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Getting traction is the key when out riding hard enduro. Here's our Dunlop AT81EX and MX53 review on our favourite tyre combo.

I’ve been running this tyre combo now for six months and have already done a Dunlop AT81EX and MX53 review when I first got them. I ride at least twice a month and most of that is trailriding with technical sections. The surface is usually loaded with boulders and sandstone surfaces but it’s grippy, there’s sand, loam and the odd bit of red clay. I don’t really get out of third gear very often and rarely use the bitumen. So I’m not in tyre chewing terrain like small loose rocks on fire roads or fast, open sections.

So far I have been incredibly impressed with how the two very different Dunlops have held up. On the front I have the MX53, a motocross tyre that sits in the middle when it comes to soft or hard and on the back the legendary AT81EX, Dunlops hard enduro gummy.


Traction – The AT81EX gets so much traction it’s almost cheating. If you haven’t run a gummy before you need to try this one.

Side knobs – The reason I decided to run a firmer front tyre was because when I’ve run gummy tyres up front I’ve noticed them roll a little on the side knobs which when slicing singletrail was off-putting. With the MX53 up front, it didn’t roll or push if I wasn’t in the snotty stuff.

Wear – It goes without saying, the MX53 is wearing much better than the AT81EX. It’s got dozens of hours left. The rear is a little chewed out but the benefit is that with gummy tyres you can run them until they’re almost smooth and still get traction.

Diversity – Neither tyre are directional so you can flip them around to get extra life out of your tyre.


Price – The MX53 is pretty well-priced but the AT81EX is a little expensive. You will get better traction than a motocross or enduro tyre but it will only last 70 per cent of the time a medium compound tyre will. It’s up to you if you think it’s worth the coin. If you do loads of hard stuff I’d day it definitely is.


The only riding I do now days is usually first and second gear grovelling stuff so the AT81EX on the rear is a must. I think the wear is pretty good considering the traction would be three maybe four times better than a medium compound tyre. I like the combo with the firmer front because it not only cuts the cost a little but also holds up better when I do tackle the fast singletrail.

Mitch Lees



AT81EX $277.95, MX53 $120.95



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