To answer this question I have to start from a different point of view.
The motorbike magazines and the OEMs classify motorbike tyres usually in these groups:
- Cross or Offroad
- Special purpose
Well, most of the bikes I owned were Adventure or Dualsport bikes. This website is dedicated to these bikes, therefore I do not have any use for this way of splitting the tyre types. I want to take a different approach and split the tyres in groups that are related to Dualsport bikes and travelling.
In general you can do "almost" every trip with every vehicle and tyre. Just compare the old Round the World bike rom the 1930s here :) But nowadays we have the choice and can take a more suited bike and equipment.
Depending of the way your are travelling and where you go, the choice may be different.
This is my personal classification:
Most of us use their Adventure bikes not only for travelling, holidays or the epic trip. We use them every day. Commute to work, relax on a short evening lap or a nice weekend in the Alps.
The road surface is tarmac most of the time. Here these tyres class comes handy.
So if you start on your big trip and you are sure you will not leave a good tarmac road, this should be your choice.
+ high milage
+ excellent grip
+ high braking power
+ best choice for rain
+ better suited for powerful bikes
- almost no traction offroad/gravel/grass/sand
- more expensive
In this group I combine most tyres that are classified as sport and touring tyres in the traditional classification.
Below you find some examples of tyres that I used myself.
Metzeler Tourance Next
The newest and up to now best tyre out of the Tourance line. Great grip on dry and wet tarmac, high milage and a very direct control.
For sure one of the best every day tyres for your sporty trip on powerful bikes.
Michelin Pilot Road 4 (Trail)
The Michelin Pilot Road 4 is, in my opinion, the best tyre for commuter and all weather rider. I did not test this tyre to the extreme but I can confirm that it has a better feeling when I ride on wet surfaces than other tyres. Especially in cornering and breaking to shows its advantages.
A great tyre to have if you are commuting or touring in all weather conditions.
This is the class of tyres that most long distance riders and RTW travellers use.
The tyres here are made to keep up to high milage and to cover all kind of surfaces. In a lot of countries you will not find perfect tarmac around but a mix of everything. Tarmac, good and bad, gravel and muddy paths.
The tyres have to give you enough traction on all of them.
Most OEM classify them as 70/30 or 50/50 tyres.
They can do almost all and are my favourite ones.
What do I expect?
- high milage
- good grip on tarmac
- good grip on gravel and bad roads
- still pretty good grip on wet tarmac
- easy maintenance out in the field
Heidenau K60 (Scout)
My absolute favourite in this class of Travel-Allround-Tyres.
The center band gives him a pretty good grip on the tarmac and it is pretty silent. The milage on these tyres is phenomenal. I know several traveller who but over 20.000km on a rear tyre.
With rainy weather it is a good tyre and does its job.
hen you leave the tarmac the tread has a pretty good grip on gravel and hard surfaces. It does not really like sand. But so do I ;)
My favourite travel tyre for the last 10 years!
Continental TKC 80
Hundreds of travellers used and use this tyre for RTW trips. As far as I am into motorbikes, this tyre was on the market.
It is a classic 50/50 tyre with a great performance on gravel and still a good performance on tarmac.
If you really trust the tyre and the tarmac is dry, you can ride it pretty hard.
All advantages come with disadvantages. With the TKC 80 it is the milage that you can expect. It is much lower than on other tyres.
If your trip is mostly offroad or on gravel roads, this would be my favourite, still.
Metzeler Karoo 3
The tyre with the highest traction. It is also a 50/50 tyre but with a higher performance on the road.
There are lots of different experiences and reports on the milage.
Real offroad tyres are a rare sight in every day life and are used only for very special travel scenarios.
ost of the tyres I mean here are offroad sport tyres and in certain aspect double with the travel allrounders.
Which properties do we expect?
- very good grip on loose ground (sand, dirt, rocks, gravel)
- a very rigid construction so you can ride them with low air pressure
- if possible puncture proof
Do not expect any high milage out of these tyres. I would only mount them if I know that I will stay in rough terrein for days or even weeks with a low chance to use tarmac.
Just a typical Moto Cross tyre.
A niche tyre with big advantages it its field but also huge disadvantages on the road and in every day life.