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Best Dirt Tires For DR650E?

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I would greatly appreciate any and all opinions on the best street-legal front and rear dirt tires for a DR650E. Here's the riding scenario: Assume next to no street use. I'll be riding about a mile at most one-way far away from traffic on pavement to the off-road areas. Tire wear and handling on pavement should be excluded as a factor but the tire must still be street legal. Riding terrain will be (1) Hard packed dirt and (2) Soft dirt, soft sand and mud maybe 4 inches deep worse case but most of the time it will be less depth than this. Loose rocks and gravel will be minimal. Cost of tire is not a factor (at least for now).  I am seriously considering making this bike off-road only but still street-legal.  Any inputs will be appreciated.      

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I use Dunlop d606's on my KLR650. Probably the most aggressive DOT legal knobbie out there. Long wearing too, good nobs for 2k and can ride for 4k if you're broke or cheap. However no DOT will be as good as an appropriate dirt specific tire, especially in the soft stuff.

 

Mike

 

I would greatly appreciate any and all opinions on the best street-legal front and rear dirt tires for a DR650E. Here's the riding scenario: Assume next to no street use. I'll be riding about a mile at most one-way far away from traffic on pavement to the off-road areas. Tire wear and handling on pavement should be excluded as a factor but the tire must still be street legal. Riding terrain will be (1) Hard packed dirt and (2) Soft dirt, soft sand and mud maybe 4 inches deep worse case but most of the time it will be less depth than this. Loose rocks and gravel will be minimal. Cost of tire is not a factor (at least for now).  I am seriously considering making this bike off-road only but still street-legal.  Any inputs will be appreciated.      

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I'm running the 606 on my KTM 500 and got about 1,100 miles on it so far. Its been a good tire and I'd buy another one. I'll replace it soon, I might try the Pirelli MT21 next.

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I'm running the 606 on my KTM 500 and got about 1,100 miles on it so far. Its been a good tire and I'd buy another one. I'll replace it soon, I might try the Pirelli MT21 next.

Actually, I just ordered a set to try. The 606 front scallops on road and can't be flipped. The MT21's will have to be pretty good though. No problem with the 606's off road, just now sometimes I ride 100 miles slab to get to 50 miles of new dirt or rocks as the case may be.

Mike

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Thanks for the inputs. I've heard a lot of good reviews about the 606 and it looks like that's what it will be. I understand it's around a 50-50 tire and probably the most street legal dirt tire you can get for a DR650. Will most likely switch from the Trail Wings to the 606's in the spring.

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I use a Pirelli MT21 up front with a Kenda 270 rear. Works for me.

 

Whatever tires you go with consider installing rim locks so that you can safely air down your tires when you get to the trails. Makes a big difference in how your bike can handle the soft and loose stuff. You will also need a tire pressure gauge and a decent pump or Co2 cartridges.

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Took the DR650 out today (sans wife) on about a mile long dirt road. Drove this road many times with 4WD truck but you don't notice the sand and rocks until you do it with a bike. Had to feather the clutch and brake most of the way to maintain slow speed. Not enjoyable or worth it. Won't go back on this road until I get better tires. Did do the pole line with better conditions. Lots of loose rocks but little sand. Will use this riding terrain until spring. Only about a month left of riding this year. Will stop at the beginning of black powder and pick back up in the spring. Am pretty much resolved now never to use this bike dual-up again and will travel on pavement only to get to dirt. In retrospect, one of the 200cc dual-sport bikes would have been a better choice for my specific purposes. But the DR650 is doable.

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Pirelli XCMH Front and MT21 rear. I strongly do not recommend the 606 front tire for the type of riding you are describing. It wonders all over the place. The Pirelli XCMH front tire will be a completely different world compared to what your used to.

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Not sure if I got this right but I believe these are the suggestions so far: (1) Dunlop 606 front and rear, (2) Pirelli M21 front and rear, (3) Pirelli MT21 front, Kendra 270 rear, (4) Pirelli XCMH front, MT21 rear. As stated earlier, street tire wear is a non-factor because I'll be driving next to zero street. I would take the tire that wears the fastest on street if it was the best tire for the off-road conditions I stated.

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I run the 606 on rear and mt21 on front, probably about 300 miles mainly dirt and minimal wear, in all conditions but red clay I've found this setup works good in my drz400.

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I run the 606 on rear and mt21 on front, probably about 300 miles mainly dirt and minimal wear, in all conditions but red clay I've found this setup works good in my drz400.

Thanks. I'll add it to the list.

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Not to get ahead of myself, but in the end I might even consider getting an extra set of rims with non-street legal tires and keeping the OEM rims and tires for state inspection. Another option would be to take the DR650 off-street entirely and either chance it or haul it to the dirt area. My original intent was to get a pure dirt bike but I couldn't find a single one beyond the 125cc's that I would be comfortable with in reaching the ground. Have 30" inseam. If I was able to reach the ground, I most likely would have went with one of the 250cc pure dirt bikes. In the end if I go with the DR650 non-street, it will have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Being able to drop the seat height, it would have been the only bike above 125CC (with the exception of the 200cc dual sports) for which I could make it suitable for dirt only. In retrospect though, I probably would have went with one of the 200cc dual sports and make the decision whether or not to go dirt only.

