Replace the Scary Stock 2012 WR450F MX51 tires.

Just got back from my friends shop. And he said that he has setup a few bikes with the MX32 front and the AT81 RC on the rear. He has had nothing but good news on this setup. His son is back doing a photo shoot for the new Yamaha catalog. So when he gets back I'll get a better review from him on it. 

I would love to hear about the mx52 on the front for those firmer conditions. Currently running the Bridgestone M403 and it's very good on the front. Always looking for something better.

So Dunlop did get back to me, and according to them the rubber compounds for both tires are identical. The only difference being in the amount applies use for each tire. FYI in a 110/100-18 the regular AT81 is 11lbs and the RC is 2 pounds heavier @ 13lbs. Just thought I'd share

I also spent about a half hour on the phone with the North American Marketing guy concerning the 81RC.  Main concern was it's durability while running the Tubliss as just the week before a friend had mounted a brand new one.  We were out in Johnson Valley and I kid you not, we were no more than 10 miles into our ride and he had flatted 4 times.  This while running 12psi in the tire with the Tubliss system.  All puncture wounds that were able to be fixed with plugs.  No cactus, all rock wounds.   I didn't have any issues with my 81RC but i run with UHD tubes and 15psi.  i will say I am not a fan of the tire at this air pressure on the "loose top soil on a bottom hard pack" as it does wonder all over the place for me.  Trying it with different air pressures at the moment but in the Summer, the riding is mainly some jeep trails or single track up in Kennedy Meadows.  Thinking on trying the MT43 :devil:


He and I were discussing the tire performance with the Tubliss and he flat out recommended not running it if you were going to be running the tire below 15-17 psi they recommend.  Kind of defeats the purpose of the Tubliss.  I had a picture of the tire with all the plugs in it but I can't find it.  I had sent it to them along with an e-mail detailing out our experience.  Real nice guy to talk with, comped me a tire :thumbsup:

I'm thinking of going with an IRC MB5 on the back and an MB3 (?) on the front.   I'm wondering which profiles I should chose.

Whats the cool new or (go to) all a round California Desert tire? The stock MX51's (13psi) scare the heck out of me at times.  They let go with no warning at all and in sand washes oh my god. And if I hit the gas to wheelie the rear tire just spins. I'm needing something better before they kill me.


To return to this question while kool is recovering his cool, my experience with the MX51 has been a little different.  To begin with, I run a 19" rear wheel and run a 110/90x19 MX51 on the rear.  I'm very happy with that tire in the desert.  Most of my riding is in Imperial County, and while there's usually a bunch of rock in the races I ride, I don't gravitate toward then for fun.  Otherwise, you have the typical SoCal desert thing; rocks, silt, sand, hard pack, hard pack crust with soft loose stuff under it, DG, just about everything but real dirt.  Finding a tire that works really well everywhere is a life's journey.  I'm still looking, sort of.


The MX51 hooks up very well over a broad range of terrain types, and is particularly good at leaving corners under power.  I find it also wears really well for me.  Other tires I have used and don't like as much are the Maxxis IT and Desert IT, D739 (obsolete), D745 (obsolete), and the D952, which I think wore slightly better and had more straight line push in the sand, but otherwise doesn't match the MX51.  The MX52 is replacing this tire.


On the front, it's a different story.  Understand that I ride an '06 YZ450, which has a well deserved reputation for being able to push the front wheel anywhere, anytime, and often feels like the front end is sitting on a snow dish.  The MX51 is made for intermediate soils, and unfortunately it works really well only in that environment.  It does not have a broad, effective soil type range in the least.  I didn't care for the tire at all when I tried it, and I went back to the D952 in front for a while.  The 952 was better than mediocre, but lost its edge too fast. 


To date, the best front tire I've had on the bike is the Bridgestone M203 in 90/100x21.  A "soft terrain" tire, it works surprisingly well on harder surfaces than it was really meant for, bites pretty darn hard in most places, and is wearing well, but what I really like is that it doesn't have the abrupt "disconnect" that all the other tires I've used have had.  All of them.  The problem has been that all of them have been extremely difficult to recover from a front wheel slide except in certain conditions that the tire was actually designed for.  The M203, OTOH, is much easier to get back once it comes loose, and I find myself able to be considerably more aggressive with it. 


