What You Need to Know About Tires for Sand
During the design process, manufacturers must examine the intended use, such as the expected lifespan, the size of the bike it will go on, the sort of terrain it will thrive in, and the amount of time spent "on" versus "off" road.
Fine-tuning one end of the spectrum's performance attributes can typically detract from the other. With so many alternatives, having a deeper understanding of the complexities of the best motorcycle tires for sand will help you make more informed buying selections.
There are two types of adventure motorcycle riders in the world: those who are not concerned about the rubber on their wheels and those who are picky about their tires.
Regardless of whatever group you fall into, if you ride a motorcycle, you're going to go through a lot of tires while ripping around on your adventure bike.
For riding in deserts or sand, you'll want a tire that's made for huge adventure bikes and performs well both on and off the road. The finest ADV tires are either 50/50 or 60/40, which refers to the balance of off-road and on-road use.
When it comes to picking tires, there's always a bit of a compromise. Your 50/50 tires will last a little longer than your 60/40s and will perform somewhat better on the road. You'll have an advantage in the dirt with 60/40 tires, but they're constructed of a softer material with deeper treads, so they'll wear down faster than 50/50s.
Regardless of the terrain or the bike they are riding, whether on-road or off-road, every motorcycle rider wants the best of both worlds.
A dual-sport tire is made for riding both off-road and on-road, providing dependable traction and pleasant handling on a variety of surfaces and terrains. While some dual-purpose sport tires are only marginally suitable for off-road use, others are suitable for on-road riding or dirt bikes.
The tires of your bike are one of the factors that can help you become a better rider. Don't get us wrong here; installing a new set of dirt bike tires won't take you from beginner to expert, but it will make your riding experience a lot more enjoyable.
Although there are tires designed to handle just about anything you throw at them, it's essential to dress (your bike) for the occasion in order to achieve the greatest results.
For instance, do you prefer to bike on tracks or trails? Is the terrain primarily made up of slick dirt, deep sand, dirt roads, or loose rocks? When it comes to choosing the correct tire, all of these factors come into play.
Best Motorcycle Tires for Sand
Here are some of our favorite sets of tires for your sandy excursions, as well as some tire pro tips to keep you on the right track!
AX41 Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross
The Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross is a rock-solid choice for 60/40 riding when the pavement is only a conduit to the dirt. To boost performance, Bridgestone redesigned the block shape and tread pattern for both rear and front tires.
The harder rubber compound and revised contact patch make it easier to get to the trails and improve durability. The Battlax Adventurecross works with tube-type and tubeless wheels for whichever adventure bike you're riding, finding the sweet spot between performance and longevity.
The AX41 handled grass, soft mud, and similar surfaces with ease. We never felt a lack of traction in either of those situations, and we appreciated that about this tire. The AX41, however, had a different feel than the others.
The treads don't seem to free themselves of sticky muck very easily, resulting in a little more spinning and slipping than with more aggressive tires. The shorter lugs and softer sidewall on the tire don't bite into damp muck as well as more aggressive tires.
Bridgestone considered these factors while designing the Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tire, which is a 40/60 (on/off-road) DOT knobby with features more suited to ordinary adventure riding service life rather than focusing solely on off-road performance.
The Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tires are exceptionally quiet for such an aggressive tread. These skins run with civility, even at interstate speed limits, whether by design, accident, or both (70 mph).
The tread blocks' surface area has been raised by 30% over Bridgestone's previous Adventure A41 block area, allowing for a more adaptable highway-to-trail transition.
The extra contact lowers traction loss when cornering on pavements, especially in wet conditions (compared to a traditional DOT knobby).
The Adventurecross tires stagger the knobs, ensuring surface contact throughout wheel rotation, unlike many aggressive knobby tire treads that line up the knobs with similarly spaced circumferential voids.
The side knobs also extend to the sidewalls of the tread profile, providing additional traction on sandy roads.
Continental Twinduro TKC80 Dual Sport Tires
With 60% off-road and40% on-road features, the Continental TKC80 Dual Sport Tire is ideal for both pavement and dirt. Stability, mileage, and on-road handling on both sorts of terrains are all well-known features of these tires.
They are a good selection for both on and off-road performance and grip due to their wide and compound block tread pattern. These tubeless tires feature excellent grip, cornering stability, and braking performance on soft terrains and various other surfaces.
Moreover, the TKC-80 was exclusively available in dirt-bike sizes. Front tires were 18′′ and 21′′ in size, with narrow-width rears, so non-traditional off-road bikes were limited to road-going tires alone.
M102 MX Bridgestone
The tread pattern on the M102 MX rear tire is meant to thrive in mud and thick sand. The wide paddle shape successfully retains grip and keeps the tires clean on extremely soft ground.
However, the M102's grip isn't limited to soft ground; it also gives excellent braking control, which is critical on muddy trails. The knobs' capacity to dig deep is off the charts due to their length.
