Best 50/50 Dual Sport Tires – 2021 Top Picks

Troy
| Last Updated: April 24, 2021

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There are two things you want to make sure you get right on your motorcycle: brakes and tires.

The importance of braking goes without saying, but often even the most experienced bikers run into trouble figuring out which tires are best for their bike and riding style, which is especially true for 50/50 dual-sport tires.

These tires can be a bit hard to match a rider's needs. This guide will clear up this confusion and explain which 50/50 dual-sport tires are the best and why.

Our Top Picks for 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

  • Versatile
  • Good cornering stability
  • Chevron tread pattern
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  • Good traction
  • Great tread design
  • Versatile
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  • Best for the Money
  • Long-lasting, durable
  • Dual-purposed
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Comparison of the Best 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Works well on- and off-road
  • Delivers better cornering stability
  • Has a 'chevron' style tread pattern
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  • Improved off-road traction and handling
  • Features a cutting edge tread design
  • Suitable for light and heavy Enduro bikes
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  • Best for the Money
  • Made with long-lasting and durable rubber
  • Designed for dual-purposed motorcycles
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  • Features a big block 'chevron' tread pattern
  • Features a reinforced sidewall
  • Made with great quality rubber
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  • Can be used on- and off-road
  • Deep groves allow for better performance in wet conditions
  • Features improved tread compounds
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How to Choose 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

Choosing the right 50/50 dual-sport tires requires you to examine your riding style, bike, and riding environment. You want to know the answers. How much off-road riding do you do? 

Photo credit: advrider.com

How much time do you spend on paved surfaces getting to your off-roading destinations? Only after achieving a clear and focused understanding of these things will you be able to properly find the right 50/50 dual-sport tires to match your needs. 

Using your specific riding set up as a guide, match your 50/50 tires to the type of surface on which you usually find yourself during your off-road excursions. This approach will give you a good idea of what size and tread type is best for optimal performance. 

Review of the Best 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

Here are some of this year's top picks.

Best Overall:
Heidenau K60 Scout

PROS

  • German made
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Great cornering stability
  • Trusted brand and proven performance
  • Solid wet weather grip on the pavement

CONS

  • Minor wobbling issues
  • Noisy when traveling at higher speeds

Load Index Rating: 54,57,58,59,60,68

Bias/Radial: Bias Ply

Rim Sizes: 17”, 18”, 19”, 21”

Tube Type: Tubeless

Review

The K60 Scout is the best 50/50 dual sport tire and is a great choice due to its proven stability and excellent performance both on- and off-road. The Scout delivers fantastic cornering constancy and has a great grip on both dry and wet pavement thanks to the superior chevron-style tread pattern. The chevron-style tread not only funnels water, sand, and mud easily but does so while keeping plenty of rubber in constant contact with the road.

Bottom Line

You can't go wrong with the K60 Scout tire as this German-made product is well-made and affordable. We highly recommend the K60 50/50 dual sport tire to anyone looking to improve their bike's overall performance.

Runner-up:
Metzeler Karoo 3

PROS

  • Fair price
  • High dampening capability
  • Very good tread life and mileage
  • Superb stability and low vibration
  • The trapezoidal tread pattern has excellent traction

CONS

  • Takes some time to get sufficiently broken in
  • Can be a bit shaky on some off-road surfaces

Load Index Rating: 54,59,65

Bias/Radial: Radial or Bias Ply

Rim Sizes: 17”, 18”, 19”, 21”

Tube Type: Tube and Tubeless

Review

The Metzeler Karoo 3 tires are an amazing tire both on and off-pavement. They're better than most other brands in their overall performance in sand, dirt, mud, small rocks, large rocks, hills, switchbacks, and whatever else you can throw at it.

They do take a bit of time to get properly broken in, and you may experience some minor shaking initially that will gradually subside after putting some miles on the tires. They are also affordable and have above-average longevity.

Bottom Line

We can't find much wrong with the Metzeler Karoo 3 tires, and with everything they got right on this product, it's simply a fantastic choice that will not let you down even in the toughest conditions.

Best for the Money:
Kenda K270

Kenda K270 Dual Sport Trail Tire - 120x80R18

PROS

  • DOT approved
  • They look great
  • Deep knob pattern 
  • Handle well on both dirt and paved roads
  • Designed specifically for dual-purpose motorcycles

CONS

  • Not the best in sand or mud
  • Won't last long on dry pavement

Load Index Rating: 62

Bias/Radial: Bias Ply

Rim Sizes: 17”, 18”, 21”

Tube Type: Tube

Review

The Kenda K270 tires are a great choice for anyone who owns a Dual Sport Motorcycle. They are durable and do a great job on the highway and most off-road surface types, apart from sand and mud. 

The K270 produces very little tire noise on the pavement, and you can’t complain about the very affordable price tag. 

Though these tires take some getting used to and have a bit of a hard time in sand and mud, the overall build quality and value you get for such a low price make them an excellent option for dual-sport motorcycle owners.

