Adventure riding tyres have a few different parameters from competition or trail rubber. An ADV tyre has to handle sealed and unsealed surfaces and give good wear while doing it.
MITAS E09 DAKAR
Front $149, rear $179, Motorcycle Tyres Pty Ltd, motorcycletyres.net.au, (03) 9391 5813
NOISE The Mitas E09 Dakars fitted to the Suzuki ran well on tar with no noticeable noise or wandering even when cornering at speed. Yes, there is the odd corner in the roads when you’re in the Outback past the Black Stump.
PUNCTURE RESISTANCE In the unsealed sections the tyres held up well to all sorts of abuse and were puncture free. Always a good point, show me someone who claims to enjoy fixing punctures on the side of the road and I’ll show you a bullshit artist. I hit a sharp edged cattle grid at speed in the dust and, after landing, I stopped to inspect the tyres, as an impact puncture was a real possibility, but all was well.
HANDLING Sand, gravel, bulldust, rocks and cattle grids all put the Dakar E09s to the test and at no time did I detect any strange handling that I would blame on the tyre choice. I’m confident any other tyre would have felt the same, especially in the deeper sand and gravel sections.
WEAR Some riders on our Finke trip running more expensive brands had to replace the rear at Alice Springs halfway through, but they were on bigger bikes. I measured the Mitas knob height before leaving and did have concerns as they looked a little small but afterwards the ruler showed that they had only worn halfway down.
WE DIDN’T LIKE
LOOKS Simply a personal style thing but the tread pattern doesn’t look particularly aggressive and we all want our bikes to look tough. Looks are deceptive though as the tyres work well.
As mentioned earlier, wear rate is a big factor when choosing a tyre in this market and usually a long lasting tyre can suffer from a lack of grip. Conversely a grippy tyre can wear way too fast. Some overcome the wear problem by replacing tyres part way through a trip, which is fine if that time coincides with being in a town with a bike shop that stocks the tyre you want.
Others arrange for a tyre to be waiting for them or carry an extra one with them, neither being an ideal situation in my book. The extra weight and packing and unpacking hassles if carrying the tyre, or a miscalculation that has your replacement tyre waiting at the wrong spot can take some of the gloss off a trip.
I would rather a tyre that can be relied on to do the whole trip and, in the Mitas E09 Dakar, I found such a tyre. I wouldn’t have attempted another 5500km, two-week trip on the tyres as that might have been a little too much, but they had ample life left in them for a multitude of shorter weekend rides. If your ADV bike is in need of new rubber then give the Mitas Dakar E09 a try, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
See the full product evaluation in issue #441 of ADB Magazine.