By Ron Lieback
With so many ADV tubeless tire ratios available, what’s best for your situation? Here’s a breakdown of the main factors to ease your decision.
Nothing gets more frustrating than choosing between tire choices for adventure bikes, whether you’re shopping for midweights like the KTM 890 Adventure or Yamaha Ténéré 700 or the heavyweights like the BMW R 1250 GS Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 Rally Pro.
The tubeless offerings were once minimal, typically dominated by the Continental TKC 80 that offered a 40/60 focus—40-percent on-road, 60-percent off-road—for adventure riders. Then you had other notables, such as the Shinko 705 series that offered an 80/20 focus, and the Heidenau K60 Scout, marketed as a 50/50 tire.
Fast forward to 2022, and most major tire OEMs offer tubeless adventure tires that deliver performance for any type of rider, regardless of how much they ride off road.
Tire technology evolves quickly, and after testing tires for over a decade, I argue there is not a bad tire on the market from reputable brands. Sure, some offer more performance than others, and some last much longer, but overall safety and quality are excellent due to recent tire compounds and design technology.
Although technology has advanced tremendously, one question will continue to nag forever: what tire ratio should you shoe your adventure bike with? All ratio types are available, from the middle-ranges like the 50/50, 60/40, and 40/60, to the more aggressive off-road tires like the 10/90, to the more road-focused rubber like the 90/10.
The deciding factors depend on what you crave from a performance and focus perspective. Basically, if you want excellent off-road performance, you’ll sacrifice on-road performance. Want stronger on-road performance? You’ll sacrifice off-road performance.
To help you decide between on-road/off-road ratios, here are the main factors to consider when shopping for ADV tires. (* ratio means on to off-road riding ratio in the remainder of the article)