In the softest ground, the narrow knob shape helps traction even more. Just make sure you're using the proper tire pressure, or you'll risk pinch flats. Given the slightly higher price tag, the level of endurance on rougher terrains should be better, but then again, this is a soft terrain tire.
The M102 takes off-road riding to a new level, allowing you to push through sand and mud like never before. Even on the softest terrain, the M102 tire provides incredible traction. Like fins on a surfboard, newly designed stabilizer blocks smoothly cut through sand and muck.
The block height has been optimized to maintain optimal self-cleaning. Moreover, advanced tread design reduces unwanted lateral momentum and improves straight-line and cornering performance even further.
Trailmax Mission by Dunlop
One of the greatest 50/50 sand and adventure tires on the market now is the Trailmax Mission Tire. The Mission is a comparatively new addition to Dunlop's catalog, and it lasts a long time, provides great street grip, and gives an excellent performance off-road.
Dunlop estimates that the rear tire will last for 4,971 miles (8,000 kilometers), which is nearly twice as long as the TKC80. The tread design has deep, widely spaced lugs carved into the tire's profile to provide sure-footed road carving.
While tearing off-road, the tread blocks reach just about the sidewall, enhancing puncture traction and resistance.
The elusive goal of adventure bike tire design is to strike the right balance between three seemingly opposing factors: durability, off-road performance, and on-road performance.
The Trailmax Mission 50/50 adventure tire from Dunlop appears to be a real challenger in the tire market and is built to operate well anywhere.
For many years, various manufacturers have provided 50/50 tires for big bikes, but Dunlop has been conspicuously absent from this market.
So, what could Dunlop possibly do that hasn't already been done? A closer examination reveals that these rubber hoops contain a significant amount of electronics.
The designs on the front and rear tires are noticeably different, and at first sight, you might mistake them for two different tires.
The front tires have a symmetrical tread pattern for more even wear, and the knobs on the 17" and 19" diameter tires have a scooped-out area for better traction.
Dual Sport Shinko 705 Tires
The Shinko 705 tires are designed for 70 percent on-road and 30 percent off-road trail riding, with a varied tread pattern for rainy and dry weather adhesion and excellent grip.
These 4-ply dual-purpose tires with an all-around rubber compound are appropriate for a variety of terrain and street conditions. The DOT-approved Shinko 705 dual sport tires are highly recommended for sand, mud, and snow conditions.
The Shinko 705 is good for adventure touring bikes, with an 80/20 street-to-off-road ratio. The fact that you can get a lot of use out of them is something we really like about them. For sand riding, the Shinko tires have performed admirably.
These tires have more rubber, making the bike look more athletic. The gyroscopic force and centrifugal force are increased as a result of this feature. The front feels like it's been fitted with a steering damper.
It also offers you a great feeling when you're speeding through the mountains.
Michelin Starcross 5 Soft
The Michelin Starcross 5 Soft is a fantastic tire. This tire's medium terrain version is one of our favorites. The tire is exceptionally well-constructed and sturdy. Although we wouldn't say that they have the longest lifespan, they are still very reliable.
However, they are not as broad as other tread patterns in this group, but the distance between the knobs is adequate. The tire has a high level of flat resistance and durability.
Michelin wasn't recognized for making the greatest sand tires in the past, and even today, the Starcross 5 is considered average, which means it's not bad, but it's not great either, but the tire is definitely a competitor in the market.
The Michelin StarCross 5 is a new series of off-road motorcycle tires that combines Michelin's older technology with some new technology that has emerged in recent years.
The StarCross 5 range consists of four tire compounds: hard, medium, soft, and sand, each with its distinct tread pattern.
Michelin engineers and top riders from across the world have combined their knowledge and taste in tires to create a range that covers a wide range of applications while yet allowing each tire to shine in a specific region.
Tips to Keep in Mind
Time Spent On/Off-Road
The tires listed below range from 60 percent street/40 percent dirt to 10% street/90 percent dirt. Some riders just ride on the street to get to the next trail, while others, such as adventure riders, alternate between the two. You must decide which percentage split is best for your riding style.
Your Financial Plan
The higher-priced tires will give you better mpg. If you drive a lot of street miles, a 50/50 or 60/40 tire will get you a lot more miles than a 10 percent street/90 percent dirt tire. You will save money if you make the right choice.
How to Pick the Right Dirt Bike Tire
The key to getting the maximum performance out of your sand bike tires is to match the proper tire to the terrain you ride on. The first step in selecting the right tire for your motorcycle is to understand the differences between hard, intermediate, and soft terrain tires.
Simply put, hard rubber compounds are best for mild ground, whereas softer rubber compounds are best for harder terrain. It's better if both the front and rear tires have the same rubber compound.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley