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Overview

This page is an edited collection of comments about and experiences with various tires used on the Kawasaki KLR650. Items were extracted from the DSN_KLR650 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSN_KLR650 group, starting with posts on or around December, 2004, as well as the KLR650 FAQ and KLR650 tires FAQ http://www.bigcee.com/faq/tires.html. There are more tires available for the KLR650, however these are the only ones mentioned in any detail during this time period.

Also, see http://www.ta-deti.de/ta/tires.html for an interesting survey of dual sport tires by Honda Transalp users and http://vstrom.info/fom-serve/cache/8.html by Suzuki VStrom users.

Disclaimer

These are opinions written by nonprofessional cyclists who each have their own way of riding and have different needs. One person's idea of aggressive riding might be your idea of an easy trip. As you will notice there is a wide variation of opinion. It's up to you to decide which comments are believable and are worthy of being applied to your own context.

Neither the authors of the comments or the author of this site can be held responsible for the contents of this page, mistakes made in assembling it, or the suitability of any tire for a particular purpose.

Why aren't there any name attributions for the authors of the comments?

I chose to keep the comments anonymous because I ended up having to heavily edit some of them in order to get to the meat. Rearranging people's words without consulting them would have been unfair and I didn't feel like going through a long edit/revision cycle with the authors.

Where to buy tires

Here's a few places to order some of the tires listed here. The author has no affiliation with any of these institutions and this is not an endorsement!

Notes on tire air pressure

From a discussion about taking road-oriented tires off road:

"Anakees, Scorpians, Gripsters, and the like are all down right scary off road at first until you get used to them a bit, but airing them down makes a damn HUGE difference. And I don't mean letting out 3-7 lbs either. I air my Gripsters down to about 12 front and 14 rear (when they are hot too) and it gives you a much MUCH better bite and feel for the dirt/rock/gravel that you are traveling on.

A comment on air pressure

"Tire life goes down dramatically if the pressure is lower than appropriate for conditions, even when the tire is only 4 psi low. Some people carry a small compressor so they can air down for dirt, and back up for the street. Some people have gotten more out of a rear tire by running anywhere from 30 to 36 psi, depending on load and riding conditions. Some people runing the (owner's manual) recommended pressures have gotten only 1500 to 2000 miles out of a stock rear - big rider, lots of highway"

Contents

Street-only Kenda Challenger K657 F
Street-oriented Avon Distanzia
Avon Gripster
  Bridgestone TrailWing
Kenda K761
Dunlop  D607
Metzler Tourance
Michelin T66
Michelin Anakee
Pirelli Scorpion MT90
Kings KT-966
50/50 Kenda K270
Maxxis C-6006
Continental TKC80
Dunlop K750 (stock tires)
Bridgestone Trailwing
IRC GP1, GP110
Metzler Sahara 3
Dirt-oriented Metzler MCE Karoo
Dunlop D606
Pirelli MT21
Non-DOT Bridgestone M22

 

AVON GRIPSTER

  • I have gripsters on my bike for the last 7,500 miles and they look like they could go another 7,500 miles and they are great on road. As for off road if I need a more dirt worthy tire I'll switch bikes . As for dirt roads I really have to try real hard to get the rear end to come out. I must say I don't think they would be very good in mud.
  • If you want a tire that rides a lot like stock but with more durability, you could try the Avon Gripster (same price range, maybe slightly less pavement traction)
  • I'm currently running a Gripster/Kenda 271 combo. My only complaint is that the gripster is blocking badly, is pretty noisy and likes to slip out a little on corners. I'm not really a 80/20 or even a 90/10 rider but probably 99% road and 1% offroad-dirt, gravel and such.
  • My Avon Gripsters allow me to lean over and leave the bars completely alone........except for twisting the throttle open more.
  • I had a set of Trailwings and they wore real well at front 32 and rear36 psi. Much better traction than my bud's Slipsters on anything even remotely offroad. Lasted a long while as well.
  • I have had a set of Gripsters and they are very good when new for highway and dry gravel roads, but useless in mud or wet grass. The rear had about 10,000 km on it and was worn about 2/3 when I found that is started making the rear follow any irregularity in the road. It was at the point where I was actually checking my rear suspension and swing arm, thinking that something was loose. The twitchiness went away as soon as I got a new Sirac on. The front was still in fairly good shape after 20,000 km, but as mentioned useless in mud. I don't think I will use Gripsters again, especially after I have started to do more back country travelling.
  • I ride my bike both on and off road...all over Arizona and five times (so far) to Baja and as far south as Cabo San Lucas twice. I have been using Gripsters for 6 years and I would recommend them as a very good all around tire. We normally don't get much rain here so I don't know first hand how they would do in mud. I don't think they would do well. I've ridden forest dirt roads in the rain without problems. I've had no problems on wet pavement. I have ridden Gripsters many miles in sand in AZ and Baja on a loaded KLR without problems. Dirt bikers have asked how I made it and I answer..slowly and comfortably. My choice would be Gripsters.
  • PO purchased my KLR strictly for a trip on the CAn Am highway to the big Circle. He outfitted it with a Gripster on the rear for this purpose. Since then I've put 3000 miles on it and do not like the gripster on pavement. It is "blocking" and is terrible on wet grass. Lots of guys like the Gripster but it does not suit my riding.
  • Q: "I'm heading for Alaska from Oregon in 3 months. I'm not planing on any 'real' off road riding. I just have to contend with gravel roads, construction zones, and minor detours....I'm not looking for any 'real' off-road performance, and the trip to Alaska should be around 80% pavement, More if I don't go to Prudhoe" A: Even though the Gripster is not something I would normally use, I think its a good matchup for your trip. From what I've read, it doesn't sound like you need any more of a dirt tire than a Gripster to make the Alaska run and with the Gripster a single set should go the distance without worry while the rear Sahara is going to be worn out around 5500-6000 miles. From my own experience, the Sahara is my tire when I plan a long trip with lots of off roading (its a bit better than the GP110 in the dirt) while something like a Gripster would be my choice for a coast-to-coast run.
  • I've gone through a couple sets of Avon Gripsters and have been happy with them.
  • I air my Gripsters down to about 12 front and 14 rear (when they are hot too) and it gives you a much MUCH better bite and feel for the dirt/rock/gravel that you are traveling on.
  • Having used both the gripster and the distanzias, In my experience the gripsters lasted longer. The front distanzia tire actually wore out quicker than the rear distanzia tire, which I thought was unusual. The old gripsters that use to develop cracks in the sidewalls were AV33/AV34. The AM24 gripster which are being sold today have never had any such problem. Avon discontinued the AM24 gripster around the same time Avon discontinued/recalled the AV34( the gripster that developed cracks), which is when the introduced the distanzia. Then Avon brought back the AM24 due to popular demand. I give two thumbs up to the AM24 gripster, hard core street riders may prefer the distanzia, but I don't think they're worth the extra $$.
  • My 3.5 pair (one razored) I'll ride any terrain with the gripsters I'd ride with my old k270's . Sure I noticed a good difference in the mud. But in a fla. trail I used to ride. Everything I conqured with the k270 I did later with the Gripster. In the rain I'm wishing the cars would speed up. My D604's got crazy in the rain. Once on a offcamber downhill offrampl I slid from inner to outer side of the steep curve with the Gripsters wobble wobble out, but remained calm and recoverd with the CONFIDENCE these tires gave me, this happed in the first ten min of a light rain on a 95 deg day. merging into a stop. Rarely do I air down from 32psi. My experience with these tires are only from N. Fla to S.C. On road I've scraped my boots with these. Even with a squirly never been changed suspension and biggass toolkit in bungeed JCW tailcase. 10K on this pair. One day I'll travel the world on Gripsters !
  • Avon Gripsters - When the stock tires faded, I decided on Gripsters as I hadn't ridden off road much yet. On road, these tires are nothing short of amazing. I was quickly scraping the pegs on my daily commute. About a month after they were on the bike, I took the bike on its first serious offroad adventure. 3 days, 240 miles, never on more than a 6 ft wide walking path. On the hard pack, they were acceptable. The downfall was when I was in the mud (which, naturally, seemed to be 239 out of the 240 mile trip). I knew they wouldn't be great, but had no idea that the front could wash out that quickly. In then end, the Gripsters lasted the longest of any tire I have had, and I replaced them at 4800 miles. By the way, it took two hours, an array of c-clamps, a bench vise, 3 tire irons, and eventually the front end loader on a tractor to break the rear bead. The font popped off with hand pressure.
  • The Avon Gripsters that I mostly use are fine on pavement and hard pack but make me nervous on gravel that's even a bit loose. I'm now running with a Gripster front and Kenda [K270] rear. Not squirrelly on pavement or gravel. Also braking is better with the Gripster front than the 270. The skinny front wheel puts little enough rubber on the road as it is.
  • I live in Goose Bay, Labrador and have done a couple of tours to New England with the KLR. I used the Avon Gripster and had great success. Tires responded well to long hauls on the Interstate, rough back road pavement or the gravel surface on the Trans Labrador Highway. I would recommend them.
  • I've been thru lots of tires on my Adventure type bikes. As I do mostly beat up back roads, gravel roads, etc. I went back to the Avon Gripsters. This was after doing IRC 110's, IRC GP1's < to me better than the Kenda 270's (way noisy in the street) or the 110's (sometimes scare the heck out of you when leaning it over for a turn with the noise other wise a quite tire straight up and down)> This is my second set of Avon gripsters. Great on the street and do good off the beaten path. Heck I do a lot of nasty roads on a 580 pound R1150gSA so the KLR always feels good no matter what tires I have on it. ;-).. I've done 3 states of the Trans American Trail with the gripsters so no problem in the loose gravel to me. But then I learned to ride on gravel roads on an old harley tank shift foot clutch.
  • The Gripster is a great DRY road and trail tire. Gripster off-road in the wet and mud on a KLR is a very unpleasant tire. Often referred to as the slipster.
  • I'm a big fan of the gripster but have learned the hard way the front gripster in anything wet off road is like a instant teleportation device from vertical to 3 foot down horizontal. The same experience w/ the k270's in fresh rain parking lots with the rear.
  • The Avon Gripster is the smoothest riding tire I've ever run.
  • Rear now has 5k on it and looks like it will do another 3-4k. I do about 70/30 road/trails. I do forest/logging/gravel/potholes etc, Gripsters are just fine. They and I won't do sand, tried once (without airing them down admittedly), but they and I were hopeless. Done a bit of mild mud and no problems, but if you are a mud dog or expert single track, Gripsters are not for you. I'm running them at the book of 21 and 28 currently, but might try some slightly higher pressures.
  • Where I live here in panhandle Florida, we often have focal collections of very fine sand on the roads, especially at intersections and on roads on the edge of town and rural roads. Those fine sand grains on a smooth asphalt surface were essentially ball bearings for my Gripsters. Even pulling off into the loose sand adjadjacent to the pavement can be very dicey with the Gripsters. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get my 20 & 21 Trailwings which I am more than happy with. I think next time around, I'll try the D606 myself, but never again a Gripster.
  • Gripsters are OK on trails and hard pack roads that aren't too hairy. For me they're terrible on gravel but people vary as to their sensitivity to the bike sliding around under them. I feel much better with the planted sensation Kenda 270s give me on gravel.
  • Just finished a rear gripster. Loved the tire, but man it was tight on the rim. One flat, and fortunately I was at home where I had access to all my tools and a smooth floor. Always dreaded the possibility of a change on the road with minimal tools, but it never happened. Going with a Kenda 761 now and liking it. Very similar but slightly more agressive and a softer bead. Still running a gripster on the front. 9400 miles out of the rear gripster.

