Why it's a stupid decision to run street tires in the dirt

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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This is not a Super Tenere but you get the idea.

https://advrider.com/a-dream-adventure-on-a-new-2020-ducati-1260-multistrada-enduro/

I have seen this time and time again and the riders almost always without fail blame themselves. Well I blame the tire. In case you don't want to read the story, he broke his leg. I have been at many off road events and have seen guys from pro level to novice riders crash over and over running crappy street tires in the dirt. Also those stupid E07's, Scouts, and other so called 50/50 "chevron tread" tires just don't work safely in the sand or any soft ground/loose rocks. Plenty of pictures and videos of guys bragging how "good they are" or "last a long time". What they fail to mention is how sketchy these tires perform even when not pushing them hard. For riders that don't know what to expect, they work really well right up to the point they don't.

Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way myself. The problem is you are going down a well known trail and the conditions changed to the worse from wind and or weather. What was nice hard pack 25 miles in is now soft rocky sand. Do you turn around and bail or try to get through on your crappy tires? I tried to push through and a stretched hamstring was the outcome. I was lucky. The front end tucked without warning and I rag dolled at only about 40 mph or so. It was 100% the tires fault. Anything under 35 mph and my bike just buried itself. I have been on this same stretch of deep sand with a knobby at well over 50mph with confidence and traction.
E3C7250B-8318-4EA8-86C1-FE20369767E5_1_105_c.jpeg
And I've tested a lot of tires over the years!! Soft compound, quick wearing, full blown knobby's are the safest in the dirt. Well I do have a paddle I keep on hand for the sand dunes.
4B5C7F53-43B6-4686-85F7-67F407581F40_1_105_c.jpeg


And it seems like someone else agrees with me. In fact Jimmy Lewis would not even attempt the sand on a street tire. And I know for a fact you cannot even take his off road safety class without a knobby.


The good news is a lot of manufacturers are making big block knobby tires that are as safe on the pavement as they are in the dirt. Why would someone who knows they are going off pavement want to save a few bucks or be too lazy to change tires just because "they last longer". I have learned to budget my tires into my trips. Not to mention the Super Tenere tire replacement is as easy as it gets.
 

madman4049

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Northwest Louisiana
It's true though, these three videos really show the difference in dirt focused vs "adventure look" tires. The two real knobbies TKC80 and Scorpion Rally tracked like a laser through all of what they put it through.

Even the STR which is quite a bit knobbier than most "adventure" tires still struggled in loose sand and hard pack dirt road and even in the video almost threw him, buried the nose, and had a very loose shaky front end. The TKC70 had the same problems.

And worse, tires like the Scorpion Trail II and Continental trail Attack 3 which I've run are amazing on pavement but even on gravel and loose dirt with a few rocks are sketchy AF at best.

I have Trail Attack 3's on right now because I did a 5 multi-day trip with family in campgrounds and then did an iron butt most of all of that was highway but I can tell you right now as soon as my spinal fusion heals TKC80's are going on. In the short time I ran the trail attack 3's in dirt and rocky terrain I did in fact eat dirt a few times and had many more close calls I should not have had/would not have had with proper tires.


 
Last edited:

SHUMBA

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ONTARIO, CANADA
This is not a Super Tenere but you get the idea.

https://advrider.com/a-dream-adventure-on-a-new-2020-ducati-1260-multistrada-enduro/

I have seen this time and time again and the riders almost always without fail blame themselves. Well I blame the tire. In case you don't want to read the story, he broke his leg. I have been at many off road events and have seen guys from pro level to novice riders crash over and over running crappy street tires in the dirt. Also those stupid E07's, Scouts, and other so called 50/50 "chevron tread" tires just don't work safely in the sand or any soft ground/loose rocks. Plenty of pictures and videos of guys bragging how "good they are" or "last a long time". What they fail to mention is how sketchy these tires perform even when not pushing them hard. For riders that don't know what to expect, they work really well right up to the point they don't.

Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way myself. The problem is you are going down a well known trail and the conditions changed to the worse from wind and or weather. What was nice hard pack 25 miles in is now soft rocky sand. Do you turn around and bail or try to get through on your crappy tires? I tried to push through and a stretched hamstring was the outcome. I was lucky. The front end tucked without warning and I rag dolled at only about 40 mph or so. It was 100% the tires fault. Anything under 35 mph and my bike just buried itself. I have been on this same stretch of deep sand with a knobby at well over 50mph with confidence and traction.
View attachment 61848
And I've tested a lot of tires over the years!! Soft compound, quick wearing, full blown knobby's are the safest in the dirt. Well I do have a paddle I keep on hand for the sand dunes.
View attachment 61849


And it seems like someone else agrees with me. In fact Jimmy Lewis would not even attempt the sand on a street tire. And I know for a fact you cannot even take his off road safety class without a knobby.


