You are a woods rider, as I like to call it, a single track trail rider and its time for new tires. Do you want to know what is the best dirt bike tire for trail riding? That is a very good question, given all the brands, styles, and pricing. There are plenty of good tire options that will work for every type of trail rider. In this article, I’ll break down my favorite 3 single-track tire choices, so you can have a better understanding of what tire will work for you.
Before I get into it I want to make an assumption, first I don’t know the terrain in the area you’ll be riding, so my tire choices are going to be for intermediate terrain conditions. If you ride in more of a soft terrain like a sandy loom or sand condition’s, then these are not going to be the best tire choices, go with the Michelin Starcross 5. Other than that, these all will work great for all other conditions.
Best Dirt Bike Tire For Trail Riding
- Good Trail Tire: Maxxis Maxx Cross
- Better Trail Tire: Shinko R525 Hybrid Cheater
- Best Trail Tire: Dunlop AT81
Intermediate dirt bike tires are made for a wide variety of trail riding. These tires are usually best for off-road and trail riders because the surface is constantly changing and you need traction everywhere.
If you’re looking for off-road tires that love to grip but have a longer life than soft compound tires, the Maxxis Maxx Cross Intermediate Terrain Tires deliver exactly that. With a moderate rubber compound, a great knobby pattern, and all the popular sizes, the Maxx Cross Intermediate walks the line of durability and grip that makes a really great all around tire you can take on groomed dirt, loose sand, or slick rock trails.
Anti-flex knob bridges on the sides that provide stability on a straight line and corners. This tire is excellent if you are looking for a proper off-road tire, where the terrain is varied with intermediate and hard ground.
- Intermediate grip compound combines durability and grip
- Great all around tire
- Compound and knob design promote handling
- Pair a front and rear Maxx Cross for best results
Shinko’s newest Hybrid Soft/Intermediate Terrain Enduro/Extreme single track trail tire finds traction in the most extreme conditions. The 525 has a wide self-cleaning tread design that works well in most terrain, if it gets muddy the Shinko 525 does struggle for traction a bit more than most intermediate tires. However, for what it lacks in the mud, it makes up for on the hard pack terrain.
Best of both worlds, soft sticky rubber compounds like the Trail Pro trials tire in a knobby tread pattern to work in a wide variety of firm conditions. Where a Trials tire falls short in braking and loose soil conditions, the 525 “Cheater” bridges that gap to make it the Ultimate Hybrid off-road tire.
The 525 tire works the best of all 3 trail tires it the harder packed terrain, low the pressure to about 10 PSI (with tube) and the traction was amazing in the mountain type terrain. It did wear faster than the other two tires on my list if you are looking for a tire with amazing grip the 525 is a great tire choice.
AT81 rear tread block shapes knobby’s help the tire penetrate down through the surface dirt for extra traction across a broad range of off-road conditions. Its high-wear-resistant rear tire compound offers enhanced chipping, tearing and wear appearance, best-wearing tire of all three tires, I put 5 cross country races on AT81.
Geomax AT81 rear tire carcass features 4 nylon plies, this makes for a firm sidewall, making the tire good for Tubliss. I don’t run the Tubliss system, I’m a bit old-fashion and still run tubes. The tire works great at 10 PSI in all conditions, with no pinch flats.
Lateral grooves on the shoulder knobs provide additional biting edges and also allow the knobs to be more flexible. Rear center blocks are arranged in-line to provide a larger contact patch for maximum traction. Dunlop’s “plush pad” recess design between tread blocks enhances compliance for bump absorption and ride comfort for those rocky trails. Get a more detail look at the AT81 in my full review, Dunlop AT81.
That’s it these are my picks for Best Dirt Bike Tire For Trail Riding. Don’t make choosing a tire harder than it needs to be, any one of these tires will perform well in most condition and work far better than others tires in this category. I would like to point out a tire that didn’t make the list above because this my new tire of choice (replaces the Dunlop AT81) for a cheap dirt bike tire. I can tell you, their’s no other tire at this price point that even comes near to delivering what this tire can, read on!
Best Cheap Dirt Bike Tire
The new Tech 2 PRO tires use a varied-pitch tread in a pattern with fewer center knobs and a concentrated shoulder formation to maximize performance in both loose and packed terrain conditions. Engineers strategically tuned the PRO’s lightweight carcass for the optimum balance of stiffness and flex. This maximizes the contact patch for best traction and preserves bump-absorption characteristics, keeping the tires planted for performance, great during hard breaking.
The newly developed compound helps the tire hook up on hard-terrain conditions, and lets the tire excel in harsh rocky trails. The new Tech 2 PRO tires provide durability that will be appreciated by any trail rider, at a price point you will love. The STI PRO cost around $64 for 110 x 100/18 at Rockymountain ATV/MC, this is my new go-to tire for cross country races, I can race it 2 to 3 times and then buy a new one. Works great at 12 PSI, this tire works better than tires costing twice as much.
- 4-ply carcass tuned for the best balance of stiffness (traction) and flex (bump absorption)
- Intermediate compound excels in hard-pack and harsh off-road conditions
- Varied pitch tread pattern
- Concentrated shoulder tread for max performance in loose and packed
- Downside – don’t know how long RMATV can offer this tire at this price.
Dirt Bike Tire Pressure
Having the right rubber on your bike for the dirt conditions is crucial to good performance, but you can negate even the sharpest new knobs by having the wrong air pressure. What is the correct pressure? The fast answer, typically 12 psi front and 12 psi rear. A two-pound adjustment up or down to fine tune for traction and 10 to 18 psi is the range you should stay within, venture below 10 psi and you are asking for a pinch flat.
The confusion around dirt bike tire pressure is because in many respects it is confusing. Most riders will throw their hands up and go for 12 psi up front and 12 psi in the rear. But riding on hardpack or off-road in soft conditions requires different pressure than riding in sandy conditions. Learning to make an adjustment based on conditions will allow for maximum traction.
Tech Tip: Check the pressure at your destination, not the night before at home. Changes in elevation can change the pressure in your tire.
In trail riding, the higher pressure is less about the speed factor and more about preventing pinch flats. A harder side wall tire is a defense against pinch flats. The softer the tire the easier the tire is to puncture. A good starting point, 12 psi is a starting point until you get to know the terrain. Often, however, you’ll know whether you’re riding in softer conditions or harder conditions and can adjust tire pressure according to the conditions and how you ride.
If you’re on a soft soil and loose dirt raise the front to 16 psi and the rear to 18 psi, but if you’re on hardpack try 10 psi front, 10 psi in the rear. Keep in mind though, that’s assuming you have a 4 ply tire for intermediate conditions. Now go ride, if you feel the tire is too low and moving around too much add 2 psi, on the other hand, if it feels too hard lower it 2 psi. If the trail is a fast winding trial, with a smooth surface keep both front and rear at 13 psi.
Hope that helps, if you are still a bit confuse put in the standard 12 psi in front and rear – that works well about 80 percent of the time. Tech Tip: Don’t use the tire gauge you use for your car it is just not accurate for these lower tire pressures. Invest in a good low-pressure gauge that reads 0 -30 psi, I use and recommend Joes Racing Products tire pressure gauge 0-30 PSI.
Final Thoughts: The STI brand has made great improvements in the last few years, they are one of GNCC’s sponsor. I’m impressed with the Tech 2 Pro and is a great choice for trail riding. Regardless, any of the tires that made my list will make a great trail riding tire. Sometimes, it is all about what type of tire you prefer, that is why I like giving options. Hope this has helped, leave me a comment and let me know what tire you ride with, now let’s go rip up some single track.
The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you
. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me keep the site going.