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When you own a dirt bike, you want it to perform as well as it possibly can. A big part of this involves getting the right individual components – and there are few more important things than the tires. What works best for your bike depends largely on your individual preferences as well as your own riding style. Also, the terrain on which you regularly ride is bound to play its part in the performance of the tires and your decision-making process.
The task of choosing new tires can feel somewhat overwhelming, which is why we have created this buying guide. There are plenty of individual factors to consider, which we will discuss in more detail later in the blog post. Our first point of action will be to talk you through our top choices – and exactly what it is that have put them on our list.
The Best Dirt Bike Tire
First on our list is this tire from leading brand Bridgestone. The tread pattern is race proven, offering an improved driving performance and better slide control when you ride on firm base soil. When you are riding a bike in motocross, it is bound to go through all sorts of rough conditions. This tire is built with both durability and reliability firmly in mind.
Another couple of factors that makes this tire so good are their grip and traction, which are obviously both highly important. This tire is very popular, and we have decided to give it our stamp of approval too.
Race-proven treat pattern
Tall tread blocks with shoulder steps
Suitable for demanding modern dirt bikes
- Model M204
- Weight 7.6 pounds
Excellent grip and traction
Rated highly for stability and durability
Check bike compatibility before purchase
In terms of tire brands, you can’t get much more recognizable than Michelin. This rear tire is specifically designed for intermediate to hard tracks, so if you are a more experienced rider, it could prove to be the ideal option.
This tire can be reversed on the rim, and there is an indicator that tells you when too much treadwear has occurred. Equal tracking is provided by the symmetrical knobs. In terms of durability, this tire is excellent. And this is a top factor that many Motocross riders look for when they are choosing tires.
MH3 knob pattern is made for intermediate to hard tracks
‘M’ treadwear indicator
Tear and chunking resistance
- Model LEPAZA60229
- Weight 6.4 pounds
High level of durability
Excellent grip even at tight angles
Deals with rocky surfaces well
Not suitable for smoother surfaces
When you are choosing your dirt bike tires, it is particularly important that you choose ones that are suitable for the surfaces that you intend to ride on. This one is especially effective on mid-hard to mid-soft soil types. The tire has undergone extensive testing to ensure that it does well in terms of both performance and durability.
The large blocks are specifically designed to improve tread contact area. There is also a set of side knobs featuring dimples to improve lean angle grip and stability.
Versatile tires for different skill levels
Side knobs with dimples
Large blocks for increased tread contact area
- Model 2718000
- Weight 13.4 pounds
High level performance and durability
Supercross standard tires
Excellent level of stability
Work best on Supercross terrain
Next on the list, we have the leading brand Dunlop. This tire has a couple of useful systems at work, including progressive cornering block technology (PCBT) and enhanced carcass tension control system (CTCS). The former helps in slide control, while the latter better helps the bike to follow a line.
Looking at the center blocks of this Dunlop dirt bike tire, and it’s specifically designed to spread out the weight of the bike, which helps it to stay stable. Also, it plays a role in helping with impact dampening.
Progressive Cornering Block Technology (PCBT)
Enhanced Carcass Tension Control System (CTCS)
Designed to closely follow track surface
Center blocks are staggered
- BrandDunlop Tires
- Weight 12.9 pounds
Spreads load evenly
Good slide control and progressive cornering action
Check the sizing chart for compatibility
Our next choice is another tire from Michelin, which hasbeen built with a number of different factors in mind, including better braking, steering, and acceleration. The enhanced tread design is specifically made to maintain traction at different angles.
If you are concerned about the ease of installation, this one has a new bead profile that makes your life a whole lot easier. At the base of the tread blocks are fine lines, which are designed to release mud and debris – thereby helping to maintain high traction levels. This tire does better when dealing with a variety of conditions and terrains.
Improved tread design
Bead profile makes for easy installation
- Brand MICHELIN
- Model Starcross 5
- Weight 11.86 pounds
Enhanced braking performance
Versatile and effective on a variety of terrains
Maintains traction at different angles
Fewer reviews than other tires
If you often find yourself riding in particularly deep sandy or muddy conditions, this Motocross tire is specifically made to deal with this. In fact, you should be able to maintain the control and traction you so badly need. And when you have this increased traction and control, it helps your confidence significantly and you feel like you can ride so much better.
Another innovative feature is the wide paddle design, which helps the tire to self-clean – taking away one of the more difficult and unpleasant jobs of owning a dirt bike.
Clever tread pattern
Maintains traction and control
Designed to deal with poor conditions
Super wide-paddle design
- Model M102
- Weight 11.5 pounds
Innovative tread pattern
Specifically for deep sandy and muddy surfaces
Available in a range of different specifications, you can choose the one that best suits your dirt bike. A couple of things that you can expect from this tires are high performance and longevity, which certainly rank highly on most dirt bike buyer’s checklist.
Soft and intermediate conditions are the best for this tire. But it has been tested to deal well with both off-road riding and on the track. Also, if you are riding on muddy terrain, this tire should do the job.
