How to Choose the Right Dirt Bike Tyre
There are multiple benefits to choosing the right tyre for your dirt bike and the type of riding you regularly do, such as increased safety, improved performance, and money saved in your back pocket. With so many tyre options available, choosing the right rubber for your dirt bike can be daunting and confusing, but, we’re here to help guide you in the right direction and make the right decision so you can hit the tracks and trails with some peace of mind.
The main question is, what type of riding do you do?
I ride competitively...
If you race regularly, then you can understand gaining every edge possible on the competition. Tyre selection can be the difference between winning and losing on the race track, whether that’s gaining that extra position or crossing the chequers first. It also plays a major factor in how comfortable you feel with not only the circuit and its soil, but also your dirt bike.
The first thing to evaluate is what soil the race track offers - is it sandy, loamy, or hard-packed? Or does it have a mix of surfaces?
If you’re in the deep sands of a circuit like Wanneroo in Western Australia or Coolum in Queensland, then a dedicated sand tyre is a must. Dedicated sand tyres will mostly feature a ‘paddle’ tread pattern on the rear, which ultimately helps pull you through the sand and assists in tracking in a straight line. Popular options used amongst Australia and world’s best include the Pirelli Scorpion MX soft, Dunlop Geomax MX12, Bridgestone Battlecross X10 and Michelin Starcross 5 sand to name a few. You can get away with any intermediate front tyre on the sand, but if the budget permits, the accompany front sand tyres to the options above will offer the greatest boost in performance.
The unofficial greatest soil to ride, loam can be a tricky one on tyre selection, as most tracks or trails will offer corners or sections that resemble sand, while others will resemble a hard-packed surface. Think of tracks like Murray Bridge in South Australia or Ride Park in Victoria. Thankfully, tyre manufacturers have come to the table with offerings that cater to both sides of the spectrum. Rear tyres such as the Bridgestone Battlecross X30, Pirelli Scorpion MX Extra X, Dunlop MX52 and Michelin Starcross 5 medium amongst many are popular options. These tyres are what you would call an intermediate, and any accompanying front tyre from the respective options listed above will offer adequate feeling and traction. An intermediate is the most popular tyre riders will use across all track surfaces aside from sand.
Hard-packed surfaces can be some of the trickiest surfaces to negotiate, and tyre selection plays an important role. Hard tyres will generally be used for trail and enduro riding on such surfaces, as most motocross tracks are prepped to the loamier side on race day, at least to begin with, so MX riders will generally elect for an intermediate. A hard-packed tyre is designed to handle tough ground, rocks and basically anything that can be thrown at it. If this sounds like the type of track or trail you’ll be racing at, then look at the front and rear ranges that include the Michelin Starcross 5 hard and Bridgestone Battlecross X40 hard.
I ride recreationally…
If you ride recreationally, whether that be on a motocross track or in the bush, an intermediate tyre is always the way to go. The intermediate will serve you well across all surfaces, meaning you won’t pigeon-hole yourself to riding on a certain surface, or worse, destroying a tyre because it was meant for the opposite surface you were riding. Tyres that will provide great value and performance include the Bridgestone Battlecross X30, Pirelli Scorpion MX Extra X, Dunlop MX52 and Michelin Starcross 5 medium.