I guess I’m tough on tires. I read on the internet about the mileage that other riders report getting from various tires and when I try those same tires I’m often lucky to get half as many miles as reported. So I decided to try different tires and recording the performance and mileage of each tire to see what works best for me and the way I ride.
One of the things I’ve been doing for a long time now is running a knobby front tire and a dual sport rear tire. For my motorcycle’s tires, I always consult my peers and local tire dealers to get the best miles out of it.
I find that this combination works very well for me. I don’t mind if the back tire slides around a bit in the dirt but I hate it when the front tire slides around. I run a knobby on the front for increased traction in the dirt. I’m definitely not a knee-dragger on pavement so the front knobby provides sufficient traction on pavement.
My preferred front tire is the Continental TKC80. It is probably best described as a 50/50 knobby – equally good on pavement and dirt, which has certainly been my experience. I’ve run a front TKC80 on my Wee Strom, KLR, DRZ400, and Husky TE610 and found it to perform equally well on all of them. I have tried other front tires – the Pirelli MT21 and the Dunlop D606 in particular – and while they perform somewhat better in loose dirt, they aren’t better on rock or gravel surfaces, nor are they as good on pavement. If I know I am going to be riding some serious off-road I would opt for the D606 but for my normal riding I tend to stick to the TKC80.
Front Tire – Continental TKC80