Dual Sport vs Street Tires - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Dual Sport vs Street Tires

I know there are plenty of tire threads, but I have a question that doesn't really relate to tire brand. Brand suggestions are certainly welcome too, but I'm curious if I really need to be paying for DS tires.

After I spent my stock tires, I replaced with Meztler Tourance and have been using this brand/model for about 47k miles. It's painful to replace these because they're so darn expensive, but they've treated me well for the most part, so I've just stuck with them.

When I first got back into riding in 2005, I bought a new KLR 650 because I thought I was going to go off-road a lot more than it turned out I did. Forced myself to ride 200 miles of the Baja 1000 route... which was fun, but not something I'd really want to do again. I'm just not an off-road kind of rider. For many reasons I won't get in to... the KLR was not the bike for me and I switched to a v-strom 650 that's been nearly perfect other than the low clearance. (rough in Mexico due to the many large speed bumps/topes).

As it turns out, I rarely go off-road at all anymore. If I need to ride a sandy road to get closer to the beach, or ride 10 miles of gravel to get to some state park, or ride into primitive camping a few miles on eroded dirt road... dual sport tires are great.

The thing is, I rarely get off road at all. Maybe 5% of the time at the most. The mechanic at the shop I like to go to here in Austin, Texas that seems to be fairly-priced and honest (CycleNation) suggested maybe I should replace next time with street tires since they're less expensive, last longer, get better gas milage, etc.

The question is, in the rare occasions I mentioned above, ie. a little bit of sandy road to get closer to the beach, some grated gravel, and an occasional few miles of eroded dirt road... would I really tell THAT much difference between a street tire and a dual sport tire? In short, if I'm only in "dual sport" territory less than 5% of the time, am I wasting money on DS tires?
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post #2 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiphunt View Post
I know there are plenty of tire threads, but I have a question that doesn't really relate to tire brand. Brand suggestions are certainly welcome too, but I'm curious if I really need to be paying for DS tires.

After I spent my stock tires, I replaced with Meztler Tourance and have been using this brand/model for about 47k miles. It's painful to replace these because they're so darn expensive, but they've treated me well for the most part, so I've just stuck with them.

When I first got back into riding in 2005, I bought a new KLR 650 because I thought I was going to go off-road a lot more than it turned out I did. Forced myself to ride 200 miles of the Baja 1000 route... which was fun, but not something I'd really want to do again. I'm just not an off-road kind of rider. For many reasons I won't get in to... the KLR was not the bike for me and I switched to a v-strom 650 that's been nearly perfect other than the low clearance. (rough in Mexico due to the many large speed bumps/topes).

As it turns out, I rarely go off-road at all anymore. If I need to ride a sandy road to get closer to the beach, or ride 10 miles of gravel to get to some state park, or ride into primitive camping a few miles on eroded dirt road... dual sport tires are great.

The thing is, I rarely get off road at all. Maybe 5% of the time at the most. The mechanic at the shop I like to go to here in Austin, Texas that seems to be fairly-priced and honest (CycleNation) suggested maybe I should replace next time with street tires since they're less expensive, last longer, get better gas milage, etc.

The question is, in the rare occasions I mentioned above, ie. a little bit of sandy road to get closer to the beach, some grated gravel, and an occasional few miles of eroded dirt road... would I really tell THAT much difference between a street tire and a dual sport tire? In short, if I'm only in "dual sport" territory less than 5% of the time, am I wasting money on DS tires?
I'm far from an expert, but if you aren't doing any mud, and you just ride slowly in the "dirt" part, it wouldn't be any trouble to be on street tire.
The only problem could be in the "sandy" part, it's if you become silted.

If you watch some rally, (it's the right word ?) like the dark dog tour in france or other, you can see some zxr6 which do 400m - 1km of gravel road and so on (and not particulary slowly )
Other examples : or
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post #3 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 11:31 AM
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"would I really tell THAT much difference between a street tire and a dual sport tire? " -- I would have to say NO to that.

