See also Road Touring Tyres and Off-Road tyres
The big image below compares the tread on the best-known, currently available do-it-all travel bike tyres. Along with price, it’s often the first thing we look at when choosing a tyre. This selection covers the best do-it-all adventure biking tyres suited to travel in the AMZ where the road infrastructure can be irregular.
Over the years I’ve tried at least half of them from most brands One thing’s for sure: the range and quality of tyres today is a whole lot better than when I first started my bikes travels in the early 80s. And what’s more, wifi technology has lately enabled inexpensive tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS, right) kits, the vital metric which has been missing from our dashboards all these years.
When an unfinished highway turns to dirt, is washed-out by floods or is under repair for miles, these do-it-alls are the tyres that’ll give you the confidence to get stuck in. And along with their all-road attributes, the great thing is that from many of the less knobbly versions, 10,000 miles from a rear is easily possible, while still behaving predictably on wet roads. That sort of mileage probably matters more than dirt-road grip, especially when replacements aren’t easy to find and when carrying a spare is a pain.
All are clearly oriented towards the road – some much more than others; but these tyres have deeper and wider gaps between the blocks than road tyres. As I found the other month, the difference between a road-style Anakee and do-it-all Mitas or Metzelers shown below is that on roads sprinkled with loose gravel, or when on dry dirt tracks slippage sooner turns to grip. In deep sand or mud some won’t be much better than a road tyre unless you drop the air pressures right down.
Judged on looks alone, I’d designate a few like the Dunlop D605 and Motoz Rail Z at 70/30 road/dirt, The Michelin Anakee Wild I used in Morocco on my Himalayan (below) certainly worked great on loose, dry surfaces. But most are in my opinion 80/20 road/dirt or less, despite manufacturers’ bold claims. In terms of actual mileages covered, I’d say 80/20 is still a higher ratio of dirt to road than most long overland trips cover, but like other ‘all-terrain’ aspects of an adventure bike (big wheels, wide bars, low gearing; good clearance), when you need them you’re glad they’re there.