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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have finally decided to take action re tires. The OEM tires on my 9T are excellent road tires but I often end up on non-paved roads where they are, frankly terrible. I have checked Revzilla and other places but it seems everything I find that might be workable either has ONLY a rear tire or ONLY a front tire available in that brand. So what are folks using/where do you get tires that can handle a bit of non-paved capability on the standard R9T. As I said in the heading, I'm thinking 80/20 but I welcome suggestions!

Thanks
 

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I had excellent results from Continental TKC 70’s. On my trip north, up through Norway, I used these and they were great in all weathers and on unpaved roads. Some have commented on weird front end chatter at speed. I did not have any problems and still plenty of tread left after 4,000 miles round trip.
 

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The hardest thing is going to be finding 80/20 tires for your 17" front wheel. I'm running the original Metzeler Tourance but it looks like the 17" fronts are unavailable according to RevZilla.
 

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80/20 tires... That is a dilemma. Compromise tires don't do anything well. You give away pavement performance for slightly improved but still lousy performance in the dirt. With good street rubber (and I have to disagree about the OE Metzeler Z8's being excellent) you have good on pavement performance for 80% of your riding and poor performance for the 20% in the dirt. With compromise tires you get mediocre performance 100% of the time with improved, but still mediocre, dirt performance . Doesn't make sense to me unless your bike is biased enough towards dirt that the pavement loss is moot.

Ever watch Super Moto? They run slicks. Compromise tires cost more (in terms of performance) on the pavement sections than they gain on the dirt sections.

Just something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What it comes down to is that although I agree that compromise tires are not as good as purpose-tires for a specific job, I think they would work better for me. As much as I'd like to claim that I drag my knee on every corner and, therefore, need every bit of bite from top-quality performance tires, that just isn't the case. I doubt that my riding style would notice any substantial difference if the tires I had were 20% less capable on the street. They are still more capable than my street riding requires. But I need something better in non-pavement because I'm on it more than I expected (or want) to be.

I was on a ride that included about 2 hours on very thick-dust type of dirt road. It was absurd at how difficult that was. First problem was that the tires basically just floated on the dust. It felt just like riding on ice. Second problem - no brakes! The ABS prevented the brakes from locking which also prevented the bike from stopping due to the tires floating on the dust - again, like ice. I ended up more than a mile behind everyone else in the group at the end of the dirt stretch.

When we got home I immediately rigged up a switch (invisible, under the fuel tank) to disable the ABS. But I would still like some tires that would be better than the OEM's for off-pavement.

Both the Avons and the Continentals (thanks, guys) are available from Amazon in the appropriate sizes. So I will consider those as well as any further info/advice I receive here.

Thanks
 

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Some of the Urban GS bikes come with the Conti TKC80 tires. They get good reviews from most testers, some consider it to be the standard that all others should be compared to. I know that many guys put them on the R1200GS bikes and ride serious road miles with them. They are considered a 50/50 tire and can rumble on pavement. The Conti TKC70 is a more road focused dual sport tire and might be better balanced for your riding preferences.

I want to put something more like what you are asking about on my Scrambler next set. I love dirt roads and have the ability to cancel ABS and Traction Control at the handlebars. But I've been learning to corner on pavement better, to the point where I've erased my Chicken Strips, for the first time in my life. And now that I've done that I want to slow it down again and get back into something that let's me go where I want / when I want. I had a favorite set of Avon Distanzia tires years ago and loved them, so I'll look hard at the Avons that are recommended by Scrambler007.
 

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What it comes down to is that although I agree that compromise tires are not as good as purpose-tires for a specific job, I think they would work better for me. As much as I'd like to claim that I drag my knee on every corner and, therefore, need every bit of bite from top-quality performance tires, that just isn't the case. I doubt that my riding style would notice any substantial difference if the tires I had were 20% less capable on the street. They are still more capable than my street riding requires. But I need something better in non-pavement because I'm on it more than I expected (or want) to be...

Both the Avons and the Continentals (thanks, guys) are available from Amazon in the appropriate sizes. So I will consider those as well as any further info/advice I receive here.

Thanks
Facing the same situation I discovered no or not enough serious comparos in the US press, so last week I started ploughing through the German-language motorpress to get more insight. What caught my attention is B) how the majority of dual-sports tire comparisons don't even bother with dirt ratings! and B) how many of the 70/30 or 80/20 tires – were rated good–great on roads but insufficient–lousy in the dirt, even taking their road-heavy focus into consideration. These are magazines btw I'm familiar with which have been around for a time.

A few of the not-so-offroad-qualified tires include the Avon TrailRiders, Dunlop TrailSmart, Pirelli Trail II.

