‘DOT dual-sport tires so good they ought to be illegal’
Written by: Jim Hatch
Photos by: Hatch Illustrations
Since my conversion five years ago to dual-sport from pure dirt bikes, with the purchase of my 2013 KTM EXC 500, the question of tires has been an ongoing experiment. My tire requirement list covers a wide range of needs. My favorite riding spot is about 25 miles from the garage including a quick freeway trip, a country road, then a winding paved climb where I practice my supermoto skills. From there, the dirt is your typical California mountain fare: super loose silt, baby-head sized rocks, roots and everything in between. The goal has always been to find a tire that can endure the pavement abuse, corner like a street bike and then inspire that rare confidence in the dirt – hooking up like we actually have had some moisture in the last six months – while lasting a good long while.
I recently discovered Motoz tires, as many of the bigger-biked dual-sport guys I ride with are running them these days. Motoz, an Australian company that builds tires in its own plant in Thailand, describes its rubber as “the craft beer of tires.” They offer a wide range of tires, from those for heavy long-distance ADV bikes, to pure-focused traditional dirt tires. My first pair was the “Tractionator” series; these were the best tires I have ever mounted to date, they felt amazing and could not be killed.
MotoZ Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM tire
Used-up rear Tractionator Desert H/T beneath virgin Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM waiting to be spooned onto a rear rim in the Hatch Motosports Complex.
But we always want more, don’t we?
I made the calls, and stepped up to the new Motoz Xtreme Hybrid 80/100-21 front and Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM 120/100-18 rear (even though my old Tractionator front still had plenty of juice left in it).
New front Xtreme Hybrid loaded and ready for action.
The new front really inspired heaps of confidence right out of the gate. It stays where you aim it with its beefy-tight yet pliant tread pattern. On the highway it feels stable, on twisty roads it will do anything you ask of it. Once in the dirt, it felt amazing in those super slippery silt-lined off-camber ruts, and everywhere else.
I’ve had a hard time finding a DOT tire that feels like a pure motocross tire, yet will last more than one or two rides. I have tested over a dozen models over the years; some have been so wooden and slippery I had to actually stop and look if there was still a tire up front. Others were gone after one ride, chewed and taken by the rocks. To date, this Xtreme Hybrid has done everything I need better than any front I have ever mounted, including non-DOT tires. After a brutal day the knobs still look fresh with a few mold hairs even remaining. Until further notice, the Xtreme Hybrid is now my official go-to front set up.
Out back, the Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM was also amazing, like someone watered the dusty run for me. Traction was off the chart, while still allowing me to slide it around corners with perfect predictability. The KTM can spin the rear on command, but the level of hook-up with the BFM was unprecedented. For the type of riding I do, however, the Gummy may be a tad too soft, as one ride placed a proper beating on the center-most knobs. If you have a special event, race, or want the absolute most hook to get you through the day, this is your tire. As for me, I’ll be trying a medium compound Xtreme Hybrid rear next time.
Bottom line for me is that Motoz has finally brought the real-deal dirt tire to the DOT world; there are no longer any compromises when it comes to finding pavement and dirt confidence, all while keeping it legal. I will keep experimenting in Motoz’s catalog until I find the perfect combo for me, but I think we’re already very, very close.
The USA distributor is PacificPowersports.com. Motoz’s are priced in a super competitive manner for what you get – about $90 for the front and $135 for the rear – and no longer a well-kept secret. Good on them.
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Front||80/100-21|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Rear||110/100-18|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Rear||120/100-18|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Rear||110/90-19|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM Rear||110/100-18|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM Rear||120/100-18|
|Motoz Xtreme Hybrid Gummy BFM Rear||