The best off-road motorcycle tyres

Riding a motorcycle with off-road tyres
Riding a motorcycle with off-road tyres

If you want to ride off-road, you will need to have a dirt bike. To make the most of that, you would need a set of the best off-road motorcycle tyres. Adventure-sport tyres offer a marginal degree of off-road ability, normally in the 90/10 road/off-road ratio. But they’re not the best adapted tyres for the task you can get.

Tyres that are designed for extreme off-road conditions have radical tread blocks. They are often referred to as ‘knobblies’ due to their appearance. While this set provides ultimate grip for off-road conditions, you probably wouldn’t want to ride long distances on them on public roads, as they aren’t the most suitable for paved surfaces.

The off-road motorcycle tyres in this list are designed to be more adaptable. They are developed for off-road performance, but have decent on-road capability as well. The ratio is about 50/50 road/off-road with little variation either way. That is because off-road tyres have deep tread designs to provide better traction on unpaved surfaces. This means they clear loose material, water and mud away more effectively. They have deeper and wider grooves that enables the tread blocks to sink into unstable surfaces and produce more grip for the rider.

Off-road motorcycle tyres usually fit 21-inch front-wheels and anywhere between a 17-inch and 19-inch rear, depending on your bike. This opens up a selection of off-road motorcycle tyre options. They will likely be mounted to spoked wheel rims which tend to be more forgiving than cast-alloy versions. This does mean that unless specifically designed otherwise, spoked wheels with off-road tyres will also require inner tubes to keep the tyres inflated to the proper profile.

The best off-road motorcycle tyres

Avon TrekRider is a slightly more aggressive design than its Trailrider stablemate, allowing greater off-road ability. The manufacturer suggests around 50/50 on/off-road bias (rear tyre here). This means it will suit road journeys on the way to off-road adventures and offer grip and traction across a range of conditions, including gravel and mud.
Price: £48.69 - £85.39

The Dual Sport from Maxxis is a road tyre from the off-road specialists and will deliver good grip in wet weather while its semi-knobbly tread pattern will also provide excellent grip and traction off-road (rear tyre here). Intended for large dual-purpose bikes to allow them greater off-road ability than adventure-sport tyres, they are one of the best off-road motorcycle tyres intended for use on all types of surface.

Price: £89.59

Continental TKC 80 Twinduro is described by the manufacturer as the King of the dual-sport market and intended as 60/40 off-road/road. Its large tread blocks give excellent traction in wet and muddy conditions and generate great traction. The large spacing means they will clear mud and gravel away from the tread-block edges, allowing them to continue to allow the bike the steer and drive forward (rear tyre here)

Designed for going the distance on both on-road and off-road for big adventures, the Trailmax Mission is a large-block tyre with defined edges to provide grip and stability on-road but generate traction and clear loose gravel and mud away from sealed surfaces. Wrap around edges help to prevent the wall from damage while off-road and they are said to be good at climbing out of ruts.

Estimated to be 60/40 road/off-road and intended for hard-packed surfaces, the Karoo 3s feature a blocky design but not as much as a knobbly, meaning better on-road performance with good off-road grip and traction. The V-shaped tread blocks give traction in varying conditions and the grooves help clear loose material away from the tread. A good option for primarily road riders who want some proper off-road ability as opposed to a token opportunity.

Similar-looking to the Metzeler Karoo 3s but with larger blocks and spaced more like a familiar off-road tyre, the AX41 is, by Bridgestone definition, a tyre with an off-road bias though it has been designed to offer excellent grip on and off-road with traction generated by the large blocks and edges. It is a rigid construction to offer a combination of stability and performance.

Designed to offer a combination of on and off-road ability, the Michelin Anakee Wild features large tread blocks with wide grooves to clear loose gravel and mud and allow the blocks to generate grip and traction. They are intended to have a long life and be resistant to high operating temperatures, as you would expect to find on-road while resisting damage off-road.

Price: £71.00 - £128.00

Designed to be used on-road on the way to off-road adventures, the Scorpion Rally STR is a blocky design with reasonably wide grooves to dissipate gravel and mud and allow the blocks to generate grip on-road while also providing traction on the loose. On-road heat is dissipated to prevent damage to the blocks and a high silica content helps with mechanical grip on all surfaces.

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.