So before I begin, I must say that most people will select a more aggressive tire than recommended, and this is not a bad thing. Let's say you trip is 1,000 miles and you will ride 100 miles off road 10% right! So do you go with a street bias tire? Not if thouse 100 miles are sand, rock and loose gravel!
Than again if you wrer riding 500 of thouse miles on nice dirt roads made for car travelers well the
An yes you would want a more street bias tire.
Our trip was more of the San, loose gravel and sharp rocks you want/ need a more agresive tire, so pick you tire by the type of trails and roads, not just by the % of on and off road.
Ok with that said, we do have some clear winners in this test.
Best performing tire is the TKC 80TL
This tire takes a little time to break in, when it is new it tends to ride high in the center and gives you a feeling of falling in to turns, it's not a major consern but worth mention! Overall on road performance, including cornering is much bertter than expected, in fact I can dragg pegs with this tire and the bike still feels planted, you just have to pinch your self afterword, it sure dose not look like it should grip like that. Off road the tire does excelent great traction and good maners drifting in to and out of corners. In the sand the tire does as well as I could expect and great if you are on the gass, it diggs in and lofts the front end out of the sand!
I also found that this tire douses not wonder like the other two in this test (over the tar lines put in to cover cracks in the road way) this was a scary time for the bikes with the other tires.
The big down side is tread life, this photo was taken at 2,200 miles at 3,000 miles it's done.
The longest lasting tire is the Heidenau K60
This tire seems to last forever! Randy had 8,000 miles on the front tire and it looks like it going to go another 3 or 4,000 from that point. Impressive
What it has in longevity it lacks a bit in stability in the sand and gravel, this tire also suffered a bit on the tar strips along the road and seem to *wander a bit
The solid patch helps keep the tire quite on pavement but really seems to hold the tire back when it searches for traction in the sand and gravel.
Third place is the Metzelor Karoo3
As far as tread design this tire performed vary well on road, giving a high level of confidence on smooth pavement, the tire did suffer from the same wondering on tar strips. Off road performance was impressive as for its handling caricturistics and would be a close match to TKC it's just hard to look past the lug separation from a tire that is only about a week old.
* wondering on tar stips= road crews aply tar to the serface of the road to fill the small cracks in the pavement this helps keep watter from entering the layers of pavement and increasing the life of the roadway, the result on a hot day is a loose salery of tar that becomes quite dangerous to riders, some tires are affected more than others by the effect of the tar strips, only the rider with the TKC 80 was un affected by the effect of the tar strips.
A final word on tires: the TKC 80TL is the tire of choice, of the three but! And this is a BIG but, there has got to be a better choice, I need far more than 3,000 miles from a tire, in many cases this will not last an I tire trip and I would need to find a replacment along the way. I will replace the TKC 80 with the Michelin Anakee III (Dual/Enduro) and I eagerly await the new tire from Michelin for my next tire test.
Hear is a look at the front tires please note: the Heidenau (second down) has over 10,000 miles on it at the time of this photo, that's impressive