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Old 07-01-2013, 07:05 AM   #1
motobene OP
Motoing for 43 years
 
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Location: Wichita Mountains SW Oklahoma
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Trials Tire Brands Cost & Performance

I had not bought tires for years and have been net with extreme sticker shock! I've also had great difficulty getting specific info on the following brands:

Michelin Trial Winner in the X11 and X-Lite Series (all made in Spain?)
Dunlop 803 (Made In?)
IRC Trial Winner TR-11 (Japan?)
Mitas ET-01 (Czech Rebublic - the old Barum people)
Vee Rubber VRM 021 (Thailand)

Very helpful would be more specific and complete info from your collective wisdom in one thread that would go beyond comments like, "IRC is all we use around here", and "Vee Rubber are the tits!" That doesn't answer why, or help much with a buying decision.

I incline toward the Michelin X11 on the rear and maybe the Michelin X-Lite on the front, for purely performance-durability reasons, but please challenge my assumptions and contribute to dense info in this one thread:

Your specific terrain types, class and level of throttle aggression

Tire brands you have used

When and where bought, tire and shipping costs

Specific problems - where on the tire and what

Wear life of knobs and carcass (durability)

Your specific summary recommendations in rank order by brand/model (best at top) or by terrain type

Other comments: Flip your tires? Accurate weights of each brand and model tire you buy before mounting! Etc.

Thanks so much for your expert contributions!
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:18 PM   #2
2whlrcr
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I just ride my bike and try to remember to put air in the tires.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:33 PM   #3
lineaway
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Sshh, it`s a secret.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #4
lineaway
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Michelins X11 is just about best. (I never buy them unless a deal) Bead sucks.
Xlite, too light.
I usually use D803`s Stay beaded better(no matter which bike)
Chaparral has the pair 160 free freight.
Irc I used to get a smoking` deal on, no more.
The rest don`t exist.
PS. I never flip a tire(unless it`s someone`s spare I use) complete waste of time.
Check out most champ tires, usually no tread left. (and they still out ride everybody)
Traction comes from control, throttle, clutch and body.

lineaway screwed with this post 07-01-2013 at 07:51 PM
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:30 AM   #5
motobene OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lineaway View Post
Michelins X11 is just about best. (I never buy them unless a deal) Bead sucks.
Xlite, too light.
I usually use D803`s Stay beaded better(no matter which bike)
Chaparral has the pair 160 free freight.
Irc I used to get a smoking` deal on, no more.
The rest don`t exist.
PS. I never flip a tire(unless it`s someone`s spare I use) complete waste of time.
Check out most champ tires, usually no tread left. (and they still out ride everybody)
Traction comes from control, throttle, clutch and body.
Thanks for the detailed reply.

Do you prefer IRC over D803?

So where are the Michelin deals?

I checked Chaparral: The X11 is on 'sale' at $162, the D803 is $93, and the TR-11 IRC is $113.

Dry rocks out west, a really worn tire is not such a big deal. The D803 on my 300 Raga now is trashed, yet works fine on the ranch's dry rocks. But on the dry soils it plain sucks, but maybe with square knobs it would not?

Where I live it's slicker rocks and mostly dry gravels and soils. Very slick when dry, so rounded-off knobs do matter more.

And then there's feel. A big uptick in yummy feel when putting on new skins. That points to the carcass also being a dynamic element. Run tires to their end and the carcass imparts a more vague and less dynamic feel.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #6
lineaway
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Every so often one of the importers will bring in a load of michelins for a deal. I prefer the 803 over the IRC but not by much as far as traction. I also like the 803 for using a tube as it holds a bead.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
nwcycle
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what he said

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Dunlop 803
Cheaper, last longer, less prone to punctures also
But..........I have had a Pirelli MT43 on our 07 for quite some time, works very well.....
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:58 PM   #8
jonnyc21
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Was on a friends bike that had Pirelli MT43's, they where good, but felt stiff in comparison to my wife's X11's or the D803's on my bike. I am guessing because they are DOT approved.

Over all I like the X11's the best and the D803's second, was thinking I might try the Xlite next time around, but not sure I need them as I am still a bit of a noob...
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:29 AM   #9
motobene OP
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I found the following as of 3 July 2013. The big distributors are often the best for tire deals, as they deal more in volume and compete against each other for that volume. Many sites show ridiculous retail prices because they don't stock tires, but drop ship to any sucker who bites at that price.

Here are some of the bigger outfits:

Chaparral: Set of Michelin Trials Comp (X11 rear tubeless and bias tube type front) is $272.76 plus shipping.

Bike Bandit: Same Michelin set for $296.90 but orders over $100 ship free.

Bike Bandit: Michelin X-Lite set for $299.90, but I have determined to avoid the 1-pound-less X-Lite rear tire because it's not as tough as the X11. I could see buying the X-Lite front with an X11 rear.