 

Avon Distanzia

  • If you want a tire that rides a lot like stock but with more durability, you could try the... Distanzia (more expensive [than Avon Gripster], not quite as good in the dirt, ridiculously good wet pavement traction).
  • The Distanzias were just plain awful in mud
  • Distanzias are utterly useless for mud
  • I've had an Avon Distanzia on my rear for a few thousand miles. Just ordered a replacement for the original tire. Ordered another Distanzia. I ride 90% highway/gravel. Very happy so far. In my reading, I find this one of the preferred tires for the KLR.
  • I went through one set of Distanzias and I believe the name to be a misnomer. They didn't last any longer than Gripsters and didn't handle better on pavement. At least they cost a good deal more.
  • I had a set of Distanzias on my 2002 and would not hesitate to buy them again if I only did street riding, although they will handle some dry gravel road riding. They are outstanding in the way they handle on the road and will last a long time. I think I had over 20,000 km on mine when I had Fred in Moab put something on that would handle the Utah trails a little better.
  • Have to agree. Have them on my 04 and have been very impressed with them. Outstanding grip in the dry and adequate for gravel roads.
  • I got more mileage out of a rear Kenda K270 than a rear Distanzia!
  • I have encountered situations involving even not-so-deep mud with Distanzias on my KLR in which the only option was to either drag the bike or wait for the road to dry (the latter on bentonite clay in Wyoming; there was really no possibility of dragging the bike 10 miles to the nearest gravel or hardtop). In similar situations with the Kendas [K761] it has been possible, though very unpleasant, to keep the bike upright and in forward progress.
  • Having used both the gripster and the distanzias, In my experience the gripsters lasted longer. The front distanzia tire actually wore out quicker than the rear distanzia tire, which I thought was unusual. The old gripsters that use to develop cracks in the sidewalls were AV33/AV34. The AM24 gripster which are being sold today have never had any such problem. Avon discontinued the AM24 gripster around the same time Avon discontinued/recalled the AV34( the gripster that developed cracks), which is when the introduced the distanzia. Then Avon brought back the AM24 due to popular demand. I give two thumbs up to the AM24 gripster, hard core street riders may prefer the distanzia, but I don't think they're worth the extra $$.
  • I chose them because 95% of my riding is on the street, with some time spent on graded log roads, which can get a bit rough at times. I didn't need a knobby tire for true trail use, so these sounded like they might be right up my alley. I also wanted something that lasted longer than the 1800 miles my original rear tire went before it was smooth. After almost 1500 miles, I have to say I'm very impressed with these tires. There is no visible signs of wear on either tire...not even any feathering of the front tire. Their street manners are great, very stable and smooth, and they corner great. They also work well in the rain, which I found out during a couple unplanned rides in the wet stuff. Although the tread looks like a street tire, you'll notice the dirt tire benefits showing up from time to time, such as on grooved pavement. I spent several miles riding on grooved pavement today in a construction zone, and I didn't get the squirly feeling typical of a street bike on the same surface. Because the tread looked so much like a street tire, I didn't expect much in the dirt. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I did a 50 mile ride on log roads. They handled great, even during spirited riding over rougher sections. They didn't work well when I ventured into a sandpit with very fine loose sand, but they actually weren't any worse than the OEM tires were when I tried those in the same spot. For gravel roads, the Distanzias worked fine.

Bridgestone Trailwing

  • I had a set of Trailwings and they wore real well at front 32 and rear36 psi. Much better traction than my bud's Slipsters on anything even remotely offroad. Lasted a long while as well.
  • I've now had the Trailwing 41-42s on for about 2.8K miles, of which about 300 miles is offroad. On-road they are predictable and easy to turn in, grip well enough to scrap pegs on a good road surface and do not create any noticeable tire whine or noise. Hold well and again are predictable in the wet/rain and very predictable on 'announcing' their grip limits. In a nutshell, a good road tire, as predictable and rideable as I've come to expect from B-stone sport/sport tour rubber. I'm very happy to have found these for riding the KLR on-road in a brisk and fun manner. Off-road - they have a nice allround pattern. I've ridden them now on a lot of loose surface, a combination of smaller stone (baseball size and smaller) down to very fine clay dust and sand. They are as predictable as can be. The front has enough luggin to not slide much on off-camber stuff and the rear tractors quite well, even on wet sections. Both go thru small water crossings with large rounded boulders, pretty well. I've taken them thru water deep enough to cover about boot-top with the feet on the pegs. Not bad on rain-wet slickrock, a little more 'hairy' on rainwet surface clay. In all, I'm extremely happy with the Trailwing 41 & 42. They are certainly better than my offroad skill level. Opinions are offered here as an easy-going off-roader - can ride most anything short of expert single track, as long as I can do it at my pace; and a competent road rider who prefers a brisk pace in the twisties.
  • I mounted a Bridgestone Trailwing 18 on the rear this year and am happy with it on the gravel roads I often ride. Its certainly better than the OEM tire which all I can compare it to as I haven't trie any others. The tire was easy to mount and dispite the fairly agressive tread pattern it is not noisy on the highway and handles pavement at least as well as the OEM tire. I rarely ride in the rain so I cannot report on their performance in wet conditions. I have put about 3000 km on it so far and it seems to be holding out OK. No chunks gone and I am predicting a 8000 km (5000 mile) life for it. I paid C$128 for it from my local dealer. I also considered the TKC 80, but it was not available at the time and it was more expensive.
  • Where I live here in panhandle Florida, we often have focal collections of very fine sand on the roads, especially at intersections and on roads on the edge of town and rural roads. Those fine sand grains on a smooth asphalt surface were essentially ball bearings for my Gripsters. Even pulling off into the loose sand adjadjacent to the pavement can be very dicey with the Gripsters. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get my 20 & 21 Trailwings which I am more than happy with.
  • I made a trip across the four Western Canadian provinces. Prior to the trip I installed some Bridgestone Trailwings on the KLR: T21 Front; T22 Rear. This trip was mainly on paved roads which were in relatively good shape, until I got to Manitoba. The tires were quiet and handled well, even in the rain. However, the rear tire was pretty much done at the end of the 7500km trip. I checked the tire depth and pressure every morning before setting out - air pressure was good.

Cheng Shin 858

  • Re: Trip to Baja: Try the 858s, you won't be sorry.
  • I've got 8000 miles on this set and got 9500 out of the last set. I run a 4.60 on my 18 front and a 5.10 on the rear 17. This is prolly the most radical Dot tire you'll find. Makes the 270 look tame. Hope this helps.
  • My goal is to keep the KLR prepared for anything I encounter...I use 858 Cheng Shins, and headin for 10,000 miles on my second set.
  • I have to at least mention what I've been using for the last 19,000 miles, for your consideration. They have integrated sand bars in the tread and are some very good offroad tires. They have tapered knobs to mud off without loadin up. Prolly be good in the Florida sift too, like at Croom. The 858 Cheng Shin. Pretty much a 50/50 tire in my opinion. I got 9500 out of my first set and closin in on 10,000 on this set
  • I like the Cheng Shins also, but after 2100 miles in Baja, my rear is very worn, I'd guess I'll get another 1000 miles of mostly street riding out of it. But they handled deep sand, mud and curvy paved roads very well. I really like the front tire, much better than the Kenda K270. The rear doesn't have nearly as much rubber on the road as the Kenda, so I wouldn' expect it to last as long. However, the Kenda tends to wear flat, the Cheng Shin still has a rounded shape.
  • C858s definately do not last as long on the rear as K270s. I experienced odd behavior with a C858 on the rear. It really liked to follow grooves in the rode giving a very squirrely feeling. I am back to the K270 again and the bike again rides over groves with no reaction.
  • I just ordered have the 606 Dunlops I thought... I thought I'd be loyal to the 858 Cheng Shins forever and really liked the 9500 miles out of each of the last 2 sets but I'd always wanted to try the 606s.
  • The Cheng Shin 858 is almost as cheap [as the Kenda K270], works better on pavement, and about the same off-road. Don't know if it lasts as long, but CS858 on the front, K270 rear is not a bad combo.
  • The C858 is a good tire, but I cook 'em way to fast compared to the K270, especially the rear. It doesn't matter anymore as I'm now a D606 man.
  • Everyone needs to at least try the 858 Cheng Shins once. They are way more quiet on the street than the 606, have great cornerin ability on the street, but yet have more agressive dirt tread in the center than the 270 Kenda. Here's a photo of a new 5.10-17 next to the one I took off with over 9000 miles. The next set took me 9500 miles.
  • I only got abot 1500 miles out one of those rears, mostly all street and gravel and one Clayton trip.
  • I ran the Kenda K657 Challenger on my trip from CA to FL a few years back. The K657 was very imbalanced and very stiff. I ran a Cheng Shin C858 for the return trip and was delighted at the smooth ride but the tread-life wasn't very good.

Continental TKC-80

  • the last set I had where the Continental tkc-80's, again they worked great off and on road, so much so I got very close to draggin the pegs. I never did notice any squirlyness from them as others have reported. only got about 3000 miles out of them. I found them not to be as good in the mud as the D606's but waaaaay better than the stock rubber.
  • The only tire I would suggest as preferable to the K270 given your riding needs, [back roads and 70+MPH highways, wet, slippery, slimy clay, some gravel, loose stones, or sand.], would be the Conti TKC80. That thing sticks like glue in the corners (nearly as good as the Gripster in on-road performance), and still works nearly as well in the dirt as the K270s. A very good compromise. The downside is the price, usually about $170. Longevity was better for the TKC80, about 5500 vs 4500 for the K270. I do have the K270s on the bike now.
  • I heard folks are getting 5000 miles out of a pair
  • Given that they last 3000 miles on BMW GSes, 5000 shouldn't be too much of a feat on a KLR.
  • Only a modest amount of wet street riding, but overall the TKC80s are firkking awesome as a tire. I went through one set in about 5,000 mi. On street performance was amazing, second in dry waether performance only to Gripsters, and then by only a small margin. Always confident and provided good feedback, never stepped out or broke loose without deep lean angles and early warning. Hooked up quickly once off the gas or straightened up. Off-road performance was good, though not the same as the D606, or K270s. Both ends were very predictable and never with any ugly surprises....Only reason I didn't stay with them was the price and the fact that the K270 front comes in the 21x3.25 size which floats better in the soft sandy loam (w/ 20 lb tankbag and full load of petrol, and my 200 pounds in full dress).
  • Coming off of a set of Distanzias, I can say that the bike felt a little weird while cornering/transitioning ... for about ten minutes. After that, I started to trust the tires, and since I was with a group that was ripping along (the KLR spent half the ride with the throttle twisted to the stop) I was leaning pretty far over. I'm very impressed, as I've only ever ridden standards and sportbikes, and am pretty used to tires not squirming. (I also was on the highway for about ten minutes, and didn't feel a whole lot of difference there either.) The final test was in some super soggy gravel/mud/snow trails. I have no dirt skills to speak of, yet I felt reasonably comfortable blasting along (trying to keep up with an experienced group), sliding the rear end around, etc. Since I can't compare this experience to anything, I can't really say how good they are in this environment, except that I know that they're better than the Distanzias. :D Bottom line: I wish I hadn't worried about losing a "little bit" of on-road capability, and had spooned on a set of these as soon as I got the bike (instead of doing hours of research into which tires had the "best compromise" for what I wanted). On paper, the best tire seemed to be something more street-oriented than the TKCs -- but as I am occasionally reminded, today's tires are so good that it's ridiculous.
  • I've had a couple of sets. On a 10000 mile trip this summer, most of it was on the Contis. I liked them. More than 3000 of the miles were off road. I rode in lots of rain and hail. I wouldn't expect, at best, more than 5000 out of the rear.
  • I've got Continental TKC 80s on my KLR and I love them. They can handle more dirt and sand than I can, but are still relatively solid on the asphalt. They cost more than others but should be good for maybe 4,000 miles on the rear.
  • I'm a big fan of the Conti TKC-80's. They're not cheap, but they last well for me and have good grip both on and off the street. It can be OK to run a different front than rear, but if you want the same kind of grip at both ends, I'd change both tires at the same time.
  • TKC80 is a great 50/50 tire. Wears pretty well and good traction in off-road. Pretty smooth ride on the pavement as well. Got about 3000 miles on the rear. No noticeable "hum" on pavement. Good in twisties - pavement.
  • I have been running a TKC80 up front and a K270 in the rear for years and I like it much better than two K270s. My next tire change, however, will result in matching my front by adding a TKC80 to the rear.
  • The Continentals - they seemed to wear too quick or not have enough knob to start with maybe.
  • I have tried several different types of tires since I bought my KLR in '99. But once I tried the TKC-80's, I have stuck with them. I ride about 60 % pavement - 40% gravel and the Conti's are perfect! They aren't Gripsters on the pavement nor 606's in the dirt, but are almost as good in each instance. They track perfectly straight on the pavement, make minimal noise, wear very well, and will let you corner hard enough to scrape a peg. Off road, you'll do fine in all except deep mud. And in deep mud, if you're on a KLR, you have it out of it's element, anyway. Sure they cost more, but they are, for my riding, perfect. I'll be buying a new set in a few weeks for my annual spring take-it-all-apart-and-put-it-back-together-again session.
  • I get 5K out of a rear and almost 10K from a front.
  • The TKC80s are my favorite dual sport tire by far. IMHO they are the compromise tire that demands the least compromise. They seem to be great on the street and great in the dirt. I just read a couple of mails that said that they wear out fast, but that has not been my experience. I get about 4500-5000 miles to a rear and about 9K to a front. I have 7422 on the front now and it still not close to worn out, and that is with a big rotor on it.
  • So I put out the same question on our local NW group and put the Cont. TKC80's on and drove into work today. I'm sold!!! Beats the hell out of the gripsters that I had on it over the winter, while nice these feel considerably more stable...even at speed. It will be a few weeks before I can play in the dirt so cant report on that, but I'm sure they will perform well there. They are steeper on price compared to some of the others, and as mentioned before might have a short lifespan. So far I'd buy them again. Don't think I'd replace them 4 times a year ($), but I was looking for a tire to get me thru the to the cold rain this fall Any way as you can tell I'm recommending the TKC80's.
  • If you want a GREAT tire and aren't afraid to pop the extra bucks, get some Continental TKC-80's. Great on the pavement and great anywhere off-road except mud and deep sand. Of course, if you want to ride a 350+ pound KLR in mud or deep sand, well... You're in for a bad day regardless of your tire chice.
  • I run TKC80`s all the time.They hold well on "The Dragon" as well as in the dirt. They cost a little more and you don`t get real good mileage out of them but having fun is never cheap! They seem to ware about half way out them just stop wareing alltogether...strange!
  • The TKC-80s were very enjoyable tires: Great grip on pavement, given their knobby design, and thanks to the silica in the rubber they gripped well in the rain, too. They were progressive and informative at all times and lean angles, and were very quiet for a knobby tire. You didn't feel like you were riding on knobbies until you got below 5 MPH or so, when the individual knobs striking the pavement could be felt. I ran them at 32/36 PSI (F/R) on pavement. Off-pavement, aired-down to the low 20's, they worked pretty well, too. I rode about 200 miles of dirt roads on 'em and don't have any serious complaints. Like their street performance, they never surprised me by doing something unexpected, which greatly helps build rider confidence. The two negatives I found were, first, the front tire's knobs become very sawtoothed at around 4,000 miles. I flipped the tire on the rim for the last 1,000 miles, and towards the end the knobs in the center were getting close to evening out. I shouldn't have waited as long as I did, though, as the reversed profile had very poor grip initially because of the minimal rubber contact. And boy did that front tire howl at highway speeds when flipped! Second, at $170 + S&H, they were moderately expensive per mile (2.8/ mile). While the front tire could have gone another 2,000 miles, the rear was down to 2mm of tread in the middle. Overall, I think they're a great tire for someone who has to regularly navigate the urban jungle--but who wants to get off the pavement without having to switch tires. Or, for someone who has to travel a long way via pavement before getting off-pavement.

