Favorite Desert Tires
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Thread: Favorite Desert Tires

  1. #1
    Junior Member Zac3g's Avatar
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    Dec 2017
    Live in So. Cal.

    Favorite Desert Tires

    Hello, I'm new to this particular forum. I started riding over 50 years ago. A friend recently told me that he was going to make me an offer on his older TW200 that I can't refuse. So now, I'm starting my overly enthusiastic search for information. If purchased, this bike will be going up to the So. Cal. High Desert. I'm guessing it will get about 25% street use and 75% dirt. (Sand) Does anyone have a favorite tire combo for this type of use? (I'll also check out the forum but I wasn't sure if new tires were now available. Tires are one area that keeps changing all the time.) Thanks and I look forward to hopefully playing around with this iconic slow and steady bike.
    Dryden-Tdub likes this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
    I like the trial tires on the front for the sand - MT43 for me.
    I also like the Duro on the back for sand, but it is not DOT.
    My sand riding has been on the Oregon dunes, Moab and around Quartzsite. Any ATV tire is going to give excellent sand traction.
    Check out Freds new rear tire as he use to have the Duro or Kris's comments at the start of the tread I linked.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaZed1's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    Front tires you have an ocean of choices, as the TW's front wheel is the same size as virtually every dirt bike's rear (120/130-18"). For sand personal preference varies. Some people want an aggressive, very open knobby that sinks in and "bites", while others prefer a mostly smooth tire. The Shinko 241 is a very popular choice around here, classic dual sport tread. Works well both on and off road, cheap, and lasts a long time.

    Rear is a little trickier. The only "approved" tires made are the stock 50/50 TW34 Bridgestone, and they also make a street-oriented 80/20 in that size. The Suzuki VanVan is the only other bike to use this oddball size.
    If you want a more aggressive off road tire, you have to turn to ATV tires. An 8" wide- 14" rim tire will fit the TW's swingarm with no mods. An 8.5" I believe will also, but you need to mess with the rear brake rod. I ran the Duro Power Grip 8.00-14 on my last TW that was used mainly off road. It's heavy, it's chunky, and it has fantastic off road grip- it has more traction than the engine does power in most cases. That said, it's not DOT (if that bothers you), but honestly I didn't think it handled that bad on the road. Top speed will be dinged (don't expect to crack 55 or so), but if you're mainly using it off road that's not a big deal.

    The difficulty seems to be mounting it. While it's for a 14" rim, it's intended as a tubeless tire which have tighter beads than rims intended for tubed tires. You need to "trim" the I.D of the beads with a razor knife, essentially exposing cords all the way around. Liberal application of tire snot, and like 70psi and mine snapped onto the rim with a bang. Bit scary but doable. Other people seem to have much more difficulty getting the beads to seat. For sand traction, I'd suggest the 8.0-14 Duro. It's essentially an import copy of the the Maxxis Bighorn, although I seem to remember the Maxxis isn't available in a size that readily fits.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Milwaukee, WI
    I have yet to see a TDub with a paddle tire on the back. That would get you through the sand.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Turtle Wrangling the Sierras
    TerraCross in firm sand, nice rounded variation on the Bighorn/Duro's V and cross bar tread pattern.

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    520eek likes this.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
    2006 TW200 "Nibbler", a.k.a. “Mr.Gizmo"
    Hidden Content All Things Considered I’ld Rather Be Motorcycling

  7. #6
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
    With 14-55 gearing with the Duro the bike will easily crack 55 mph, but she is a screaming. I have had it up to 60 mph, but prefer to keep her around 50 mph.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

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