Friday, May 4, 2007

Q&A: What Tires Are Best For Supermoto?


We at Motostrano are asked the question a lot: "What Tires Are Best For Supermoto?"

The answer of course is two fold and multi-faceted. In general, we recommend trying various tires and going with what you like best. For street duty we like the Continental
Contiforce SM
tire above any tire out there for for standard street riding, the occasional track day and even a race or two. The Conti is made in a 120x17 front and either a 150x17 or 160x17 rear. The Conti is an H rated tire, meaning it's made for the average speeds and weights in line with most Supermoto bikes, unlike your average sportbike tire like a Michelin Pilot Power or Dunlop Qualifer where the tire would be Z rated for speeds up to 190 mph and for the weight of a bike much heavier than your SM. This translates directly to quicker warm-up times for the H rated tire on your Supermoto, better tire wear and better handling. The Conti SM is designed from the ground up as a Supermoto tire, where others are designed for entirely different kinds of riding. The other major plus for the Conti is the price. At just shy of $250 a set, they're hard to beat.

For racers, Motostrano's preferred tire is the Dunlop slick. Dunlop offers both 17 and 16.5 sized fronts in a variety of compounds. Dunlop rears come in 155, 165 and now 170 sizes for the big fat 5-inch rear rims. Dunlop also offers rain tread tires for wet weather racing. Dunlop has put an enormous amount of energy and money into R&D to come up with the best all around Supermoto race tire for the most common track set-ups of between 80/20 and 60/40 dirt to street ratios. Both in the USA and the World Supermoto Championship, Dunlop is the dominant brand you'll see in the pits and this is an important fact to consider. The last thing you want from your tire is scarcity. The greatest tire in the world sucks if you can't get it. Most of the tire makers out there these days offer some type of Supermoto spec tire that is offered to both pro and amateur racers but if you're an amateur racer you could run into shortages. Dunlop has a great supply network, with distributors on both coasts. You'll see a Dunlop tire truck at every Pro Supermoto race (at least here in the USA) where you'll have access to tires at the track, as well as product support.

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