Dunlop D606

  • The D606 is better constructed IMO and is definitely up to the task for a Baja trip. One of our riders' D606 front and back survived 3,600 miles of high-speed asphalt and another 1000 miles of gravel and dirt on our Labrador trip last spring. His tires looked like they could take another 2,000 miles.
  • Myself and one other rider had some trouble with the rear tires after 2,100 miles 'cause no tire can take the crushed diamonds they call railroad ballast up there (the other guy opted out of trespassing an an active rail line), but the fronts took 3,600 miles of pavement and 1,600 miles of gravel and dirt no problem.
  • "Right now I got a set of Dunlops D606's, kinda pricey but but boy do they work great off and on road, thought I do find that they are a bit squirly on the pavmint, so far I've got maybe 600miles on them maybe, but still look new. Oh and I've found that they do wonders in the mud in and around the Quesnel area
  • I have been really happy with dunlop 606's, around $125 from SW moto tires. I get about 4000 miles out of them, I'm hard on tires.
  • The D606 can handle 80 mph constantly between fill-ups on the interstate, and they corner quite well. There's still a place in my heart for Kendas, but I use Dunlops when the going gets serious.
  • The 606 works great on a KLR in the dirt, not so great on the street. Its not a bad street tire, but there is no way I would try to push them as hard as I can push the GP1s. Then again there is no way I would try to push the GP1s as hard in the dirt as I can the 606s.
  • After reading Mr Moose's rant about how good the KLR is in the twisties I pushed it harder going up Banner Grade to Julian. Didn't know I could lean over so far on 606's. I can honestly say that I feel more comfortable leaned over on my knobbies on the KLR than the SV with street tires
  • I can't seem to get the last 2" of the 606 bead to slip over the rim. I am using baby powder inside, lots of dish soap on the bead and have even tried heating the stubborn part with a heat gun (on the low setting). How the h*ll do you guys deal with this out in the middle of BFE?!?!
  • Just returned from 9 days and 2324 Baja miles aboard my KLR. Last trip had Kenda 270 tires front and rear. This trip was with the same front 3.25" Kenda 270 and a rear Dunlop 606. Impressions: Wear - about the same. Both rear tires were toast after the 2000+ mile trips. I enjoy spinning the back tires in the dirt and rocks chew them up. At least it was better mileage than my riding companion got on his KTM 950 - just over 1000 miles per rear tire. Ouch!!!$$$ Off road traction - about the same which is pretty good. On road - The 606 with 2000+ miles handled twisty bits as well as the brand new Kenda. The Kenda got progressively worse with more wear and was scary at the end of it's life. Installation - piece of cake for the rear 606, a major PITA with the 270. Price - I found each in the mid $50's. The only downsides I noted with the 606 is that it started to howl a bit on straight pavement after about 1200 miles. Also, my rear license plate survived just fine in the stock location with the Kenda but it is now decorating the roadside somewhere between Puertocitos and Gonzaga Bay. Since my rear fender has now been modified to work with the 606, I can live with those shortcomings.
  • The C858 is a good tire, but I cook 'em way to fast compared to the K270, especially the rear. It doesn't matter anymore as I'm now a D606 man.
  • I found them very noisy on the road when going in a straight line. As soon as I put a tiny bit lean on the tires quieted down.
  • They work fine, somewhat better than the K270 on-road, and about 10-15% more traction off-road. The D606 didn't last as long as the K270 for my hammer-down riding style, D606 went 2,800 and the K270 about 4,200. The K270 is about $70 /set at Chaparral, and the D606 about $140. Very good tire, just didn't last long for me. For a competitive event I'd choose the D606, but for every day tomfoolery, the Kenda is cheaper and quite serviceable.
  • I like mine OK on pavement except for the whine.
  • I got into a low lying area with almost a foot of standing water over a wide area. I was a little worried, but the amazing Dunlop 606s saved the day. There was quite a bit of looseness, with the back end weaving back and forth quite a bit. Just stayed on the gas. It looks like a proper dual sport bike now, just covered in mud and grass. Man those tires are simply amazing! They also handle extremely well on pavement. I've been running 20 psi front and 25 psi rear for all-around riding. They have about 6000km (400 miles) on them so far and still look pretty good.
  • I get around 5,000 miles from a set in 80/20 on/off use and they wear evenly as a set for me.
  • The Dunlop D606 is a awesome off-road tire - really connects in the dirt and rough stuff. It is noisy at around 55mph on the pavement - it "hums". It is great in the twisties on pavement even when pushed hard. Agressive dirt riders will like this tire. Could squeeze 3000 miles out of the rear.
  • I too am a big fan of the D606's. Very aggressive in the dirt and OK on the road. (I also ride to work every day while it is warm) They are a bit loud above 50 mph but that's not a big deal for me. Got 4200 miles on the last pair before changing them out and they still had a bit of tread left to go.
  • My experience with 606 is that if you remember that you're running a reasonably serious knobby, they're fine. If you forget and treat them like a street tire you have a problem. I locked up the front one coming to a casual stop at a red light and scared the bejesus out of myself... to me, it feels like the K270s grab better on the road. They also sing a lot less than the 606s, which really howled for me. i know guys on BMWs with larger wallets and TKCs who love em, but they don't seem to last.
  • The 606's are a great tire for street approved knobbie - off road. For street riding they didn't bother me at all but I think you would be real careful on rainy days. I rode them 1200 miles down in Mexico mostly paved but when you get to the rough you will be glad you have them. They howled but did fine.
  • I am considering a 606 laced to an 18 inch fatter rim up front for the front end heavy KLR. That little skinny 3.00 21 is not quite enough up front in loose stuff. I remember desert racers back in the 60's used to do stuff like that for deep sand. Plus it lowers the bike about an inch for all you short leggers out there.
  • The D606 is a great all-purpose tire. Awesome in dirt and no problem on pavement. They're not designed for peg dragging, but I've done 2 high-speed all interstate hwy iron butt runs on them with no ass pucker in curves or on wet pavement. They wear evenly as a set and I get 5-6.5K per set.
  • I have a 606 on the rear of my 05 now and have put on about 600 miles or so. I do mostly road commutes too and if I had it to do over again I would not gone with the 606. Mostly because of increased vibration and road noise. My bike sounds like my Rubicon now. :) GReat tire and my bike IS better off-road too.
  • I am running 606's right now, I am loving the dirt, but break neck stuff on the street, and they lock up at the slightest whim seeing as how your on one knob most of the time. But there a hoot in the dirt, thumpers a wheely machine right now.
  • The 606 is a great all around and will really inspire confidence in the soft stuff. I get about 4K miles out of a rear before it's about useless off road.
  • my tire of choice[for riding Death Valley] is the Dunlop 606. A knob tire will make riding the soft washes enjoyable rather than that gripped feeling that the bike will slide out at any time. Be sure to ride Titus Canyon and Chloride Cliffs.
  • With D606s I usually get about 5K to a rear and just less than that on the front. The D606 is the only tire that I have used where I find that I wear the front out before the rear. I think that the wear to the front is mostly from braking with the big (320mm) aftermarket brake rotor. As the D606 front wears I find the noise objectionable when riding straight, crank in just a bit of lean and they quiet down. Even with good earplugs and a full face Shoei the whine gets to me after 50 or so miles!

Dunlop D607

  • I must say that I like the 607 as a road tire. Not ONCE did I get un-easy on pavement dry or wet, and we are not talking about your sunday ride to church here. I did ride through some horrible rainstorms this past fall with over an inch of standing water, without any problems at all. But slippery moss, sand, or mud do not mix well with the 607's.
  • I am riding D607's and they are fabulous on wet or dry pavement. I especially enjoy the twisties. Unfortunately they are equally terrible off road...anywhere! I expect about 8-10k if I keep them on

Dunlop K750 (stock tires)

  • I've put about 17K on a few sets. Well, I did try a Kenda on the rear once but, after a few K, it developed a howl on paved roads that irritated me quite a bit so I went back to the stock Dunlop. I get the "take-offs" from DualStar ($100 a set). I like their wet road holding ability and I don't do a lot of serious off-roading. I usually get about 4K out of the rear and about double that for the front. I, mainly, ride these twisty east TN mountain roads in all weather conditions and the Dunlops seem to give me a comfortable confidence level at a reasonable price.
  • Oh the thing about the stock tires... huh... dry trails and rocky surfaces are fine, but mud is completely out of the question on them OEM tires.
  • Stock tires stick to pavement pretty damn good IMHO, but completely SUCK in mud, dry hard pack they seem fine, sand they are iffy but the rear get toasted fast I squeezed about 3000 miles out of the rear
  • I got 6500 out of the stock Dunlops.
  • OEM were what 70/30 ? and completely sucked on anything other than pavement and hardpack soil for me.
  • After one fun ride (offroad) I could see the wear on the OEM rear tire, the darn thing was so useless offroad you had to to keep it paddling to get places. Suppose less throttle might have extended it, but I did get almost 3000 miles outta it before changing it. The OEM I tended to leave aired up fairly tight, which did'nt help offroad at all.
  • Great on road, not so great off road. The rear only went 3200 miles, and I replaced the front at the same time - though it was only about half worn. Most of my riding on these tires was easy on road, and they were great for a beginner building up confidence.
  • I have a 06 with 2700 miles. My stock back tire is almost worn out.

Duro HF903/904 MEDIAN

  • I installed a Duro on the rear last summer and at about 1500 miles the center of the tire just started separating and coming apart,and as I was getting ready for a trip I replaced it and I would not buy another one.
  • had the same experience. it was my first and last duro!
  • I tried 2 sets and they are great for the traction I got out of them while they lasted but the tires suck because they chunk very easily. The 1st set I got chunked almost right away but I figured it was me or just bad luck so I bought another and guess what, same thing. I contacted Duro and they basically said sorry and thats about it. I will never buy another Duro tire.
  • You must have contacted the wrong folks. When my Duro chunked (because I rode it at 70 mph for 400 miles at 21 psi) I contacted Duro, they immediately said to have it returned by my dealer for credit/ replacement.
  • Duro did not replace ANY for me. The shop where I bought the tires from replaced the first set and I ate the 2nd set. Duro didn't do jack! If contacting Duro direct is the wrong people and the shop where I bought it then I guess my bad. The tires are garbage. They are a 50/50 tire and if you run it at the right air pressure on-road (less than the max and under the speed rating which the KLR will not exceed) and air it down off-road they still fall apart. I have NEVER had tires chunk before and since I will never waste my money or Duro tires I should not have that problem anymore.
  • I wouldn't recommend these tires. Off road traction was on par with the Gripsters. On road? The only time I have ever gone down on the street was with these. Yes, I was leaned over pretty far, and yes I was moving right along, but the disheartening thing was there was zero warning. The front washed out at about 30 mph, and down I went. Bike and rider made it through unscathed, but at 2400 miles I decided to try something different!

