Before getting to the list of the best Enduro tires, let's take a brief look at its formation.
Adventures are perhaps the only things that we remember until the end of our lives. And by adventures, I don’t mean catching a plane and visit some distant place. Here we talk about real adventures, those with a motorcycle on a long road trip with your significant other. The best motorcycle adventures most will argue are those with Enduro bikes.
Why? It’s simple – Enduro motorcycles give you the freedom to ride on every possible surface, which means that mountains and deserts are not out of your reach. They also have excellent long-distance comfort capabilities and are great to ride on the highway, as well as on a hard-packed or sandy surface. Enduro bikes are perhaps the most capable of all other motorcycles – made for long rides, short rides, on the road, out of it… Anywhere you wish, your Enduro bike will be with you.
That said, apart from having an Enduro bike, it is extremely important to have great tires attached to it. Remember, with an Enduro bike you will be out of a populated area more often than not, which means that the tires must be able to cope with all the different terrains without exploding, but also give you confidence in the corners regardless of the surface.
I’ve created a Top 10 list of the best tires for Enduro. There you will be able to find different types of tires for different purposes, or according to your needs. In the end, if you want to learn more that is, there will be sort of a buying guide. In other words, the definitive Enduro tires article!
Best Enduro Tires
1. Continental TKC70
Best for on-road use
$70 Prepaid Mastercard by mail when you purchase a set of four select Continental Control Contact tires.
Valid through Sept 30, 2020
Available at DiscountTireDirect.com
Most Enduro owners ride their bikes predominantly on paved surfaces, which is why the first tire on this list is made primarily for on-road use. The Continental TKC70 is a 60% street and 40% trail tire. This means that it will give the rider very good performance on the road, good performance in most off-road conditions, and the legendary Continental durability.
On the road, the TKC70 provides performance akin to a 70-30 tire and can be driven pretty hard without losing grip or traction. Handling is responsive and the grip and traction are excellent in both dry and wet conditions. It is also very quiet – I wouldn’t mind going on a long road trip with this one. And when you consider the fact that the Continental TKC70 is made for speeds up to 150 mph, you’ll know that you have extremely capable tires underneath you.
Out of the road, the TKC70 is at its best on hard-packed surfaces, graven and even sand. However, please note that while it can provide minimal traction and get you out of trouble, this tire is not at its best on hardcore off-road surfaces, such as mud and big rocks. However, given the fact that Enduro bikes are not made specifically for off-road conditions, I think that a pair of Continental TKC70s are a perfect match.
And yes, I know that the TKC70 is not a cheap tire, but it justifies its price with excellent durability. Not only the carcass is strong enough for frequent rides in off-road conditions, but the treadlife is also excellent – up there with the best Enduro tires. Overall, the Continental TKC70 is a winner in almost every regard and highly recommended not just by me, but other experienced Enduro riders as well.
2. Bridgestone Battlax AdventureCross AX41
Best for off-road touring
The Bridgestone Battlax AdventureCross AX41 is the newest tire on this list – it was launched just two months ago. It comes with all the latest Bridgestone tech built into it, which gives the tire excellent performance both on the street and in off-road conditions. Compared to the Continental that sits on the first place this one is better-suited to off-road conditions, such as gravel or hard-packed surfaces.
More precisely, this is absolutely the best tire in the world for long off-road touring over hard-packed surfaces. It provides the rider with very precise handling, excellent grip, and traction, even at an angle. The Battlax AdventureCross AX41 is extremely well-suited to high-speed riding over off-road surfaces, giving confidence like almost no other tire in this category. Oh, and while we’re at it, it is also very comfortable over long stints in the wild. Given the fact that it is a Bridgestone tire, you can also expect long treadlife and durable compound for off-road use.
Despite the prominent tread blocks, the Battlax AdventureCross AX41 is great on the road too. Okay, maybe not on the level of the Continental TKC70, but for an off-road focused tire, it is one of the best. It is also pretty quiet for a tire in this category, and pretty comfortable over bumps as well.
All these qualities make this Bridgestone tire the best choice for riders who enjoy their Enduro machines in the countryside. A real adventure-focused tire.
3. Michelin Desert Race
Best for extreme off-road
There is absolutely no better tire for off-road conditions than the Michelin Desert Race right now. This marvelous desert tire comes directly from the most demanding endurance race of them all, the Dakar Rally. Enduro comes from endurance, so there you have it – the perfect tire for long off-road sessions.
The Desert Race is made specifically for every type of surface a Dakar Rally motorcycle racer may encounter. In other words, it works marvelously on sand, rocks, mud, hard-packed terrain, and everything in between. In the real world, it is very hard to find a tire that will be as good out of the road as this Michelin. Traction is excellent almost everywhere, even at an angle, something that most tires in this category fail to achieve. High-speed stability is also excellent, and the same can be said for stability under braking.
