by writing a review of your favorite tire in our review section. Putting it on Facebook is fine for a day or two but here it will last and be objectively compared to other tires.