Motorcycle Super Store: Trials Comp set $288.98, but I think there is shipping on top.

With all three outfits the Dunlop D803 front-rear set runs about $110 lower than the Michelins, and the IRC TR-011 set runs about $80 cheaper than Michelin.

RYPUSA.com has the Dunlop set for $195 + shipping.

I'd stick with the Michelin front, but that's my assumption that it is superior for traction and feel, and as a higher level trials rider that matters to me. But please challenge that. Some of you like the Dunlop rear. A big savings in a set, and substantial with rear only in a set.

Price-performance-wise the Dunlops seems to be best at present, and the Michelins worth paying for only if you want that added bit of performance they either promise or really have. Sometimes positive reviews are proportional to what people pay for something. Perception is reality, as I like to say.


There remain outliers like Vee Rubber, Shinko, etc. Someone gutsy and with a lot of experience should buy a set to objectively evaluate. There would be a heck of a market for any tire company if they could imitate close enough the performance of the Michelin rubber and half the price. There's also the Shinko 255 rear. But often these tires make the too-hard rubber mistake.

And then there's the fast offroad bike distortion effect. I think they buy more trials tires than we do, and when a tire is being reviewed, it's not always clear if it for trials or dualsport. Their needs differ somewhat from ours, which is why you see so few Pirelli MTs on trials bikes, for example.
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:52 AM   #10
nwcycle
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In all reality

95% of us, dont need anything better than the cheapest Dunlop tire,
With all the hoopla with a $300.00 super light filled with helium with crypto biotic bead set, and hollow spokes.
I honestly feel any of us Mortal riders couldnt do any better on the the top of the line tire vs the cheapest
FYI anyone looking for tires , and those mail order whorestores , try giving the local small shop a call, most ( Like me ) will try to match or close to those deals....Those whoresale stores are one of the main reasons small shops have gone down the toilet.....
Remember also that if you buy tires from those whoresale places, and if you have any issue with tires, its YOUR problem, you buy local from a dealer its his problem........
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:01 AM   #11
lamotovita
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwcycle View Post
95% of us, dont need anything better than the cheapest Dunlop tire,
With all the hoopla with a $300.00 super light filled with helium with crypto biotic bead set, and hollow spokes.
I honestly feel any of us Mortal riders couldnt do any better on the the top of the line tire vs the cheapest
FYI anyone looking for tires , and those mail order whorestores , try giving the local small shop a call, most ( Like me ) will try to match or close to those deals....Those whoresale stores are one of the main reasons small shops have gone down the toilet.....
Remember also that if you buy tires from those whoresale places, and if you have any issue with tires, its YOUR problem, you buy local from a dealer its his problem........
I agree that anyone with a good local dealer should make an effort to support that dealer, but you are quite wrong about tire performance. Although if riders spent more time practicing, and less time debating tire price/performance, I suspect there scores would improve.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:32 AM   #12
lamotovita
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamotovita View Post
I agree that anyone with a good local dealer should make an effort to support that dealer, but you are quite wrong about tire performance. Although if riders spent more time practicing, and less time debating tire price/performance, I suspect there scores would improve.
I should elaborate. A skilled rider can maintain traction with good technique (weight centering, throttle and clutch control) and precise line selection, where a lesser rider could benefit from better tire performance to get up the rock.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
laser17
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Rear tires.

Dunlop - My favorite value tire. 95% of the performance at 70% of the price. They wear a bit faster than Mich but less likely to puncture so I trade that off. Im a heavy rider, so the stiff sidewall isnt noticed as much as a light rider. So maybe the performance drops to 90% if your light. I run 3.5lbs in them and never had a problem.

X11 - Great all around - sometimes can find on sale ($105) and take the value crown away from the D's. Maybe best if your light.

X-light - Best all around grip - but you pay for it. Never seem to go on sale when you need one. $145+ is tough to justify for me.

All I know is that going from a worn of anyone of those above to any new one, I notice a substantial improvement in typical NE riding. Except, I have to say I really didnt like my last vee rubber. Jumping to a bike with x-lights seemed like cheating.

Front tires - I prefer x11's - dont like the knob and sidewall shape of the dunlops as much. Mostly just my own head issues probably...

The problem with supporting your local shop for tires is that if you pin them against the wall with the superstore prices, then your really NOT doing them much of a favor if they also have to warranty it. Theres not much margin in tires in my experience. Let them make a few bucks and maybe have them mount it (Take your own wheel off) and give them $20 for the swap.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:00 AM   #14
ivsforever
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Vee Rubber

Mark Cope sells the Vee Rubber trials tires he posts on TC a lot. He should be able to supply more info on the tires.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:47 AM   #15
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