Need advice on best tire for VERY long trip

I am in the planning stages for taking my XR600 from San Diego to Deadhorse, Alaska and back. One of my concerns is tire wear and where to preposition spares. I would like to run a long wearing universal tread. All my experience with the XR600 is trail riding. I have never used universal tires.

What kind of life should I expect from this type of tire? Which brands would you advise?


Karoo would be my choice...did that trip 10 years ago. Good times.

I dont see a lot of what we used to call "universal' type treads anymore, but DUNLOP has always given me the best treadware, along with quality construction ... always felt safe on my Dunlops, regardless of speed .. :applause:

Check the folk's at adventure rider they do trip's like that all the time.

I rode my XR650R to Inuvick, Yukon Territory. But we hauled our bikes to Watson Lake and took mainly easy dirt roads from there. The riding portion was about 2500 miles with about 90% dirt. We all ran Dunlop 606s and made the round trip with tread to spare. I would highly rec'm thinking about hauling to Watson Lake or at least to Prince George. Riding on pavement from San Diego all the way to Alaska on a XR600 does not sound like much fun to me. A KLR650 would be at least semi fun but a XR600 sounds more like torture.

If you must ride all the way then the BMW dealer in Fairbanks can arrange to have new rubber for the run to Deadhorse. I'll second the rec'm to spend some time at Adventure Rider.

Take a look at the Continental TKC-80. Best bet for 50/50 street dirt. Long wearing too.

Maxxis C6006's are good 50/50's with great tread life.

Metz Karoo.. Plan on two sets. prepo'ed.. and a new set on the bike.. You'll only NEED the one spare set if things go right,, and can have the other set mailed back to you,, But if ya need um,, you want them close at hand.

I had Saharas on my Dakar when I got it new. Down to no tread left was 7000 miles on the rear 10,000 on the front. And the Dakar is at least a 100 lbs heavier than you 600R. So Im sure you could get that kind of milage out of them on the 600. A corbin on the 600 would be advised. I have one on my 650 L and love it. Makes 400 mile days go alot smoother.


Consider the Kenda 270s.

I did Los Angeles to To Costa Rica. The Kendas were a very good compromise. The trip had us following the Baja 1000 route to La Paz, Los Mochis -Copper canyon (no train) and then a lot of zigzagging though the mountains on a lot of paved roads to Costa Rica. Once in Costa rica we did a lot of offroading and by the end the Kendas were good for paved roads only (no knobs).

The KLR was heavy (blew a Pro Action shock going up some boulders) with luggage.

The Kenda lasted me for two months of mixed terrain, they have flexy sidewalls so cornering on pavement is extra work. I used 4mm inner tubes that probably saved me from pinch flats in the good stuff.

In C.R. I slipped on some MT21s. Went offroading in CR, then to Yaviza Panama (highway except for the last 100 or so kms) where they were flawless :applause: . but after 2.5 weeks of 50/50 riding w/o luggage the rear was shot! (remember this was a rather sedate KLR but it was pushed to the very limits)

So, the Kendas do really well on gravel.

ok on pavement and rain

poorly on tight curves or sand at slow speed

nasty on sticky mud.

It is not speed rated! but is survived 6-8-10 hour stretches at 140kph on pavement with a loaded bike weight of 230 Kg and a 100Kg rider.

But if one of your main concerns is thread life on mixed terrains I highly recommend it.

Now, you are going to Alaska and both the US and Canada have great tire choices and stock, so you can afford to pick a "fun" tire and replace it 1/2 way through the trip. :bonk:

My present combo is MT21 front and a very consumable trackmaster at the rear for playing locally.



I've run the IRC VE-33 in the rear for thousands of miles at a time. It is not DOT, but in all the times I've been pulled over, it was never the issue.

The front tire choice used to be the Dunlop DOT K139. It had a carcass so tough that you could do Vegas to Reno with no air at all and barely notice. I had done 2 desert races where the 139 was airless, and I finished top 10 OA both times. Dunlop discontinued it literally because it lasted too long.

The replacement for the K139 is the D606F. The D606F is a fairly street oriented DOT tire that is okay in the dirt, but is a real :applause: treat in the sand.

Longevity on the D606F, like the K139, is almost as good. A typical life of thousands of miles. The run flat characteristics of the D606F are not as good as the old K139, but better than most other front tires on the market.

I just put on a Kenda 270 rear and so far, on the road I like it. If price hadnt been an issue (before Christmas) I would have tried the TKC80 but the Kenda is working really well.

Just finished a 2800 mi. Baja trip in Nov. and used a Kenda 270 in the rear- the tire still had tread left and did well in most conditions except deep sand. We rode about half of the Baja 1000 course and then headed south on mostly dirt. We use these tires to dualsport in the states and they work well for this. I decided to try one on this trip in place of the Dunlop's we usually use and would recommend it for a mixed use trip.

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