Choosing New Dirt Bike Tires
Similar to choosing tires for everyday vehicles, deciding on the right dirt bike tires can be tricky. This is complicated even more by factors like the style of riding you do, typical terrain you ride, your current tire size, the tread design, and more. With tons of tires on the market, it can feel daunting if you've never shopped for new dirt bike tires before. Luckily, there is a method you can apply to your make, model, and style of riding. Before we begin, make sure you know your tire size. Look at the sidewall and you'll see a string of 3 numbers, which are listed in this format: Wide/Height-Inside Diameter. A common example is 120/80-19. Some tire manufacturers use millimeters and other inches. The width is from sidewall to sidewall. The height measures how tall the sidewall of your tires is, also known as the aspect ratio. The last number is your inside diameter, which is often measured in inches. This is important when selecting rims. Once you have this number down for your tires, we can get down to the brass tacks of finding the right tires for you.
18 or 19 Inch Tires – Which Ones?
With the primary difference being sidewall height, we can quickly determine which is the better choice for you. 18-inch tires have taller sidewalls, which are better suited for off-roading and trail riding. A tall sidewall is able to be more forgiving in rough terrain and help prevent pinch flats. If you won't be riding in these types of terrains, then a 19-inch tire will suffice.
Riding on Public Roads?
If you have a dual-sport bike, your tires must be DOT approved. When choosing new dirt bike tires, ensure that they read "DOT approved" or "DOT" on the sidewall. Otherwise, you can be fined.
Motocross and Off-Road Tires
For dirt bikes tires designed for these types of riding, you'll have three tread options: soft, intermediate, and hard. Below is a breakdown of each tread.
Soft: The tread has knobs that are spaced out, so riders can grip and dig in mud and sand. This also helps with cleanliness, as mud and debris can't be packed in-between these lugs. If you need a strong drive out of your tires, choose soft tread.
Intermediate: Intermediate, also called medium, tread tires are common in the motocross and off-roading world. They're great in a variety of conditions, so they're a good choice for those who ride different types of terrain.
Hard: The knobs here are close together, allowing greater contact with the ground. These are ideal for riders traversing rocky and dry regions where that excellent traction is needed.
Within off-roading, trial tires are also important to note. Offering a good degree of grip for both hard and slick surfaces, these are popular for off-roading. The tread design is close together, which provides the control and traction off-road riders need. A key point here is that if your riding style is more aggressive than casual, these might not be for you. If this is you, you might be interested in hybrid tires. Using the best features of trial tires, hybrid tires can satisfy aggressive riding with a suitable tread design that allows for better breaking and cornering.
If riding sand dunes is more up your alley, there are two specific types of tires that will perform well in this terrain. Paddle tires are perfect for dune riding, giving you drive and good traction. Note that because of their specialized design, paddle tires can't be used anywhere else. Sand Hybrid tires are oftentimes utilized by professional riders. They have as scoop design akin to paddle tires, but with aggressive knobs that allow for both dune riding and sandy tracks.
The Importance of Tire Pressure
Your tire pressure is important for different types of riding. We recommend you first consult your owner's manual for tire pressure recommendations. However, there is a general range for motocross riding. For off-roading, your tire pressure should be around 12 to 15 PSI. Want more traction? Go more for the lower end of the spectrum. Add more for damage protection against rough environments. Before every ride, ensure your PSI is correct.
After reading through these different types of dirt bike tires, you should have a better idea of which type and size is right for your make, model, and riding style. For example, if you're searching for a general tire for off-roading, 18 inch medium tread tires should perform well. As you get used to the tire buying process, you'll know what to look for in tires and what you prefer when riding. Should you choose Honda Parts Nation for your tires, we're more than happy to talk over our massive tire selection with you to help ensure you get the perfect ones for your bike.