The good news is a lot of manufacturers are making big block knobby tires that are as safe on the pavement as they are in the dirt. Why would someone who knows they are going off pavement want to save a few bucks or be too lazy to change tires just because "they last longer". I have learned to budget my tires into my trips. Not to mention the Super Tenere tire replacement is as easy as it gets.
Great article along with great advice.
Get the appropriate tyres for your particular application.
A similarity, "all season" = "no season".
I'm referring to snow tyres on my SUV.
I drive a Subaru Forester AWD. Without proper snow tyres, it performs poorly in snow and icy conditions. With softer treaded compound snow tyres, it performs extremely well in these same conditions.
I replaced my Tenere tyres with strictly on road tyres, other than some gravel, I never take my Ten on a trail. If I did, I know it would result in disaster. It's not the tyres fault, It's clearly the riders fault.
SHUMBA

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OldRider

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Western Kentucky
Blame the tire huh? The tire didn't do anything wrong. It didn't take itself through sand it wasn't designed to go through. Some riders are good at long distance riding while other riders don't need to try it. It's the same with off road riding, if one doesn't have the skills to ride off road, then stay on the hard pan and leave the off road riding to the skilled riders. Stay in your lane. Not talking to anyone in particular JMHO.
 

SkunkWorks

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Sep 13, 2018
Messages
433
I could be mistaken, but it appears the "Chevron Type" tire in the first picture is mounted incorrectly (with the tread facing the wrong direction)
hard to say for sure without a better picture of the sidewall.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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Fullerton, CA
I could be mistaken, but it appears the "Chevron Type" tire in the first picture is mounted incorrectly (with the tread facing the wrong direction)
hard to say for sure without a better picture of the sidewall.
It's mounted correctly.

Blame the tire huh? The tire didn't do anything wrong. It didn't take itself through sand it wasn't designed to go through. Some riders are good at long distance riding while other riders don't need to try it. It's the same with off road riding, if one doesn't have the skills to ride off road, then stay on the hard pan and leave the off road riding to the skilled riders. Stay in your lane. Not talking to anyone in particular JMHO.
Yes I do blame the tire. Some of these crappy street tires are marketed as an off road tire. There are actually inexperienced riders that believe the hype and it ends up bitting them. And then you have these crazy "look at me" pictures and videos of doing some kind of brainless ride that only shows the good and not the bad outcome.

A prime example was a long 1400 miles with 150+ mile dirt ride I did a few months back. Every single picture, video, and description of the ride out to Toroweap Overlook was 100% BS (except for the BLM website). I would not have been able to make it had I not been on a knobby tire.

I consider myself a pretty well rounded solid "C" rider novice. I can do distance on the slab as well as hard core dirt riding. Not fast or pretty mind you. Just average.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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Fullerton, CA
It's true though, these three videos really show the difference in dirt focused vs "adventure look" tires. The two real knobbies TKC80 and Scorpion Rally tracked like a laser through all of what they put it through.

Even the STR which is quite a bit knobbier than most "adventure" tires still struggled in loose sand and hard pack dirt road and even in the video almost threw him, buried the nose, and had a very loose shaky front end. The TKC70 had the same problems.

And worse, tires like the Scorpion Trail II and Continental trail Attack 3 which I've run are amazing on pavement but even on gravel and loose dirt with a few rocks are sketchy AF at best.

I have Trail Attack 3's on right now because I did a 5 multi-day trip with family in campgrounds and then did an iron butt most of all of that was highway but I can tell you right now as soon as my spinal fusion heals TKC80's are going on. In the short time I ran the trail attack 3's in dirt and rocky terrain I did in fact eat dirt a few times and had many more close calls I should not have had/would not have had with proper tires.


Kyle is the man when it comes to testing tires. His tests are the real deal. He is an outstanding rider.
 

madman4049

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Northwest Louisiana
Kyle is the man when it comes to testing tires. His tests are the real deal. He is an outstanding rider.
Yup those videos don't leave any gray area which is why I posted them all. Seeing all the different tires run the same trail, sand, and hills. Seeing what performs and what doesn't, people can talk all they want video brings out the truth. Truth was most of the road biased tires almost threw him several times, the dirt biased not so much just tractored through with ease.
 

Mak10

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SE Idaho
It’s not really new news that a knobby is going to perform better in the dirt.

And it’s not fair to compare a tire that you run on a 250 lb dirt bike to tires you run on a super Tenere.
Comparing apples to oranges.