Race proven tires
Anti-flex knob bridges
Developed and tested at the Grand National Cross-Country Series
- Weight 11 pounds
Deals well with soft and intermediate conditions
High level of longevity
Higher price point
Another tire from Bridgestone, this one is ideal for dealing with the kind of treacherous conditions that you may find yourself confronted with as a dirt bike rider, such as mud, loose sand, or dirt.
The tread blocks feature extra-wide spacing and a rounded shape, which play their part in making the tire self-cleaning. And as for that all-important durability factor, it features a 4-ply construction to help it stand the test of time.
Wraparound knob pattern
Self-cleaning – even in wet, sticky conditions
- Model M40 Soft Rear Tire
- Weight 2.5 pounds
Affordable price point
Wide spacing between tread blocks for self-cleaning
Not as durable as other options
Our penultimate choice is another tire from Michelin. It features excellent traction, especially on the kind of loose conditions that are common when you are riding a dirt bike. The knobs are widely spaced to evacuate mud and stop it from sticking.
If you should need, you can reverse the tire to ensure that there is equal traction in both directions. As you would expect from Michelin, the durability is extremely high.
Made with serious racers in mind
Staggered shoulder knobs
- Weight 7.8 pounds
Reversible tread pattern
Recognized brands come with higher price points
The knob pattern of the Kenda dirt bike tire is different from many of the others on this list. The pattern is deep and aggressive, helping to give you the high level of off-road grip that you are looking for. But you should still be able to get that smoother street ride too. If you are looking for a nicely balanced tire that is different from other brands, this is a great choice.
Designed for dual-purpose bikes
Deep and aggressive knob pattern
- Weight11.8 pounds
Excellent off-road grip
Not as ‘streetable’ as other tires
Best Dirt Bike Tires Buying Guide
Following our overview of 10 of the best dirt bike tires, we now have the buying guide section, which gives you more general information about some of the main factors involved in making your choice.
What to Look for in Dirt Bike Tires
There are plenty of different factors to consider when you are buying dirt bike tires. Here, we will give you an overview of some of the main ones to help you make up your mind.
Different tires are better suited to the terrain you are riding on. We will go into more detail about the different types of terrain you are likely to face in the next section, but as a general overview, you have the hard, intermediate and soft terrains. If you find yourself riding on one of these terrains particularly often, it makes sense that you choose the appropriate type of tire.
- Tire Material
The tire material will depend on the type of terrain that you find yourself on. Harder terrain needs a softer compound, offering more grip on potentially slippery surfaces. The most popular choice of tires is the intermediate variety as these ones allow you to easily switch between surfaces as you would like.
Often, people like to go for the big-name brands as these are an indication of quality. By and large, the tires that we have discussed in this post are from the big brands, which are often more rigorous in their testing to ensure that the products are up to scratch.
- Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are more and more of a factor in the decision-making process of many people these days, so it is only right that we mention them here. And when it comes to more specialized products like dirt bike tires, the customers tend to have a decent amount of knowledge in the field, which tells you whether or not you are getting quality pit bike tires. Obviously, there is an art to looking at reviews. You shouldn’t only focus on the best and worse ones. Instead, you should look at the ones in the middle to get a fuller picture of whether or not the product you are looking at is right for you.
Motocross Tire Types and Tread Designs
Choosing the right type of tires for your dirt bike is an important task, and there are several different options that you need to consider in more detail. Getting the wrong type of tires can have a serious negative impact on your vehicle’s performance, so you should certainly take your time in choosing. To help you out in your task, we have compiled a list of the most common types of tire, as well as the terrain which they are all best suited to. Then, we will talk about the essential features involved in each and every one of them.
- Hard Terrain
First up, you have tires which are designed for hard – and usually dry – terrains. These ones are generally made of a soft, outer rubber compound which provides good grip on hard surfaces. The knobs (or tread blocks) are spaced closely together to offer maximum grip. Most Motocross or Supercross tracks don’t have this type of terrain, so they are not the best if you are enthusiastic about either of these pursuits. As a general rule, if you can bounce a ball on the surface, this is what you can class as hard terrain. So consider whether or not this the type of riding that you want to do.
The carcass is stiff and made of a durable compound to ensure that they can withstand the jagged rocks or jutting-out roots which you could be riding over. If you enjoy off-roading, it is likely that you will be using hard terrain tires. However, if you find yourself dealing with sandy areas or mud pits, they will not give you the level of traction that you need to ride through these areas unhindered.
- Soft Terrain
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the tires which are best suited to soft conditions such as a lot of deep mud or sand. As for the design of the tires, these feature a hard rubber compound, meaning that the knobs are taller and, in a paddle, or scoop shape. You need this type of ‘biting’ action to be able to deal with the loam, sand, and mud that you can find yourself facing when you are riding through softer terrain.
Another feature that you can expect is big spaces between the knobs, which stops mud from clogging up the tire and negatively impacting its performance. The front tires will have spiky knobs. Thanks to the harder compound build, it stops the lugs or knobs from tearing away, which is what helps them to stand the test of time.
