DOT approved front tire choices, whats yours?

2004 XR650L uncorked, regeared, and retanked almost 11000 miles. I run mostly soft sandy dirt, some mud, with the occasional street use and have tried the high dollar michelin baja which I found to be too soft and pointed the knobs in short order. I now have the dunlop 606 which has proven itself durable, but it seems the offroad traction leaves a lot to be desired. I definately need a true knobby, and before I buy another would like a survey on what works, what have you tried, what did or didnt you like about it, and what would you reccomend? Responses appreciated, and happy holidays!

606's is what I have been running- they seem to get good mileage if your off the gas on the pavement. They do seem to lose a little grip in the dirt as they wear down it seems. Where are you in Florida?

I am in Vero Beach. :lol:

Thats exactly my opinion on the dunlop 606 front. We are just nw of Tallahassee, by Havana. My mother inlaw lives in Vero beach, se 21st st. was there Thanksgiving, was cold, we went for a couple of rides.

Thats exactly my opinion on the dunlop 606 front. We are just nw of Tallahassee, by Havana. My mother inlaw lives in Vero beach, se 21st st. was there Thanksgiving, was cold, we went for a couple of rides.

Thats funny- we were in Mayo, FL near your place over Christmas-did not have the bike but it looked like lots of riding could be done there...Maybe we should try to get all the FL guys together for that big BBQ!:lol:

I live in Tallahassee and have found Pirelli MT21's to work quite well. I e-mailed Jimmy from dirt rider and he gave me the low down. I have used them for two years now to go to FSU and hit some single track. They have been extremely durable to the road and has had a great deal of hookup in the sand. They don't look that impressive online, but in person they are deep strong, hard nobbies that hook up well. I have just purchased some MT44's because my wife won't allow me to ride on the street anymore, but I am just trying something different because of a buy one get a front free through pirelli and the MT44's were on the list. I will let you know as soon as my rim is laced and the rubber meets the roots.

I run pirelli mt-21's and can't complain about the performance, longevity so-so, prices are reasonable online.. I tried the 606's they did last longer but I liked the pirelli's dirt performance better... I don't run the street that much... JMHO..

Okay, the bbq will have to happen, I just got to figure out how to get TT to sponsor it? Frankstr who do I talk to? streakman your in Tallahassee, I am there every day. what do you ride? and where? What shop do you deal with?

Rebelventurer, we must ride some time. My colleagues are surprised to see my "street bike" hit the whoops at the pit (that has been shut down) and still have parts remaining on it. They are all KTM/CRF/YZF riders.

I'm running Pirelli mt-21 rally cross tires front and back. I've found them to do real well both on and off road both and don't have many complaints there. I have noticed though that they tend to cup and wear pretty quickly with lots of road riding which will make that wear mark go away real fast.. Just got a new rear for it today too and expect it to last another 800 -1000 miles or so..... (depending how many burnouts I do!):lol:

I often use Florida Motorsports because they are close to where I live and they have excellent service. I usually purchase parts etc.. online though. I used to ride the single track out at the pit south of Tallahassee airport, but it has been closed down for about a month and a half or so. They opened new areas for riding on the west side of Springhill road in the same general area. I have only been out there to ride two times and I am not that familliar with the area yet. The last time I went, I bent my rim on a log crossing....this led to my rim adventure I am undertaking at the present.

I'll add my vote for the MT-21 :lol: It outlasted the rear so I put on a Kenda 760. The front is still going strong after 3k.


Pirelli MT18 and it is excellent off road and wears pretty well on the street too. My experience is that it's not great in sand though.

Here's a post (with pics) about my MT21s after 1100 miles on my XR650R:

I like the MT21s. 606s are good too. I might give the edge to the MT21s but wouldn't feel bad about mounting 606s.

I've got a set of the new Dunlop 908 Rally Raid on the way. They'll be going on to end my Kenda 270 experiment.



So the concensus is Pirelli M21 front tire. I guess I should of asked at what tire pressure your running these at? I have found the dunlop 606 works best off road at 12-15psi but on road it needs 20psi.

What happened with the Kenda 270 experiment? good, bad, evidently your not sold on them since you did not reccomend them.

About the Kenda 270s: I was looking for a tire that would allow safe travel off road but would last well over 1000 miles. They do that. They just don't do anything especially well except not cost very much and last a good while. When I first put them on I immediately disliked how they felt on the street. They're all squishy, vague feeling, and quick to slide. I actually felt my worn MT21 gripped the pavement better [shrug].

I've since put 1000 miles on them and seem to have gotten use to how they feel. Either I've just gotten used to them and don't notice the shortcomings so much or they've gotten less squishy as they've worn slightly. They haven't worn much. I'd say they've got another 2000+ street miles in them.

I've only got maybe 100 off road miles on them. They do surprisingly well considering the mild tread pattern--not much space between the blocks. But I wouldn't want to attempt anything too aggressive on a regular basis. Here and there--sure--they'll go most anywhere. Just drop the pressure down as low as you dare and they'll actually grip the desert decent. They are no MT21s/606s though. The carcass is NOT very stiff, so you're always walking that edge between flat resistence and grip (I never went below 14psi).

I'm going to take them off and keep them for next summer when the off road riding season is over. I might look into the IRC GP1 when they're done. They are an identical tread pattern to the Kenda 270 but built with different materials--no squishiness is what I'm told [shrug].

Kenda 270 and IRC GP1:


I gave up on DOT tires. However, I don't go on the pavement very much. I've never had issues with non-DOT knobbies, legal or traction wise. I say if you are going to be on the dirt over 90% of the time then forget the DOT tires. I have never tried the D606, but none of the DOT tires that I used to run had good dirt traction.

My question is if you are riding in the dirt most of the time with only occasional pavement, why run a DOT tire? Does your state do inspections? Are all the cops so anal that they write tickets for non-DOT tires?

My question is if you are riding in the dirt most of the time with only occasional pavement, why run a DOT tire? Does your state do inspections? Are all the cops so anal that they write tickets for non-DOT tires?

Good questions, I guess I am just so anal that I walk the No basically I figured that a dot tire would last longer than an non dot tire. Boy, Michelin sure surprised me there, 700 miles front and rear both worn out, and at $120 each. My first 606 rear went 2300 miles before I replaced it and I have almost 3500 on the front, with 1200 on the second rear. And to answer your questions, no state inspections, and no I hope they are not that anal, I have been pulled over three times and have not got a ticket yet (knock, knock, knock, on wood)

I like the Dunlop 606 Rear tire. Decent grip, and long life on a 650R. I HATED the D606 front. Awful grip in the terrain I ride on. I personally use a D952 front. It's not DOT approved, but I've never heard of a Colorado cop checking tires. I run around on the roads in nice weather, and it grips well to both pavement, and dirt.

+1 on the MT21. Came on the bike when I bought it. It works good for me. I'll put another on when it wears out.

i've been running mt-21's for years, had them on my yamaha xt and they lasted 2000+ miles of mostly on road stuff. have them on my xrL now and looks almost new with 500ish miles on them. i like the feel of them both on and off road.

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