See also Road Touring Tyres and Off-Road tyres
The 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. They include 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 about half of them.
When an unfinished highway turns to dirt, or is washed-out by floods or is under repair for miles, these are the tyres that’ll give you confidence. And along with their all-road attributes, the great thing about these tyres is that with many of the less knobbly versions, 10,000 miles is easily possible from a rear, while still behaving predictably on wet roads. That sort of mileage matters as much if not more as dirt road grip 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 they 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 is that slippage sooner turns to grip on roads sprinkled with loose gravel, or when on dry dirt tracks. In deep sand or mud some won’t be much better than a road tyre unless you drop the air pressure 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 recently on my Himalayan (below) certainly worked great on all loose, dry surfaces. But most are in my opinion 80/20 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 any of those things you’re glad they’re there.