Trials tires

Does anyone run trials tires on their offroad bikes?  If so, what success or difficulties have you experienced.  I've considered putting one on the rear wheel but don't know much about them other than riders on the trail say they wouldn't run anything else.  What brand of tire is considered the best?  Tire pressure must be critical as well.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

They have problems in deep mud where the tire cant get down deep enough to contact rocks, roots or something solid.

The tire can pack full of mud and lose traction. If theres a solid bottom to the mud, it's not as bad. Also, they wont take as agressive

cornering like an MX tire will because they dont have the side knobs so flat turns and big sweepers are sketchy.

I found that out ... haha  ...They do grab like all hell on rocks, roots wet or dry and anything else except deep mud.

Another thing is that they work best at very low psi , like less than 7-8 psi to get the full benefit of them... which means UHD tubes or Tubliss .

They seem to last alot longer than MX tires. I ran one for a short time and thought it was very good in limited situations .

The races here usually consist of mixed terrain and conditions; rocks, roots, thin mud, deep mud, loam, flat turns, big sweepers , some mx... so a happy medium i've found is Tubliss with an M404 or a VE33 at 8-10 psi depending on the conditions and terrain.

I'd say just get a Trials tire and an UHD tube, try one starting at 7-8 psi and just be careful with flat turns and sweepers until you see how it's gonna handle them.

I'm no expert on them, this is just my impression of running one a short while. Good luck !

Edited by avocasingletrack

HUGE advantage in using them all over the terrain in the northwest.  the only place they would not be as good is in the dunes or if you race a lot on them. do a search on here and you will find hundreds of threads about them.




Yea, this topic has been covered to death. Short story is that they are incredible under some circumstances (wet rocks, roots, real gnarly stuff), work great on regular trail conditions, are terrible for certain kinds of mud (seems to depend on your local mud), do not like to be locked up under braking (useless skidding), last at least three times as long as a knobby, and still get great traction even when seriously worn.

You really need to actually try one however, to find out if it is going to work for you. The Dunlop 803 is a good place to start.

Pirelli MT43 also a good bet. Put a Dunlop D803 on my wife's bike and told her it is a magic tire. Shoulda seen the stuff she's been riding. I don't think we'll ever run knobbies again. G

Stop wondering and just put on! See for yourself what all the fuss is about. I've run a Pirelli for a few years. It's not like it's magic, but they do hold up much longer, generally don't chunk out, make great traction in everything but sand, snow, deep mud.


I was just at a dual sport event in the Sierras and I swear gosh darnit the ratio was 80/20 trials vs other

It could be a fad, but time will tell

For here in the Pacific Northwest I run an MT43 in the summer when it's dry at about 4 psi. It's amazing when its dry out, but lacks when things get slimy and deep. In the winter I run a knobbie at about 1-2 psi. I run the Tubliss system and think it's almost a necessity to get the advantage out of a trials tire. Running less than 6 psi with a tube scares me.

Edited by woods-rider

Thanks for all the input.  Got a tire on the way.  Now I'm going to look @ UHT or the Tubliss system.  Will provide feedback later.

I've run every major brand of trials tire on my dirt bikes and even tried the Michelin lites on my trials bike. I think everybody should try one at some point because of the skills it will give you. Once your done playing then get a mx 51 Dunlop knobby. That's the best tire for a dirt bike as far as trials like feel. A trials tire does not stop or turn as well as a knobby but it does everything else better. It's a trade off but like I said everybody should at least try one because you will learn a lot about your bike. The old Michelin not the X-lite was my favorite on the dirt bike but I don't know if they still make it. If not the Dunlop trials was great as well. For a first go at it the stiff and extremely long lasting Pirelli is ok because you will want to spin it like a knob at first. It also has a familiar stiff carcass like a knob making it the easiest tire to transition into. In time you will appreciate what the tire will do when you don't spin it and you will want a soft competition grade tire. Next go back to a mx 51 and you will ride like a pro.

The Tubliss system is the poop! I have it in my YZ and twice now i got flats and didn't even know it! I run real low pressures in my rear wheels just to make more traction in the deep mud and creek bottom silt, but when i do puncture, i can still run on it and finish my loop! The way the Tubliss system locks the tire to the wheel is different than the way a rim lock and tube does it and will not allow the tire to come away from the rims. It in effect bead locks the entire tire, all the way around, keeping the tire on, and with the stiff sidewall of most nobs, it feels inflated. I love mine. Good luck!


,,,, Once your done playing then get a mx 51 Dunlop knobby. That's the best tire for a dirt bike as far as trials like feel..... go back to a mx 51 and you will ride like a pro.


Interesting, I have a MX51 on my second set of wheels for my 450. It does hook up if you run it low like a trials tire. Only used the MX51 once last year. I was off in the leaf litter, tried to pop the clutch to wheelie over a fallen tree. The bike did not move forward one inch, it moved straight down as the MX51 dug a hole until the swing arm touched the ground. It was comical. Never have taken my trials tire off since that day.

If you want traction run a radial ply competition Trials tire; Michelin X-11, Dunlop D803, or a Michelin X-Lite. All are tubeless but you can run them with tubes.  The lugs are shorter than knobbies so they don't bite into loamy soils as well as a knobby and the small void spaces don't self clean mud as easily as a knobby.  The many more biting edges do give them more traction than a knobby and the radial construction provides added traction because of more even pressure on the contact patch. They work in wet red clay if you lower the tire pressure  so they flex enough to self clean, plus the low TP provides a bigger contact area for more traction.

I have used the first two and the traction is so good it is like cheating. However they don't work like a bias ply knobby so you need to make some adjustments in riding style. 

I run the X-11 on a tubeless Trials rim on a Trials bike (no rim lock), the D803 on a XR with a Tubliss system.   

No reason why you can't have both and swap as needed?   Just put my Shinko trail pro back on after running a m12 at an event. 

To answer your question....YES, do it.
You won't believe the difference in the way your bike will track through gnarly(rocky/hard)terrain.
Only when you get in loose(or deeper)dirt, will you start to miss your knobby.

One other thing, Michelin's THE best trials tire for traction(even worn out), Dunlop second, then Pirelli(but lasts longer-harder compound-better for street/road wear though).

I've been using Golden tyre and they are incredible if you buy the erzburg rocky rear and that 216 you'll never run another tire no matter what conditions or terrain never had a tire make that much difference

Sorry HT 216 front

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now