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Trials Tire review - compared to a knobby

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This weekend I mounted up my first ever TT, a Dunlop 803 on my '08 250XC. FWIW I tend to lug the bike thru technical sections and ride the midrange most other places. I will compare it to my previous knob, an MX51 on NC clay, rocks, roots & a very small amount of clay mud. Rode all morning/early afternoon at Brushy, & two 8 or so mile loops of a tight, rough, rocky & rooty HS course used at last years race in Denton, NC this afternoon.

The Good: Mounting was easier, traction in all circumstances so far was much better, and absorption of small, choppy bumps/impacts was improved, but not night & day. Roots weren't even half as slippery, even those at difficult angles.

To me the biggest improvement of all was that the back end was now much more planted, not jumping side to side over impacts, rocks & roots. I rode all of 9C, and the gnarly hill climbs w/rocks & roots was SOOOO much easier! Much less drama, less rider energy used, and more concentration devoted to line selection, instead of working so hard to stay on two wheels.

Second best improvement was in handling; the bike held a line much better, and it was much easier to switch lines up on the fly. Where the knobby would slip into a rut, the TT would let me skirt the side, even on off camber, muddy sides of puddles & such. Entirely new lines became available, letting me ride smoother & faster.

The Bad: The rear tire was much more "hoppy" when going over water breaks if attention to throttle and form were not correct. The back end would hop up a foot or so in these circumstances, really no big deal, just something to note. (Water breaks are like small, 45 degree jumps, 1.5 - 3 feet tall).

The Ugly: I didn't do this sooner!

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So you're telling me you get more traction with a trials tire then with a knobby?

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So you're telling me you get more traction with a trials tire then with a knobby?

...only about THREE times as much traction LOL:smirk:

Joe

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So you're telling me you get more traction with a trials tire then with a knobby?

No, do not buy the trails tire coolaid. A bunch of half arssed riders tired of getting beaten by all of their buddies, hatched a spectacular nepharious consiracy. The slow guys all bought trials tires, then they road really fast - alot faster than the used to - beating or keeping up with all their buddies.

So then, they tell everyone it is the tire, better traction, easier to ride, more control - a whole bunch of highfalutin malarchy like that.

The goal of the plan is to have all of their buddies ditch their manly knobbies, put that nancy trials tire on - then the conspirators will switch back to the he-man knobbies, and steal their buddies girlfriends and beat them (not the girlfriends - their buddies - on the trail) ! of course there is a few fatal flaws in the plan, but never let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!

I wish those conspiracists would go away and leave me and my Nancy Tire alone. i hate it when my secret weapons are exposed to the world of good riders and racers. Hell If I can't cheat with an autoclutch and a trials tire - I have no chance - none!

Carl "yup I ride in a balarina tutu" Johansson

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how do they work in the desert?, lots of rocks and sand washes

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I keep hearing the same thing. Has anyone tried a trials tire on a 2-stroke??

YES!!!!! works just as good on KTM 300's... don't know about those YZ's

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They work great on smokers, but you will have to have an 18" wheel. I have seen a 19" trials tire, but given how much these tires depend on sidewall flex, I doubt the 19 would work very well, unless they retain the sidewall height.

Don't forget a key advantage of trials tires--they last forever and traction is maintained even after significant wear. I'm still on my first trials tire, and I would have easily gone through 2 or 3 knobbies by now. I just did a race and had one of my better finishes, using my Dunlop 803 with about 50% wear on the knobs. More experienced trials tire users tell me they run them until they start tearing off knobs.

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I run one on my ktm 200 too, only time I dont like it is braking on dry dirt or pine straw that will pack it up, it slides really easy

cutting slots on your rear pads will cut the braking power and makes it easier to control it

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I had one and loved it, as long as you don't spin the tire it works great.

The only place it didn't work very well was loam and high speed breaking, it was kinda wollowy in the high speed stuff as well.

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If you run a tire at low pressure it will be squirrelly at speed.

I put a TT on one bike, I now have radial TTs on three bikes because they have so much better traction that it is like cheating for trail riding. The extra traction does create pluses and minuses; gotta keep your weight forward on climbs and exiting corners and restarts on hills are a no brainer. The competition radial ply TTs are awesome for traction but they do handle differently so be prepared.

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They work great on smokers, but you will have to have an 18" wheel. I have seen a 19" trials tire, but given how much these tires depend on sidewall flex, I doubt the 19 would work very well, unless they retain the sidewall height.

I know a few fast guys who run the 19" trials tire from Vee Rubber, and they love it.

Race Tools in Brockport, NY sells them. They're a distributor for Vee and sells the Vee Rubber VRM308R which is the 19 inch trials tire.

He can be reached at (585) 431-0036 and can ship anywhere in the country.

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do trials tires last long on the road? i just bought a yamaha wr400f and it has about half tread on the back knobby and it looses traction on dirt like no other.i need a tire that will last on the road and still get plenty of traction for the times when i get in some soft dirt or mud.

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I have a trial tire on my dualsported ktm 380exc (two stroke) and love it, they last way way longer than a knobby even though i occasionally light it up off of a green light, I end up riding pavement about half my riding time and it doesnt hardly effect them where a knobby loses the center lugs very quickly.

Edited by Wild Alaskan

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I've been running a trials tire on a YZ250 for years. My issue with the 803 in particular is that is seems to roll on me a little in fast sweepers. Other trials tires that I have used don't seem to do this.

Trials tires tend to brake slide a little abruptly.

You can see me brake slide a trials tire several times in a few minutes on a YZ250. The tire breaks loose and slides out pretty fast. But the also hooks right back up when you let off the brake. It takes a little getting used to. But the old Dunlop 752 worked about the same way.

Also in the video you can see that I'm riding forth gear in an effort to keep the dust down and that the tire does a really good job of that. Using a tire for the sake of video quality if crazy. I just thought that I would throw that out there. If you want to do a chase video with one of your buds. Ride a tall gear and use a trials tire.

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how do they work in the desert?, lots of rocks and sand washes

in sand or mud theyre pretty useless... like having a slick. all the knobs get choked and filled up with mud/sand and its like your riding on a slick. theyre really only good in the woods or on concrete, and god help you if its a rainy day.

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They work fine in sand, though you do have to control their rate of spin. Get that right and they work great and pull straight. The can get slippery in some kinds of mud though.

Rocks? They love rocks. Riding in the desert is what I bought and 18 inch and a trials tire for in the first place. The hold up really well there.

Edited by shagger

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They work fine in sand, though you do have to control their rate of spin. Get that right and they work great and pull straight. The can get slippery in some kinds of mud though.

Rocks? They love rocks. Riding in the desert is what I bought and 18 inch and a trials tire for in the first place. The hold up really well there.

They don't just work fine in sand, they absolutely stomp a knobby in sand, at least for straight ahead traction.

We run knobbies in the dezert, but trials tires in the mountains. Many mountain trails have steep lose sections of decomposed granite (also known as 'sand') that can be difficult or destructive to climb with knobbies, but the trials tire scoots up with less unhappiness.

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