- Intermediate Terrain
If it is not immediately apparent what is meant by intermediate terrain, this essentially refers to conditions which vary between the hard and soft. If you find yourself riding in different land types, these are a great option – particularly if you don’t want to alternate your tires every single time that you switch terrains.
These are the tires which most people tend to use as they give you the most options of terrain. On well-groomed Motocross courses with just the right amount of watering and outdoor temperature, these tend to perform the best. However, if you are into your racing on more difficult terrain, these will not be as good as people who use tires which are directly matched to the terrain that you are facing. Ultimately, you need to think about the kind of riding you like to do to match the tires accordingly.
- Paddle Tires
Next up, we have the paddle tires which are best suited to those who love sand riding. These tires are designed in an aggressive style in order to propel you forward. The rubber scoops are particularly large and give you a great deal of traction when traveling on and around the dunes. However, you should bear in mind that these are not suited well to other terrain types.
- Hybrid Tires
Another type of tire for you to consider is the hybrid variety. These typically have a rounded crown, as well as plenty of tread. This makes them great for a range of different trails, no matter if you are facing technical terrain or tight turns.
Another way of choosing the right dirt bike tires is by what they will be used for. Here are a few of the most common uses and the type of tires which are commonly used.
- Dual Sport Tires
Dual sport tires deal with a couple of different conditions including the open road and dirt and gravel roads. However, they are generally not great when it comes to dirt racing. The best ones will resist tearing and chunking as much as possible. Some will be DOT approved and others will have reinforced knobs to resist tearing and abrasion.
- Motocross and Supercross Tires
First of all, you need to know the main differences between motocross and supercross tires. Motocross is naturally occurring terrain, while Supercross courses are man-made. Sharp turns and jumps are often involved in both, but soil type can be different. At first glance, you wouldn’t notice much of a difference between the two. Softer courses need wide-spaced knobs to paddle away the mud, keeping it from packing between the spaces. As for firmer terrain, it needs softer rubber with knobs that are closer together with a bigger contact path for enhanced grip. And then you have the intermediate tires that we have just discussed, which work well in a variety of different conditions.
- Off-Road and Trail Riding Tires
Finally, we have the tires which are best for off-road or trail riding. This can mean anything from riding on mountain paths to the open desert. You can expect a whole host of natural obstacles to deal with including tree trunks and boulders. With so many different types of terrain possible to deal with, you need to make sure that you pick the tires carefully to ensure that you get the best ones for your purposes.
Dirt Bike Sizing and Tire Info
Dirt bike tires all have a very specific set of specifications, so you need to make sure that you are choosing the right ones which fit your bike. When you see dirt bike tire sizes, you will see a series of numbers which you need to take into account. The first number refers to the widest distance between the sidewalls of the tire. Next, you have the second number which refers to the sidewall aspect ratio in percentage terms rather than millimetres. Tires with larger aspect ratios are taller than those with smaller aspect ratios.
You should also think about the engine size and power output when choosing the right tire size. Some wheel spin isn’t a negative thing, but too much can lead to premature wear. If you are unsure in this area, you should be able to get more information from your owner’s manual for some size recommendations. Your next step should be to talk with the manufacturer of your potential chosen tire brand. They should have plenty of information and data which offers you a helping hand.
As well as the size of the tires, there are other factors which can impact how well they perform. These include things such as tire pressure, load factor, and dirt conditions. Looking at the former first, tire pressure has a massive impact on its performance.
Also, you have the DOT stamp to take into account, which is found on the sidewall of the tire. This certified that the tire has been approved for on-road USA usage. Usually, the tires will say something like ‘DOT’ or ‘DOT approved’.
When you install new tires, you should always give them a gentle ‘run-in’ period. Also, you should match the front and rear tires for the best performance, handling, and safety. If you mix radials or worn tires with their non-worn counterparts, there is every chance that this is going to deteriorate the handling of your bike. You should also take the time to give your new tires an inspection. Check for missing knobs or tread which is highly worn.
After the tires have been installed, you should check for any nicks and cuts which may lead to air leakage. Make sure the axel nuts are properly tightened and secured to avoid any loss of control. While we are on the subject of proper installation, only properly trained people should mount the tires. Tires that are not mounted properly can result in an explosion and possibly serious injury. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for maximum pressure. You should also be able to find this information on the sidewall of each of the tires.
Our Top Pick
Bridgestone M204 Motocross Rear Tire 90/100-16
Before we finish, let’s go back again to look at our choice of the best dirt bike tires. As we mentioned before, the tread pattern is race proven, and there is a high level of slide control to deal with firm base soil. As you will already be aware, conditions can vary significantly, but these tires main their durability and stability regardless. All-in-all, they tick all the boxes that we would expect, which is why we have put them at the top of the pile.
- How to Ride a Dirt Bike: Beginner’s guide to ride like a pro - Dirt Bike Planet