Are "real" offroad knobbies SAFE for Dualsport?

Hi everyone-

I've seen threads somewhat related to this but thought I'd throw it out there directly.

Is it "safe" to run non DOT approved knobbies as a dualsport tire?

I've been running Dunlop 606's up until now - and they've treated me pretty well. But as my skill level increases I'm seeing the shortcomings in the real soft stuff and I'm looking for more. These just don't cut it in mud... sand... or anything of the sort.

So I'm considering trying a true offroad knobbie like an S12... (TBD which exactly).

I run 97% dirt & 3% street.

The only reason I do any street is the occassional - oh my's 6PM..the sun is setting and I'm 50 miles from the truck/civilization - and need to jump on a highway to get back. Or I need to connect a few trails...or need to ride a few blocks to the pressure washer place.

I understand they won't last nearly as long - and I'm OK with changing them more often.

The big questions is... are they flat out not safe on the pavement? Or can I "get by"? Will I feel unsafe on the pavement?

Last month's Dirt Bike magazine recommended in their CRF250X dualsport review to skip the DOT knobbies all together. This is one person's opinion.

Any or all input from people running non-DOT knobbies is appreciated...

I wouldn't think twice about running a non-dot knobby on the road.

Running full off-road knobbies can be very scary given certain kinds of road surfaces and conditions. Try a steel bridge some time!

Face it, you will have a smaller contact patch area.

But, if you are not going on highways, and you keep your speed down, and you are not surrounded by scores of cars - and you are braver than I am.... :)

i just went thru the same situation. had the d606's and thought they were great.then tried a 120 kenda dot rear. this has considerably more hook up.

unfortunatly, two rides into it (trackmaster 760), i got a flat 10 miles out up in castiac.the rimlock ruined the bead. so.... i had to buy a d739 up there, and as a result bougt a new non-dot front.WHAT a diff.! the 120 rear hooks up like crazy compared. and now with the front, no more steep downhill washouts! in conclusion, i say ditch the dot.youll never go

S 12 works fine for what road your doing I was running them untill the terraflex.

Well I have never ran anything except full dirt tires on my S and I never gave it a second thought as to how well they would bite the road. I run bridgestones and do about 70% dirt so my tires tend to wear a bit faster. When I'm in the dirt thats where I want traction I'm pretty much putting on the roads anyway. I'm more worried about the law giving me hassles but I have never had any trouble and had cops behind me plenty of times. As for steel bridges , I don't care what kind of tire you have ,if it is even remotely moist better hold on!

They have been so for. I don't know anyone around here that uses a DOT tire only becouse it's DOT for dual sport.

I've run knobies sliding through the streets leaving strange patch marks on my driveway... ohh man. DOT whats that? kidding

Granted, I'm young a stupid, but I run knobbies on the street and truly beleive I can handle them. I would say it depends on the rider, if you have experience and trust in yourself, I don't think you will have a problem. BUT, YES THEY ARE DAMN SLIPPERY. They hold up fine until oops you hit a slippery spot, or, it's raining, and then you'd better be able able to control a slide, and control your speed. A light hand on the throttle can work wonders.

i got the same impression from my mt21's.anything soft & they suck.

since i don't ride much street & haven't been pulled over yet :) i just ordered a 140 s-12 for the rear & d756 front. can't wait!

i would say you will be fine as long as you don't plan on running them long on a major highway.

I have always run Dunlap 739 or 756 on my S and do about 25% road. Just use your head.

The only reason I bought MT21's was to pass the bike inspection at the DMV when I took my motorcycle endorsment test, all three of my other bikes had at least one issue that could make them not pass. So the DRZ got MT21's.

Not once did the inspector look for the DOT logo on the tires. I run Metzlers on my old DRs250 and never ever had a problem with them on the street. Next time around Real Knobbies for this DRZ400s. If your new at riding and ya ride alot on the street maybe DOT legal would be better. I used to have Knobbies on my 1972 street legal CZ motorcycle( yes the old motocrosser) And I could get some nice slides in tight wet corners with it, those old bike where made to slide, unlike todays high center of Grav bikes.

" If ya aint sliding, ya aint riding".

Dunlop 739 all the time. No problems. :)

I ran the 606's and liked them but now I have on Michlin Baja's also a dot tire with a little more grip. Heck if Johnny Cambell can get by with them so can I :)

I've only run non-dot on my "S" since I got it. If you are only doing 3% dirt it's a no brainer, go non-dot.

To change a non-dot tire into a dot tire use a dremmel tool to grind the 'NOT' off it (so it will say "FOR HIGHWAY USE").

This year I plan on a bunch of street riding and have a set of DOT knobbies to put on. I hope they work ok in the dirt (I don't need any help going slower).

I ride alot of street during the summer and mostly mud and sand during the winter .I like a good soft terrain tire for hook up and dont like the feel of it on the rode.the only thing I can do is change tires ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am buying second set of rims. (almost died riding dual-sport tires in mud)

just thread carefully while ya on the metal road with knobbies tyres.

I run756's on my "S" and i think they are actually better on city streets than my 606's were. but then again isnt the rear end supposed to be beside you entering a corner?? No problems here with the non DOT tires except being able to ride off road much better.

Can you use non-DOT tires for riding on the road? Sure, you can...

Personally, I do not like to use non-DOT tires on the road. Not only do you

have less of a contact patch to the road, you also lose the stiffer sidewalls

that a DOT tire provides.

Not sure about other states, but here in Utah the state inspection stations

do check for the DOT stamp on the tires and will fail them if it's not there.


Non DOT just means they haven't been certified. Depending on the pattern they can be scary. The Kendas are a hoot in the rain, I commuted in Vancouver for a whole winter on them, and they are a DOT tire. I have heard from a couple buddies that some of the non DOT will start to chunk out knobs on long or regular asphalt runs. Just worry about the state and mind the throttle. :)

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