Long Way Adventure Tires. Which Are the Best?

Should I go for a 50/50 tire? Or maybe street tires with enduro back-up? Tough decision

The Continental TCK 80 Twinduro is one of the most acclaimed dual-sport tires. And there’s a good reason for that. But it also comes with a short lifetime. Then it’s the Michelin Anakee III capable of 20,000 km, but it’s just a street tire with enduro marketing. And there’s Heidenau K60 Scout which gives you proper wear and decent off-road performance, but that comes with poor road performance. So, what’s the best decision if leaving on a 10,000 km trip on a big adventure bike? 

Honestly, I don’t think there’s something right and something wrong, but I will tell you my point of view. It’s all about circumstances, personal taste and being able to face a compromise. 

heidenau

Last year I traveled to Georgia and Armenia, via Cappadocia on my BMW R1200GS. It was an 8,500 km trip, mostly on paved roads. In fact, 90% of those 8,500 km were only on the tarmac. But that 10% of dirt was the best part of the trip – the unpaved roads to the medieval Georgian villages in the Caucasus. And with a heavy-weight R1200GS, it’s not the best choice to go on muddy roads with street tires. That’s where my Heidenau K60 Scouts made the difference. For the rest of the trip, they were useless and annoying due to the vibrations and noise. But if leaving again on a 10,000 km adventure, I would have chosen the same tires. 

If I were to ride some Continental TKC 80 or Metzeler Karoo 3, they would have been gone long before reaching the off-road segment of the trip. If I were to choose Michelin Anakee III, Pirelli Scorpion Trail or Metzeler Tourance Next, well… bye-bye, Ushguli!

Also, I’m not the guy to carry another set of tires and the time was too precious to lose a day finding a set of tires over there and putting them on. So I faced the vibrations and the highway discomfort without regrets. 

It was also clear to me that I made the best decision when I met two Dutch guys riding some badass single-cylinder KTM motorcycles to Mongolia. They already changed a Karoo 3 rear tires, and the other one was waiting for its turn. 

Watch More:

Heidenau K60 Scout Tire Review

Adventure Travel to Caucasus on BMW R1200GS Adventure

Adventure in Kazahstan on DR650

Now let’s get back to the header idea. It’s just my choice, but when going for an under 4.000 km off-road ride, I’d choose renown dual-sport tire, such as Continental’s TCK 80. If there’s a longer trip ahead, I’ll change them for K60 Scouts. For street use, I’ll choose the Metzeler Tourance Next, Pirelli Scorpion Trail or Michelin Anakee III. 

What’s your choice? 

Michelin Dual Sport Offerings 633x298

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One thought on “Long Way Adventure Tires. Which Are the Best?

  1. Well there are also Conti TCK 70, Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara, and Tourance classic, not the Tourance Next.

    These tires last longer than the softer ones you discuss and also give better off road duty than the more road oriented ones you mention. I’ve done some reasonably serious stuff with both the enduro 3 and traditional Tourance and gotten fairly long mileage.

    I’m considering the tck 70s now. And of course heidenau scouts are super strong and earnest tires that vibrate, squirm in the rain and have sidewalls so stiff that it makes it hard to not scuff the rim while getting them on. For a while a few years ago there was one shop I know of that wouldn’t put them on because it was such a struggle. Seemed a little dramatic to me but I got the basic idea. I may just go with the best deal between the scouts, enduro 3 and tck 70s. I actually don’t think you can go wrong or be left off of your desired routes, you might just ride the same routes a little differently with those. Compared to anything I had from 1968 until about 1997, there is just no comparison now and we went all over the place in our ignorance.

    The biggest use difference I see now is the commoness of extreme speed traffic flows and aggressive crowded highway conditions. It’s not a bad idea to bias tire purchases in that direction a little more these days IMO. But I love a dirt tire in the rough, no doubt about it.

    Oh, I am currently riding a 2012 r1200gsa with a very sweet adaptive ölins setup. I ride probably 30% off road and I do not trailer the bike, so it involves real touring as well and that means as far as it takes to get there. I only mention because tire talk is useless without knowing what they’re on and for what and the basic perspective of the rider.

    Once you arrive, to either back country or city destinations, the cases come off and once you’re used to the GSA dirt dance or GSA city scooter impersonation, you can go all over the place. Keep the throttle on some even if the brakes are on too. Do not stop, momentum is your ally. Stand up, head up in the rough. Big GSA riding is not necessarily for everyone. Plenty of haters, but with the right tires they are just a one bike/one world thing. I wish they were shorter and cheaper. Otherwise, almost great anywhere and over the top great overall. They are not easy to pick up.

    Tires matter a lot on any bike and you will need to try many over time to know for yourself. Everybody has an opinion.

    Just my POV.

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