Looking at the pile of tires you took a picture of, which ones were run on a S10? None would be my guess.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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Yup those videos don't leave any gray area which is why I posted them all. Seeing all the different tires run the same trail, sand, and hills. Seeing what performs and what doesn't, people can talk all they want video brings out the truth. Truth was most of the road biased tires almost threw him several times, the dirt biased not so much just tractored through with ease.
Kyles videos truly are honest and forthcoming. He even shows when he drops the bike or when the tires step out unexpectedly. It is always pretty much the same loops and same changing terrain for all the tire testing. I have been on some of the trails he is doing and would not attempt some of them on a Super Tenere.

It’s not really new news that a knobby is going to perform better in the dirt.

And it’s not fair to compare a tire that you run on a 250 lb dirt bike to tires you run on a super Tenere.
Comparing apples to oranges.

Looking at the pile of tires you took a picture of, which ones were run on a S10? None would be my guess.
The same applies to a 600+ lb bike as it does a 275lb one when it comes to tire selection. Of course you have to get the correct load rating. When that picture was taken I did not have my Super Tenere. I might also add that the same exact riding technique is used for the Super Tenere as it does on a lighter bike. Only difference is respecting the weight and the limits of the suspension on the bigger bike. In other words it's impossible to go as fast on the Super Tenere through the rougher terrain. I have yet to see anyone blast through the whoops on a 600 lb bike. Inertia then takes over and bad things happen.

It just looks backwards to me compared to all the other Chevron type tires i have ever seen..............
It's a Kenda K761. The front is marked backward from the way a typical directional front tire is marked. I was thinking the same thing when I mounted it. I figure the engineers are much smarter than myself so I mounted it in the direction of the arrow.
 

tntmo

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Yes I do blame the tire. Some of these crappy street tires are marketed as an off road tire. There are actually inexperienced riders that believe the hype and it ends up bitting them. And then you have these crazy "look at me" pictures and videos of doing some kind of brainless ride that only shows the good and not the bad outcome.
So blame the inanimate object instead of the "inexperienced rider"? Seems quite backwards to me.

Cue crazy look at me pictures of brainless rides.

ADV Scooter?


Some idiot (me) took his supermoto out to the desert and sand dunes. I had a great time that weeknd!
 

ballisticexchris

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tntmo, you were just lucky that day. I have been up Blow Sand hill dozens of times and that's just nuts on a Super Moto bike. How about a picture of you riding that same bike off to the right of that picture at the top. Down into the rocks and through the narrow canyon.
 

tntmo

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tntmo, you were just lucky that day. I have been up Blow Sand hill dozens of times and that's just nuts on a Super Moto bike. How about a picture of you riding that same bike off to the right of that picture at the top. Down into the rocks and through the narrow canyon.
I rode it all weekend, Shell Reef, Pumpkin Patch, the backside of Blow Sand through the rocks all the way down to The Cove. Not too difficult at all, getting to the top of Blow Sand was the biggest challenge but it just took some momentum.
 

tntmo

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Edit to add: Yes, the tires were not the correct choice for the conditions. I brought my supermoto out there to prove to someone I ride with that it could be done. Could and should are two completely different things.
 

madman4049

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I tell people my Tenere is an SUV-Just remember it’s not a Jeep.
There's alot of truth to this, there's a lot of places I'll take my Tenere, but there's also alot of places I won't. It's really pretty good off-road if not loaded down with side cases, but it's also not the same as my 250 dual sport either. I don't have the skill to hop trees and boulders with a 600-700lb bike and I'm not gonna try, it's an expensive bike and I like my bones unbroken.

So blame the inanimate object instead of the "inexperienced rider"? Seems quite backwards to me.

Cue crazy look at me pictures of brainless rides.

ADV Scooter?


Some idiot (me) took his supermoto out to the desert and sand dunes. I had a great time that weeknd!
Those bikes and scooter aren't comparable to a tenere off-road and also aren't 600lbs plus with luggage. Also that picture of the scooter a harley could handle that road, so could a Camry not really a good pic to prove your point. Washing out/dumping a light dual sport usually isn't really a big deal I know I done it a lot. I'll take my 250 on some pretty crazy terrain, boulders, etc that I wouldn't even look at with want on the Tenere. Different animals all together, if you have the skill to tear up rough terrain on a 1200 ADV bike with cases and street tires then you're far better rider and ballsier than me.
 

Checkswrecks

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Edit to add: Yes, the tires were not the correct choice for the conditions. I brought my supermoto out there to prove to someone I ride with that it could be done. Could and should are two completely different things.
And that to me is the key. The person has to pick the tool for the job. I can do things well with the wrong tool that my Karen won't even try with the correct tool.
 
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