This is the basic tire info – what the different tread types are for, when to replace them, what air pressures you should use, what the good brands are, and a good breakdown of what you need to really look at!
Choosing the right tire type is crucial to how your bike performs! A top quality pair of knobbies will not only improve acceleration and traction, but it will also drastically improve the braking, cornering, bump absorption and overall handling of your machine – not to mention will help you in situations where the right tire choice is key.
Dirt bike tires come in many different shapes, sizes, rubber compounds, colors and tread patterns to function best in various environments. Selecting the correct tire for the conditions you will be riding in is important. So, which tires should you use? You’ll find that most motocross tires and enduro tires are conveniently labeled according to the type of terrain they are designed for. Here are some of them…
Hard Terrain: For hard, dry terrain tires will generally be made of a soft, outer rubber compound to provide extra grip on hard surfaces. The knobs will be spaced closely together on these tires for improved footing and traction. These are great for hard-pack and desert riding.
Soft Terrain: Used in soft, loamy, muddy and sandy conditions. The rubber compound is hard and the knobs will be taller and shaped in a paddle or scoop-like pattern. Large spaces between the knobs allow mud to be thrown from the tire preventing mud clogging up the gaps. Front tires will have pointy knobs for digging in. If you look closely at the rear tire it somewhat mimics a paddle tire down the middle.
Intermediate Terrain: Designed for varying conditions in between hard and soft tracks. If you ride trails, and track from time to time, or go from soft to hardpack like Michigan riders do, this is a great do-all tire.
Paddle Tires: These are designed for riding in sand, plain and simple. These aggressive, sand paddles literally shovel out sand in pale fulls! Large rubber scoops spaced wide apart give you the ultimate traction in the dunes. ONLY for the sand!
Trials Tires are beginning to become a favorite of many trail riders. They are designed to grip in dry hardpack or rocky terrain. They also do when when dry dirt turns to grease! I have seen many of these begin to show up on trails all over the U.S.
Dirt Bike Tire General Information
- Air pressure: When riding in sand or mud, lower the air pressure to around 10psi in the rear and 11-12psi in the front. This allows more surface area on the tires to contact and grip with the sand. For harder conditions on motocross tracks and trail riding over stones, branches e.t.c, inflate them up to around 13psi, 14psi max. If the air pressure is too low over hard terrain, you will damage your rims.
Do not tighten the nut (on the air piece) to the rim. It’s not meant to be tightened. Back it off to meet the valve cap once you’ve got the air pressure right.
- Inner tubes: Different strengths and thicknesses are available. If you ride trails regularly, use a thicker, heavier duty inner tube to help prevent those dreaded punctures.
- When to replace your tires: You will know when…please don’t wait until you have little round knobs left! When the knobs begin to shrink and have very rounded edges, it is time to get some new ones. A good rule of thumb is to replace both front and rear at the same time.
- Brands: Some popular, quality brands are… Michelin, Dunlop, Kenda, Bridgestone, Pirelli and Maxxis, IRC, and Shinko.
See you on the trails!