There is a lot involved with cornering modern dirt bikes that relates to their shallow steering head angles and their high centers of gravity.  The YZ/WR in particular pretty much demands a very forward seating position when cornering, and the bike should be "leaned in" at a slightly greater angle than the rider to get the bike to steer with the lean angle more, and the steering input less.

Thanks a lot for this post, Gray. There are so many variables to how well a tire works, up to and including rider technique, but I have been very happy with my 403/404 combo in the NM desert, which is fairly similar to SoCal desert with a lot less climbing. Still, I'm always on search of more front end traction and will give the 203 a shot next time around. I will say I've abused the 404 on sharp rocks and desert hard pack, and it's holding up way better than I would've expected for a "pure" MX tire.

Interesting review in the 200 series for the front. I really like the front 403. Keep this tire in mind next time.

Point and Go

Jeff in CO

Comments On Aug 31, 2010:

1st off, I ride a YZ450 on Colorado MX tracks which are more often suited for an intermediate-hard tire. Put on a set of 400 series Bridgestone MX tires (int/hard) spring 2009 and was very happy with them, tires were very predictable and confidence-inspiring. Last couple months been riding with a set of the 200 series (soft/int) tires and have same great feeling with them. The front is really good, you point the bike, it goes there. Sticks to the slightest little edge going through turns and is again very predictable. Don't like the B-stone rears that much though, but only because they chunk up long long before a Maxxis does.

Best front tire I've ever used is a Pirelli XCMS.  They don't last much past 60 hrs before the side knobs start chunking but they grip like glue due to the soft rubber and sidewall, also the knobbies are closer together, putting more tread on the ground.  It is a race-spec tire.


Rear tire doesn't matter as much.  I prefer the xcms or S-12 rear.

My best front tire to date is the Pirelli Scorpion Pro FIM. It works incredibly well on our traction rich soil, and doesn't deflect when it hits a rock/root at a lean angle. It just holds! I don't know how it will hold up in the longevity department, but the traction is incredible, so far.

I know it was a long ways back, but the question was about tires for the desert, right?

I know it was a long ways back, but the question was about tires for the desert, right?

LOL @ Gray.. Yes sir, I was kinda thinking the same thing. But overall most of the posts have been geared towards that style of riding. I too am a big fan of the 90/100-21, as I just feel the wider tire allows better grip over a larger variety of conditions. It seems like the 90/90-21 of the new Dunlops is a compromise between wider contact patch and overall height. I'm a BIG fan too of the 110 versus the 120 rear as to me, the 110 allows the bike to rollover better on corner entry, and doesn't give up much on in-corner traction as well as grip on exit. And my $.02 on the best tire I have ever run was a Dunlop 745F 90/100-21 - amazing tire for SoCal off-road. And the was on a 07 YZ450 (w/ the fork tubes pushed through 5mm) Edited by Alstar450

So I'll weigh in since just today I mounted up a set of Kenda Parker DT tires in the intermediate direction. I'm told by a very reliable ride buddy that these are excellent open desert tires and FWIW they are DOT legal too. I'll take them for a spin tomorrow along with the brand new re-spring and re-valve on the WR. To break in the springs I will hammer a super fun trail that has some high speed deep sand washes, rocky gnarly chewed up double track and some really fast jeep trail. The loop is 48 miles and I know it well. The Kendas will be run at 14/14 with Michelin UHD tubes. This is the same way I plan to run these tires riding in Baja.


So I blew through the stock tires on the WR which were MX51's. Had to run about 15/15 psi because of those flimsy stock tubes and the fact that I'm trying really hard not to taco my shiny 'new' rims. On the rocky, steep, ugly twisty trails in Northern Arizona they did pretty darn good overall considering the stock suspension and higher than liked tires pressures. The knobs tore but didn't chunk off too badly for the life of the tire. I would rate them as good to excellent in that terrain. I'm back in the lower desert now and if I had to pick an area where the MX51 did not perform for me it would be slow going twisty deep sand/silt/kitty litter. They did OK going straight at higher speeds in deep sand though.