With all that said, the Desert Race is not at its best on paved surfaces. It is not as bad as other off-road focused tires, but still far from on-road focused tires. It is especially bad on the highway – some owners say that when the tire is new, there is even small wobble at 70-80mph.
But if you’re interested in these tires, there is a chance that you’re only interested in hardcore off-road riding with your Enduro bike and for those conditions, this is the number one.
4. Bridgestone Trail Wing TW301 / TW302
Best extreme off-road Enduro tire for street use
Bridgestone has really improved its adventure tire category lately. Apart from the excellent AdventureCross AX41, they have a more off-road focused tire, the Trail Wing TW301 / TW302. Unlike its brother, this one is much more focused for off-road conditions and is a much better choice for more demanding terrains, such as mud and rocks.
In the real world, a pair of TW301 and TW302 tires should suffice for most Enduro riders thanks to the excellent traction in almost every off-road scenario, very good grip and responsive handling. That said, for extreme off-road use, I think that the Michelin Desert Race is a much better choice, as it provides even more traction and grip.
However, while the Desert Race is almost unusable on the road, the Bridgestone is perhaps the best off-road tire for those conditions. Even though it has very prominent tread blocks, the Trail Wing TW301 / TW302 has excellent stability on paved surfaces, even at higher speeds. The handling is also very responsive, something that most tires in this category simply can’t catch.
In the end, the Trail Wing TW301 / TW302 is also very durable, thanks to the advanced compound. It is also resistant to puncturing, and the tread should last around 8000-miles. Oh, did I mention that it is also not very expensive?
5. Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2
Best for sport touring
If your ride most often consists of touring over paved surfaces and less off-road, then the Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 might be the best option. This is the sportiest of any tire on this list on the street. The tread design is more akin to a sport-touring tire than an off-road one, but the dual compound helps in slight off-road scenarios as well.
On the road, the Scorpion is absolutely the best tire you can find for Enduros. The handling is very agile and responsive, and the tire offers a lot of grip and traction, even at an angle. It is also very well-suited to wet surfaces, thanks to the directional tread pattern. Sport-touring fans will be pleased by the excellent mileage this tire gets – it is easily one of the most durable tires on this list. Oh, while we’re at it, the Trail 2 is also very comfortable over long stints on the highway.
Off-road performance is somewhat hindered though, especially in tough conditions such as big rocks or mud. That said, for hard-packed terrain, the Scorpion Trail 2 is very capable, providing the rider with very good control in the corners and high levels of agility.
6. Heidenau K60 Scout
Best 50-50 tire for improved off-road performance
If the almost similar Continental TKC70 is not aggressive enough for your elevated off-road needs then the Heidenau K60 Scout might be a great choice. It is a 50% street and 50% trail tire, which means that it is equally good in both conditions. It is also very durable, which somehow mitigates the high asking price.
Even at first glance, you’ll notice the more prominent tread pattern of the K60 Scout when compared to the TKC70. Thanks to this, this tire is better in off-road conditions, providing very good traction on rocky surfaces and gravel. It can even tackle some mud, but if you predominantly ride your bike in muddy conditions, then I would suggest a real off-road tire. Overall, for most Enduro riders, I think that the K60 Scout qualities will suffice.
The best thing about this tire is that it offers admirable performance on the road too. Handling is responsive enough for most riders, braking performance is excellent, and high-speed stability is almost intact when compared to 60-40 tires. That said, the K60 Scout can be noisy at highway speeds, especially when compared to tires specifically made for those conditions.
Despite its off-road credentials, the K60 Scout is a very durable tire as well. According to what people say, you can easily cover around 8000-miles with a pair of these tires, which is not bad for a tire in this category.
7. Shinko R505 Hybrid Cheater
Best budget Enduro tire for off-road use
Another extreme off-road tire for the real enthusiasts, but this time for riders with a tighter budget. Shinko is almost always an option for motorcycle enthusiasts in every class, thanks to the high-quality compound, advanced tread design and much lower price than premium competitors. The R505 Hybrid Cheater is their newest addition in the Hard Enduro category, providing the rider with very good performance in off-road conditions at a fraction of the price of premium tires.
The R505 Hybrid Cheater is made of a soft and sticky rubber compound, combined with a moto-style carcass. This combination gives the tire excellent traction in most off-road conditions, but also excellent durability and puncture resistance. The aggressive tread design helps the Shinko on a variety of soil conditions, especially on dry and loose soil. Performance in the wet is somehow limited though, so keep that in mind.
That said, if your ride includes paved roads then this tire is not for you. While the Shinko R505 Hybrid Cheater can be driven at urban speeds, it is absolutely not recommended for highway use. If you use it in those conditions, expect higher than normal wear, worsened grip and especially bad high-speed stability.
Still, for the price it is offered, the Shinko is an excellent choice for those who seek excellent dry off-road abilities.