IRC GP1

  • IRC GP'1's doing the duty now with no problems
  • While costing a bit more, the IRC GP1, the tire Kenda cloned for the 270, has all the 270 good off road traits and none of its pavement problems. In the hands a skilled pilot, you'll have no problems scraping the foot pegs using the GP1s. You wont get the same tire mileage as with the Kenda, but IRC decided to use a softer rubber compound to compromise tire life for better handling.... My seat of the pants meter said there was very little difference between the two tires in the dirt, not nearly as much difference as there is on the pavement. They are both designed as an intermediate tire (on a scale of deep sand to baked mud)...I've been using the GP1 since 97 and have been getting a reliable 4000-4500"
  • Love my GP1's. Can really push them pretty hard and much quieter than the Kenda 270's and ever the IRC 110's in the corners.
  • Check out the GP-1 it as good a road tire without the howl of the 110, only slightly less milage and a bit better at speed off road.
  • ...[The D606 is] not a bad street tire, but there is no way I would try to push them as hard as I can push the GP1s Then again there is no way I would try to push the GP1s as hard in the dirt as I can the 606s.
  • they are as good as a 270 off road while being confident inspiring on the street. I have no problems leaning the bike over so the outermost edge of the outermost knobs are scruffed. They have a predictable feel when heeled over - IRC didn't make their knobs as tall and uses a softer rubber.
  • I ran a set. Liked them a lot. My only concern was the soft sidewalls. Use heavy duty tubes for sure.
  • Good off road tire which gives nothing up on the pavement, all for a very good price.
  • Well got rid of the stock tire after 5200 miles and loaded up the IRC GP1 trails, man these are some sweet tires. The are nice and aggresive but don't make much noise and are nice on the street.I was looking for a true 50/50 tire and I think I made the right choice, I only have 100 miles on them so far but I really like the way they handle on the street and eatup the dirt. I was about to get the dunlop d606 but went with the IRc due to the noise factor with the 606.
  • Ditto. I've been running the GP-1's for about 500 miles now, and they just feel like the perfect tire for this bike. I know they won't last as long as the Kenda's, and they're more expensive to boot, but they're just great f'ing tires.
  • I've been using the GP1 for years. Tried most the others, but the GP1 is road tire enough to attain insane lean angles and dirt tire enough to get a 350 pound dirt bike most anywhere you'd want to take a 350 pound dirt bike. I've tried the 606s and while they are great in the dirt, and while you can get some good lean angles, you can't really push them on the street.
  • I have had no problems running a GP-110 on the rear with the OEM front. The OEM front lasted nearly 10K miles. My tire selection is now a GP-1 rear and GP-110 up front (mounted backwards) and have done 5 rear and two fronts now with absolutly no problemos.
  • Presently I am running the IRC GP1's which I also like. They seem to grip well on or off road. But they seem to wear quick also as all knobbies will on street.
  • IRC GP1's are better than the Kenda 270's (way noisy in the street)
  • I ride all year in the Pac-NW where rain is a definite factor for pavement travel 9 months of the year. For this reason, I have (mostly) settled on GP-1's since I've found them superior over Pirelli MT-21's, D-606's and K-270's in the corners and for stopping. Quieter too except for the OEM's that everone agrees are good road tires but P-O-S off road. Last winter I put 1200 Death Valley in-the-park miles of mostly gravel, sand and rock on a new rear GP-1. I came away more pleased than I expected, it was just as good in gravel and it hooked up to rock even better than the D-606 I used the previous year. I now have a GP-1 on the front that is superior to the K-270 it replaced - not at all squirmy and stops great - less round profile seems no factor. But the widest front width they offer is a 3.00, it might not float in sand as well as others with wider profile

 

IRC GP110

  • If you do enough gravel/dirt/sand...I'd suggest getting one a 50/50 tires. GP1s/Kenda 270s do better in the loose stuff than the GP110s.
  • I ran 110's to Mexico. Rear lasted about 2.5k, front 5k+ (reversed).
  • Like most tires it depends how you ride. I've had four 110 rears now and two fronts and my milage for the rears has ranged from a high of 7,800 to a low of 4,000 miles and this is to the wear bars. More road travel with camping gear seemed to be the big difference here. I agree with MikeT's assesment of it's strengths and weeknesses and would add that they look really cool on a KLR. It tractors pretty well in the soft stuff aired down but will get wiggly as speed increases, not too strong in the mud or sand but solid as all around DS tire and speed rated for the freeway runs. They will get you there, all around bf nowhere and back home too. The front I like and it's traction improves when run backward IMHO. I get about 9-10K on the fronts. I have a GP-1 rear ordered now and am going to run it with the 110 front. Not too fond of the GP-1 front I like the rounded profile of the 110 here.
  • I'm a big fan of the IRC GP110, been using them since they came out (early 90's). I've averaged 11,000-13,000 miles on each rear, and around 20,000 miles on the fronts.
  • I have 5198 miles on the rear tire now. It is down to where there are no more grooves between the center lugs. It is mostly road miles, at most 30% dirt. A lot of 70+MPH touring miles. On the road I run pressures of 33 to 36 psi in the rear, 30 to 33 in the front, according to the load I am carrying (I'm 200 LBS, that's a load all by itself). The front looks like it can go another 5000 miles.
  • Switching bikes with my buddy, who had just mounted new IRC GP-110s, was a night and day difference [compared to Anakees]. I could easily go 15 MPH faster on his bike and had a blast leaning it over and steering with the throttle. Even though they'd slide a bit, they always felt like they were hooking up and giving you some traction--very different from the "sliding on ice" feel of the Anakees.
  • I have had no problems running a GP-110 on the rear with the OEM front. The OEM front lasted nearly 10K miles. My tire selection is now a GP-1 rear and GP-110 up front (mounted backwards) and have done 5 rear and two fronts now with absolutly no problemos.
  • I've been super pleased with them. If the K270 is a 50/50 then the IRC110 is a 70/30 street/dirt (despite what the FAQ says). Excellent on pavement, good on gravel and cheap. But poor in mud.
  • Sometimes scare the heck out of you when leaning it over for a turn with the noise, otherwise a quiet tire straight up and down

Kenda Challenger K657

  • The Kenda K657 Sport Challenger is superb value for money on the rear. Although it doesn't have quite the traction of the premium tyres, it does perform well in the wet and dry, and returns decent tread life too. On the front, however, it's less of a bargain -- most riders prefer better traction on the front, in particular in the wet, and it does have a tendency to accentuate any highway weave. So put the Kenda on the rear, and on the front put a tyre with better characteristics. [Comments from a Seca 750 site]
  • I ran the Kenda K657 Challenger on my trip from CA to FL a few years back. The K657 was very imbalanced and very stiff. I ran a Cheng Shin C858 for the return trip and was delighted at the smooth ride but the tread-life wasn't very good.

