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February 11, 2017
After searching for some time (12000 miles) for tires for my Tiger 800 XCx I had so far gone through two sets each of Karoo 3 by Michelin and Heidenau K60 Scouts, which are both well regarded tires for the Tiger. If money was no object, hands down the Karoos. They have a softer compound and a far more aggressive tread pattern without the huge center stripe of the Heidenaus. The Heidenaus however are made of ex-east bloc rubber and are hard as Iron which is great in the frequently sharp edged and broken rock we find here in the Pacific Northwest US.
Since I’d pretty much ironed out my riding habits by now I contacted Eric via PM for his advice on tires as the KTM ongoing project bike is not all that different in respect to size/weight. He recommended the Motoz Tractionator GPS based upon my self identified needs and I purchased them to be fitted at my Tiger’s 12k service.
This was the end of September last year so any impressions I write of these will be strictly cold or inclement weather as I have not had time to get to anywhere warm yet. Most riding was done under wet conditions with temperatures ranging from 50 to 34 degrees farenheit. In other words: wretched.
After re mounting the balanced tires I took the bike for a ride and immediately it stepped out a bit in the rear on a hard left on recently wet pavement which served as a nice reminder of why we take it easy with NEW TIRES! After this happy refresher initial impressions were favorable on tar at any rate, no serious vibes even up to a hundred although a lot more “vague feeling” then the Heidenaus up front. Very difficult to describe this other than when on pavement at speed they seem to hunt more than the Scouts did to find their line making it feel a bit more vague. Might have a bit to do with how much weight it took to balance the front (over 50 grams!) .
When on gravel or hard packed clay mud however, they start to shine. Every bit as good as the Scouts especially in lateral traction through gravel. Very confidence inspiring to know that some sharp edged rock or trail obstruction won’t wreck these tires which in turn makes for relaxed riding. As testament to that I’ll submit that even although we’ve had record bad weather here in the Portland area this Winter I’ve managed to put on over 6000 miles since September 27th when I got them. I wouldn’t ride them in the snow but through water, mud, gravel or wet pavement snakes they are no scarier than the other tires I’ve ridden, something I was a bit concerned about given Oregon’s reputation for rain and inclement weather.
My riding generally takes me from sea level to about 3000-4000 feet on Forestry Service and County roads with semi-maintained gravel or mixed gravel mud being the norm with broken and abused pavement thrown in for good measure (Pothole tests). I would and will purchase these tires again, 6000 miles with less than 5mm of wear is unheard of in an ADV tire of this type!
Attached are a couple of pics from when the tires were new and after the over six thousand I’ve put on them.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope these pictures give everyone a Great American Novels' worth.
That is over 6000 miles there, Ladies and Gentlemen and that equals a return sale from yours truly. They maybe aren't the best gripping tires or the most aggressive but they aren't worn out either and for me that equals value.
In summation: a compromise tire for a compromise motorcycle. Neither one will excel at anything but both are outstanding value within their limits. I would imagine big Beemers would benefit from these as well but I know that Tigers and Katooms with big loads and 70/30 or 80/20 bias would. As it looks like these will last I will of course follow up with dry weather and Desert use reports this Summer. I do not expect to change my opinions of them very much and expect that they will work as well as they have in other loose surfaces, but we'll see. Expect updates as necessary over this Spring/Summer as I wear them out.
September 26, 2017
It's been two months since we shod our bikes with new rubber. We have started our travel from Europe back in October last year on our favorite Heidenau K60 tires as they have the best long distance quality and price balance in Europe we found so far. In South America we came around the fact that Heidenaus are crazy expensive compared to their European prices, so we opted for Metzeler Tourance and Sahara for our Central American ride, but were soon sure that we want our Heidenaus back! The confidence of riding on all terrains (we don't go hardcore on forest tracks, but we want to be able to comfortably reach a remote camping spot through whatever muddy, sandy or rocky tracks we find in that place). So as soon as we reached USA, we started looking at long-lasting adventure riding tire options available here (you know - a country of possibilities! It must have a wide choice of everything). This is when MotoZTractionator GPS tires appeared "in the horizon". They seemed to have that familiar pattern which resembles Heidenaus a bit and the review said they do last long! They are in a slightly lower price range than Heidenau and they are Australian which probably doesn't mean much, but for us it gave some reassurance, so we decided to give them a try!
We put two sets of Tractionator GPS tires on in Los Angeles and set off to ride to Alaska. Since then we covered over 13 000 kilometers (8000 miles) on them through all kinds of conditions and they seem to still be good to go for at least another 7000 kilometers (4000 miles).
We rode them mostly on paved roads (that is what you would generally find on your way to Alaska and through Northern British Columbia and Yukon, unless you don't need roads at all), but never had any problems to get off the pavement into sandy, muddy, rocky or whatever terrain was available there and before we got up North:
- Winding paved and unpaved roads of Northern California - check!
- Below freezing temperatures and wet pavement on a curvy road of Bear-tooth pass between Wyoming and Montana - check
- Bumpy and in places very wet and muddy Dalton highway to the Arctic Circle and back - check!
- Miles and miles of miles and miles of Alaska highway and other highways in sunshine, pouring rain and hail - check!
- All kinds of short detours on double tracks, sandy trails or rocky surfaces leading to most beautiful camp spots a few kilometers away from main roads - check!
We have tried these tires in all those conditions, on two loaded 800cc BMW bikes and they performed amazingly well. They made us feel confident when leaning into a curve on cold and wet pavement as well as bumping through some forest tracks or wobbling on wet muddy surface of Dalton highway in Northern Alaska. That is exactly what we were looking for for.
They are considered to be 50/50 type tires, so no wonder there is some noise when riding them on pavement, but we don't mind that as long as we are confident that they will not let us down while riding on and off pavement. Also during the first few thousand kilometers, while moving at a very low speed, the front tire pattern would create a vibration on the handlebar, but as it got worn down a bit, it was gone.
To sum up, MotoZ Tractionator GPS tires are perfect of what we are doing - relaxed long-distance riding with bits of exploration off-road. They last very long time and provide the feeling of confidence on all types of paved and unpaved roads. We would definitely go for another set of them for the next part of our adventure!
MotoZ Tractionator GPS - recommended!
More pictures and other stories you can find on our web page www.2wheeledadventures.com