You have been drooling for month over the new F800GS, and finally you decided to pull the trigger and go get one, you know exactly what you want, the color the options and the accessories, you are a man on a mission, that salesman won’t know what it hit him, and then, after signing the papers and shaking hands the Dealer man asks you, “do you want the bike with the OEM tires (Pirelli scorpion trail) or do you want us to put knobby tires on it?”.
It’s your first adventure bike and you never thought about that, Panic!!!!!
Well, relax, maybe this article can be of help. I found myself in that exact predicament and I opted for the street bias Pirellis, I’ve always been a street rider and I choose what felt familiar to find myself buying a set of knobby just a few months later, two to be exact, and now I have a fairly new set of Pirellis hanging in my garage.
I’m not saying that everybody should go with the more off-road tires, I’m saying that for what I use the bike for, the latter choice was the right one, so let’s get cracking and see if I can help somebody to make up their mind before actually buying their first adventure bike.
First of all I opted for a Continental TKC80 up front and an Heidenau K60 scout for the back, I wanted the superior grip on dirt of the TKC80 for the front and the longevity of the K60 in the back, I can deal with the rear tire breaking loose a little more in exchange for few more thousands miles on the road.
This is a “40/60” German made tire and a good option for the dual-sport rider that needs to ride a few highway miles to get to his favorite dirt trail. The TKC80 has very good grip off-road with high levels of side stability on soft surfaces, a self-cleaning tread pattern, while still giving a good amount of street handling and longevity. Proven and tested for long hauls and competition, incorporates all the technology and reliability of Continental tires.
This is a German tire as well, a true “50/50” dual sport tire, this is a great option for the dual-sport rider looking for high tread longevity, that doesn’t mind a little slide here and there, the K60 Scout brings a proven balance of performance on- and off-road. With an improved tread and compound, the Scout delivers better cornering stability and wet weather grip on the pavement, while delivering off-road as well. The “chevron” style tread pattern is similar to full knobby designs which provides lots of open space between the tread blocks to route sand, while the solid center stripe reduces vibrations during long on-road commute. To note that every size as a unique tread pattern.
Contrary to the previous two, this is an Italian made “90/10” dual sport tire. This is a great option for the dual-sport rider that leans towards a touring set-up or with a very long commute to work with very little dirt in between. Sporty on the road, but capable of handling effectively even un-surfaced routes incorporates revolutionary tread pattern which combines high performance with a contemporary and innovative design capable of handling some hard packed fire roads. Carcass with steel belt at 0° ensuring greater stability and excellent handling on all types of road surface, even at full load. The compound has the latest generation components to enable the maximum traction in all weather conditions and the best possible ratio between performance and mileage.
In the end all 3 tires are great for what they are made for, you just have to be honest with yourself on what kind of riding you do. If you use your bike mainly to commute to work and zip thru traffic, but you are also dreaming about crossing the desert, do yourself a favor go for the street oriented tires, your body will thank you in the long run, and when you are ready for the never ending sands of the Sahara buy a set of knobby. On the other end, if you are a “desert rat” knobby tires are the only option, and if are anything in between, think about the 50/50. In my case I opted for the TKC80 up front for superior grip in the dirt and for the K60 Scout in the back for a little more longevity on the road, since I have to drive a while on the freeway to get to the trails, keeping in mind about the difference in traction between the front and the rear wheel, but who doesn’t like sliding around on dirt!