You can’t overstate the importance of tires in any genre of motorcycling, but especially when it comes to adventure riding.
Get it right, and you’re in for an epic ride. Get it wrong and the going could be very challenging—and that’s putting it mildly.
Choosing the right adventure tire is no easy task. The options are seemingly endless, and even within the adventure category, the possibilities get separated again based on the kind of riding you plan on doing.
We’re going to do our part to help make the decision a little easier with our list of the top seven adventure motorcycle tires in 2021.
While we know you love to get dirty and take your big ADV off-road, adventure riding invariably involves some stints on asphalt to get to the good stuff.
Because of this, we’re going to split this list down the middle and predominantly stick with 50/50 on-road/off-road tires.
This will give you a nice blend of rubber to cover a variety of terrain. They are presented here in no particular order.
Even if your riding skews more towards one side or the other, the good news is nearly all of the manufacturers you see here also make tires to suit.
Michelin Anakee Wild Tires
The Michelin Anakee Wild tires may not look like 50/50 tires, and that’s the point.
Instead, Michelin has drawn from its experience racing in the grueling Dakar Rally, and the tread pattern of the Anakee Wild represents its success in the toughest race out there.
The offset blocks and curved tread grooves dig into soft and challenging terrain to find grip and drive you out. Meanwhile, the front and rear casing design combined with the optimized tread depth and compound selection ensure great durability and stability on road. The Anakee Wild is also available in multiple sizes to suit big adventure-touring and dual-sport bikes.
The Mitas E-07+ rides on the success of the E-07 (without the plus). Offering high mileage while still being able to traverse challenging terrain, the E-07+ features a more rounded profile for better on-road performance.
The aggressive chevron tread pattern gives it versatility by channeling away water on the road while also being able to dig into mud or snow to find grip.
Opt for the Dakar version if you want a harder compound or the standard version if you’ll face more wet riding.
Heidenau K 60 Scout
You’ll find a high rubber content in the Heidenau K 60 Scout. Its robust compound, combined with its belted construction, gives it a long life as a road tire. Depending on the tire size you might notice the tread design looks different. This is a result of the new compound.
Different sizes may get slightly different tread designs, but all of them promise excellent grip and stability on or off-road.
No matter the tread design, you’ll notice chunky blocks to help find grip in various terrain. And if your application requires tubes, the K 60 Scout will accommodate them.
Combining elements of the hugely popular TKC 80 with the ContiTrailAttack 2, the Continental TKC 70 draws a happy medium between off-road capability and on-road performance.
You’ll see the closely spaced blocks lend themselves towards light to medium off-road use, but these tires are very happy on the road.
Continental’s dual-compound technology places a harder compound on the center of the tire and a softer one on the shoulders for better durability in a straight line and more grip while cornering.
Clearly skewing more towards road riding, the TKC 70 is still capable for gravel excursions.
If you want the OG in dual-sport adventure bike tires with true on-road and off-road performance, you turn to the Continental TKC 80.
The wide, chunky tread blocks lend themselves to biting through tough dirt and mud and obviously handle hardpack with ease.
The self-cleaning tread pattern helps it bite, no matter the terrain. Despite the clear off-road bias with the TKC 80, the rounded profile allows the tire to offer surprisingly good traction and handling on the street. So while the TKC 80 skews more towards the dirt, it’s a nice offset to the TKC 70 above.
Dunlop Trailmax Mission
More than two years in the making, Dunlop’s Trailmax Mission is a serious 50/50 tire with an aggressive tread pattern to ensure traction in hard terrain.
The thick, staggered tread blocks also have a “step down” feature to enhance the contact patch after the initial contact with sandy terrain to keep biting and move you forward.
In addition, wrap-around lugs on the tire’s edge help protect the tire from sharp rocks while also adding to the off-road traction.
On the road, new compounds help the Trailmax maintain excellent longevity, while the deep grooves work their magic in the wet by evacuating water efficiently. With applications for adventure bikes of all sizes, it can be used with or without a tube (bike dependent).
Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR
Pirelli is well known in the road world for its excellent tires, and the Scorpion Rally STR takes some of that inspiration into a well-rounded 50/50 tire for the dual-sport, sport touring, and adventure riding crowd.
Visually, you can see block design that will work well in gravel, (some) sand, and dirt. Making those blocks last a while on pavement is a compound choice tailored for longevity.
The silica-rich compound ensures quick warm-up times even in wet and cold conditions.
And with big blocks, the Scorpion Rally makes quick work of evacuating water when the road gets wet.
The street tire inspiration can be seen in the rounded profile, allowing for confidence-inspiring handling on twisty roads while still offering decent off-road grip.
While no means a definitive list, these seven tires will give you a good understanding of the options available on the market and make you aware of what to look for when it comes to a tire for adventure riding.
Even if you’re looking for something more dedicated one way or the other, by knowing what a 50/50 tire looks like and offers, that will help you when you’re looking at specs for other tires. So whether you have a big GS 1250 or a small dual-sport, with or without tubes, there’s something here for everyone.