Dirt Bike Tires

Dirt bike tires play a big role for good traction, suspension performance and comfort. There are several things to take into consideration when prepping your dirt bike tires:

  1. Use good name brand tires for suitable sidewall stiffness
  2. Prep your tubes carefully in order to avoid flat tires
  3. Mount your tire properly to avoid stuck tire bead
  4. Never run more than 1 bar for enduro riding

My personal aim is always to improve handling. When handling is bad you have to make up with brute force or riding skills. As I am not blessed in abundance with neither of them so I really want to make sure to get the best ride I can in terms of my bikes performance.

1) Use good name brand tires

Good name brand tires have the most carefully constructed side walls with the most suitable stiffness.

Dirt bike tire sidewall stiffness is a science and is critical for good traction. If sidewall stiffness is bad you have to run higher pressure in your tires to make up for it and that is a traction killer.

Tires and suspension combine to work hand in hand. Much development is done together between suspension tuners and tire technicians to find the best possible combinations. In fact in road racing this is one of the most important areas.

Tire condition is obviously also a big factor, but this is common sense. But as tires, especially good name brand ones, are not cheap, tire condition for me is an area of compromise. If you are rich or serious about racing then you should have a new back tire for every race. Otherwise just listen to your common sense. If you are all over the show and sliding around then maybe it is time for a new tire.

2) Prep your tubes carefully

You want to avoid extra weight on your wheels. On the other side you want to avoid flat tires as well. My husband and I are not using mousses as there is no backup plan with a mousse once it disintegrates. Heavy duty tubes and 200ml of slime work well for us. We have lots of thorns and my husband hits rocks flat out (one of his favorite tricks is to go for the straightest lines no matter the obstacles) and we don't have problems with flat tires.

If you would like to read more on how to prep your tubes click here.

3) Mount your tire properly

Not that I am mounting my dirt bike tires all the time. I leave that to my stronger half. But it is important to make sure the rim saver or tire bead is seated properly on the rim. Otherwise the tires will run unbalanced and cause handling problems.

When fitting new dirt bike tires pump them up very hard (around 5 bar) to make sure the tire bead is out evenly all around the rim. If it will not pop out let the tire down and put liquid soap or Vaseline (whatever you find in your house first...) around the bead. Pump it up again and see that it pops out properly. Only now you can let down the tire to your desired pressure.

When you ride down a tar road and your wheels tend to hop then you can be sure that they are out of balance or the tire bead is stuck in the rim. On dirt it is harder to notice. If you feel this then do something about it as it will affect traction, comfort and suspension performance.

Also check sideways run out by spinning the wheel once your bike is on the centre stand. If your wheel is buckled then get it straightened.

4) Never run more than one bar

Never run more than one bar in your enduro tires or traction and comfort are badly compromised. 0,9 bar is probably just perfect. You want to find the balance between low pressure for better traction and enough traction to avoid impact tires. Tire pressure and side wall stiffness work together to create good traction comfort and suspension performance.

If you plan to ride on fast rocky terrain you may run 1 bar to avoid impact punctures. In muddy technical races you can try 0,8.

With your dirt bike tires prepped like that you can be sure to get the best performance and save yourself a lot of trouble along your dirt bike trail. And remember: Keep the rubber side down!

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