Kenda K270

  • put on a set of 270s for a tennessee run and hated all the noise so pull them off when got back home. Probably no more than a few hundred miles on them. Been gracing the shop in a corner ever since. "
  • Cheap tires, seem to hold up on milage pretty good sofar, not alot of fun on pavement, but aired down they have alot of bite offroad, I am sure there are more better tires, but these work for me for my kind of riding style, which is when on pavement I am just going somewhere, offroad is the fun place. In otherwords if you like scraping pegs in corners(pavement), you do not want these tires.
  • I have the Kenda K270s on my bike and I don't really experience the problem with them leaning - in fact, they have been a great bargain for me. They are the only tires I've used other than the stock tires though so I don't have a lot to compare them to - but they still feel fine to me when the bike is leaned way over in the twisties
  • I don't think any road-oriented tires will be any good in slimy clay. In conditions like that, what little tread road-oriented tires have immediately packs with mud and you're left with pretty much no traction. I've had K270s in the past and I don't think they were at all unpredictable. They have slightly eccentric behavior when leaned hard because the knobs bend, but once you get used to that they're quite predictable and quite trustworthy.
  • If you are not an aggressive street rider, give the Kendas a try. Folks that ride a bit aggressively on the street are mostly the ones disappointed with the Kenda's street behavior, the more you push the bike the more the Kenda gets unnerving.
  • I am running a set of Kenda K270s, and I must describe their cornering behavior as "squirrelly", but not dangerously "about to slideout" squirrelly, just "knobs flexing from the exertion" squirrelly, and fairly predictably so. After the first 100 miles or so, it was a piece of cake. I am thinking of putting Kenda K761s on Hidalgo now, though, as my non-pavement riding is generally limited to dirt/gravel roads, and I can't stand the whine my tires have developed at speed whenever they're not leaned over.
  • replace that nasty Dunlop with fresh (cheap) K270 at the samer time and let the fun begin. OEM tires were scary off road at best, these K270's grip like a bear claw when aired down a bit, and make it fun to ride, not scary.
  • Kenda K270 tires are cheap and I am really impressed with them offroad, but they are a tad squirmy on the pavement which only serves in slowing me down on the pavement which is prob. a good thing.
  • For me the Kendas lasted at most 50% longer than the Karoos, and I liked the Karoos better off road (and on). Also, the Karoos have a *really* stiff carcass, which was something that I was looking for.
  • moved on to Kenda K270's (50/50 tire "claimed") for the bite they offer offroad, aired down these tires just bite and chew and bite added HD/UHD tubes and feel pretty good in the dirt to me.
  • I have been through several sets and usually get ~4500 miles out of the rear, and 6000 out of the front. Some riders complained about the tire through knobs off (chunking), but I've never had a problem with them.
  • Very popular and inexpensive. Wears very well (5k miles or more). Soft sidewalls, be careful at low pressures. Decent offroad traction. Knobs are flexible, making the tires feel squirmy on the street. Some people don't like that, but others get used to it and have even scraped pegs with them (accidentally!). You can use either the 3 or 3.25" front; the 3.25 may help flotation in sand, but will slow down the steering on the street. The 3" is cheaper.
  • Just returned from 9 days and 2324 Baja miles aboard my KLR. Last trip had Kenda 270 tires front and rear. This trip was with the same front 3.25" Kenda 270 and a rear Dunlop 606. Impressions: Wear - about the same. Both rear tires were toast after the 2000+ mile trips. I enjoy spinning the back tires in the dirt and rocks chew them up. At least it was better mileage than my riding companion got on his KTM 950 - just over 1000 miles per rear tire. Ouch!!!$$$ Off road traction - about the same which is pretty good. On road - The 606 with 2000+ miles handled twisty bits as well as the brand new Kenda. The Kenda got progressively worse with more wear and was scary at the end of it's life. Installation - piece of cake for the rear 606, a major PITA with the 270. Price - I found each in the mid $50's. The only downsides I noted with the 606 is that it started to howl a bit on straight pavement after about 1200 miles. Also, my rear license plate survived just fine in the stock location with the Kenda but it is now decorating the roadside somewhere between Puertocitos and Gonzaga Bay. Since my rear fender has now been modified to work with the 606, I can live with those shortcomings.
  • I laughingly put myself in the "80%street 20%offroad"category only because they don' t have a 95/5 group. I put a Kenda 270 on the front for less than $20 and am totally pleased. It sticks great on the road, doesn't make a lot of noise and looks gnarley. I'm told lthe 270 rear will serve equally well.
  • And when you feel like doing that 5%.. air them suckers down to about 20~22 psi and they claw at the ground. Would'nt say "sticks to the road", but would agree to "is predictable" Bang for the buck I can see myself buying another set. Put little over 1000 miles on this set and basically only worn area is the edges of the knobs, and I typically run low psi and just leave it there. Also UHD rear and HD front tubes.
  • Q: Are the k270's really THAT bad on the pavement? A: How bad do you need them to be? I am a fan of the K270, for reasons of price, durability, and offroad performance. Trust them? You can lean them over well past the point where I am comfortable with them without falling down. But they do not inspire confidence on the street, and the front tire is the greater culprit, IMO. The Cheng Shin 858 is almost as cheap, works better on pavement, and about the same off-road. Don't know if it lasts as long, but CS858 on the front, K270 rear is not a bad combo.
  • The C858 is a good tire, but I cook 'em way to fast compared to the K270, especially the rear. It doesn't matter anymore as I'm now a D606 man.
  • Inspiring confidence is a bit of a subjective thing. Some people aren't comfortable with the knobs bending in turns. I personally find K270s very confidence inspiring -- they stick like glue and slide with extreme predictability. I don't particularly *like* that the turn-in isn't smooth due to bending knobs, but it doesn't affect my confidence in them.Q: Is that sliding on or off road? A: I was thinking on road, when the road is wet or dusty or something of that nature. Q: Hmm... Is that leaned way over road-racer style or just plodding along? I guess my question is really how hard do you have to push them before they start to slide? A: I'm a couple of years removed from running K270s, but it seems to me that I could reliably touch down my side cases without too much trouble. At that point the bike didn't feel like it was riding on rails, but it wasn't sliding, either.
  • They [Dunlop D606] work fine, somewhat better than the K270 on-road, and about 10-15% more traction off-road. The D606 didn't last as long as the K270 for my hammer-down riding style, D606 went 2,800 and the K270 about 4,200. The K270 is about $70 /set at Chaparral, and the D606 about $140. Very good tire, just didn't last long for me. For a competitive event I'd choose the D606, but for every day tomfoolery, the Kenda is cheaper and quite serviceable. A bit spooky until scrubbed in, and even then tends to walk across corners when pressed hard.
  • I liked the 270 off road, but not on the pavement and so the dealer that sold me 270 said try the IRC GP1. I did and they are as good as a 270 off road while being confident inspiring on the street. I have no problems leaning the bike over so the outermost edge of the outermost knobs are scruffed. They have a predictable feel when heeled over - IRC didn't make their knobs as tall and uses a softer rubber.
  • Well folks for the first time since scuffing in my K-270's I actually put 30 psi in them for a ride to camp last night, and I could not believe how well they handled on the pavement, I always leave them aired down to about 22 psi and just leave it there, soon as I hit the rutted gravel/sand road into the camp I knew it with 30 psi I was all over the place, bleed a few seconds worth of air out the valves and much improvement, not the same as 22 psi, but still firm enough for the ride home at least.
  • The Kenda K-270 is like a bearclaw offroad when aired down. 30 psi highway/pavement turns out pretty darn good, but has its limits of course, pretty much anything faster on pavement than what is really the correct speed results in quick soul searching but have never slid out, more like a early warning.
  • I just put a 270 on the front and I'm running it with a D607 on the rear. It still has life left, which is why I'm reluctant to change it and just buy a new 270 for the rear as well. I also wanted to test out the combo. So far... not too good. I love the way the 607 grips to the pavement. It's gonna take me a while to get used to the way the 270 hooks up and how the knobs "shift" from side to side when cornering. This must be due the soft compound of the rubber. the front 270 hooks up well in the mud, while the 607 is absolutely worthless. I'm running both tires at ~33psi, which seems to be efficient. Norm... you don't like the rear 270 and I can imagine why? Mark... you do, but are you a little more dirt oriented than Norm? If it's not unsafe, its at least unnerving.
  • I just made the change from the stock OEM tires to two K270s. After a couple of hindered miles I can definitely feel the knobs bend when leaned over but as many people have said, it is pretty predictable. The front squirms a bit and the rear has a nice, smooth drift that's almost like riding on hard packed dirt. The difference is that unlike hard pack the drift goes a little ways out and then stops. I took it to a parking lot and ran a course of a series of 30-40 mph tight bends to get all the way over on the far knobs. That was enough to give me confidence that the tires wouldn't go out from under me in normal street riding. I don't know how they would perform on wet roads, though. I did have a panic stop situation at under 100 miles on the tires where I was fiddling with my gloves (stupid) and looked up to see the car in front of me had stopped. Since my right hand was off the bar I immediately hit the rear brake before I had a chance to get to the front brakes and was surprised at how easily the rear wheel locked. Don't know if the OEM tires would have done the same thing or if it just needed more miles on it but it seemed like the wheel locked pretty easily and had very little stopping power in that state. The front tires seem fine in full-stop situations with the stock brakes.
  • To all of you naysayers out there... the k270 is not as bad as I thought. After 200 miles, I have grown tolerant of it. At first I was skeptical and scared to ride with it and I almost took it off. Now, I will see what kind of mileage I get riding it hard.
  • I've been running K270s for the last 11,000 smiles or so. I've used two rear and one front. The first rear went 5,212 miles but was a bit squared off the last day when I rode from New Mexico to South Dakota. That trip was about 2,000 miles or so of dirt and the rest was pavement. I put a new K270 on the bike for a recent trip and I haven't looked but suppose I got about 4,000 miles or so on that trip. I think we only did about 100 miles of dirt... I got to use most of the tread on the front and got into the outside knobs on the rear. On this trip the front started to cup but still preformed flawlessly. It will be changed soon with about 10K plus on it and replaced with a used one from last year with only about 1,200 miles on it. Here's what I'd do if I was going on another 5,000 mile trip. I'd use a front K270 with 5,000 or less miles on it. On the rear I'd put a new K270 and know I was good for the entire trip. These tires are so easy to mount that putting one on for local riding and only expecting to get maybe 1,000-1,500 miles from it would be worth it.
  • I've got about 11,000 miles on my front Kenda K270. I've got the replacement leaned up against the bike now. I rode the Devil's Highway in June on K270s. Never had any problems with them and that was fully loaded on a two week trip. I only get about 5,000 miles from a rear K270.
  • Having tried so other tires on friends KLR's and having a Kenda 270 front & rear my advice is to use the Kawi part number and get another stock rear. The Kendas are better on loose gravel and a lot better in mud but for 90 pavement & 10 gravel roads....I'd stay with the stocker. The Kenda rear has a lot less traction on braking and will howl with little pedal pressure. The front creates a mild oscillation at over 130 km when buffeting wind such as when overtaking a transport truck. Both seem acceptable for high speed cornering.
  • I have been running a TKC80 up front and a K270 in the rear for years and I like it much better than two K270s. My next tire change, however, will result in matching my front by adding a TKC80 to the rear.
  • When I mounted two Kenda 270s they worked well off pavement but pretty bad on pavement - terrible on the long rain groove areas we have here on the interstate. The Avon Gripsters that I mostly use are fine on pavement and hard pack but make me nervous on gravel that's even a bit loose. I'm now running with a Gripster front and Kenda rear. Not squirrelly on pavement or gravel. Also braking is better with the Gripster front than the 270. The skinny front wheel puts little enough rubber on the road as it is.
  • Some additional data is my Kenda K270 front tire, 3.00 X 21, lasted about 11,000 miles. I'm guessing I had about 4,000 dirt miles and 7,000 paved miles on that tire. I changed it this last summer after a trip to New Mexico, Arizona and then back to Oklahoma and home. The front was cupping but still worked well for the entire trip. That included two runs on the Devil's Highway, AZ 191, in the same day. For those not familiar with the Devil's Highway, it's sometimes advertised as having 1,800 turns in 100 smiles.
    • Response: I've got 5000 miles on the K270 front and it has started to wear badly. About every 3rd or 4th lug is worn to about 1/16 inch then the next ones are at 8 or 9/16. It looks like someone took a grinder to them. Its only on the center tread lugs too. Its getting noisy and sort of squirrley in corners. I noticed that when I slow-turn it has gotten to be very self centering-really pulls itself to straight. I'm hoping to get a few more miles but another 6K? Not likely.
  • I have a Kenda K270 rear tire on my KLR650 that now has 5838 miles on it. About 95% of those miles were on paved roads. 5072 miles of the 5838 miles is touring miles of which only about 400 of the trip miles were on dirt. The trip miles were only about 30% on roads doing 70 to 80 MPH. When touring I run pressures of 32 to 35 psi in the rear tire & 24 to 28 psi in the front. The tire still has about 1/8" to 3/16" tread depth left on the center tread knobs. The trouble is that the tire has worn so it has a flat center profile due to all those road miles & this makes it feel kind of vague, traction wise, in the tight corners. So it's time for a new tire. The rear tire the Kenda K270 replaced was a IRC GP110 that lasted 5198 miles. The front IRC GP110 that was installed at the same time as the rear GP110 is still on the bike & has 11036 miles on it. It is completely wore out though.
  • I got 5,000 smiles from my first 5.10 X 17 K270 rear and that was fully loaded. Could have gone longer but it was a bit squared off at the end of the trip. The current same size K270 rear has 6,000 smiles on it. About 4,000 of that was fully loaded, mostly on paved roads at speeds of 45 -65 mph. It'll get changed this winter. My first front went about 10,000 smiles and needed changing when I got done with it. Here's some hard data on a Kenda K270 5.10X17 I collected last year while on the Great Divide Ride. These measurements were taken at the end of each day in the center of the tread at the valve stem.

              (Thanks to Jeff Saline for the chart)

              (Thanks to Matt Barney for plotting Jeff's chart)

  • The kenda 270's are supposed to be a cheaper copy of the IRC GP1 which a lot of people like but some don't because of not a very stiff sidewall. But they do make a 3.25 21 which is nice in sandy stuff.
  • The last set of Kenda 270 s I received seemed to have a considerably stiffer sidewall than past 270 s I have mounted. Maybe the complaints haven't fallen on deaf ears? I believe it was Avon? went from 5 to 6 plys on some of their tires after customer complaints. Perhaps Kenda has added a ply? I will attempt measurements at the next change.
  • I run Kenda K270's - 5.10 x 17 rear, 3.25 x 21 front. The Dunlop OE tire gave me 4700 kms, tho' I've already put 11,000 kms on the 5.10, and it ain't finished yet! Works great on the road but 'whines' a bit after the centre part flattens out. The stock front gave 14,500 kms so the 3.25 has only been on MY '04 since December.
  • The Kenda 270 is a 50/50, not a good choice if you're 80% street. Plus I just *hated* it on my bike, leaned fully over when the outer knobbies engaged the rear would squirm and the front-end felt like it was about to fold. I just could never get comfortable with them.
  • I've been using the Kenda K270s for about 12,000 miles. I like the 3.00x21 in the front as I think it makes the steering a bit lighter and quicker. I don't run deep sand very often but when I did I didn't seem to have problems as long as I kept my weight to the back a bit and also accelerated/kept my speed up. On the rear I like the 5.10x17 as it fits fine and gives a nice footprint. I have a nice picture of me stuck in the mud two years ago in New Mexico while doing the GDR. I suppose the mud wasn't over 9" deep but man was it slippery. I just finally got to a point where I couldn't make any forward progress. I could have had 2" spikes sticking out of the tires and I wouldn't have moved. I probably did 100 yards in that mud. If I'd had stock tires on the bike I probably only would have made it for 20 yards. Kind of like a 4x4... it allows you to get stuck a lot worse than a 2 wheel drive. : ) Last summer I rode the Devil's Highway in Arizona north to south in the morning and south to north in the afternoon. I think they advertise it as 1,800 curves in 100 miles. The Kendas were fine and we moved right along. The bike had a full load of touring/camping gear. I really like the ultra heavy duty tubes in the Kendas as I think it stiffens the sidewalls a bit. But boy are these tires easy to change and the cost is fine too.
  • The 5.10 will rub the muffler on a hard compression, but just that, rub it with the edges of the knobs, the 3.25 is fine. Bigger the Better right ? Knee dragging with Kenda K-270's, at least on pavement... I would not recommend it..
  • I run the 3.25 front tire very happily in south jersey sugar sand. I've been told that it will float a bit easier than the 3.00 b/c it's wider, which makes sense. Can't comment first hand, though, because I started with the 3.25 and was happy so I stuck with it... floats easy as pie.
  • Question: How squirmy? On a fear factor scale of 1 to 10 ( 1 being an oops and 10 being a visit with the rhubarb patch.) Answer: My experience is the squimyness will only be with the rear tire. Rate a new tire at a 3-4 if ridden hard on pavement in tight curves and a tire with 1,000 or more smiles as a 1 or 0. The first time I rode a Kenda K270 it felt a bit squirmy compared to worn KLR stock tires or my airhead R90/6 with Metzeler street tires. It felt like the rear wanted to walk to the outside of the corner when I was pushing it a bit. I now (12,000+ smiles later) think it's more a perception issue and not a significant reality. My first impression was this tire will be fine in the dirt and awful on pavement. After I gave it a solid 200 miles of honest use I felt very comfortable with the tires. If anything, they may have slowed me a bit on pavement which is something I welcome. I do have a problem with my right wrist in that it likes to twist the throttle a bit too much. But it sure seems like I can go as fast as I'd like with the K270s. Maybe another tire would allow me to go faster. But I don't find more speed needed. Today I had a wonderful ride of about 80 smiles on a quick and twisty road. I was on my /6 and with street tires I found I was often doing 60-75 mph indicated. The limit on this road is mostly 35-45 mph. When I ride the KLR with the K270s on it I normally ride at 60-65 mph on the same roads. I think the reason I'm faster on the /6 is it has more power and I like using it. I think if I had K270s on my /6 (man would that be goofy) I'd still be comfortable at similar speeds. I've ridden these tires on the Great Divide Ride with full touring loads. I've ridden the Devil's Highway north to south in the morning and south to north in the afternoon. That was also with a full touring load. I've always felt comfortable at illegal speeds on those rides and also on the local roads here in the Beautiful Black Hills. But on a few of our local roads we can double the speed limit safely and the Kendas will allow me to do that.
  • Question: At what speed does the sqirminess begin? Answer: I'm guessing here but it depends on how I'm riding. I've been on some curves at 70 without any squirmyness and on some curves at 35 it seems like it wants to walk out a bit. But not enough for me to back off. If you look where you want to go you can probably ride there. And I don't feel any squirmyness after the tires probably have a couple of hundred miles on them. The new knobs are pretty long when new at 17/32". My experience is by the first 1,000 pavement miles the knobs will lose 3/32". What makes for an exciting ride is when I end up doing some long stretches of pavement like from Albuquerque, NM to South Dakota for the last 800 smiles on a tire with 4,000+ smiles on it. That will square off the tread and the transition from vertical to leaned over is pretty quick and dramatic. I'd rather ride on new K270s than squared off and worn K270s. I only noticed it on curves when I'm pushing it a bit. Never under easy (legal speeds) conditions. Only when new. Only the rear.
  • Rode them in Alaska a couple of years ago which included riding the Dalton Highway (Haul Road). Then attended a meeting in Copper Canyon where I rode from DFW to Copper Canyon and back. Tires still have tread, although not much. Will buy them again. I'm over the 300 lb. mark with me and all my gear onboard.
  • Something else I find interesting about the rear K-270 is that it has the highest load range of any other tire I've tried. Load range C vs. load range B.
  • I think I've got close to 7,000 miles on it so far and have commuted on it almost daily in one of the wettest Northern CA winters I can remember. It hasn't been a problem. I've got another waiting in the wings.
  • The Kenda 270 is not a comfortable tire on pavement at all. The knobs squirm all over the place, and it's downright frightening when leaning hard. In the wet? No thanks. I've chunked knobs in gravel, too. A usable tire if you only putter when you hafta' use some pavement. Great in the dirt. Cheap, too.
  • I stopped using the Kenda K270s 3 or 4 years ago after having the center knobs on the rear chunk badly. live 300 miles north of the Mexican border and often ride 600 miles into Mexico before doing much off pavement stuff. The chunking occurred twice on a new K270 on a heavily loaded bike running at highway speeds at 32psi.
  • I've had K270s on the front and rear for about the last 5500 miles. I just did a 200 mile run on Interstate 40 keeping up with traffic at times running at 92 mph (GPS measured ), without problems with squirminess. The rear rides a little better in a straight line as the knobs get worn. They do get squirmy on corners but I find the feeling diminishes if you steer with your feet by shifting your weight on the pegs to turn instead of using the bars. Also I have aired mine down to 24 psi in the front and 28 psi in the rear. That has helped a lot with stability issues. They will regularly take corners that are posted for 35mph at 75mph and I have worn the 'chicken strips' off the edges. Even though they do work leaned over I will never get completely comfortable with the feeling of squirminess. Followup: Now that I've switched to a pair of Pirelli MT90 Scorpion A/T tires I realize how truly scary the K270s were on corners. They never gave way but they they sure wiggled a lot.
  • I wouldn't recommend K270s on the street for anything approaching spirited cornering. They'll work leaned over but are not confidence inspiring and definitely not fun.
  • I mounted a Kenda 270 on the rear. I have a K270 up front and it behaves just fine. I figured all the talk about poor street manners was overrated or that I just didn't ride aggressively enough to notice. Besides, if the tires were squirrely, it would show up on the front tire, right? Nope. I took the bike out for a test spin after mounting the rear and, WHOA!, the rear end just walks out on its own! Now I know what everyone was talking about. I'm hoping the tire calms down a bit as the tread wears.
  • When I left Florida in July I was a little skeptical that my Kenda 270s would take me out West and back without a new set. Well I am happy to report that 10,000 miles later - I'm in Yuma AZ, they still may have a 1000 0r 2000 miles left on them. I attribute 3 reasons to my good milage on these tires: I usually travlel a 55 MPH or less, I haven't ridden on hot roads for the most part as I did many miles in the Northern States and also the fact that they have been ridden for the largely on paved roads. You may think it wasteful to even bother with an off road tire in my case but in the handfull of times that I went off road to either to explore or camp they were lifesavers and I plan to buy another set.