Also interesting how the Conti TKC 70 came out repeatedly as a favourite, on both sides of the pond. Until I hear otherwise, this Conti will be my next tire, replacing the Metzeler Tourance Next on my Scrambler.

On a sidenote: yesterday for the first time I tried with and then without ASC (traction control) on grass and sand. What an eye-opener! And: I have a TON of dirt-riding-technique to learn.
 

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I have never read a tester complain about the Conti TKC 70. It isn't perfect under any conditions, but it is one of the least bad as an all conditions compromise. I think you're making a good informed choice.


For dirt riding technique, you can find a much easier bike to practise on than our R9T. I love my Scrambler but it is a handful in even shallow sand. My OHLINS suspension helped it immensly but it is not a dirt bike.
 

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These. I’ve seen some dirt roads and back roads on my R9T with them, and I have two friends who own Ducati Scramblers, and this is the tire Pirelli developed for their OEM spec. I love them:

 

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My UGS has TKC-80 Continentals and i've just completed 300kms on them on my brand new bike, they are seriously impressive on the road, they do geta bit of a whine going at speed but the grip is fine for "spirited" road riding, no problem. If you're going fast enough on public roads to need more grip than these provide then you're being irresponsible.

Off road they're very very good as well, fast fire roads were handled with confidence, T/C and ABS off and no issues whatsoever, how they last? dunno, i'll deal with that when they wear out but they're perfect for my use.
 

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These. I’ve seen some dirt roads and back roads on my R9T with them, and I have two friends who own Ducati Scramblers, and this is the tire Pirelli developed for their OEM spec. I love them:

Agreed ~ don't last all that long but stick well in the corners & do ok light off-road.
 

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I have never read a tester complain about the Conti TKC 70. It isn't perfect under any conditions, but it is one of the least bad as an all conditions compromise. I think you're making a good informed choice.

For dirt riding technique, you can find a much easier bike to practise on than our R9T. I love my Scrambler but it is a handful in even shallow sand. My OHLINS suspension helped it immensly but it is not a dirt bike.
Agreed on both points :laugh2:

The Scrambler is not an off-roader, and I admit to totally lust for a smallish second dual-sport, having learned riding a LOT in the dirt when I was 16. That bike would likely be parked in NC and solve another dilemma. But funds are not there right now. So my Scrambler will be moved a tiny bit in the direction of dirt roads etc. My Tiger 800 was way too top-heavy for me to try that.
 

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My UGS has TKC-80 Continentals and i've just completed 300kms on them on my brand new bike, they are seriously impressive on the road, they do geta bit of a whine going at speed but the grip is fine for "spirited" road riding, no problem. If you're going fast enough on public roads to need more grip than these provide then you're being irresponsible.

Off road they're very very good as well, fast fire roads were handled with confidence, T/C and ABS off and no issues whatsoever, how they last? dunno, i'll deal with that when they wear out but they're perfect for my use.
Twice (in moto-mags) I read now that an interesting combo is a TKC 80 front and TKC 70 rear tire, the rear to avoid the quick wear of the TKC 80. It'll be interesting to see how many you'll get out it your set. Please keep us up to date as you add miles on those tires, would you?
 

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I switched to TKC 70s on my Tiger 800 and found they gave me more confidence in the wet on tarmac than the Z8s on my F800ST, and were much better on gravel roads. I now have Metzler Tourance Next on the Tiger and prefer the TKC 70s. I have switched from Z8s on my R Nine T to Michelin Road 5 and love them. Used to have TKC 80s on a F650GS and found they wore quickly on tarmac and were unstable but were great on gravel. If I wanted to ride gravel roads on my R Nine T I would fit TKC 70s in a heartbeat as they are a great compromise between tarmac and gravel tyres. Your tyre choice will always involve a compromise but the TKC 70 gave me as much confidence on tarmac as my new Road 5s do.
 

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I'd love to see someone ride an R9T on something off-road where the tires truly became a limitation.
 

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I'm very happy of my Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR. Reading other forums I see many also happy of Dunlop Mutant.
 

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I'm running the Continental TKC 70 on the front and a TKC 70 Rocks on the rear and am very happy with them so far. They're mounted on Scrambler wheels on my Pure.

145801


So far I've ridden them quite a bit thru grassy fields (sometimes wet grassy fields, which were a nightmare with the stock tires) and on gravel and dirt roads. Nothing "serious offroad" but situations where the stock tires weren't as good. Also I like the way they look.

Just did a quick 250 mile trip over the weekend and they are remarkably smooth and quiet on the highway.

Best,
-Tim
 
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