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Posted: 11/1/2009 1:19:40 PM EST
Cheater tires



Unless you don't care about the breakthroughs happening in the world of off-road motorcycles or you've been in a vacuum the past five years, you have heard about people running trials tires on their off-road machines.

As funny as it may look this tight pattern of shallow grippy rubber is cheating.

The soft compound conforms to the nasty surfaces riders are often confronted with, taking some of the technical difficulty away from each obstacle.

Roots that used to slip and skip the back end of a bike equipped with knobbies are miraculously absorbed like the Lego's your barefooted dad used to step on; though, without pain and zero complaints.

Rocks that used to shuck knobs while send bucking feedback to a riders hands and feet are painted smooth and controlled with the same mysterious technology.

Classic knob tires rely on their square edges to score into the dirt's surface and lay down a minimal contact patch.

They also loose their integrity after that edge has been rounded creating an unstable feel when accelerating, braking, turning and any other situation that involves movement between the rubber and the ground.

This can be as early as one ride depending on the rider and conditions.

Knobbies give hugs like sea urchins, unwilling to conform to the contours of jagged rocks, sticks, roots and other trail hazards.

Trials tires work so well in poor conditions that they were banned from Endurocross competition.

This might have had something to do with Maxxis who used to sponsor the event and doesn't have a trials tire in their product line.

Trials tires last a long time.
They don't rely on the square edges alone to create grip.

That soft, fluctuating rubber fans out to provide support long after rounding occurs.

They also more friendly to the ground.

Trials tires don't chew up the dirt like scratchy knobbies can.

With all this unconcealed cheating you are bound to get caught.

There are some noteworthy downsides to running trials tires.

If you ride in wet clay like the hills in the southern Willamette Valley in Oregon, or the snot soil found in Castle Rock, Washington you will find yourself spinning at high rpm in a tall gear and going nowhere on the most modest incline.

Snow is kryptonite to the trials tire.

If you have a 19" rear you are out of luck because no manufacturer makes such a tire.

Stylistically, if you are a rear brake slider or like to spin up the rear you will end up less than satisfied with the performance of the trials tire.

The rear will lock up without subtly like you are on wet grass, even when the traction is superb.

Michelin, Pirelli, IRC or Dunlop each have their own profile and compound and retail prices range from spendy to expensive.

All are effective and easy to mount.

Trials tires are no secret, but they haven't won over everyone in the off-road community.

They are still designed for trials use where railing turns and speed is not a priority.

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-9668-Portland-Motorcycle-Examiner~y2009m9d3-Cheater-tires
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:52:09 PM EST
Looks like they would be death in the mud though. New to dirt riding so I don't know. Running Bridgestone 403/404 here.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 2:57:05 PM EST
Wow, welcome to stuff we knew in the seventies.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:00:03 PM EST
You must never ride MX or sand, because those would be just about worthless.

So, where trials bikes.

I don't see them preforming very well at speed, maybe if all you are doing is 1st 2nd real techy rocky, rooty riding.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:13:35 PM EST
I've ridden with a Michellin(sp?) trials tire in both sand (Mojave desert) and mud - it works pretty darn well in both areas. The only time I run a 'real' knobby is when we go to Black Rock Desert and that's because the speeds are too high for the trials tire - 4th/5th gear all day long would destroy the tire.

My wife was able to ride right up (as in 'clean' the hill) a slick snotty hill with a Michellin Trials tire on her XR250R - the other gal on a XR400 with 'real' knobbies wasn't able to ride up the hill w/o dog paddling and she is a better rider than my wife.

Brian
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 10:55:02 AM EST
I run IRC trial tires on my DR650 enduro.

SO far, I love them.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:31:15 PM EST
As a dual-sport guy, I found the trails tires that gave me worthwhile dirt performance burned up super quick on the pavement, so any gains I got in one area (modest) were pissed away in another.

Ohio's terrains are anything from loose powdery dirt to deep mud, shale and rock to loamy soil. It's really hard to find a tire that does it all here, I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:37:14 PM EST
I prefer $49 Maxxis knobs
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 4:17:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By razor11056:
I prefer $49 Maxxis knobs

I run the 6001 on my front alot, that's a great tire for stupid cheap...aggressive but holds up to rock & pavement really well. Tracks great in the slop too.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 4:53:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 4:53:39 PM EST by matt33]
I really like the Dunlop 606 in everything except deep mud/slop. They are great on pavement and have worn really well. I can't imagine a trails tire would be good in mud, but I admit I've never tried one.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:54:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 5:55:47 PM EST by Alacrity]
Originally Posted By matt33:
I really like the Dunlop 606 in everything except deep mud/slop. They are great on pavement and have worn really well. I can't imagine a trails tire would be good in mud, but I admit I've never tried one.


606+Field Silt =


Theres a brand spanking new 606 under there. Moar Spun Mighta cleaned it - doubtful

Best Mud/Sand Tire I've tried


MT410 - wear aint it strong point tho
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 4:37:15 AM EST
What would you suggest for muddy GA clay. Not thick stuff but just an inch or so on top of hard pack clay so that its like ice?

Bill3508
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 8:24:56 AM EST
I had a Michelin x11 on the rear for about four rides and hated it. Went back to a knobby tire. All the riding was in mud and sand. It was alright if you were going slow, but it would lose traction too quickly if you gave it any gas.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 8:26:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By bill3508:
What would you suggest for muddy GA clay. Not thick stuff but just an inch or so on top of hard pack clay so that its like ice?

