Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dualsport tire comparison for WR250R - Part 1

So far I've ridden the following tires on my WR:
An upcoming off-road rally and muddy spring conditions prompted me to order the following hard-core knobby combo for better grip:
These last two tires are highly rated for my bike on various forums. Besides offering excellent grip in the slop, they seem to have better than average durability on the road. And at only around C$70 each, replacing them after an expected shorter life won't break the bank.

Here's a quick overview of the tires and my riding impressions so far. Once I've had a chance to try the knobbies I'll report on them as well.

From left to right: MT43, K60, Trakmaster. As a trials tire, the MT43 is tall and high volume to resist pinch flats.

There's a big difference in tire volume:

The Trakmaster looks anorexic despite its knobs. I ordered the 100/100-18 based on what other riders chose for my bike, but it just seems so spindly compared to the MT43 currently mounted:

How slim is that Trakmaster really? Here are some measurements:

  • Trakmaster: 113 mm W x 79 mm H (unmounted, brand new); 10.6 lbs
  • K60: 114 mm W x 88 mm H (unmounted, worn); 13.9 lbs
  • MT43: 109 mm W x 94 mm H (mounted, new); 13.0 lbs
Appearances are deceptive. The Trakmaster is essentially the same or wider than the other tires, but considerably shorter and lighter. This will definitely improve trail torque at the expense of highway speed. Here it is next to the K60:

And here it is next to a Surly Nate on my fatbike. Trakmaster, $74; Nate, $120. Don't even get me started on the $275 (each!) Dillingers that I also have for my fatbike. There's a whole article to be written on the exorbitant prices for mountain bike parts compared to motorcycle parts. 

Here are the end profiles of each tire. As you can see, the Trakmaster knobs take up most of the volume that would otherwise be available for air chamber:

K60 Scout:


MT43 ride notes:
  • Grips like velcro on pavement, gravel, and hardpack, even at higher pressures (~21 psi). This tire really inspires confidence.
  • Surprisingly OK in mud, as long as you keep up your speed and it's not the kind of clay that clogs the tire
  • Wear is noticeable after only ~150km of riding, mostly on pavement around town. The centre knobs are showing a few mm of cupping on one side as a result of my spirited acceleration.
  • Grippy on wet pavement, ice, thin snow. I took a fast fireroad ride with a K60 on the front and there was a noticeable different in grip on surfaces where knob depth shouldn't make as much of a difference (like ice).
  • High volume offers a comfy. stable ride over washboard, potholes, rocks on trail
  • Great cornering at low and high speed
K60 ride notes:
  • Has held up surprisingly well after ~5,000 km of 50/50 riding.
  • Surprisingly good on gravel; obviously crap in mud and clay (lots of side-slip)
  • Grippy on wet pavement
  • Showing only slight cupping front/rear from spirited braking/acceleration
  • Not so bad to mount if you warm it up and use a little ArmorAll as lube.
  • Will definitely buy again as my go-to 50/50 tire
Trakmaster/Scorpion notes:
  • Will report back once I have tested them
  • Initial thoughts are that the Trakmaster may not have enough volume to protect my rim at lower pressures when bike is loaded with rally gear. It looks like a front tire for a kid's bike compared to what I'm used to riding on now! Here it is next to the K60 front:

Trailwing notes:
  • Seriously? These tires are truly awful. Despite looking like a knobby they're awful in the dirt and roll poorly on pavement.
  • If you still think the Deathwings are adequate for your needs, replace them with the Heidenau K60 Scout once they wear out--you will not be disappointed. 

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