8. Kenda Ibex
Best tire for Endurocross and extreme off-road conditions
Kenda is another staple name in the Enduro bike category. They are specifically known for producing excellent off-road focused tires that are also built to last. The Ibex is one of the most popular Enduro tires right now, especially for Endurocross and extreme endure-type conditions. I think that this tire is the best choice for a low-speed off-road ride, such as over big rocks and in the mud.
More precisely, the Ibex is designed for use up to 25mph, which means that fast riding over hard-packed surfaces is not its forte. However, in extreme off-road conditions, it is an absolute champion. Thanks to the super-soft and flexible rubber used, it simply crawls over every obstacle it encounters, such as rock gardens and log crossings. It is also very capable in wet conditions, which means that you can use it in deep mud successfully.
With all that said, the Kenda Ibex is more of a mountain goat tire. While it is extremely capable of delivering traction in off-road conditions, it is unusable on the road. The 25mph max speed is simply too little for any Enduro rider, and the traction is not there. However, for those who want the best possible performance in extreme off-road conditions, this is an acceptable trade-off.
9. IRC Volcanduro VE-39 / VE-40
Best cheap Enduro tire for cross-country Enduro racing
If your ride often contains long stints in cross-country off-road conditions, or you use your Enduro bike for racing, then I recommend the IRC Volcanduro tires. They are not only excellent on almost every off-road surface, but they are very cheap as well. With a pair of these tires, you wouldn’t have to worry about destroying them the next time you go cross-country with your bike – they are that cheap.
Despite the lower price, the Volcanduro tires are known to have excellent durability in off-road conditions due to the tough build quality. The manufacturer says that they are built to withstand the toughest conditions and I am happy to confirm that this is true. The extremely strong casing resists cuts and punctures, giving you a lot of confidence the next time you visit the countryside. Performance on most terrains is excellent, with great traction and grip, even at an angle. Braking is also excellent, even in wet conditions.
That said, I would recommend against using this tire on the street, as it lacks enough grip and traction for safe riding experience, even at lower speeds. That said, I think that most riders will know what this tire offers and how it is intended to be used, so that’s not a big problem, especially given the dirt-cheap price.
10. Mitas EF-07
Best competitive Enduro tire at budget price point
Mitas is a well-known name in the Enduro community and their tires are often used in competitive racing. The EF-07 is their Enduro-focused tire which gives your bike performance advantage over any terrain, at a budget price point. The reason why this tire is like so much is that it offers excellent traction regardless of the surface, something that can’t be said for most tires in its category. Oh, and it is also designed to meet FIM specifications.
This means that it works on sand, gravel, rocks, and mud-terrain, and it can even be used on hard-packed surfaces. Thanks to the large tread blocks that stretch across the entire width of the tire, the Mitas EF-07 gives very good grip and traction even at an angle. The tread compound is also very soft, which gives an additional performance advantage, but it is also resistant to tearing and cutting.
That said, the EF-07 is far from the best in the Enduro category when it comes to on-road handling. The soft nature of the tire means that it isn’t suited to very fast cornering, and it also doesn’t have enough contact patch with the surface for good grip. I advise against going fast with this tire on the road, but that’s expected from such an off-road focused tire.
What to Look Out for When Buying Enduro Tires
The Top 10 list above can really help you choose excellent tires for your Enduro bike, but what if you want to learn more about them? In this buying guide, you can learn some additional things to look at when choosing Enduro tires.
Radial or Bias
Radial and Bias-ply tires differ in the way that their carcass is made, or in other words, at what angle are the steel belts. Radial tires have steel belts that run straight from bead to bead, while bias-ply tires have steel belts that run from bead to bead, but at an angle.
Most new Enduro tires are radial because they are lighter and have longer treadlife. In other words, they last longer and give more confidence in the corners, while also improving performance. However, if your ride consists of extreme off-road sections, bias-ply might be a better choice. These tires are tougher and can withstand more weight on their shoulders, great for big rocky terrain. They are heavier though, so expect worsened performance.
It is recommended that you choose tires according to your needs and the type of ride you’re doing the most. To help you with that, manufacturers often put ratings in percentages, which should give you an idea of what type of tire you’re buying.
For example, a 50-50 tire is equally suited to on-road and off-road Enduro ride. A 90-10 tire, on the other hand, is mostly designed to be used on the street, while a 10-90 tire is mostly designed to be used in extreme off-road conditions. There are also 80-20, 70-30, 60-40, 40-60, 30-70, and 20-80. By choosing a pair of tires according to your needs, you will ensure that you always get the best possible performance, regardless of the surface.
Choosing the best Enduro tires is certainly not an easy task with all the options available. That said, I think that the Top 10 list above narrows down the search – every tire on that list is at the top of the game! And if you’re not satisfied with that choice, just follow the percentage rating and you should make a great choice, especially if you choose tires from reputable manufacturers. And of course, have fun!