Like grayracer513 I like the Bridgestone 203 front in 90/100-21 for this part of the world and might go back to it if the Kenda does not work out. Bill thanks for the vids. I'm always amazed at how the camera makes steep climbs and death whoops look flat.

I had been running that exact setup the past few tire changes. Just on the last one the rear went South much quicker than before. Might have just been a quirk. I liked the DOT aspect to stay on the good side of any potential local LEO that had a chip on his shoulder at any of the organized dual sport rides I would do in the Summer. Never happened, more of a mental insurance policy.

So I had a great solo ride on the new suspenders and tires. Did 50 miles on a variety of surfaces from sand to asphalt (crossings and transfers) and everything between. Kenda Parker DT 80/100-21 front and Kenda Parker DT 120/100-18 rear. Suspension is AS Racing front and rear re-valve with 6.3 kg/mm rear and .52kg/mm front run at AS Racing settings. It runs a GRP V4 stabilizer also. Sag is 25-30/95-100.


Motor is bone stock with Comp ECU and FMF map with FMF Powercore muffler, stock gearing. This bike is full on race capable in a variety of venues ranging from old guy MX to Baja and about anything in between. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. It will be used primarily for District 38 racing this fall with some Baja fun rides and pre runs mixed in. Last mod will be race lighting and I'll take the bike to Baja Designs when I get some coin and have them do it right there while I wait. I've been kicking around the idea of YZ cams but I'm really very satisfied with this motor as it is and somehow think the stock configuration is the most reliable. But I digress....


The Kenda Parker DT tires in the intermediate terrain direction at 15/15 psi worked great. No complaints at all. As I get more confidence in them I might lower pressure to 12/12 which for sure will improve soft terrain performance and take some bite out of the damn square edge rocks. The Kenda rear is very stiff walled reminding me of my all time favorite rear tire the 739AT.


I have video of the ride and will post it some time later today or tomorrow. Tomorrow is another long ride on a different trail system. I didn't do the ride I planned today. Temps are in triple digits by 10:00:)

I ordered a 110/100-18 AT81RC today, should be here Friday but I'm going to wait until the Bridgestone is more fried (maybe after this weekend) before I mount it up. Hopefully it works well in the desert out here and is a good combo with the 403 up front. Tubliss with about 5 psi should do the trick. I also hope my luck is better than that of KennyMc's buddy, but if a 404 MX tire can handle what I ride, I fully expect a purpose-built desert tire to handle it, Tubliss or tube-ful. There will be no 15-17 psi tires on my dirtbike... More to follow.

Well my MX51s met their Waterloo last weekend. Rode at some private club property, all tight single track, and much of it had only recently been cut in. It hadn't rained for a few days, but there's a lot of tree cover and the ground was still a bit damp, the trails loamy and the mud tacky. My tires packed up with mud and turned into slicks, they just couldn't clean out. I could spin the rear and clean it out, but the trails were tight enough I couldn't get gov fast enough to clean out the front. It was like riding in snow almost.


Not really surprising as it's an intermediate terrain tire and this was pretty soft terrain. But there are other places I've ridden before (but not with this bike yet) with similar conditions, so now I know these tires aren't going to perform well there like they do on dryer, harder terrain. My buddy's had some Bridgestones (forget the model) on his 500 EXC and they cleaned out well.


I may be switching to the AT81s sooner than later after that experience. :)

Quick update on the freshly roasted Kenda Parker DT tires. I don't think theses tires are any better than the MX51's. They certainly don't wear as long. Next up is a set of AT81's. Will try the 90/100-21 M203 front after that probably to compare.


Here's a vid of the terrain and a ride with the Kenda Parkers:

Edited by cubera

Instead of starting new thread on the same topic, I'm bringing this one back from the dead.


With my new shiny wheels (more on them later) coming on Friday, I need to decide what I'm going to run on my 16 WR450. Stock Dunlops MX51's were OK even though I was surprised brand new bike came with a discontinued tire.


I will run Tubliss, it worked flawlessly on my CRFX and never let me down. Very few rides without Tubliss resulted in way too many pinch flats, one of them while running 2nd in 450 Open Novice race. It was a sad day :( 


So if there anything new that you guys discovered best suited for SoCal off road riding? 

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