Kenda K761

  • ...if you want a slightly different compromise you could try the Kenda 761. It's definitely a little better off-road, has very good dry pavement traction, but is a little disturbing in the wet. I've had a set on my bike for about 1500 miles now and I'd say they won't last as long as the Distanzias did, but they're pretty cheap so maybe that's not such a big deal."
  • They wiggle around a lot and it's easy to lock the front braking. The stock tires were considerably better on wet pavement and the Distanzias were better still. The Kendas are still pretty darned good when the pavement is dry, though. The stock tires were also somewhat better in snow, but who spends much time riding in the snow?
  • The K761s are not so good either but I have tractored the bike out of situations I know from painful experience I would have had to drag it out of on its side when it was shod with the Avons
  • For street use, the Kenda 761 seems to work quite well. Very sticky on-road and supposedly will handle gravel better than Metzeler Tourances (not that this is saying much, my bike had Tourances on it when I bought it and they were utterly useless on anything but pavement).
  • the 761's are much nicer for commuting -- they work well in the rain, stick like glue, and they don't whine.
  • More street oriented than the K270, and also popular. At the time of this writing, this was the most popular D/S tire at Rider Valley Motorcycles. Quiet, and hooks up well.
  • I can at least say that the Kenda 761 (which seems to use a tread pattern similar to some Trailwings... which are OEM on some other 650cc dualies) has wide enough gaps between the large tread blocks that it is _possible_, though not _pleasant_, to tractor it out of deep mud. That is not true for some other street oriented tires I have used like the Distanzia and the Gripster.
  • Hmm, I have 761's on my KLR, and can attest that they do well on the highway and on gravel, but I would have never thought they'd handle mud. Granted, I walloped them through a few bogholes during the rainy season here, but I had a head of steam up and you can get through any boghole as long as you have enough steam going to make it to the other side before you need, like, traction.
  • I don't know that I'd say that the K761 will "handle" a little mud so much as that, at least, "it's possible to get yourself out of a little mud if you're stupid enough to get into it with K761s on your bike".
  • The space between the tread blocks on a K761 is significantly greater than that on a Distanzia and has a shape that seems to throw mud better than the shape of the between-blocks space on the Gripster.
  • I like my Kenda 761's a lot better, they're as good as the Tourance on the road (unless it's wet, in which case the Tourance rocks big time), but have enough chunk to them that they're adequate on gravel
  • With the Kenda 761's, I have no wobble at any speed no matter how much load I'm carrying. With a heavy load there's just the tiniest bit of high speed instability up around 80mph (indicated), but not anything that is really disturbing, it just has a tendency to shake its head one time when you hit a big bump.
  • Road performance was on par with Gripsters - excellent grip. Off road, they are better than the gripsters to start. Problem is, at about 1500 miles, the center grooves (which are half the depth of the outer tread) are gone and the center of the tire is smooth. This does not make for a good situation either off pavement, or in the rain. My other complaint is front tire life. At 2600 miles, the front is severely cupped. I am thinking one could dismount and rotate it to run backwards, but I will probably just exchange it with another. I will be changing these out with in the next 500 miles.
  • I've got a couple hundred miles on the Kenda 761 rear now. So far I'm really impressed. The old Gripster was pretty hard and slippery, even on dry pavement. We haven't had any rain yet. This Kenda is like gum. It really screaches to a fast stop if I have to jump on it. The ride is much better than the Avon too. Cornering is a little squirrly though (Kenda 270 front). THis may jst be bedcause its new. The Gripster was actually slipping out on corners. I'll be looking for a 761 front when the 270 goes. So far I've got 5000 miles on the front and it is just starting to show signs of wear.
  • I ran the OEM front and the Kenda 761 rear on a 2500 mile tour with out any problems, I now have a matched set of 761's because the front OEM finally wore out.
  • I'm getting about 4500 miles out of a pair. The front still has plenty of tread at the end of it, but is scalloped and cupped enough to make handling iffy, thus you want to replace as a pair.
  • I'm running a K 761 rear and like it just fine. The Gripster rear I had on before really disappointed. The tire only lasted about 4000 miles and was not real satisfying.
  • At 4,000 miles, the rear tire still is a long way from cord, but is a bit squared off. It has lost approximately 1/4" off the rubber, and has a little over 1/4" left in the center of the tire. It's probably about 500 miles from hitting the wear bar. If you want to keep running it after that, there's probably another 3,000 miles worth of rubber on the tread before it really gets unsafe. I presume that Kenda set the wear bars so high because it becomes even less useful in the dirt otherwise and starts handling rather, err, abruptly, as it squares of. On the front, the tire is noticably scalloped, with the front of the "arrows" being taller than the rear of the "arrows". It is still a long ways away from the wear bar though. Running high air pressures extends the life greatly. My first set of 761's did not last very long (by 4,000 miles the rear was already well into the wear bar). I ran 32/32 front/rear with this set, other than when on gravel or dirt. Running high air pressure on the street also helps the handling. With relatively stiff springing (for a KLR) and with 32PSI front/rear, my KLR handles quite crisply compared to what it handled stock. As far as handling goes, these are great street tires as long as the pavement is dry. They have a short stiff sidewall and a road-oriented shape that encourages fast riding in the twisties. On wet pavement I've never really tested their limits -- I've ridden several hundred miles in the rain on these tires. They've never let me down in the rain, but I can't really say much. On the dry, though, they're great in the twisties. On gravel and dirt roads, they work reasonably well as long as you air them down. I air my front to around 14PSI and rear to around 16PSI in the rough stuff and it tractors through it, as long as we're not talking about a sand wash with ten foot deep sand or a mud hole with two foot deep mud. The 761 is street-oriented insofar as its basic shape and short stiff carcass goes, but has bigger grooves and more aggressive lugs than street-oriented tires like the Avon Gripster. The downside is, as noted above, short tire life -- roughly 4500 miles.
  • Easy to drag pegs and great on gravel. Not to mention cheap. I think I've got about 5000 street miles on mine, and my rear is maybe 1/2 worn.
  • My 761 did not squirm at all when pumped up to operating pressure (which is *not* 22psi!) -- it railed corners. As for the tire wear, it works fine without the center grooves, I'm not sure why Kenda chose that particular tread pattern there, but you actually get more traction on dry pavement once the bogus grooves are gone. I ran my rear for 2,000 miles past that point with no handling issues, and probably have another 2,000 miles left on it (it's in storage as a spare right now).
  • Agree with no squiring with the 761's on dry pavement, they just plain stick (32 front and rear) and while the front skates a little more on loose gravel then the stock front it has never done anything bad or even been loose enough to cause me to air it down. With about 15ook so far they still look new with no detectable wear. On wet pavement while they track well the rear tire will spin and slide slighty but very controllably in 1st or 2nd with a little too much throtle, neat feeling but not recommended....
  • Going with a Kenda 761 now and liking it. Very similar [to Gripster] but slightly more agressive and a softer bead. Still running a gripster on the front.

Kenda Trakmaster

  • Rears are very good, great traction in loose terrain when new and aired down. Get about 3k miles before they are useless offroad. Fronts are very sketchy on the street, and don't seem to have much cornering traction offroad.

Kings KT963, KT9662

  • Just pulled off a nearly bald K270 and switched to these KT-9662 on the front and KT-963 on the rear. Both are DOT legal. Very happy with this combo at 12psi front/rear. The front might need 15psi if you're prone to pinch-flatting. I'm using them on hard/rocky conditions. Street handling is about what you'd expect for a 90% dirt tire. The overall "feel" of the bike is actually better than with the K270 since these tires have a normal round profile as opposed to the flattish profile of the K270. The front tire casing is somewhat softer than a full MX knobby but MUCH firmer than the squishy sidewalled K270. A firm casing seems to promote better handling and more rim protection.

Kings KT966

  • If going to do some real off-roading, but I must ride a couple hundred miles on the highway to get there, I like the Kings KT-966 -- they will handle the twisties with aplomb when aired up to to their max, rear, yet once aired down to around 18psi perform as an adequate off-road tire when you get to the jeep trails, I tractored up some slopes with these things that I was *SURE* couldn't be done by a big top-heavy bike with street-legal tires (but no sand slopes, sorry, you're WAY past what's reasonable and sane to do with this bike clad in these tires there!). The only thing I'll warn you about with the Kings tires is that a) they're rather scary in the wet, and b) if you don't pump them up on the highway to their limit (i.e., far beyond the Kawasaki published air pressures), the front in particular cups like mad (this is true of most dirt-oriented tires with tall soft sidewalls, they require lots of air to handle and work well on the highway).
  • I notice that the front KT966 is rather sensitive to load and air pressure in particular. Too much load and too little air pressure, it squishes down and feels wobbly. Too much air pressure for the load, and it hunts. In addition, the taller rear tire isn't helping, since it changes the steering geometry (makes the back higher, the front lower). My reluctant conclusion about the 966 is that while it handles well offroad and at speeds below 70mph, its handling above 70mph is iffy enough that when my current set wears out I'm not going to replace it with another set of KT-966's.
  • I got the 967's, great low speed street tire, terrible high end (over 80mph) wobble and scary off road, thumbs down from this rider...
  • Two or three times a year I ride from Avila Beach down to central Baja, a distance of about 1000 miles each way. I also do a lot of two track back roads down there and the 966 works fine for that. I am not an aggressive rider but do some fairly rough routes from time to time and I have come to like this tire. I posted last year bout riding 25 miles on a flat rear then putting in a new tube and riding that tire all the way back home, I was impressed.
  • I've worn out 4 rear Kings KT966 and am about to put on my 5th. I get about 5,000 miles on the rear and a bit more on the front. I had one front wear out prematurely but I think I was running too high a pressure for its fairly aggressive tread and I got a lot of cupping. I now run the front at 22# and the rear at 25# for on pavement and they work well. They handle well on the street and but won't match a 606 in the dirt but for my off pavement riding they work just fine. They are around $80.00/pr
  • I would add the Kings KT966 to that list, I have used several sets and it has proven to be quite durable. I stopped using the Kenda K270s 3 or 4 years ago after having the center knobs on the rear chunk badly.

