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ADV ProductsADV Bike Accessories“50/50” Dual Sport Tire Buying Guide

“50/50” Dual Sport Tire Buying Guide

 Get into the groove with over a dozen different "50/50" dual sport tire options.

Published on 05.26.2015
50/50 dual sport tire guide

Adventure Riders are a “Jack of all Trades” so-to-speak — one part road-warrior, one part dirt-rider, two parts explorer. Tires are one of the most important components that can affect performance of your motorcycle, and the constant variation of terrain experienced while adventure riding puts tires under a lot of stress. The full potential of your Adventure Motorcycle can’t be unleashed without good traction, which makes tire selection critical when your bike is in need of new rubber.

Most Adventure Riders that ride a significant amount of off-road miles want a dual sport tire that provides excellent grip, both on and off-road, along with durability in harsh terrain and good longevity. Manufacturers usually rate tires with these characteristics in the 60%/40% to 40%/60% on-road/off-road range. Different manufacturer ratings can vary though and may not reflect real world performance. For convenience, people typically lump all of these types of tires into the “50/50 dual sport tire” category.

But not every enthusiast rides the same amount of miles on and off-road, and off-road terrain may vary dramatically from one region to another. Finding the best Dual Sport tires to meet your individual riding style often takes some trial and error. Luckily, there are a variety of “50/50” Dual Sport Tire options available on the market, so you are bound to find a set that can meet your performance needs and budget.


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Popular “50/50” Dual Sport tires like the TKC80 and Heidenau Scout 60 are often the first to be considered, but there are plenty of others that can hold up well in a comparison and may also save you a few bucks. Listed are the top “50/50” Dual Sport tire options on the market. Some you may already know about, others are more obscure. The list is organized by price from highest to lowest, and each tire’s unique features are provided to help you, the buyer, find a set of dual sport tires that are worth your hard earned dollars. Happy hunting!

Click the “Next Page” link below to get started.

Author: Kyra Sacdalan
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37 thoughts on ““50/50” Dual Sport Tire Buying Guide

  1. Metzler didnt pay you?i travel far so expected milage is much more important than price to me. You put tkc80 in the same ballpark one I suspect gets 5000km the other 20000km i know how can they be in the same ball park. Id put they K60 “SCOUT!” at 70/30 road/dirt because of this. The tkc80 would be 30/70 road/dirt in my opinion

    • Hi Bob. Mileage may vary based on your riding style and bike. That is why these tires are listed with the official manufacturer ratings.

  2. WOW! They put Bridgestone “Deathwings” in there but not the Kenda K270s or the IRC or Shinko equivalents?

    • Hi MotoViking. The Shinko 700 series and E-804/805 are there. We did not have confirmation on the 50/50 rating for the K270 until recently, and they have now been added. IRC has yet to confirm a rating in the 50/50 range for any of their dual sport tires.

    • After the purchase of Sava by Mitas, there have been some recent shuffling around of the ratings on their dual sport tires. Mitas has now confirmed to us that the E-07 is officially rated as a 50/50 and the E-10 is now a 30/70. We have updated the story to replace the E-10 with the E-07 because the E-10’s rating falls out of our 60/40 to 40/60 rating requirement for this story. However, we feel the E-10 may still be a good option to look into for anyone looking for a 50/50 dual sport tire.

  3. Great selection for adv bikes. Have tried many of the ones listed but my favorite have to be the TKC70. Very grippy especially when wet although I wish they would perform a tad better on mud.

  4. I LIKE my Heidanau K60 Scouts. I don’t love them. Just lie them. Yes do have great longevity and work well in damp off road conditions. But for the most part, it will do what it needs to do for the better than average ADV rider. New riders may not notice the subtle differences on tires other then the price.

    On the highway. These tires kick arse! On my most recent 2 week tour, riding back through Yosemite Hwy 120, I chased a couple fast guys on Duc’s through the twisties. They were a bit faster no doubt, but I was scraping my boot tips on the turns. The tires were amazing! These are fantastic “dry, warm weather” tires.

    But…. It’s weak point is it’s damp road traction. Because of its composition, it’s warm up period obviously takes awhile. Here in San Francisco, on cold foggy mornings the rear breaks traction too easy. Yes, I use both the front and rear brakes. But in the wet, I stay off the rears, especially in the damp. This, on my opinion is the weak point of the K60 Scouts.

    If these tires ever wear out I would probably purchase again.

    Bike: KTM ADV 950
    Experience: 29 years
    Calspeed Moto Studio SF

    • Eric I have Dunlop 606s and really enjoy them on my Suzuki DR200 (which I ride every day). I am curious if the author has actually ridden any of the above tires long enough to give a proper recommendation/review. In any case I hear the TKC80s are pretty good and I’m thinking I’ll try those next time.

