What a palava… tyres are a complete minefield. Every person you speak to has a different view or opinion. But then the dual sport tyre is used for so many different purposes it’s bound to be a tricky one. I don’t have much knowledge of tyres and sizes. I really struggled researching the best tyre combo for general dual sport riding and before my Elefant rally trip especially. I wanted grip down there in snow and mud but the ability to ride 1600 miles of road and possibly rough tracks. My riding is probably 70/30 road biased but there is nothing worse than not enjoying the 30% fun bit!
Anyway, if this helps one person with their next tyre choice it was worth it.
After almost 4000 miles the stock 120/80 x18 rear tyre was knackered and over due a change. I had previously contemplated squeezing a few more miles out of it and running it to the Elefant rally, then putting a nice new set of tyres on when I returned. Maybe then I would have made my mind up what to go for…
With just over a week to go and a little (ok big) last minute panic. I found myself at Gear tech racing in Eastry, Kent chatting to Ron.
He had in stock the new 2019 Michelin Trackers. 110/100 and 100/100 sizes. I couldn’t find any reviews online so I was going ahead a bit blind…As an MX expert I trusted his judgement. We agreed leave the front as I was confident with the way it handled on road (albeit shite off road!) it and it had plenty of life left for this trip. Then swop the rear for one of these with rim lock, heavy duty inner tube and some slime to deal with a potential puncture.
I requested the 110 to replace my 120 stock tyre. When I picked the wheel up he explained the tyre sizes were different in MX and Enduro tyres, and that this 100/100 was almost the same as my stock so he fitted that instead. Next to each other could see for myself there wasn’t much in it. I even measured them when I got home after lots of comments online asking why did you go for a 100 over a 120. It turns out after reading up that the tall skinnier tyres are better for soft mud anyway. Being this is only a 20hp 250cc bike, did I need a massive overally grippy rear tyre and risk wearing the clutch out?
In high and sight I feel that I should have ordered a Dunlop D606 before hand but it was my own fault skimping after Christmas and leaving it late! You know how it is in January. My chosen selection for next time is the Dunlop on the rear and a 90/90×21 Pirelli MT21 on the front… convince me otherwise CRF riders!
First impressions of this tyre then. Disappointed with the reviews I was getting since buying it I decided I should make up my own mind. It looks ok to me. Many have said it’s too skinny but make your own mind up from the pics below. Could the 110 have fitted after all? Possibly? I may call in and show Ron just so I know for future reference. There is a bit of a gap either side and at the front still.
I took the bike out on a rainy morning and did 20 miles including a very wet and muddy byway with some sand thrown in!
I have to say on the road, it felt smooth and nice and curved. Not too noisy either or much vibration. Probably after riding on the squared off old stock one anything would feel great!
I gingerly rode gaining confidence in the grip on the wet roads. What was I worried about? It felt fine. I didn’t feel it track at all after testing it on some lines in the road. Stamping on the rear brake a couple of times it would lock up but then it was a nobbly in the wet, what do you expect…? The odd change down the gears quickly and you’d feel it bite a little. But if you ride expecting this then it shouldn’t be an issue. After all I won’t be going mad in freezing temperatures on the trip.
On the byways it felt very grippy and gave me new confidence for off road riding which I do lack. It didn’t slip about like the old one would on sloppy uneven mud.
So reasonably happy with the tyre after all my only concern now was, how long will it last? Again someone mentioned online you will be lucky to make it home before that wears out on the road. All it needs to do is 1600 mile round trip and it will have achieved its purpose. I guess the worst that can happen is I find myself in Germany at a bike shop getting another tyre on the way home possibly…
I will update the post again with a review after the trip in a couple of weeks! Subscribe to GFOSB… if your interested in the trip preparation see the earlier post in GFOSB https://greatfunonsmallbikes.com/2020/01/03/the-elefant-rally-2020/
UPDATE – 1400 mile review
Well the trip was a success. The tyre performed really well on the wet European motorways. I felt confident on the road with this tyre. Hardly any wear after the trip, see the pic below. Off road in the snow and mud traction was fantastic. I did not worry about getting around the rally site and the bike handled well in the compacted snow and ice on the roads where other vehicles were stuck. For green laning I’d recommend this most certainly on the CRF without the worry of wearing the tyre out on the roads between the lanes.
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