Adventure bikes have become among the best-selling types of bike; their comfortable, roomy and upright riding position, high stance for seeing over other traffic and long-distance touring ability makes them extremely popular.
And many riders may like to think that although they spend the vast majority of their time on sealed roads if the mood takes them, they could head off-road for a little bit of muddy fun.
Of course, pure road bikes would use road-only tyres while off-roaders would use rubber much more suited to loose and slippery conditions (we’ll be looking at these at a later date). But it is possible to get a set of tyres that will work really well on the roads and allow a degree of traction should you want to go on the odd off-road foray.
Most manufacturers offer something in their range but remember; they are predominantly designed for bikes that spend most of their time on-road – we’re talking tyres with roughly a 90/10 road/off-road split here, so don’t expect to do a track day or an enduro on them though they will be perfectly suited to a long tour or a commute.
All prices quoted here are for the popular 150/70 x17in rear and 120/70x19in front sizes found on road-focused adventure bikes. More off-road focussed variants generally use 21in front wheels, which open up options for proper off-road tyres much more.
The best motorcycle adventure-sports tyres
Mitas Terra Force-R
Described as a 90/10 tyre, the Terra Force-R is designed to give excellent traction on wet and dry roads but allow light off-road work. A high silica content gives additional grip on wet or cold surfaces while multiple compounds mean the central section is harder for longer life while the outer sections are softer for cornering grip.
Michelin Anakee Adventure
Best off-road capabilities
The Anakee Adventure from Michelin is described as an 80/20 tyre, meaning it has slightly more off-road ability than the others here and this would appear clear from the design of the tread pattern, which appears more u2018blockyu2019. Multiple compounds are used, with different ones front and rear to deliver grip with steering response and traction respectively. Also homologated for use as official tyres on the BMW R1250GS, the best-selling big adventure bike.
When RiDE tested adventure tyres, it said these would be a good upgrade from some standard tyres at the right price and with 43% off at Demon Tweeks currently, that seems the case. Dual compound for life as well as grip, they contain high silica for wet grip as well as lower-content sections for dry and straight-line running and the grooves are designed to clear water when the bike is mid or full-lean.
Replacement for the Trailsmart Max, the Trailmax Meridian has, according to Dunlop, a foot in the sport, touring and adventure camps, with a 90/10 split. It has a new design of tread which increases traction on wet roads as well as loose surfaces and improves water clearance. Like other tyres, it has multi-compound technology for a harder centre and a softer shoulder for optimised grip and wear-resistance.
Bridgestone Adventure A41
These Bridgestones have been developed for primarily-road riders and deliver excellent wet-weather grip without excessive wear. When tested by RiDE, they gave great confidence and stability, even on broken roads and gave good feel. The testers felt they would offer a good improvement over some OE tyres and would suit all sorts of riders, giving them a Recommended award.
Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2
Pirelliu2019s Scorpion Trail IIs took a Recommended award in RiDEu2019s test, for making the test bike feel lighter, easier to ride and more fun. A dual-compound design with a harder, more wear-resistant centre and softer shoulders, the tread pattern is created to maximise grip in wet and dry conditions and offer a degree of off-road ability as well as on-road wet and dry performance.
Another tyre gaining a Recommended tag with RiDE, the Continentals proved to be accurate, inspiring confidence and working well from cold, the testers feeling they should suit most riders. Like the others here, they use multiple compounds and offer a short bedding-in time for optimum grip as quickly as possible.
The Trailrider from Avon uses a tread pattern that is more aggressive than some of the others here and even though it delivers high performance off-road according to the manufacturer, it gives superb grip on-road too, thanks to the design of the drainage grooves and the sipes. Designated 90/10 on/off-road.