Written by: Jon Beck (ADV Pulse)
Photography by Ely Woody, Stephen Gregory, Jon Beck and Rob Dabney
Choosing an adventure bike tire is tough because it’s like trying to decide on a single meal you’re going to have every day for dinner for the next several months. Unless you’ve got a spare set of wheels or are super enthusiastic about tire changes, mixing up your choice of rubber each day isn’t the norm. Where adventure motorcycles sometimes appear confused about whether they want to be dirt bikes or street bikes, adventure motorcycles tires can sometimes have an even bigger identity crisis. So, you’ve got to find one you get along with.
Motoz is a comparatively recent entry into the motorcycle tire manufacturer club. The Australian company was established in 2006 with a focus on off-road and adventure tires. When the company’s Tractionator Adventure tire was released, it was one of the more aggressive adventure tires out there. The Tractionator RallZ is an update that pushes an already aggressive tire further towards the off-road end of the spectrum, while still maintaining reasonable road manners. They are marketed as 80/20 (dirt/street) tires and feature a hybrid compound with silica, designed to perform in a wide variety of conditions with improved grip on mud or wet roads.
The bike for this test was a KTM 390 Adventure, which arguably made the RallZ look even more gnarly. The 110/80-19 up front and 130/80-17 rear had an unusually wide appearance on the small bike compared to how a 90/90-21 looks on a big-twin. Fortunately, the tire seemed to behave off-road much in the same way you’d expect from its appearance – you can judge this book by its cover to a degree.
How They Performed
In the Dirt: “Tractor” is the first word that comes to mind, looking at the fat front. “Concern” is the word that comes to mind when staring at the pile of luggage strapped to those smaller wheels and the sand dunes up ahead. While a 19” wheel won’t track as well as a 21” in sandy conditions, the RallZ’s wide footprint and knobby-focused tread seemed to overcome that. Chunky lugs in the rear do an awesome job of pushing the bike forward in a controlled manner, and again help with overcoming the performance characteristics of smaller wheels off-road.
While cornering mannerisms off-road were good, they were also a bit unusual. The feel of the tire in a straight line versus on edge is different. Not that there was some complete personality swap that turned it into a different tire when on edge versus in a straight line, but it felt less uniform when compared to a less aggressive Continental TKC 80, and even less so when compared to the TKC 70 which comes on the 390 as the stock tire.
Using the TKC 80 to compare, in an off-road setting the RallZ has more overall grip, but the TKC 80 feels smoother and more predictable transitioning through turns. You might drift a bit more with the Continental where the Motoz bites the trail and follows the terrain more accurately. Caveat, much of this trait likely has to do with the fact these were smaller and wider hoops than I’d typically ride, and the fatter, flatter profile changes the way the tire transitions from edge to edge.
The tread arrangement has good mud-shedding characteristics so murky sections of trail were easily navigated. In hardpack dirt and rocky conditions the hybrid silica compound had excellent grip for how stiff the carcass seemed to be.
On the Street: Pavement was a concern based purely on appearance, and I had a first impression that long highway miles would burn these things up in short order. Fortunately, as the final tread measurements would reveal, that didn’t happen. Another unexpected find, I presumed these would be really loud tires. They’re not the most quiet tread out there, but definitely not the loudest. (I just rode what seems to be the loudest motorcycle tire made, but that reveal will probably be saved for a future review).
When the tarmac gets wet, the silica compound provided decent grip for how tough this rubber is. Other than skipping over tar snakes, hard cornering on the RallZ was more effective than expected from the aggressive knobby appearance. While not as sure-footed on the pavement as a TKC 80 or TKC 70, the RallZ doesn’t walk out of corners as much as the 80/20 dirt/street appearance would indicate. Stopping power and acceleration grip was entirely adequate.
Tire Longevity: Multiple tests through California, Utah, and Arizona put a total of 2,766 miles on this set, with terrain ranging from rocks, hardpack dirt, deep sand, twisty pavement, and long-haul highway runs. Overall percentage of asphalt/dirt riding was around 60/40. The initial tread measurements for the tires when new were 9.3mm front and 14mm rear. After riding nearly 2,800 miles, the tread depth was down to 7.9mm in front and 4.9mm in the rear.
Assuming the tires are worn out with 1mm of tread depth left and a constant rate of wear, that would mean the front still has 74% of it’s tread left and the rear has 28%. Tires generally burn up much of their tread in the first part of their lifespan though. Personal preferences dictate when one changes tires but doing the math, this rear RallZ could conceivably last another thousand miles. That puts it well within the longevity range of a TKC 80 ridden under similar conditions.
Who Are They For?
Given the KTM 390 Adventure is a “light off-road” adventure bike, in general I’d say the Tractionator RallZ wouldn’t be the first tire choice for the type of riding this bike would typically see. That said, because of the gnarly and high-mileage nature of the terrain in this test it’s easily a candidate for my go-to tire, should I do more stuff on the small-bore adventure bike in the future. When the going got really steep, the additional grip on braking and accelerating was confidence inspiring. When things turned sandy, you knew the bike would have no problem getting through it, even if the rider might struggle.
At around $380 for the 19”/17” pair used in this test, the RallZ is among the upper end of the price range for adventure tires, but not that far north of TKC 80 money. For those riders wanting confidence inspiring rubber to venture into the gnar, with enough road matters to get you there and back comfortably, Motoz’s Tractionator RallZ is worth a look.
What We Liked
- Exceptional off-road grip.
- Unexpectedly long tire life for an aggressive knobby-style adventure tire.
- Surprisingly good road manners for an 80/20 (dirt/street) tire.
What Could Be Improved
- A bit on the pricey side.
Tractionator RallZ Specs
ON-ROAD/OFF-ROAD RATING: 20/80
CONSTRUCTION: Hybrid compound with Silica; Tube-Type and Tubeless
Tractionator RallZ Sizes
90/90-21, 110/80B19, 120/70B19
130/80-17, 120/90-18, 140/80-18, 150/70B17, 170/60B17, 150/70B18
Link to the original review: https://www.advpulse.com/adv-news/motoz-tractionator-rallz-dual-sport-tire-review/