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Best Adventure Motorcycle Tires in 2023

by Jakob Saks
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Best Adventure Motorcycle Tires in 2023

Mitas or Heidenau? Anakee Wild or TKC80? Pirelli or Michelin?

If you’re wondering what the best ADV tires in 2023 are, these aren’t the first questions to ask.

Don’t get us wrong, brands matter, and we’ll cover them in the final section of this post. Some manufacturers make better 50/50 tires than others, some brands are better at 70/30’s, some promise longer distances out of a tire, while others still emphasize traction and grip.

In other words, comparing adventure motorcycle tires by the manufacturer is just half the mission.

First, it’s best to figure out your riding needs, the type of riding you prefer, and the mileage you do on and off the road. Then, take a look at your budget, and finally, compare makes and models. The sweet spot of the best ADV tires in 2023 lies at the intersection of intended use, terrain type, preferred longevity, price points, and manufacturers.

Here's how to make adventure motorcycle tire choices easier (and make the damned things last longer):
 

50/50, 60/40, 70/30: What’s That All About?

Numbers like 50/50 or 70/30 mean the amount of riding you’ll do on dirt vs on pavement. If a tire is made to be a 50/50, it means it’s equally good for tarmac and dirt riding. A 60/40 tire means it’s got better off-road capabilities while still being pretty good on-road; 70/30 is an off-road-oriented tire that will manage some paved miles, but you better watch out in rainy conditions on the tarmac.
If you typically ride pavement and off-road in more or less equal measure, a 50/50 tire is your best choice. If you’re a dirt maniac who simply needs to cover a few paved liaisons here and there, you’re better off with a 70/30 tire.



Some veteran adventure riders may argue the devil is in the detail and nuance: for some of us, a 50/50 tire may mean it’s equally good on-road or off-road, but others may say it’s equally… useless for both. You’ll see plenty of world travelers happily covering crazy distances – paved and dirt – on 70/30 tires simply because they’re willing to sacrifice comfort on pavement for better off-road traction overall; others will swear a 60/40 tire is the best compromise when you ride both dirt and pavement and cover big miles.

It all comes down to your personal preference. If you’re starting out and don’t plan to ride gnarly trails just yet, a 50/50 adventure motorcycle tire may be your best bet. It takes time to gain experience and figure out what sort of riding you love the most, so for entry-level riders, 50/50 tires are often the safest choice. If you already know you want to avoid tarmac as much as possible, opt for the 60/40 or 70/30.


Tire Life and Durability

As a general rule of thumb, road tires last longer than dirt tires for the simple reason that gnarly surfaces shred a tire faster. Because of this, you’ll naturally get more mileage out of a 50/50 tire than a 70/30 one. This is where the other factors – the type of riding you do and the distances you cover – come into play.

Let’s say you’re a weekend warrior, and you cover around five hundred miles a month riding both on and off-road in more or less equal measure. Your dirt riding is mostly forest service roads or hard-packed dirt; the rest is tarmac. For this type of riding, gnarly off-road tires are overkill, and you should be more than fine with 50/50’s – plus get some serious mileage out of them.

Enduro ride

On the other hand, if you often ride rocky, technical, unpredictable terrain, don’t expect to get away with anything less than 70/30 – and in most cases, you’ll be changing your tires every 2,000 miles or so.

If you’re embarking on a long adventure motorcycle expedition – say, riding the entire length of the TAT or going from Alaska to Ushuaia – and you plan to ride dirt and pavement in more or less equal parts, a 60/40 tire may be a great solution. A 60/40 will be slightly more capable off-road and offer better traction, but you’ll still be safe riding pavement and, most likely, the tire will last longer.

ADV TIRES: BRANDS AND COSTS

Now for the costs: the old saying that you get what you pay for is true when it comes to adventure motorcycle tires. It’s not that cheaper tires are necessarily poorer quality, but they most likely won’t last long. A simple calculation here is this: is it worth buying one set of tires that will last for 6,000 miles, or three sets that will last 2,000 miles each? It depends on whom you ask – and how often you’re willing to change your tires.

Finally, it’s time to look at brands once you figure out your adventure tire needs. The best way to go about it is by looking into the manufacturer’s history and focus: are they purely off-road-oriented, aimed at motocross and enduro races? Are they primarily road tire manufacturers? The company’s origins and mission will tell you a lot about the tires they make.

Oftentimes, bigger manufacturers will cross over and start making all-purpose tires, and that’s where research matters. If a motocross tire manufacturer starts making 50/50 or road tires, it doesn’t necessarily mean these will be of less quality, but it’s always best to buy from experienced experts. Horses for courses: you want your dirt bike tires made by dirt bike tire experts, and you want your ADV tires from an ADV-oriented company.