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Yamaha TW200.  These come equipped with the right sized wheels and tires, they ride just fine with two up, even two up with camping gear ( see advrider.com ) plus you can buy two good used models for the price of your 650. Its all about getting out and having fun.

 

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Yamaha TW200.  These come equipped with the right sized wheels and tires, they ride just fine with two up, even two up with camping gear ( see advrider.com ) plus you can buy two good used models for the price of your 650. Its all about getting out and having fun.

 

a9xqmd.jpg

If I was going with a 200cc dual sport, it most likely would have been the Yamaha. The fly in the ointment is getting my wife to be interested in getting her motorcycle license and a bike of her own. Many tell you that even a 250cc is stretching it for two-up, but back in 1970 I had no problems two-up with a 175cc Bridgestone two-stroke street bike and no problems in 1974 with a 175cc Honda four-stroke street bike. I wouldn't recommend these two for interstate speeds today (solo OK for interstate today) but we never had any issues with a two hour round trip two-up. But I have a mental block in ever going back out on the street again. Maybe premonition, maybe irrational fear. But I don't know if dual sports with an equivalent size engine to a street bike are geared down compared to the street bike. If so, the dual sport would not have the same top speed as the street bike. Where I live in the Northern Adirondacks, finding a used bike you may want is problematic. There just aren't that many of them. Right now, I'm not satisfied with the DR650 stock tires on dirt. Will try one of the 50-50's in the spring and hopefully that will work off-road for me. If not, I'll seriously consider getting non-DOT tires for the DR650. I can't get a suitable pure dirt bike above 125cc because of a 30" inseam. I won't even try getting used to a trail bike if I'm not comfortable being unable to reach the ground with both feet. Right now, the DR650 is great for me with the factory and gel seat lowering.

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The DOT tires I like best are the Pirelli XCMH's. The 606 are good and last a long time but don't seem to hook up as good for me. Here is a list of all the DOT knobby tires currently available might help you narrow down your pick.

 

DOT Tire List

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If I was going with a 200cc dual sport, it most likely would have been the Yamaha. The fly in the ointment is getting my wife to be interested in getting her motorcycle license and a bike of her own. Many tell you that even a 250cc is stretching it for two-up, but back in 1970 I had no problems two-up with a 175cc Bridgestone two-stroke street bike and no problems in 1974 with a 175cc Honda four-stroke street bike. I wouldn't recommend these two for interstate speeds today (solo OK for interstate today) but we never had any issues with a two hour round trip two-up. But I have a mental block in ever going back out on the street again. Maybe premonition, maybe irrational fear. But I don't know if dual sports with an equivalent size engine to a street bike are geared down compared to the street bike. If so, the dual sport would not have the same top speed as the street bike. Where I live in the Northern Adirondacks, finding a used bike you may want is problematic. There just aren't that many of them. Right now, I'm not satisfied with the DR650 stock tires on dirt. Will try one of the 50-50's in the spring and hopefully that will work off-road for me. If not, I'll seriously consider getting non-DOT tires for the DR650. I can't get a suitable pure dirt bike above 125cc because of a 30" inseam. I won't even try getting used to a trail bike if I'm not comfortable being unable to reach the ground with both feet. Right now, the DR650 is great for me with the factory and gel seat lowering.

Subtle correction, buy the way, most of the tires discussed are more like 80-20 or 90-10 dirt-street. 50-50 pretty much excludes knobbies, and really aren't that good off road.

 

Mike

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Subtle correction, buy the way, most of the tires discussed are more like 80-20 or 90-10 dirt-street. 50-50 pretty much excludes knobbies, and really aren't that good off road.

 

Mike

I thought the tires discussed were around 50-50, the best DOT tires closest to dirt that you could get. Not as good as pure dirt, but the best street legal you could get. I've copied photos of all these tires and there is a huge difference between the tread patterns of these tires and the 80-20 Trail Wings I currently have. From looking at the tread patterns alone, I would find it hard to believe the tires discussed were 80-20 and no better for dirt than the 80-20 Trail Wings.

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Pirelli XCMH Front and MT21 rear. I strongly do not recommend the 606 front tire for the type of riding you are describing. It wonders all over the place. The Pirelli XCMH front tire will be a completely different world compared to what your used to.

I've looked at photos of the tread patterns of all the tires discussed and they appear to be very similar, but I suppose there could be subtle differences. Are you sure that other factors are not coming into play, such as tire pressure? Also, why not Pirelli XCMH rear as opposed to MT21 rear?

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I thought the tires discussed were around 50-50, the best DOT tires closest to dirt that you could get. Not as good as pure dirt, but the best street legal you could get. I've copied photos of all these tires and there is a huge difference between the tread patterns of these tires and the 80-20 Trail Wings I currently have. From looking at the tread patterns alone, I would find it hard to believe the tires discussed were 80-20 and no better for dirt than the 80-20 Trail Wings.

Subtle correction, buy the way, most of the tires discussed are more like 80-20 or 90-10 dirt-street. 50-50 pretty much excludes knobbies, and really aren't that good off road.

 

Mike

80/20 dirt/street, not 80/20 street/dirt.

Mike

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