Kings KT-967

  • I got a great deal on the King 967's. $45 rear and $29 front plus $18 shipping. After they were mounted, I went home the long way, wore off the factory sheen, and hit the twisties. I was in awe. The short/harder handling of these tires is amazing, esp considering the price. But then.... I was on the freeway a few days later and lit it up to 80++ mph, and thought I had a loose triple clamp, the wobble was horrible, I later realized it was these tires, and my first off road adventure with them was even worse, loose gravel is a lesson in terror on these, and lastly, I am 2000 miles into them and they are 50% gone. lesson learned. My last set of IRC's, dead at 5000 miles had better top end, and better off road by far. So if you stay on the road, and never exceed 70mph, the king 967 is a great deal....
  • Installed a set of the King's 967 tires on a used '97 KLR650 purchased in N. FL in Dec. I consider it a 80/20 tire. On road/Off road. Had some issues with getting the front tire to bead properly but eventually beaded. Now with 2k on the tires they still seem to have vibration problems in excess of typical balancing issues. Rode 200 mi yesterday up in GA from Tallahassee and could feel the thumping rear tire as it seems to be the biggest problem with being out of round. Uncomfortable after a while and can feel the vibration up the spine. I have several bikes and install the tires on all of them myself. Other than a knobby off road tire have never experienced such poor quality in tires as far as vibration. I can see the top front tire tread edges squirm side ways as I motor along. The vibration seems to be more of a vertical quality problem and thus view it as a tire that is not round, perhaps the construction. NO. Would not consider this model of tire again.
  • Suckiest tire ever! Great in short cornering, but deadly at high speed and even worse on dirt. Worst money I ever spent! Jus got new 606's and ready for the summer!
  • They are OK and durable for the price. Although I like the rear Kenda I have on now which is also not too expensive and seems to last. Neither one will do well for high speed paved cyn [sic] roads.
  • Another Hot "Don't buy!" Is the King 967. While it does have incredible short conrnering ability at low speed (it's an 82-20) it wobbles at high speed, and is a constant wash in dirt and gravel. Scariest 5000 miles I ever rode.

Maxxis 6006

  • I have used the 6006 rear on two long trips into Mexico. It worked well on both the highway and dirt but it does whine over 50 mph and lasts only about 4000 miles or so.
  • I first tried MAXXIS which were a 50/50 tire, and they sucked! They lasted only 1,900 miles, and man did they howl on asphalt between 60 - 70! That's one brand I'll never buy again.
  • I have just put the Maxxis on my KLX and really like them. Not quite as good on the road as the Stock Bridgestones that were on it. But they stick really well, don't make a lot of noise and are way smoother than they look.
  • I put on a pair of Maxxis 6006 tires almost a year ago. They had decent traction on gravel, Ok in the dirt unless it was muddy and then they were not very good. On the road they performed quite well once you get used to the rear tire kind of tucking in as you corner hard. At first this was alarming however once you get used to it they cornered quite well. They are extremely noisy on the road. I always wear ear plugs and they were still noisy. One day I rode a few blocks to fill up with gas without the ear plugs and they were extremely noisy. They do wear out very quickly, not only on the road but on the trail. Last April I took the KLR to Moab (in the trailer). When I was preparing for the trip I noticed the rear tire was quite worn so i ordered a new one to take along. When the new one came I compared and decided to change the tire at home rather than chance having to change it on trip. It had exactly 698 miles on it. It was not completely gone so i took it along as the spare and mounted the new rear for the trip. I've done a few long dual sport rides since my return from Moab and checked the rear tire and it was worn out at only 1,416 miles. These miles were about 2/3 off road riding. Surprisingly you could see the wear after one day of aggressive trail riding. The front tire was also worn. You could see the tire tapered off from braking. These are soft tires with reasonable grip but they are too noisy and wear out too quickly....I've had the Maxxis tires up to 100 mph (on the GPS) and they were not unstable...Maxxis 6006 tires provide good traction on pavement and gravel. Not so good traction on dirt, sand and mud, they wear out fast and are very noisy. I live in the mountains of North Carolina and the twisty roads start at the end of the driveway and continue for thousands of miles. We ride very aggressively both on and off road so others might get more mileage on these tires. They will still be very noisy though.
  • I had three sets of these on my XT225 before getting the KLR. What I quickly learned was the 36 HP KLR eats this tire much more quickly than the 18 HP XT225. I really liked these tires, both on and off road, but alas, I only got 900 miles out of the set. Did I mention I am tough on tires.

Mefo Sport

  • From http://www.angelfire.com/co/klr650/rearaxle4.html: MEFO MFE 99 Sport Explorer Tires for the KLR 650. UPdate: 11 months and 9,000 miles later. During 15+ yrs. of KLR650 ownership ( I bought my first KLR in 1989), I have experimented with 5-6 different brands of Dual Sport tires for the Multi-Surface Kawasaki KLR 650. I can honestly say that the MEFO MFE 99 Sport Explorer Tires are an excellent match for the versatile KLR 650. Although the tread pattern looks fairly aggressive on a KLR650, I would rate these DOT approved tires a 50/50 street/dirt tire as they lasted a very respectable 9000 miles, seeing primarily street and some hard packed dirt/gravel roads in New England. Mounted to my '93 KLR650, they provide excellent grip in all situations, while leaned over in corners, making good traction on wet roads and handling gravel and dirt roads with ease. They are very stable going over milled asphalt and all types of steel bridge deckings with a minimum of wandering. I use my KLR for some fairly extensive touring when I have the chance. During a 1500 mi. street/dirt grand tour of Maine, I found the MEFO MFE 99 Sport Explorer Tires to be very quiet, well below the wind noise level of my Shoei helmet. The MEFO MFE 99 Sport Explorer Tires are made in Germany where they are used by Honda Trans Alp riders and are perfectly suited to a heavy-weight multi-surface steed such as the venerable KLR 650. I would positively like to note that the MEFO MFE 99 Sport Explorer Tires are rated for speeds in excess of what a KLR 650 can achieve, and that they did not exhibit any signs of abnormal wear after 9000 miles. I would heartily recommend to any KLR rider these long lasting Dual Sport tires as they are excellent performers at both dirt, street touring and when you have to - just running around town.
    • DOT and E Code Approved
    • Great gravel and road tires
    • Long wearing Handles well on paved roads
    • Rated top speed 118 MPH (190 KPH)
  • The Mefo's are pricy, but I have a couple of friends that actually were able to use them for about 17K miles.
  • From http://verlenelson.com/KLR/ :
    • After more than 1000 miles including dry pavement, gravel roads, sand roads, dirt roads, rocky trails, snow, ice and mud but no wet pavement I can comment of the MEFO tires: they work very well indeed in all the uses above except dry pavement once the lean angle begins to get serious. Perhaps few riders get there, I don't really know. I don't know how to make this clear. For example, one guy on an Internet forum said Metzeler Karoo knobbies handled very well on pavement and were not "squirmy," even at "insane" lean angles. Well, I happen to know that Karoos are indeed squirmy at lean angles we find far from extreme, much less insane. The lean angles I'm talking about are such that not many riders I ride with want to ride that fast but a few do and they are the ones I'm not going to be able to keep up with on the MEFOs. It's not a big deal and I'm not going to rush to take them off but they are going to inhibit me somewhat for fast pavement riding. They never squirm, they just let the rear end drift out with noticeable oversteer when leaned over far enough. I can't quantify exactly how far that is but I need to lean that far or farther to attempt keeping up with a few faster friends. So far, I'm compensating by "hanging off" to reduce the lean angle but that's too much work for an old man. Otherwise, I really like the tires. They seem to be wearing well.
    • 1500 miles: there is noticeable wear on the front tire. Alternate blocks are worn deeper in a manner that would be perceived as "cupping" on a less aggressive tread pattern. This is from braking, I'm sure. The KLR's near 400 pound wet weight with empty luggage, my 190 pounds without gear and an aggressive riding style is asking too much of the skinny 21 inch tire when braking hard. I wish I had a 19 inch wheel with a wider tire as I've had on KLRs before but I'm reluctant to spend the money on an inexpensive motorcycle.
    • 2000 miles: the front tire has worn unevenly to the point the KLR is prone to a mild speed wobble at 70 to 80MPH on less-than-perfect secondary paved roads. When tested with a quick, small shake of the bars, this wobble seems dangerously close to a tank slapper. I consider the front tire dangerous now and will be removing it soon. The rear tire is perhaps less than 1/2 worn at 2000 miles and this is good wear considering I typically get 1/2 the mileage many people claim for any tire. Fred Hink of Arrowhead Motorsports sells these tires and has received positive feedback. His customers seem to believe the MEFO Sport is the best 50/50 dual sport tire available. Maybe it is and maybe that's my problem. Frankly, I've never liked the 50/50 rating or understood exactly what it means. Does it mean you should ride 50% percent of the time on pavement and 50% off? Does it mean the tire is only 50% useful on pavement and 50% useful off? I will go back to the Metzeler Tourance and never mind the rating because they work well enough for me everywhere and especially well on pavement. They last longer than anything else I've used making them less expensive in the long run although they cost more initially. The Metzeler Tourance is the one front tire that doesn't cup for me.
    • 2315 miles on the MEFO tires and I replaced both with new Metzeler Tourance tires. The front MEFO tire was badly worn, cupped and dangerous; I threw it away. The rear tire was less than 2/3 worn and I kept it, along with my less-than-half-worn original front tire. I might need them.
  • I absolutely love the Mefo's. I'm on my second set. My first front could have went much farther, but I changed it with the rear. They worked great in the ice, the snow, the dirt and on the street, oh yeah, the rain too. I live in Washington State and commute from Shelton to Seattle. This last winter was terribly wet, really icy with several commutes on totally snow covered roads. Many times I questioned my sanity. I commuted everyday regardless of the weather. The Mefo's never failed me, but once. I had a problem with my first rear cracking on both sides of the center lug, but I think it was due to the low air pressure I had them at. If they only went 6000 miles I would still buy them again.
  • The Mefo's rock big time. I got a couple of sets early this spring but only mounted them on the wife's and my KLR's a couple of weeks ago. We've ridden 6 days in the last 8 day, anywhere between 60 and 150 miles each day. Last weekend, we rode the La Sal loop road and Canyonlands Island in the Sky road outside of Moab and then the Colorado National Monument outside of Grand Junction, CO. This weekend we rode from Carbondale, CO back to Moab by way of some scenics byways. Once back in Moab, Saturday, we rode the Potash road and then up the Shafer trail(2000' verical with lots of moon dust) to Island in the Sky and then back to Moab by way of pavement. Today, we rode back to Colorado by the same scenic byways. Hundreds of miles of twisties. Wow, no kidding the Mefo's kick serious ass on the twisties. This is the first set of tires after the OEMs and the wife and I are blown away at how secure we feel with this rubber. I was riding with a friend who was on a KTM 950 Adventure and he was blown away I was riding up his ass. As he said, I was using all the rubber on the side of the Mefo. Sweet tires.
  • I finally spooned on a new front tire, replacing the MEFO MFE 99 with yet another MFE 99. I put on 11,640 miles of mostly back road pavement and the MFE 99 never did get squirrely on me. The rear tire still has another 500 or so miles left on it. I'm pretty impressed with the MEFO tires, very long lasting , I got over 11,000 miles on my set

 

 

