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My favorite slow-talker Adam Riemann talks about having the right tires on your adventure bike.  Could not agree more.  I've never been the type of rider who is willing to trade performance for longevity or brag what I can do with street tires off road.  Conversely, I do not mind going slower on the pavement because the dirt is what I'm really after.  I can always change tires if I want to have a road-only ride.  

 

Having the appropriate tire off road is about SAFETY.  No sense in finding yourself in the middle of nowhere with a tire that won't get you where you want to go.  I first heard this from Jimmy Lewis and it's nice to see Adam repeat sage advice.

 

As to these Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires, I tried a rear once and really liked it but for some reason they aren't that common here in the States.  Adam is sponsored by Pirelli and I've also seen a lot of Mitas (Chris Birch) and Motoz down under.

 

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Thanks for the heads up on tires, Eric. Got a set of Tractionator GPSs sitting right next to the lift due to your recommendations. Right after I get her suspension back from Pro Motion I'll be fitting them.

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Awesome rider, and great advice.  He ended it off with riding to conditions, and sadly like SUV drivers just because you put knobbies on your big adventure bike does not mean you can ride it like a dirt bike.  That is a recipe for a trip to the hospital or morgue.  IMHO getting the right training, and finding your limits on what ever bike/tire/conditions is what will help the rider in the end.  Should adventure bikes being ridden primarily off road have proper tires, absolutely.  Not all big adventure bike riders spend most of their time off road so compromise comes into play, and then of course riding to that level of compromise.

 

Not everyone is an offload phenom like Adam or Chris.  Personally I know my limitations, ride within them, have a burning desire to learn and ride better.  Do I have the best adventure tires on my bike at this point, not a chance, but it is not going to stop me from exploring.  I am not anti knobbie, nothing could be further from the truth.  Which brings me back to how Adam ended it...on the pavement he rides to the conditions and cuts loose offroad.  All the proper gear, tires, electronics nor friends can help you when you start pushing past your limits, on or off road.  Until my street tires are done, I ride to conditions off road and on...the exploration bias will change to a more off road oriented version once I have different tires.  

 

Which brings me to rental bikes.  I posted up about a discussion (which clearly did not come across well) I had with some friends regarding tires, and the topic of adventure trips to other countries and the type of tires that should be used.  In the end that is decided by the company you book with, some companies outfit the bikes with proper tires, most do not.  So in the end it comes down to riding within the limits of what you have at the time of the trip.  It was a great discussion, because no one judged the others because of their opinions, choice of machines or tires.  I wish that type of judgemental B/S would go away, it's why I don't post much on forums, but sadly thats not the way we are wired.  

 

Like my ole road race days and advice from a Championship rider, tires and suspension will make all the difference in the world.  Sometimes though you just race with what you have....I know it is the same off road, and I am not unaware of it.  I just do not see it as limiting my exploration, I had my KTM on some extremely rough sections and found the limits of the crap street tires, so I completely get what Adam said about how proper off road tires will allow you to maintain momentum.    

 

At the end of the day Adam or Chris (and maybe 90% of the offload riders I know) have enough talent that they could pass me on a 50cc Grom with street tires.  =)  I am guessing I need some more training.  

 

Thanks for the video and advice it certainly is not lost on me...

Edited by MapTacsRay
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Big bikes are a compromise and the tires will always reflect that.

Using a big bike for loaded cross country travel, hardcore knobbies get tiring real on that 200 mile stretch of hi/freeway, that you end up having to do.

So choose for what riding you're willing to compromise, and be aware of that...

Unloaded playriding as shown in the video is fun, but not what my primary riding is about (that case I'd have a big EXC or a 690E) so I choose my tires accordingly.

I don't agree that hardcore knobbies is the only right choice for a big bike, unless you only do dirt playriding (in which case I kinda think you have the wrong bike).

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Big bikes are a compromise and the tires will always reflect that.

Using a big bike for loaded cross country travel, hardcore knobbies get tiring real on that 200 mile stretch of hi/freeway, that you end up having to do.

So choose for what riding you're willing to compromise, and be aware of that...

Unloaded playriding as shown in the video is fun, but not what my primary riding is about (that case I'd have a big EXC or a 690E) so I choose my tires accordingly.

I don't agree that hardcore knobbies is the only right choice for a big bike, unless you only do dirt playriding (in which case I kinda think you have the wrong bike).

I'd never say they're the only right choice; just that for my style of riding off road that it's important to have the right tires.  I see so many try and ride off road with questionable tires and then they wonder why they struggled, fell, etc...  At the Taste of Dakar two years ago we had some severe weather and Jimmy Lewis told the crowd before we got started not to bother if you have Heidenau's or worse.

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I'd never say they're the only right choice; just that for my style of riding off road that it's important to have the right tires. I see so many try and ride off road with questionable tires and then they wonder why they struggled, fell, etc... At the Taste of Dakar two years ago we had some severe weather and Jimmy Lewis told the crowd before we got started not to bother if you have Heidenau's or worse.

I think it is easy to agree that the right tires are important.

My point is that it should not be denied that aggressive knobbies take away a lot of the big bike's ability as an awesome travel machine.

I had the Motoz Tractor ADV on a recent 12 day/2600mile trip, and they we're great as I rode a lot of dirt and backroads. I am really happy I choose those tires for that trip.

But if I was on a cross coutry "explore the americas" kind of trip I'm pretty sure I would go with something slightly more road oriented and longer lasting.

Edited by PeterKaa
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LOVE my TKC80 tires off-road. Ok, on 45-50mph country roads. On the freeway (65+), I think they suck. You can tell they don't like the duty by their feel and drone. Good thing I hate riding the highway. ;)

 

But, I'll admit,  I did a number of rides on the stock tires before upgrading. While I couldn't ride hooligan like and can on the knobbies, they did a lot better than you might think, even in deep sand if you were gentle with your steering & throttle inputs. You don't always need a gnarly knobby off-road, so don't be afraid to look at the middle ground if you ride it all. Just be honest with where you ride and how you ride.

 

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Tires on our bikes gives us feedback as to their composure on surfaces just like our fingertips guide us with everything we touch. Something's to hot , you pull your hand away. Something's to sharp , you don't touch it. With tires you ride within their capacity. I like to get value out of things I've worked hard for , so I put 9000 miles on the oem tires on my KTM ADV. Some would say that's nuts but I've ridden based on what the feedback on those tires told me. 50/50 riding and have gone all over the place with them. Never lost it on any surface with them. Just put new tires on recently and am adjusting to their feedback and characteristics knowing they're radically different than oem and need to adjust accordingly. No tires are going to be perfect for our type of Adventuring so you have to be realistic as to how you ride. I don't push it beyond the feel I get from my tires so if that makes me an old geezer then so be it. I'll ride for another day then and not another "yard sale" :)

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