Trials Tire Options                                              By Bill Dart

Also, the new Dunlop D803 is about the cheapest tire available, as I have seen it mail order for about $65. Dunlop let a small independent distributor have exclusive distribution right to their trials tires until recently. Last year, Bob Maynard, the head of Thor Racing, a Parts Unlimited company, had a Dunlop on his personal YZF250WR at the P/U Rocky Mtn 400 invitational ride for their top dealers. Maynard was raving about how well it worked and how P/U needed to distribute them, and now they are distributed by P/U and Tucker Rocky, and probably other normal distributors. The Dunlop has a stiffer sidewall so it doesnít have quite as much squirminess on hard surfaces as the IRC and Michelins do. I donít think it has quite as much ultimate traction as the Michelin or IRC, and you lose a little of the plushness of the IRC and Michelin, but for most riders, I think they will like them better. Dunlop has recognized that riders are using these tires for non-trials applications, and they even added a new tag line to their promotional literature: ďRadial design rear tire works great for off-road trail ridingĒ http://www.dunlopmotorcycle.com/tirecatalog_tire.asp?id=95

Another tire that many guys like is the Mitas ET-01, which is distributed by Drew Smith at Works Enduro Rider (W.E.R.). Mitas is the old Barum tire company for you old timers, and it also has a much stiffer sidewall and wears like iron. Drew sells them for about $90: http://www.werproducts.net/es.php

Also, I like to run my Michelins at 8-9 pounds of air. The lower the pressure, the better the traction, but the squirminess goes up too. If I am going to be on much pavement or gravel roads, I go up to 13-14 pounds. I rode 40-50 miles a day of pavement at the RM400 last year on a Michelin with 13-14 pounds, with no problems.

I have been talking to Michelin, Dunlop, and Drew Smith about developing a hybrid design more focused on trail riding, with a more aggressive side knob designed for higher lean angles. At extreme angles, the trials tires will slide more. I think you will see something like this in the next year or two.

One last note. The Michelin and IRCís are available in both tubeless and tube type. I prefer the tube type because the tubeless models are stiffer and tighter tolerances in the bead area to eliminate leakage. In the garage with lube available and lots of air, it isnít a big deal, but they can be a bear to re-seat if you have to repair one on the trail.

Bill Dart
Land Use Director
Off-Road Business Association
Western States Office
7703 West Buckskin Road
Pocatello, ID 83201

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