Metzeler Karoo

  • FYI - I'm running Karoos on my KLRsisfiddy and so far, I like 'em fine. They're pretty noisy above 40 mph, but that don't bother me. They seem to be pretty good in muddy stuff, although I avoid mud as much as I can, mostly. No real deep sand experience yet, a bit squirrely on large diameter gravel, very good in plain old dirt. Good on road performance, no squirming when leaning the KLR way over in a curve.
  • What's wrong with Karoos? They don't last terribly long but they're pretty good both on road and off (better at both than K270s, for example). Last time I bought some they were ~$100/set.
  • For me the Kendas lasted at most 50% longer than the Karoos, and I liked the Karoos better off road (and on). Also, the Karoos have a *really* stiff carcass, which was something that I was looking for.
  • My personal favorite, although to be fair, I haven't tried the D606 or MT21. Relatively stiff sidewalls, so you may be able to air down more than usual. Despite the aggressive knobs, the tire handles great on the street as well. New tires feel like they want to "fall off" of a straight path, and stabilize in turns. This goes away after 100 miles or so. 3-4k miles rear, roughly twice that for front. May be able to get more if you continue riding strictly on the street.
  • Karoos are a great 50/50 tire. I got about 2000-2500 out of the rear doing 50-50. The paved roads really eat them up. They are noisy on the pavement and are knobs and will step out. I believe I put a pair on mail order for $180 a set. The Karoo sidewalls are VERY VERY stiff. The last rear Karoo I took off with a friend required 2X4's and a blow torch to warm the bead up enough to break. If someone else was buying and mounting my tires or I was doing ALOT of offroad I would go with the Karoos. I like to twist the go knob, well I like to twist it ALOT and I like the Kenda 270 better at $65 a set and around 5,000-6,000/set. Your mileage will definitely vary.
  • i had metzler karoo 2's on mine when i bought it. i think they are a medium traction,heavy sidewall tire mainly meant for hard dirt,they only had 2800 miles on them and they were wore out to be unsafe for road driving.i think metzler calls it the "traveler" tire now.can't justify paying $150 for another rear tire.if your getting it for less than $75 it would be worth it though.
  • I run Karoo's on the front and back of mine. Admittedly I use them for more like 20/80 or 10/90 and the only road riding is to and from the off road riding area. They wear fast on the street and have a very stiff sidewall. With the aggressive knobs, it can get interesting if your cornering fast. Off road they're very good. Seem to work well in rocks and mud. On hard pack, they can get skittish sometimes, but not near as bad as the stock Dunlop's.
  • I ride with a friend who uses Karoo's on his KLR. They seem to be a decent 50/50 tire. No problem at highway speeds either. The prohibiting factor for me was the cost and they don't seem to wear that great. If you're getting a good deal, not a bad tire.
  • Like most Metzeler products, Karoos are overpriced and overrated crap. (I don't know what they cost, but they are crap at any price). I am sure they perform ok when fresh, but the only tire that vanishes more quickly in use is the Pirelli MT21. These tires might be a deal at under $20, if the price included mounting.
  • The Karoos may work ok when new, but expect about 2000 miles or less out of the rear. That works out to three to five times $60 compared to $35 one time. Plus mounting, your time or your money, take your choice. Like all Metzelers, overpriced and overrated.

Metzler Tourance

  • I hated the tourance on the front of my R1150GSA. Just never felt planted as my other tires.
  • my bike had Tourances on it when I bought it and they were utterly useless on anything but pavement
  • The Metzeler Tourance, for all intents and purposes, is a street tire. It is squirrely on gravel and utterly useless in mud.
  • If you want a street tire, look at the Metzeler Tourance. Great wear and like riding on a rail whether wet or dry, and cheaper than the Michelin. Utterly useless on anything but pavement, of course... some of the parking areas for the Bay-area hiking trails tend to be slightly muddy mixed dirt and gravel, and I was always afraid to take my KLR there. Which is sorta deranged. A KLR is the kind of bike you're supposed to be able to go anywhere on, albeit not always elegantly. I replaced mine with some tires that at least didn't terrify me on a gravel road. But as a street tire, they worked quite well.
  • Here is my experience with Tourances: Front: 5000 miles Rear: 8,000 miles I ride mainly paved rough backroads, some freeway and once in awhile gravel fireroads. I found the Tourance hesitated or slipped in the twisties.
  • From http://verlenelson.com/KLR/: I mounted, balanced and installed a new set of Metzeler Tourance tires. After a 52 mile scuff-the-new-tires test ride on local back roads, I'm delighted to be back on a tire I know and trust (see my MEFO tire experiences above). No more tire experiments. I recently wore out a set of IRC GP110's in 2000 miles; the MEFO MFE99' front tire was badly worn, cupped and dangerous at 2325 miles; I know from experience I can expect 7000 miles from the rear Metzeler Tourance on a KLR and the front might last two rears, making the Tourances the least expensive tire for miles ridden. I've used the Tourance for maybe 60,000 miles on a variety of motorcycles ranging from an R1150GS to KLR650's. I've used them for thousands of miles of off-pavement riding, even short bursts of 100MPH on gravel and dirt roads on a DL650 Suzuki. They work very well on pavement; I've used them on a DL650 in a two day performance track school. Metzeler Tourance tires work for me.
  • put a metzeler tourance on front/back of my KLR & got an honest 10000 miles out of it.They are as good as it gets for street only.VERY limited off road capability. If you can get one new for $100 that is a heck of a deal. I have since switched to TKC 80 twinduro & will never look back.

Metzeler MTZ Enduro3 Sahara

  • The Sahara 3 is not quite as good as the GP1, on the street or in the dirt, but I can get about 2000 miles more from a Sahara than a GP1. And with a touring load the Saharas get a whole lot better in the dirt. I also found they took about 20 miles to get warmed up and start feeling right, until then they have a little bit of a push.
  • In further defense of Metzelers: the Tourances on my GS are great road tires and last 14k in the front and 9k in the rear. Even at $200/set, per mile they compare OK in price with anything else I've seen.
  • I'd agree they're better on pavement than K270s, but certainly no better off road. The Kendas last two to three times longer. <$70 a pair. Do the arithmetic. For my money, it's no contest.
  • I (215lb rider, back into m/c after 10 years) have had an Enduro Sahara 3 on the rear (32psi / all road) for the last 3k miles & here's what I can tell ya':
    1. Great dry road cornering
    2. So-so on the wet stuff
    3. Wearing ~ 20% faster than OEM (which had the same usage profile as Sahara)
    4. Not so sure it was the best bang for the buck
  • From my own experience, the Sahara is my tire when I plan a long trip with lots of off roading (its a bit better than the GP110 in the dirt) while something like a Gripster would be my choice for a coast-to-coast run.
  • I had the Metzler Sahara 3 on my DR650 and I'm convinced that they are the best 50/50 tire around. They had good grip on the road (peg dragging grip), and they hooked up well in the dirt. I got 4,000 miles out of the rear and 6,00 miles from the front. If you think the 80 street /20 dirt is more your style the Avon Gripster is a great choice. I have Michelin T-66's on my KLR now, and they suck in the dirt.

Michelin Anakee

  • If you do enough gravel/dirt/sand, the odds are you'll reach the point where you'll regret getting the Anakee. I'd suggest getting one a 50/50 tires.
  • I've got Anakees on the V-Strom; they're a great 95-5 road/wet tire and like packed dirt but they weren't made for sand.
  • Uses silica rather than carbon black in the compound.
  • The Anakees were smooth and rock steady all the way to an indicated 85 MPH on the pavement. They were also able to easily handle roads strewn with hundreds of small pine cones and hop over the occasional downed tree with aplomb. They also did well on packed dirt roads, although obvirously the lean angles aren't nearly as good as on pavement. This, in combination with their great wet weather performance I experienced while commuting, leaves me convinced that they're a great tire for my pavement needs. Unfortunately, their performance on gravel roads is nothing short of terrifying. Two wheel slides at 25 MPH through turns, praying that the bike would get turned before the edge of the road arrived, were typical. I had to keep the bike mostly upright, as any significant lean caused the bike to slide and act like it would never hook up. Gravel road performance was further hampered by a lack of braking traction from either end--the tires would easily lock up and plow straight. Switching bikes with my buddy, who had just mounted new IRC GP-110s, was a night and day difference. I could easily go 15 MPH faster on his bike and had a blast leaning it over and steering with the throttle. Even though they'd slide a bit, they always felt like they were hooking up and giving you some traction--very different from the "sliding on ice" feel of the Anakees. So, in summary, if your bike does 99% of its miles on the pavement definitely try out the Anakees. I know they're expensive, but they really do offer outstanding wet and dry pavement traction. If, however, you regularly spend time traversing gravel (or mud, grass, snow, etc.), look elsewhere for a better tire to meet your needs.
  • I'm running Michelin Anakees on my KLR right now and really like them in the dry and the wet, commuting and having fun in the twisties. They did quite poorly on gravel logging roads, but as other listers pointed out I didn't air them down (I kept them at 32 PSI) so they may perform better off-road when aired down a bit
  • Quiet, sticky, excellent in the rain.
  • Anakees, excellent traction wet or dry, very predictable. Have them on the V-Strom (DL1000) and often drag the pegs through corners.

Pirelli MT21

 

  • I put on a pair of Pirelli MT21's and have had one good all day ride on them. I had to ride about 50 miles to get to the good off road stuff on this ride and the tires ere brand new when I started. They left a little to be desired on the pavement at first. Once I had a couple of hundred miles on them they worked well on the pavement without the tucking in that the Maxxis tires did. Off road they worked well in the dirt, much better than the Maxxis in the mud, but still spun a lot on gravel roads. I found that if i short shifted when possible they did not spin a much and gave better grip. The front tire worked about the same as the Maxxis on gravel, better braking and cornering grip on dirt and mud and about the same as Maxxis on the pavement without all the noise.
  • I really liked the MT-21 and D-606 in gravel, sand and mud, but they were a big compromize dodging tar snakes. The MT-21 was surprisingly competent leaned over but it is possible to lock up the front in hard braking.
  • I've used the MT21's and ran between 26 and 28 PSI pressures. MT21's will wear out very quickly if you ride a lot on the pavement. The also give a little tuck in the rear when turning in while riding aggressively on the road. It'll get your attention but once you get used to it they grip just fine.

Pirelli MT90 Scorpion A/T

  • I've got about 3k on my MT90 A/T's. They've been excellent on the pavement. Solid on gravel and fire road terrain. Even ride well on moderate single track. Huge improvement on the stock tires. I've heard some negative things about them, such as developing splits in the carcass (the models made at the Brazil plant). Am watching them pretty closely, but so far no problems.
  • Sounds a little like the Duro's. Only the claim on the Duro's is chunking and splitting.
  • Great tires for 80% road 20% dirt/fire road. Actually have been in some pretty gnarly stuff and they still work. 3800 miles and still have plenty of go left. I'd definitely buy another pair.
  • What size rear tire are you putting on? I did a search of a half-dozen on-line Pirelli dealers and none had A/Ts in 130/80-17. Plenty of S/Ts though.
  • With a little research it was clear the exact size was not a deal breaker. the size available is Pirelli MT90 A/T 120/90S-17 Rear
  • I thought they were all made in Brazil. I'm on my third set, with the rear lasting around 12K miles. I change out the front at the same time even though it's got tread left. They're very good in the rain and horrible on gravel.
  • I rode the tail of the dragon this weekend in the rain along with over 200 miles of mountain roads and highways before the rain eventually subsided. I was glad I had replaced my K270s with Pirelli Scorpion MT90 AT tires. While I didn't ride as aggressively as when dry I didn't crawl either (stayed above the recommended speed signs on the corners). The tires never once gave a hint of slipping. They were very confidence inspiring leaned over. I managed to scuff them right up to the edge wear the little mold release knobs off and they never felt like they were going to give way. I only have 1200 miles on them but I don't see any appreciable wear other than the usual scuffs. All in all a decent street/gravel tire at a decent price (at www.swmototire.com May, 2006).
  • I switched from K270s to Pirelli MT90 Scorpion A/T tires and it was like being handed a sport bike (with three cylinders sawed off). These are the only street tires I have run on my KLR but so far after nearly 4k miles I am very happy with their performance on pavement. I regularly take my KLR on back roads in the NC, VA, and Tn mountains (including "The Dragon") and these tires have been very confidence inspiring. On Sundays I often ride the parking lots of nearby tech companies to practice turns and have yet to break the front end loose, even when leaned over to the very edge of the tread (I usually ride through some dirt on the way there so I can see how much is scrubbed off on the turns). I've managed to break the rear end loose a bit on dry pavement but I have to move way up against the tank, and then hit the gas coming out of a turn. So far they've been great in rain, as well. They purport to have some off-road capability but I'm just not seeing it. Anything but dry dust is just plain scary, but then again I haven't bothered to air them down below street pressures of 26f, 28r. Looks like I might get 5-6k miles out of them.

 

Pirelli MT90 Scorpion S/T

  • If you're looking for just street use I run Pirelli MT90 Scorpion S/T on my KLR600... I was looking at the Metzelers's, but a friend that has been running the Pirelli's on his KLX650C for a few years now steered me in the Pirelli direction.
  • Scorpions are great, and last. 16,000 and still going on my KLR. No flats... 90% street and smooth dirt roads since I put them on (XR for dirt). 35 psi. They are getting down to the replacement level.
  • I am using Pirelli MT90 S/T. They handle well on the street and will tolerate dirt roads and such. They last also, last rear went 13,000 miles.
  • Wet traction for the Pirelli MT90 ST is very good. I spent a couple of days and about a thousand miles riding in torential rains and they did an excellent job. Dry traction is damned good, too. Same trip I took them for a couple of passes at Deal's gap. Came up behind a couple of guys on brand new R6s. They finally just waved me on through . . . and this is with enough camping gear on the back to look like the Beverly Hillbillies.
  • I considered the MT90 S/T's but didn't want to be limited on riding surfaces and thats what I suspect would be the case with them. Not knocking them, just an observation on tread design.

Pirelli Scorpion Pro (Was MT-83)

  • Front is better than Kenda K760 Trakmaster