Just bought first thumper today and am a little ocnfudsed

I just bought a KLR 650 and am planning on doing some cross country touring. I did a huge amount of research when selecting the bike and accessories, and figured I would research tires when the stockers wore.

I am a little floored to find out that after I go from one coast to the next, I will have to stop and have a new set of tires put on.

When adventure touring, how do you go about this? Do you just go to a dealership an pay dealer prices for tires and install, and just use whatever they happen to have in stock? At home I could just order them, but on the road this doesn't seem very likely.

I was so excited about my new bike and upcoming adventures, but this bit of news kind of put my spirits in the dumper.

I was planning on doing 200-300 miles a day (been riding strictly street and dirt bikes 15+ years), which by most people's calculations would put me at a dealer every 10 days having new tires installed.

I don't even want to go now. Not only is there zero chance of me affording an extra $150-$250 every 10 days, but that is what my tour would be; it would just be a tour of all of the dealers in North America.

Someone please tell me I have read something wrong or I am not doing the proper dual sport to miles conversion correctly and 3k miles really means 30K miles.

Also, just a note, I will probably be doing a legit 50/50

From what I have gathered,

K270 - Wears about the longest for a true DS, at around 4K miles, but horrid on wet pavement. There is just something unsettling about laying my bike down at 60 and getting runed over. Maybe I am just being a p**sy. I have a tendency to do that.

Try the mefo explorers, I have about 3k on mine with 3/4 tread still left

You will find that droning down the highway does not wear your tires very fast compared to trail riding. Back when I commuted on DOT knobbies the centers squared off and they got squirrely in turns long before they actually wore out. So I switched to a more street oriented dual sport tire and those typically lasted several thousand miles. They sucked offroad but they wore like iron on the road.

What I think you need to do is learn how to change tires and fix flats (and do all of the maintenance for that matter) yourself. Then buy an aftermarket centerstand before you attempt this journey. Trust me, you are going to need the knowledge and the centerstand at some point on any very long ride. You will still be at the mercy of dealerships for buying tires. But there is no reason to pay them to change them unless you just have some overwhelming desire to have the wheels balanced.

But balancing is another 10 page thread. You just need to face the fact that if you plan to ride a dual sport bike for thousands of miles you will be doing oil and filter changes, tire changes, maybe valve clearance checks and perhaps even replacing chain and sprockets along the way. So to my way of thinking you must factor maintenance and possibly repairs into your travel equation. All of which is why God gave you the credit card and the tool roll.

If your planning on taking off work and going coast to coast for a few weeks and don't have the money to buy $200 worth of tires, then you don't have the money in the first place to be going. What were you planning on doing if you had a tire failure? Sell the bike and buy a greyhound bus ticket home?

If you've been riding street and dirt for 15 years you should of already know the life span of a motorcycle tire. I don't know what else to tell you. Sell the bike and rent a car.

K270 - Wears about the longest for a true DS, at around 4K miles, but horrid on wet pavement. There is just something unsettling about laying my bike down at 60 and getting runed over. Maybe I am just being a p**sy. I have a tendency to do that.

I run the K270 on my KLR here in the Northwest where it rains a lot of course. Once the tires are scrubbed in, they work fine. Keep them aired properly for what you are riding and they will last a good long time. I put my set on with 5,000 miles on it, there is now 13,000 and I'm on the same set. They have life left in them. This included riding to Alaska and back from Seattle and several thousands off-road miles.

They are fine in the wet, just ride within the capability of the tire, you get used to it.

good luck and let me know if you want to see a current pic to see what I am talking about for wear. Key is keeping them aired properly for load and terrain.


If your just talking 50/50 meaning dirt/gravel roads & pavement, you don't need an agressive offroad tire, or even a dual sport tire. My suggestion for that kind of cross country riding is just street tires. With the wieght of your fueled, loaded bike, street tires will work just fine for dirt/gravel roads. If you like you could run the psi a little low when on gravel.

If that does'nt settle with you, then run a street rear and a K270 or IRC GP11 up front.

One big plus for the street tire on rear is braking on pavement, any true dual sport tire on rear has very limited braking.

Think about that combo and it may start to make sense to you.

Enough traction/control to get the job done, a rear tire that should last you 8,000+ miles, less maintenance on the trip and more $$ for the trip. When you get to the other coast, change it if you do like it, and you still would'nt be out any more $$ than if you started with a dual sport tire. Don't forget tires wear from braking just as riding on pavement. Easy on the front brake while on pavement and a K270 should last over 6,000 miles. If you were takeing a shorter trip I would say look at the K761, a good road/gravel/easy trail tire, but not going to last as long as a street tire for your needs.

