With Dual Sport tires there is always a compromise. No one model of tire does everything great. Some tires offer great performance in the worst off-road conditions, but will have a short life on pavement. Others will get amazing mileage but only fair performance on pavement or dirt. There are lots of combinations of dual sport tires.
With each tire brand and model there will be a strong suit, a key feature, and the other notables are second. Some tire models will offer 80/20 street to off-road performance rating and others have 50/50 ratings, and there are those that have a 10/90 ratings; clearly focused on off-road performance.
You need to decide and select which key feature is the most important for you and the riding you will be doing. Do you spend a lot of time off-road (70%+), back canyons, or do you ride mostly to and from work with some weekend rides? Getting the correct set of tires that has a strong suit to focus on your needs will allow you more enjoyment with your Dual-Sport rides.
To better understand which strong suit is important to your riding, lets look at where your ride. Do you ride 50 miles of pavement to start your off-road ride? Are your off-road rides greater than 200 miles a day? Getting ready to start a big cross-country ride? Lots of pavement riding (city streets, back roads, freeways) and a small amount of off-road? There is lots of combinations of dual sport riding. We have listed some of the most common types of roads (and not roads) associated with dual sport riding.
Starting with basic Back-Roads (paved); these weave outside of cities, most of them have very little traffic and are great for all-around general riding. Many street oriented Dual-Sport tires are ideal for this (90/10 to 70/30), but all Dual-Sport tires are OK here.
We also have Dirt Roads; the fire-roads, power-line roads, forest service roads, and all are just that; dirt roads. Most of these are further outside of cities, some go for hundreds of miles across many terrains, but present overall easy traveling. Almost all dirt roads are well groomed and maintained. If this is your majority of riding, a good 70-30 to a real 50/50 tire is best suited for this.
Next on our list are Rough Roads; these are Dirt Roads that have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and harsh weather. Most of these will test your skills and one could encounter these type of roads a few times a day on an extended dual sport ride. If these roads are are a big portion of your riding, you would want to start with a real 50/50 tire, and you could go more 'off-road' focused from there.
And finally we have Nasty Roads, not much fun. Almost all Nasty Roads are slick from mud or snow, you can never go at a good rate of speed and most times your feet are off the pegs paddling along to keep you up-right. The good news is - these don't appear for long or often (hope not) on Dual-Sport rides. If you need to ride a lot in this terrain, good luck and get the most aggressive Dual Sport tire you can fit on your rims.
These are some of our guide lines, hoping to help you with selecting a set of tires that will meet your paricular needs. You can always call us for more info.