 

BEST ADV TIRES IN 2023: MANUFACTURER COMPARISON

Bridgestone Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 (Tubeless)

Bridgestone Battlax Adventure Trail AT41

Picture Credit: Bridgestone homepage

This tire is one of the newest Bridgestone creations in the ADV world marketed as a 20/80 tire (20% off-road, 80% tarmac). Promising serious longevity, durability, and reduced noise, the Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 is aimed at adventure riders who mostly stay on pavement but want to feel comfortable enough on hard-packed dirt and gravel. Mud and snow-approved, these tires perform well in dry and wet conditions and promise long miles. Favored by world travelers like Kinga “On Her Bike” Tanajewska, Bridgestone Battlax Trail AT41 is made for large-capacity adventure motorcycles and long-distance rides.

Expected mileage: 6,000 - 7,000 miles
Price: $155-$200 rear, 
$250 rear

 

Dunlop Trailmax Mission (Tubeless)

Dunlop Trailmax Mission

Picture Credit: Dunlop homepage

A serious rival of the Battlax, Dunlop’s Trailmax Mission boasts more off-road capability: this is a 50/50 tire meant for both road and dirt riding. Staggered “shark teeth” knob design and wraparound sidewall lugs provide extra grip off-road while the tire remains smooth and steady on tarmac twisties. Aimed at big adventure bikes, the Trailmax Mission isn’t perfect for hard terrain, nor is it ideal for high-speed cornering – as we’ve mentioned before, a 50/50 tire is meant to be good enough for both on-road and off-road riding, but not great at the extremes of either – but it definitely holds its own among the best ADV tires in 2023.

Expected mileage: 8,000 miles
Price: $130 front, $270 rear

 

Heidenau K60 Ranger (Tubeless)

 Haidenau K 60 RANGER

Picture Credit: Heidenau homepage

A classic among adventure riders and world travelers, Heidenau has long dominated the market with its tough, made-to-last K60 Scouts. Last year, Heidenau came out with a new version of the Scout: the K60 Ranger. While the Scout was marketed as a 50/50 tire, the Ranger is made for 70% off-road use and 30% street. Boasting better grip due to more aggressive knobs yet retaining that hard carcass that made the Scouts puncture–resistant, the Ranger is a great choice for adventure riders preferring to stay on dirt. In addition, Heidenau K60 Ranger is a more budget-friendly tire than the Bridgestone or the Dunlop – that is, with a little sacrifice on the longevity side of things.

Expected mileage: 5,000 miles
Price: $98-$200

 

Continental Twinduro TKC80 (Tubeless)

Continental Twinduro TKC80

Picture Credit: Continental tires homepage

Continental’s TKC80, much like Heidenau, is another classic in the adventure tire world. It’s a big-block, 50/50 tire that performs surprisingly well on dirt while remaining stable and steady on-road. The hard carcass provides puncture resistance and longevity while the big, aggressive knobs offer plenty of grip. Favored by world travelers like Simon and Lisa Thomas, the TKC80 is a great choice for long-distance, dirt-biased adventure touring.

Expected mileage: 8,000 miles
Price: $130 front, $200 rear

 

Michelin Anakee Wild (Tubeless)

Michelin Anakee Wild

 

Picture Credit: Michelin homepage

Based on their Dakar-winning experience with the Desert Race model, Michelin has offered up the Anakee Wild, an adventure tire that’s technically a 50/50 with all the on-road performance but surprisingly good off-road capabilities. While most 50/50 ADV tires can handle hard-packed dirt and gravel, Anakee Wild happily takes on mud and sand, too. It’s steady enough on road (although some riders have reported high-speed cornering instability), and the unique tread pattern allows for good grip in wet conditions. The Anakees are pricier than most 50/50 adventure tires, but last longer than most 80/20 tires. In other words, the Anakee Wild seems to be a decent compromise for off-road-loving adventure riders who need to cover highway miles in between.

Expected mileage: 5,000 miles
Price: $150 front, $320 rear

 

Mitas E-07+ (Tubeless/tubed)

Mitas E-07+

Picture Credit: Mitas homepage

Mitas, a Czech tire manufacturer, is one of the leading tire brands in the adventure, dual sport, and enduro space and known for durability and reliability. The E-07+ is one of their most popular adventure tires featuring hard compound and chevron-patterned tread meant for 50/50 riding. While it can be a little squirrely on road at higher speeds, the E-07+ performs well in both dry and wet conditions and can take on serious off-road abuse. Where Mitas truly shines, however, is longevity – the E-07+ is made to last despite being dirt-biased.

Expected mileage: 7,000 miles
Price: $120 front, $230 rear

 

Motoz Tractionator GPS (Tubeless/Tubed)

 

Motoz Tractionator GPS

Picture Credit: Motoz homepage

Another tire manufacturer known for tire durability and longevity, Motoz is an Australian brand focusing on long-distance adventure travel. Their Tractionator GPS tire promises “long mileage, serious traction, and smooth transition from pavement to gravel to dirt” – and it seems to deliver. Unique compound, strong carcass, and deep tread make the tires last longer; another quirky feature of the Tractionator is the reversible rear tire. Using the tire in one direction means better road handling, and reversing it provides more off-road capability. Some world travelers like RTW Paul claim the Tractionator GPS can last for as much as 12,000 miles – an impressive number for an ADV tire.