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  6. I have been using Full Bore USA M-40 50/50 tires on my Super Tenere. I’m getting about 7500 miles out of the rear tires and have not had to replace the front yet. It has about 9500 miles on it and still looks and handles great. Great handling on asphault, and good handling in dry dirt.

  7. I had to chuckle at some of the manufacturer on Rd/off Rd ratings, some so shockingly far off as to absurd. I personally have had very good experience with many pairs of Metzeler on several heavy dual sport bikes but as of late have been surprised by how good Shinko’s offerings have been (and very low cost $110 for the pair!). As example letting air down to 18psi front / 17psi rear on Shinko’s 700 on a loaded XR675L (low compression big bore) produced remarkably good traction, acceleration & breaking in a wide range of off road conditions without any flats! On the street again these same tires produced surprisingly good traction (28psi front / 25psi rear) and the tires gave plenty of warning before entering the limits of their traction envelope… very nice! On the downside, I get 3000 miles on the 5.10 x 18 rear and maybe 5000 miles on the 3.00 x 21 front. Still, these feel like a very good value to me and I’m getting better and better at changing my own tires! Yikes! BTW, my last change I put ceramic beads (pre-measured by maker) in ultra heavy duty tubes and was shocked how smooth a ride I got without doing any balancing!

    • Bit of a worry for me with the reported short life of these tyres. The first leg of my trip across Australia is 3000 miles. I would hope to get a lot more than that. But if I keep my bike choice light then that would help. I am 65, 5’7″ and 70kgs. Even the WR250R seems huge for me. In the 70s I raced Honda Elsinores that came in under 100kg. I had a back Dunlop knobby that lasted two years.

  8. Currently running Dunlop 606’s on my DR-Z400. Surprised they didn’t make the list. My bike came with the “Death Wing” Bridgestones but they wore-out very quickly and were terrible off road. I’ve worn-out several pairs of the Kenda K270’s also. They are a very decent tire for the money, and grip well both on & off the road.

  9. Read carefully. …. I had Kenda 270’s on my KLR650 and it started chunking. Turned it in for warranty and the Kenda reps said they could not cover it because the KLR650 is too powerful for the Kenda 270’s and would not replace or refund them.

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  11. Shinko 804/805 every feature claimed about these tires are true. The best dual sport tire so far I had on my R1200GSA. Amazing price for such a high performance tire. don’t be fooled by made in Korea or not being a big European manufacturer tire. Handles great on tar and dirt. no problem in wet either.

  12. I ran the K60 Scout on my Super Tenere. Dry grip was just ok, the TC light would go on a lot, which it never did with Anakee 3s. Wet grip was very poor, lots of slides on wet asphalt. The hard compound is long lasting, but the tires square off so unless you don’t want to have fun in corners, you’ll toss them around 4000 miles like I did. Offroad grip is also compromised by that strip running down the middle of the rear tire. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

  13. Great review, Kyra! I have found these ratings very subjective and disagreed with at least 5 of them but that’s cool. Tire and oil threads are usually the longest!

  14. Heidenau has a great reputation from their early tires. l have a large list of faults with them. No Confidence! On gravel was like riding on ball bearings with very little ability to turn/lean bike. ln mud the tire tread would ski out beneath and twice l had a bike on me… l thought it was me. l told people about it and they didn’t believe me…. l was in first gear riding down 18% when the tire gave putting me head first in ditch landing bike on me… l was seriously going to sell my bike!! The tires prevented me full speed and lean into paved corners.

    I asked my Mechanic to please find something to help me. He mounted a Metzier Karoo 3 90/90-21… He told me thats what a couple KLRs are using…. l rode on singles never before l could. l rode on coal dust mud, Gravel haul roads… OMG, l had a new bike. Gravel is like riding on pavement and l can cut into corners… On pavement l have freedom….

    l want the express my concern for those purchasing new bikes. Understand it’s important to ask someone that rides your or similar bike what tire he feels best for you… l had originally asked seasoned motorcyclist that never rode my style or bike, mistake. They meant well.

    What about my rear Heidenau tire on my DR650SE? lt made my bike feel l had to force my bike down in leans.. Now what? l’m going to have a Karoo 3 rear tire put on my bike tomorrow… l wish you all the best….

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  16. I’ve found the Metzeler Karoo 3 to be the most versatile (aka 50/50) of all. It’s a radial and top speed rated at 190 km/h (118 mph). Rides very well on asphalt and so far no scary shit during wet, of course I do take it easier than when I had the Anakee 3. Off road, it’s very good on gravel, loose dirt roads, much more fun than the Anakees.