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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to do alot more off road riding, mostly dirt, gravel and hard packed road...
What are some great all around tires for my 650?

any suggestions? and also where to buy? anything on Motorcycle-Superstore?

thanks:thumbup:
 

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Living the Stereotype
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Continental TKC80's work nicely.

 

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Plus, they're expensive.
 

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Kenda Big Block and Metzeler Karoo are other knobbies that work well. Metzeler's Karoo T is a knobby for more on-road riding. The new Metzeler Karoo 3 is an off-road tire that is a new style knobby...it is so new that it will be available soon. It'll eventually replace the other Karoos.
Metzeler introduces the new Karoo 3 at EICMA | Ridexperience USA

The Shinko 705 and the Full Bore Adventure Touring are more off-pavement oriented than the usual tires we run, and less so than the knobbies. The Kenda, Shinko, and Full Bore are lower cost and shorter life.
 

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I have a detailed report on my experience with the Kenda Big Block

Long Term Report: Kenda Big Block

The cliff notes:

off-road = amazing and prob the best DOT off-road tire (from my limited experience and responses from others who use them).
pavement = commuting - they are tolerable, long pavement rides in the mountains - pavement will eat these tires very quickly. My rear will not see 2k miles. But they are less expensive than most, $75-$110 from bike bandit
 

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Kenda 270's are good off-road, as long as its not muddy. They are relatively inexpensive. I consider them almost a trials-type tire...which have become very popular in the desert riding crowd the past couple of years. The side knobs flex a lot on the road, so, some people don't like them if they drag pegs around corners on the pavement.
 

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question for those running the "less expensive" Kendas ?

how many miles are they lasting

I ask this because I evaluate on cost per mile ((initial cost + installation) / miles)
As I mentioned, my rear wont make it to 2k miles. I have 900 miles on them and the rear is at about half gone already. The front will prob make it to 4k-5k. This is very common for the Big Block. The GS guys on ADVRider see similar tire life. But like me, they swear they are the best off-road tire and are the "go to tire".

I'm going to make the most of the poor millage by mounting mine on a second set of wheels and only bolt them up when I'm planning an off-road ride. The other set will have Tourances. I lost prob 20-25% of my tread from a single 200 mile ride in the N GA mountains a few weekends ago.
 

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Big Block rear = $76
TKC rear = $165

if TKC's are seeing 6k miles then the big blocks are a bit more spendy. I was hoping to be able to mount and balance the big blocks myself to cut costs, but the sidewalls are so freakin stiff I couldn't do it. So adding mount & balance pushes it to the $$$$ side of things. But honestly, These tires have gotten me through some pretty damn rough conditions so I'm favoring them a lot for my off-road use - hence the addition of a second set of wheels to keep the pavement miles off them.
 

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Living the Stereotype
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I noticed a big improvement on gravel and dirt roads by putting a TKC80 in the front with a Tourance on the back. I got close to 10K from that setup.

This helped pin down the heavy front end of the bike while still allowing for decent tire life.

There where only a few occasions that required I back up for a running start from the bottom of a hill, but that was near the end of the Tourance's life.

If the OP is using "off-road" literally (probably not) instead of the more accurate "off-pavement", then you'd want knobs out back, too.
 

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I'm interested in your combination. How did the bike handle on pavement, and in the rain?
It was a very nice combination until the TKC80 was about 80% worn, then it behaved like you would expect a worn knobbie to feel: vibration on braking and in turns. When I replaced the TKC80 with another Tourance it was a revelation: "Oh, the bike corners!"

I don't recall any problems in the rain. I know I was chasing a guy on the Blue Ridge Parkway on a GS with TKC80's in the rain. We were doing 60+ and he never felt anything upsetting. Randyo could tell you a lot more about that.

The ABS on gravel was less of a liabilty. The rear braking would still disappear but with knobbie on the front it would take a lot more to get the ABS to activate on the font. I tested it several times on dirt and loose gravel. Hard, straight-line braking was uneventful, requriring surprising pressure.

Ideally, I'd like to have a spare front wheel just for a knobby, in 15 minutes you'd be able to swap out for touring or dirt roads.
 

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TKC-80 up front "something else" on the back is my preferance as well.

Push too hard in the dry and you get some warning - you can feel the tire 'walk' and run wide before it lets go. Certainly can't push as hard as I can on more road orientated tires but milage is at least acceptable that way.

Pete
 

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Mitas E07s. Good compromise but make sure the front is not one of the recalled ones.
+1

I went with a Mefo Explorer on the front with the Mitas E07 rear and was lucky because I missed the recall issue with the front Mitas.

The Mefo and Mitas a very similar in tread pattern and the mix works well for 50/50 tar and diirt.

It looks like I will get around 25,000 km out of the rear Mitas, the Mefo on the front will probably only last around 20,000 km.

The tyres have been a big improvement on the dirt with only minimal loss on the tar [and slightly noisier] than the Tourance I've been running on the Wee most of the time.
 

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TKC-80 up front "something else" on the back is my preferance as well.
I prefer the Karoo T up front, and as well "something else" in back, for me, I've found the darkside

my first knobby was a Karoo T, next I tried a TKC, when that wore out, I went back to Karoos (the T, not MCE) I feel the Karoo T is slightly better on the highway than a TKC, only my preference, iirc, Blacklab tried the Karoo and didn't like it.

I would also like a spare set of wheels, but that's cause I run a studded Karoo in winter

the darkside, well, its different, terrible on rocky off road, not due to traction thought just due to the off road feel, on road however, I can't say enuf good, the wide footprint gives floatation thru deep sand and most importantly thru mud, I can actually ride on dirt roads in northern New England during mud season when cars are mired up to the axles. and what is does in snow (my original reason for experimenting with the darkside) is beyond comprehension of most riders



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I prefer the Karoo T up front, and as well "something else" in back, for me, I've found the darkside

my first knobby was a Karoo T, next I tried a TKC, when that wore out, I went back to Karoos (the T, not MCE) I feel the Karoo T is slightly better on the highway than a TKC, only my preference, iirc, Blacklab tried the Karoo and didn't like it.

I would also like a spare set of wheels, but that's cause I run a studded Karoo in winter

the darkside, well, its different, terrible on rocky off road, not due to traction thought just due to the off road feel, on road however, I can't say enuf good, the wide footprint gives floatation thru deep sand and most importantly thru mud, I can actually ride on dirt roads in northern New England during mud season when cars are mired up to the axles. and what is does in snow (my original reason for experimenting with the darkside) is beyond comprehension of most riders
I've been toying with the idea of knobby front and darkside rear as well. I like what you said about the darkside in the sand and mud which is were my K60s were not so good. Did you air down in the rocky stuff? If not, do you think that might have helped? My favorites are the TKC80s, but I don't like having to change the rear halfway through a 7K mile trip.
 
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