Expected mileage: 9,000 miles
Price: $125 front, $190 rear

 

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR (Tubeless)

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

Picture Credit: Pirelli homepage

Pirelli is an Italian tire manufacturer known for its rally heritage, and their Scorpion Rally STR, while aimed at adventure riders, draws from rally tradition. It’s a 50/50 tire somewhat similar to the Continental Twinduro TKC80, but the secret sauce is Pirelli’s patented compound blending process essentially making an enduro tire perform well on the road and provide plenty of grip in any conditions. Increasingly popular among adventure riders venturing into the rally world (think ADV-friendly rallies like the Hellas Rally Raid), the Scorpion Rally STR is a solid ADV tire choice for dual-sport riding, the only drawbacks being its shorter lifespan and price.

Expected mileage: 6,000 miles
Price: $160 front, $260 rear

 

Metzeler Karoo 4 (Tubeless)

Metzeler Karoo 4

Picture Credit: Metzeler homepage

Metzeler Karoo 4 is often compared to the classic Heidenau K60 Scout – except it delivers more grip off-road. While mud and deep sand may be a tad much, especially on a heavy adventure bike, the Karoo 4 performs well on hard-packed dirt, rocks, and loose gravel while retaining decent on-road capability. Boasting 30% more mileage than its predecessor, the Karoo 4 is an all-around ADV tire popular among TAT and Backcountry Discovery riders.

Expected mileage: 6,000 miles
Price: $130 front, $230 rear

 

Shinko 705 Dual Sport (Tubeless)

Shinko 705 Dual Sport

Picture Credit: Shinko homepage

Designed as a 70% road and 30% off-road tire, Shinko 705 Dual Sport is a budget-friendly ADV tire favored by cross-country riders. Excellent on pavement and providing just enough grip for hard-packed dirt, Shinko 705 Dual Sport has a great lifespan, durability, and puncture resistance. It probably won’t be much fun in deep sand, gnarly terrain, or mud, but it’ll behave nicely on forest service roads and feel smooth and stable enough on tarmac – and it won’t break your wallet.

Expected mileage: 8,000 miles
Price: $120 front, $160 rear

While these are the biggest names offering the best ADV tires in 2023, there are several other noteworthy mentions such as Kenda Big Block and Anlas Capra X. However, due to lower availability, we’ll leave it up to you to research other tire options depending on your location.

 

NEW ADV TIRES IN 2023

New year, new tires? Much like the adventure bikes themselves, ADV tires are constantly evolving. This year, several manufacturers are coming out with new tire models promising more grip, more durability, and more braap for the buck. 

 

Mitas E-07 Enduro Trail (Tubeless)

Mitas E-07 Enduro Trail

Picture Credit: Mitas homepage

Mitas may not be the most creative when naming their new generation tires, but the E-07 Enduro Trail is decidedly an original product. Designed in collaboration with KTM, Enduro Trail is a 60% on-road and 40% off-road tire with the M+S (mud and snow) approval, and it boasts 20% more mileage than its predecessor. Hard rubber compound of the E-07+, a more rounded profile for better cornering, and an aggressive chevron tread pattern for grip in wet and muddy conditions promise smooth and steady handling on pavement while the reinforced carcass, according to Mitas, means “almost complete puncture protection”.

 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid (Tubeless)

Dunlop Trailmax Raid

Picture Credit: Dunlop homepage

From Mission to Raid: Dunlop’s newest offering is a 50/50 tire made from a newly developed rubber compound for more durability and a longer lifespan. Riders often complain that off-road oriented 50/50 tires don’t offer enough grip on wet tarmac roads; Dunlop claims that the Trailmax Raid does, all while maintaining decent enough off-road capability. Time will tell – but for now, the Trailmax Raid sounds like a promising new ADV tire for 2023.

So there you have it: while there are dozens of different tire choices out there, the best ADV tires are the ones that fit your bike, the type of riding you do, and your budget most closely.

Last but not least, whether you get tires that last for thousands of miles or just a month of gnarly trails, you’ll need to change your rubber every once in a while. Tire changes may seem daunting, but with our Rabaconda ADV Tire Changer kit, the job can be done easily, painlessly, and within minutes. Not sure if it’s for you? Take this quiz and find out!

by Jakob Saks

POST COMMENTS

Guy C
Guy C

Choice for newbie
For someone new to off-road/ADV riding, I’ll always suggest to go for the best off-road-traction tire you can fit when you go discover what it is like off the beaten path.
It’s much easier to ease-up a bit on pavement than it is to find yourself short on the traction factor while trying your hand at off-roading on a heavy bike.
It’s pretty near impossible to develop much ability, confidence and/or technique if your on the wrong tire for the condition off-road.
Maybe you’ll think it’s a waste of money to fit tires that will last half as much as a set that is more road-oriented but then you may want to think about what you want to do with your ADV bike, your experience level and the safety while off-pavement, not to forget the fun factor.
Happy trails!

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