Just be realistic answering your own questions. If you are actually going to ride some knarly trails on a loaded bike, then you are in need of at least a agressive front D/S tire and a 50/50 rear, otherwise you may find a happy compromise with my suggestion. Compromise, the one word that sums up a true dual sport bike.

learn to do it yourself roadside

travel with a spare rear

save some $bucks$

Your front tire should last almost twice as long as the rear. Not uncommon to to get 8k out it. Keep the tires properly inflated for the terrain and load for best wear. 5k out of the rear can be had pretty easy if you're not hard on the throttle and spinning tires alot.

For buying tires along the way, as part of your trip prep, you determine a point in your travels in which tire replacement will be required/desired and contact a shop ahead of time to order the tires you want so they'll be ear-marked for you and on hand when you get there. You can either have them install them or do it yourself.

Figure out where you will need to get tires and schedule an appointment and

pre-pay for the tires you want so that they are waiting when you get there.

also Double check with the place you order them from that they came in and are the Correct size !!! nothing worse than showing up and they have a 17" rear for your 18" rim ...


read some RRs on ADVRider.com

Some of them are NOT on mega-$$ 1200GS cruisers, or go from dealer to dealer, and have the same issues you mention.

Some of those adventures are pretty amazing.

I see a lot guys in pics of big trips have a extra set of tires strapped rate on the bike. I remember one the guy was going to alaska and had street tires to ride up there and then changed them out to some dirt tires when he got there.

Before you leave on any extended trip, set up something from home, friends & family willing to overnight ship you something that may be needed. Tires are the least of your worries as long as you stay in the US or Canada, south of the border it could take a little while longer to get what you need.

Do some research on AdvRider & Horizons Unlimited on trips involving your bike, find out the most common parts failures. Buy these parts & have them somewhere they can be easily found by whoever will be shipping it to you, even a spare set of tires just in case you can't find anything where ever you find yourself stuck.

With your background in riding I'm guessing you're not new to changing tires & fixing flats. If you haven't done it before, practice at home a few times so you know what to do & what tools you need before you need them. Tear the bike apart, lube everything that needs to be lubed, check all wiring for corrosion & good connections etc. Replace any bearings or bushing that look iffy.

It's good to know everything about your bike before starting a long trip. Don't start off with old parts (chain & sprockets for example)

You can also post on forums you frequent & post from the road if you run into trouble you can't solve yourself. Your fellow riders are almost always willing to help in any way they can. You can get internet access at pretty well any library in North America.

Do some pre trip research on bike shops along your route, have a list of them along with phone numbers, so you will always have a close contact where ever you are.

Enjoy the ride, take pic's & write a ride report about your adventures for others to share :p

Easiest stand for the KLR is the bottom half of a crutch. yeah yeah, insert the cheap-a$$ KLR jokes here. A buddy and I went to Alaska last summer and used sawed off crutches w/ a fork (shovel holder) stuffed in the top for a stand. Jam it under the back part of your frame to remove the rear tire, or up front (preferably on your metal skid plate) for the front.

The person that asked what you meant by 50/50 was right-on. obvious is the 50% on-road. But does the 50% offroad mean dirt road, forest road, jeep trail, quad track or single track?

I ran a Mefo Explorer (reverse) up front for 12k miles and it still had life left. That tire got ran up to the quad-track level of off-road and was acceptable. The Mefo explorer on the rear ran about 7k miles before being replaced. (I had all my gear on the back of the bike).

I then put on an Anakee, which despite the looks was good up through (dry) jeep trails. Also, it looks hardly worn when I finished the trip 5k miles later.

If you have been riding dirt for that many years, you should know how to change a tire, right???

Bring a set of tire breeezers and change your own tires when needed, as traveling more than 500 miles I carry long tire irons/patch kit and pump just in case.

Sounds like if you researched this you already know this, right???


I have a buddy the travels allot and he has a new set waiting at a "Mail Boxes etc" and when he is getting close to needing them he just calls them and has them shipped to where ever he is. just installs them himself.

Just a thought, as it takes the worry out of wondering what to find.

sakartelephone---on some tires,yes about 3000miles.Try MEFO 99 explorers--they are made in Germany---I've heard of 10,000 plus out of these tires!!!---go and have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Just bought first thumper today and am a little ocnfudsed


I was planning on doing 200-300 miles a day (been riding strictly street and dirt bikes 15+ years), which by most people's calculations would put me at a dealer every 10 days having new tires installed.

How do you ride any dirt at all in any amount of time without owning a thumper? I know there are some big twin adventure bikes out (has been on and off since the Transalp came out in.... 1988??), but if you'd been riding bikes like that you most likely wouldn't be asking questions about adventure touring.......

Not being an jerk, but tire wear seems like a pretty basic question coming from someone with 15 years of riding under their belt.:p

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