A 90% street tire [I consider it more like 95%], like a Bridgestone Battlewing, is fine on hardpack dirt roads [it's hardpack!], and compacted sand [it will float] will not be a problem for really ANY road oriented tire. I used to ride my old GPz750 on sandy two tracks in Michigan [practically all sand here], and would get curious looks and comments from kids on their YZ80's.....I told em it was the new KX750......

The only problem I've ever had with road-ish tires is when you find a freshly gravel'ed road [where the road commission carpets the road with fresh stuff], and street tires take on a mind of their own - you are kinda along for a very sketchy experience!!! I got quite a scare the first time I got into that stuff on my Wee - glad I had my off-road experience to fall back on [when in doubt - gas it!] I'm too non-committed to all day dirt road rides to carry a portable electric tire pump so I could reduce my tire's psi for gravel road travel, so I really can't gripe about that. I bet even a semi-knobby tire with a high psi for road duty would be a bit sketch on that stuff too....

"In short, if I'm only in "dual sport" territory less than 5% of the time, am I wasting money on DS tires? " Perhaps yes, but then again tires are like shoes - everyone has a favorite pair.

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Last edited by jokermtb; 05-24-2010 at 11:34 AM.
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post #4 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 11:48 AM
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I changed to Shinko 712 pure street tires when I needed new skins this time and they perform flawlessly on the street.

I traverse .5 mile of gravel private driveway to my house each way with no problems......... YMMV

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post #5 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 12:04 PM
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My philosophy about tires is that the rare times that you want a specific characteristic, you really want it. So that if you are only off road 5%, then it may be rare that you "need" the tread of a ds tire, but when you do, you will be super bummed not to have it and all the time you don't need it, it is a relatively small inconvenience (noise, tread life) to have the capability.
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post #6 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by skiphunt View Post
The question is, in the rare occasions I mentioned above, ie. a little bit of sandy road to get closer to the beach, some grated gravel, and an occasional few miles of eroded dirt road... would I really tell THAT much difference between a street tire and a dual sport tire? In short, if I'm only in "dual sport" territory less than 5% of the time, am I wasting money on DS tires?
Yeah you are probably correct in assuming you could use a 100% road tire. I rode a set of Continental Road Attacks 540 miles up and back on the Dempster Highway in the Yukon. I aired down to 22 psi front / 24 psi rear and averaged about 65 MPH. Look up the Dempster Hwy if you wanna see the terrain.

I also carry a $10 air compressor I got from Meijer, it actually fits under the stock seat of a V-Strom, and it will re-inflate your tires in literally a couple of seconds each tire....its fast.

So for the 5% of the time you want better dirt performance, your best bang for the buck would be to carry a compressor, air down at the right times, and run a street tire the other 95% of the time.

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post #7 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 04:10 PM
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I rode my Bandit 1200 on the same backroads and gravel that I do now and it had pure street tires.

While I was still working I used a BMW K1000 that I used on the dirt footpaths in a large park and it never had a problem until I found some deep mud.

Years ago, my old Yamaha Twin Jet 100 didn't know it wasn't a dual sport so it went everywhere. The only thing to say about the tires of the sixties is that they were black.

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post #8 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 05:50 PM
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I have only had my Battlewings for about 1000 miles, but so far I really like them. They handle SO much better then the Trailwings on the road. I too ride very little "off road" - but the other day my GPS sent me home via a rough gravel road and they did just fine - I just had to go with the squirrelly flow - kinda like you do on a grooved surface
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post #9 of 38 Old 05-24-2010, 08:59 PM
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I have Michelin Pilot Road 2's on now after the OE's and a Battlax BT021 on the rear. I like the PR2's best so far. I'm 99.5% road with an occasional trip on gravel for a short distance plus 120yds of gravel driveway. IF you are mostly a road person, get a tire made for it. I don't ride near the edge of what it's capable of but I am more confident where I am. my .01 fwiw as I'm in MI and there's nothing here!

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post #10 of 38 Old 05-25-2010, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TheTwins View Post
So for the 5% of the time you want better dirt performance, your best bang for the buck would be to carry a compressor, air down at the right times, and run a street tire the other 95% of the time.
My next purchase, no kidding! And why not, there's a perfectly empty plastic tray that will hold a mini air compressor.

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