dirt bike tire

Choosing Dirt Bike Tires

When it comes to dirt bike tires there is a ton of different options available, each built for specific conditions.  For most people choosing the best dirt bike tires usually comes down to where they plan to ride, the level of performance expected of the tire and the price. Let’s break things down into the different types of tires.

Soft Tires

Soft tires are build for use in very sandy or muddy conditions.  They have very large tire lugs to really dig into soft terrain.  In sandy conditions, these can create an amazing difference in traction especially while accelerating. They can also help to improve handling in corners allowing you to use your bike to its fullest. A couple of tires that fall into this category would be the Dunlop MX12 tires and Pirelli Scorpion MX Soft.

mx12 tire

Hard Tires

Hard style tires are designed for use on tracks/trails with lots of hard packed dirt or clay.  Tires used in these conditions need to be very durable to deal with the unforgiving terrain, while still being flexible enough to grip and handle well.  There is constantly new rubber compounds being developed to help improve performance. Some examples of tires in this category include the Dunlop MX53 and Pirelli Scorpion MX 32 Mid Hard.

Mid/Intermediate Tires

Mid style tires are meant to work well in conditions that have a combination of hard pack and loose soilThere are many different blends of tires that fall into this category.  Tires can really vary in mixture between being fairly soft, balanced or mainly hard. To better understand how a specific tire performs in terrain, online forums can be a great place to hear from other riders who have already tested them.  Some popular mid tires include the Dunlop MX33 and Pirelli MX32 Mid Soft.

What’s Best For You 

There are many different options to consider when deciding what tire is best for you. The first question to ask is what kind of terrain you will be riding?  If you will be spending almost all your time in the same conditions then the choice is fairly straight forward and you should select the tire based on those riding conditions.  Where the choice becomes more difficult is when you plan at riding in many different places with different terrain.  When this is the case, you should consider whether you prioritize price or performance. 


If it is performance your after, it may be worth buying a couple of tires which you can swap back and forth between depending on riding conditions.  You can get a tire changing stand for a fairly low price and with some practice swap out the tires yourself.  Another option is to  buy a second set of wheels to keep your other tires on making them much easier to switch between.  The downside of this is buying a full set of wheels can quickly become expensive.


If price is the main factor in your decision, an intermediate tire that suits the majority of conditions is likely the best option.  You may not have the best tire performance at all tracks/trails however with a bit of research you should be able to find a tire which will perform well for you at the majority of places you plan to ride.

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