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Knobby Tires on a Street Bike?

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Has anyone ever put knobby tires on a street bike to make it more dirt-friendly? I'm still trying to find the best compromise for passenger comfort and limited off-road capability. My wife and I have tried rider and passenger seating on different dual-sport bikes and we both get the impression that they're not really passenger friendly. Too much compromise for on-road, off-road and passenger capability. Jack of all trades but master of none, IMHO. We're limiting bike size to 250 cc because of cost. Latest consideration is a TU250X street bike. We'll be doing off-road riding only on hard-packed dirt and gravel roads. I know you can take a street bike with passenger on these type of roads with minimum possibility of a spill because I've done it before with a 175cc Honda street bike with wife as passenger. We'll be using this bike strictly as a Sunday afternoon play bike on some pavement but mostly benign off-road riding. I belong to two different hunting clubs which gives me (and only 9 others) private access to gravel, hard-packed dirt and logging roads. No rocks or significant ruts where we'll be riding. I'm thinking off putting knobby tires on this bike to gain a little more off-road user-friendliness specific to the terrain will be riding on. Any thoughts on this?

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Tires will not be your only concern with a street bike. The rider position, controls, etc are all wrong and will make the bike handle poorly off-road regardless of the tires that you use.

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Tires will not be your only concern with a street bike. The rider position, controls, etc are all wrong and will make the bike handle poorly off-road regardless of the tires that you use.

Thanks for the input. I assumed that it wasn't just tires that made the difference. But I'm going to have a passenger on the back that will most likely negate rider position and a slew of other characteristics that would be found on a dirtbike as well.

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Thanks for the input. I assumed that it wasn't just tires that made the difference. But I'm going to have a passenger on the back that will most likely negate rider position and a slew of other characteristics that would be found on a dirtbike as well.

Not really.

Rake, trail, other suspension geometry, ground clearance. Lots of things will turn to crap when you put the wrong tires on the wrong bike and try to make it do something it was never intended to do.

Edited by wvdualsport
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Not really.

Rake, trail, other suspension geometry, ground clearance. Lots of things will turn to crap when you put the wrong tires on the wrong bike and try to make it do something it was never intended to do.

+1

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Moot point now. The street bike's out of the running. I've decided to go with a dual sport.

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What a bunch of Wussies!! (substitute P if you wish).

Jeezus, what do you think people did BEFORE dirt bikes? Before dual sports.

They rode the street bikes they had. Duh

From time to time here guys post pics of old time (50's and 60"s ) guys riding their HARLEY DAVIDSONS and INDIANS on TOUGH off road. Up mountains and through MUDDY, nasty stuff.

On 500lb street bikes with street tires....................

And this guys talking about hard packed trails and gravel roads...........

Geezzzzzzzzzzzzzz

(get a pair) Not to the original poster................

Edited by MindBlower

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1974 Oklahoma. Me and the misses on a 1971 Honda 175cc 4-stroke street bike. Some folks today say you'd be hard-pressed riding 2-up on a 250cc. But we rode this bike 2-up on the street, interstate (Maybe 55mph max on the flat but enough to keep up with traffic, at least back then anyway), gravel roads, dirt roads, and dirt trails (easy ones), and maybe 3 hour round-trip day trips. We made do with what we had and we did have fun. Never underestimate what you can do with what you have when it's all you have. I'm beginning to wonder if a dual cylinder 175cc back then is equivalent power wise to a 250cc single cylinder today. Anyone know?

Honda 1.jpg

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People bring the wrong tool for the job quite often.

bike_zps02010810.jpg

Sometimes they mean to do it. This one is pretty cool.

And this is, without a doubt, my all time favorite. I'd like to ride this one. 170 HP. Knobby tire. In the woods.

Edited by wvdualsport
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PS - I didn't mean to insult anyone specifically. Just this "over protective, uber specialized, don't do that!" kind of thinking that seems to be seeping into everything american these days.

No offense. Sorry.

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2-up on a dual sport is plenty comfortable. get an XR650L or DR650. plenty of comfort an can be had cheap used. Rode my old XR650L with my wife to Alaska and we flew by all the Harleys like they were standing still when the roads got rough

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With 18" wheels front and rear on the TU, you have a ton of options for tires ranging from aggressive offroad only knobbies to street slicks. Something like a Shinko 705 would add a little bite for dirt roads without giving up really anything on road. Kenda 270 would be a bit more aggressive (but nowhere near a typical knobby) while still being a good all around tire. Cheng Shin (and I'm sure others) makes some that look similar to trials tires, more like you would have seen on enduro bikes of the 70's.

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Thanks for the inputs. The street bike is out of the running now and it's most likely going to be a DR650 for several reasons.

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Sport bikes only have 2-3 inches of travel on the front.

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...But a Buell Ulysses XB12X has ~6.5" travel at both ends while still being on 17" wheels and classified as a "sportbike." Problem is that it is much heavier than anything that I would call "dualsport." The DR650 would be a fine choice for the OP's usage!

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...But a Buell Ulysses XB12X has ~6.5" travel at both ends while still being on 17" wheels and classified as a "sportbike." Problem is that it is much heavier than anything that I would call "dualsport." The DR650 would be a fine choice for the OP's usage!
+1 on the dr

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I know you are onto a dual sport now, and that's an awesome choice, but I had a GS550 with Kendra Dual Sport tires, a rack, and added 2 inches to the height. My buddy had a FT500 at the time with the same setup. Great for two-up on the highway, and crazy fun on back/dirt roads. It's no MX bike but for light enduro it's great

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What a bunch of Wussies!! (substitute P if you wish).

Jeezus, what do you think people did BEFORE dirt bikes? Before dual sports.

They rode the street bikes they had. Duh

From time to time here guys post pics of old time (50's and 60"s ) guys riding their HARLEY DAVIDSONS and INDIANS on TOUGH off road. Up mountains and through MUDDY, nasty stuff.

On 500lb street bikes with street tires....................

And this guys talking about hard packed trails and gravel roads...........

Geezzzzzzzzzzzzzz

(get a pair) Not to the original poster................

 

My partner took his '84 Harley Davidson Dyna on bush tracks to take the shortest route from one town to another only about 15 years ago.

 

Being a second hand, horribly engineered and built AMF bike he never did treat it really well. The vibration used to work his hands of the bars and feet off the pegs and bolts would fall out of it on a regular basis.

 

One of the last trips with it the whole exhaust fell off. It had been held on with a bit of wire after it shed it's mounting bolts and he just had to leave it in the middle of nowhere. I can't imagine how loud the rest of the trip was.

 

The funny thing is that he rolls his eyes when I talk about getting a trail bike and says things like "you're mad". I just laugh and think how crazy a 300kg Harley on dirt would be. My little CBR250 is a nightmare on dirt roads.

 

Nowadays he has a Street Glide and a customised Softail that he'd never dream of taking on dirt. He can't believe how good they make them now and wouldn't have another old one if you gave it to him.

 

A bit off the track, I know.

 

whoops_zpse58b1a55.jpg

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