Bill3508


Trelleborg.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:59:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 1:59:41 PM EST by cujet]
It's funny that you mention Trelleborg. On my big bore dirt bikes, the Trelleborg knobbys were the all around best. Soft side walls with aggressive knobs.

I never liked trials tires on big bores. They simply are not up to the task of a 65HP bike in the sand.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 3:29:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By cujet:
It's funny that you mention Trelleborg. On my big bore dirt bikes, the Trelleborg knobbys were the all around best. Soft side walls with aggressive knobs.

I never liked trials tires on big bores. They simply are not up to the task of a 65HP bike in the sand.


Anyone sell the Ten or SuperMaster in the States anymore?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 4:06:27 PM EST
Originally Posted By Alacrity:

Anyone sell the Ten or SuperMaster in the States anymore?


Dunno. I used to get them from the Euro riders at the Alligator Enduro in Daytona. They always had plenty.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:30:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gabriel:
I had a Michelin x11 on the rear for about four rides and hated it. Went back to a knobby tire. All the riding was in mud and sand. It was alright if you were going slow, but it would lose traction too quickly if you gave it any gas.


What air pressure were you running?

If you still have the tire and it's in good shape you could send it to me

Brian

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:32:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By swingset:
As a dual-sport guy, I found the trails tires that gave me worthwhile dirt performance burned up super quick on the pavement, so any gains I got in one area (modest) were pissed away in another.

Ohio's terrains are anything from loose powdery dirt to deep mud, shale and rock to loamy soil. It's really hard to find a tire that does it all here, I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied.


I made the problematic word red.........

Trials tires do not like high speed/high temp - I've had to ride a few miles of pavement on a trials tire and it pretty much sucks.

Brian
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 5:47:22 PM EST
Originally Posted By brian4wd:
Originally Posted By Gabriel:
I had a Michelin x11 on the rear for about four rides and hated it. Went back to a knobby tire. All the riding was in mud and sand. It was alright if you were going slow, but it would lose traction too quickly if you gave it any gas.


What air pressure were you running?

If you still have the tire and it's in good shape you could send it to me

Brian



I was running them at about 10 lbs.

I gave the tire to a friend of mine with a vintage trials bike. His tires were old and about as hard as a rock.


Originally Posted By brian4wd:
Originally Posted By swingset:
As a dual-sport guy, I found the trails tires that gave me worthwhile dirt performance burned up super quick on the pavement, so any gains I got in one area (modest) were pissed away in another.

Ohio's terrains are anything from loose powdery dirt to deep mud, shale and rock to loamy soil. It's really hard to find a tire that does it all here, I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied.


I made the problematic word red.........

Trials tires do not like high speed/high temp - I've had to ride a few miles of pavement on a trials tire and it pretty much sucks.

Brian


I agree. If you ride slow and keep the tire from breaking loose, it does have a lot of traction on varied terrain. If you want to travel at any kind of speed, however, the traction gain from the soft rubber is completely lost, plus it completely clogs up once you hit any kind of mud.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:51:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gabriel:
I agree. If you ride slow and keep the tire from breaking loose, it does have a lot of traction on varied terrain. If you want to travel at any kind of speed, however, the traction gain from the soft rubber is completely lost, plus it completely clogs up once you hit any kind of mud.


That's interesting as my experience has not been the same - I felt overall 'speed' was about the same between the Michellin Trials tire and my normal Dunlop 756 but the slow speed technical/traction advantage was most definitely with the trials tire. The trials tire does handle differently but it didn't take much for me to get used to it and actually prefer it on single track.

I doubt a trials tire would be competetive on a SX/MX track but for some 'strange' reason the trials tires are banned from EnduroCross.

To each his own - I guess.

Brian

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 5:31:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By brian4wd:
Originally Posted By Gabriel:
I agree. If you ride slow and keep the tire from breaking loose, it does have a lot of traction on varied terrain. If you want to travel at any kind of speed, however, the traction gain from the soft rubber is completely lost, plus it completely clogs up once you hit any kind of mud.


That's interesting as my experience has not been the same - I felt overall 'speed' was about the same between the Michellin Trials tire and my normal Dunlop 756 but the slow speed technical/traction advantage was most definitely with the trials tire. The trials tire does handle differently but it didn't take much for me to get used to it and actually prefer it on single track.

I doubt a trials tire would be competetive on a SX/MX track but for some 'strange' reason the trials tires are banned from EnduroCross.

To each his own - I guess.

Brian



Trials Tires are relegated to the TrialCross (EXTC) class, tho not required. This has been attributed to the sponsor Maxxis - and the trials bikes - not just tires, were punching well above their weight Maxxis (major sponsor) does not make a trials tire. Peronally I think it was the latter. No real surprise that trials tires offered an advantage - hell the top riders are trial, not MX/Enduro guys- low speed technical hard obstacles and a lack of mud/deep sand. Whether or not the Trials bikes had a huge advantage that was the bitch hence the new separate class, since there was an interest and Maxxis seemed placated. It certainly appeared the current EXTC class trials guys had a much easier time (as did Aaron's Christini).

All tires are a compromise - in "hard" conditions - especially with roots/rocks - trials tires offer a real advantage. In mud and loose sand, no so much. Durability is an issue. But if you can afford a stack, dont ride dual sport and rarely see mud - they can kick ass. In the end its rider and style - what works for some may not be best for you ability/style, bike, terrain - why we're always trying new stuff.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 1:53:46 PM EST
Where I do 90% of my riding a trials tire works the best.

I went out to the desert this summer and kept the trials tire on the rear, it worked out just fine in the loose dirt / silt / mud.
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