Off-road motorcycle tyres for your next adventure

Like any aspect of kit, having the right off-road motorcycle tyres will make every ride more enjoyable

Off-road motorcycle tyres

by Jim Blackstock |

If you fancy the idea of a foray off-road on your adventure bike on anything more extreme than cutting across the grass by the kerb to get to your garage, you will benefit enormously from a pair of tyres with some genuine off-road ability.

We looked at adventure-sport tyres recently - road tyres that offer a marginal degree of off-road ability, normally in the 90/10, road/off-road ratio. The tyres we’re looking at here are designed to offer a spread of abilities that are more skewed towards off-road performance, but with decent on-road capability as well. Think roughly 50/50, road/off-road, though with a little variation either way — the kind of tyre you would be able to rely on en route to an off-road adventure.

Off-road tyres will generally have larger-blocked tread designs than corresponding road tyres, so clear more loose material, water or mud away and get the rubber blocks to contact the hardest ground possible. Tyres designed for very muddy conditions, as we find primarily in the UK even in spring and summer, have even more extreme tread blocks and are often referred to as ‘knobblies’ due to their appearance.

While a set of enduro-derived knobblies would give the ultimate grip in muddy or slippery conditions, you probably wouldn’t want to ride 75 miles each way to your chosen green lane outing on them, not least because of the noise they'd make. We’ll be looking at pure off-road tyres at another time, but the tyres we’ve assembled here would give a good account of themselves on both the tarmac and the mud.

It’s worth mentioning that bikes that are serious about heading off-road will usually have a 21in front-wheel and probably an 18in rear. This opens up a huge variety of options when it comes to off-road tyres. They will also probably be mounted to spoked wheel rims, which tend to be more forgiving of off-road knocks than say a cast-alloy wheel. This does mean, however, that unless specifically designed otherwise, spoked wheels with off-road tyres will also require inner tubes to keep the tyres inflated to the proper profile.

The best off-road motorcycle tyres shortlist:

Avon TrekRider

Maxxis Dual Sport M6006

Continental TKC 80

Dunlop Trailmax Mission

Metzeler Karoo 3

Bridgestone Battlax

Michelin Anakee Wild

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

The best off-road motorcycle tyres:

Avonu2019s Trekrider is a slightly more aggressive design than its Trailrider stablemate, allowing

Avon TrekRider

The Dual Sport from Maxxis is a road tyre from the off-road specialists and will deliver good grip

Maxxis Dual Sport M6006

Continentalu2019s TKC 80 Twinduro is described by the manufacturer as the u2018King of the

Continental TKC 80

Designed for going the distance on both on-road and off-road for big adventures, the Trailmax

Dunlop Trailmax Mission

Estimated to be 60/40 road/off-road and intended for hard-packed surfaces, the Karoo 3s feature a

Metzeler Karoo 3

Similar-looking to the Metzeler Karoo 3s but with larger blocks and spaced more like a familiar

Bridgestone Battlax

Designed to offer a combination of on and off-road ability, the Michelin Anakee Wild features

Michelin Anakee Wild

Designed to be used on-road on the way to off-road adventures, the Scorpion Rally STR is a blocky

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

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