Bottom Line

These tires are some of the best you’ll find for the price, and though they have a few quirks here and there, the overall value is exceptional.

Editor's Pick:
Mitas E-07+

PROS

  • Attractive look
  • Decent price tag
  • Durable and reliable
  • Very good in sand, mud, and water
  • Big block chevron tread pattern has lovely grip both on and off-pavement

CONS

  • Can be loud on the pavement
  • Tread knobs squish a bit during hard acceleration

Load Index Rating: 69

Bias/Radial: Bias Ply

Rim Sizes: 17”, 18”, 19”, 21”

Tube Type: Tube and Tubeless

Review

The Mitas E-07+ is an excellent DOT-approved 50-50 tire with a long tread life and prodigious traction for both road and off-road use. They're not great for thicker, wet, heavy clay-mud, but otherwise very good for all other dry off-road surfaces. 

We also noticed that the Mitas E-07+ tires have little slippage and an awesome grip and traction around sharp curves and bends.

Some minor issues with noisy tread knobs squealing during hard acceleration and while traveling on the pavement at slower speeds.

Bottom Line

Aside from the noise issues, the Mitas E-07+ tires were a joy to use and are a fine option for anyone looking for a reliable and trusty set of 50/50 dual-sport tires.

Honorable Mention:
Dunlop Trailmax Mission

PROS

  • Made in the USA
  • Very durable and long-lasting
  • Attractive look and fair price tag
  • Premium performance on all types of terrain
  • Features cavernous, broadly spaced lugs that provide a solid grip

CONS

  • Noisy on the pavement
  • A tad bit stiffer than other brands

Load Index Rating: 59

Bias/Radial: Radial or Bias Ply

Rim Sizes: 19”, 21”

Tube Type: Tubeless

Review

The Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires can handle the most adverse off-road conditions and aren't too shabby on paved roads, either. We threw mud, gravel, large and small rocks, ruts, steep inclines, shallow creek beds, and dirt roads at these tires and handled them all with relative ease. You'll be pleasantly surprised with how the Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires will cruise comfortably through high-speed twists and turns.

With only a couple of nit-picky complaints regarding stiffness and noise, these tires have virtually no faults and rank amongst the best in the industry.

Bottom Line

The Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires are a musty buy item, and we highly recommend giving them a go. You won’t be disappointed.

What Are Dual Sport Tires?

Folks who have dual-sport motorcycles typically choose dual-sport tires for their bikes because they offer functionality on both paved and off-road surfaces.

They come in a bunch of different sizes and have varying tread patterns and knob sizes, plus unique weight and speed capacities. The best dual sport tires have a good balance, stability, and traction. These differ from bike to bike and person to person and finding the best fit for your specific tastes will likely require a fair bit of trial and error.

What Are 50/50 Dual Sport Tires?

Dual sport tires that are of the 50/50 variety simply mean that they generally perform equally on-road as they do off-road. The number 50 indicates that these tires are good for 50% on-road and 50% off-road riding.

Photo credit: revzilla.com

When Would I Use 50/50 Dual Sport Tires?

Using 50/50 dual-sport tires would most likely occur when you decide on your bike places that require you to travel both off and on-road. Of course, no one can accurately predict exactly how much time your tires will be on each surface type, but generally speaking, you use 50/50 tires when you planning on doing a bit of off-roading but need to travel on a paved surface to get there.

What Size 50/50 Dual Sport Tires Do I Need?

Photo credit: AfricaTwinForum.com

The size of 50/50 tires you need is dependent on your motorcycle type and how you plan on using your 50/50 tires. It’s best to find your tire size and match the corresponding numbers as closely as possible.

Your Motorcycle tire specs are imprinted on the tire and in the owner’s manual, and they will look something like this: 180/55ZR-17.

The 180 is the width, 55 is the aspect ratio, Z is the speed rating, R is radial, and 17 is diameter construction. It's best to find a chart so you can easily refer to these specs while shopping for a 50/50 dual-sport tire.

How Do 50/50 Dual Sport Tires Compare?

Check out below on how 50/50 dual sport tires compare with other types of tire.

80 20 vs 50 50 Dual Sport Tires

80% on-road, 20% off-road dual-sport tires are more suited to on-road use than their 50/50 counterpart, but depending on the type of off-road surface, they may be a better option than 50/50 tires. For example, if the ground is sandier, muddier, or looser, then you want to use 50/50 tires simply because you get way better traction. If the ground is more solid, then you’ll be ok with 80/20 tires.

Dual Sport Tires Traction vs Street Tires

Dual sport tire traction is more suited to surfaces that are not flat because these tires are not flat. The bumps, knobs, ridges, and treads on dual-sport tires jut out every which way, allowing them to grip uneven surfaces better. Street tires are flat and designed this way to create a broad and close surface-to-surface connection with the pavement for solid traction.

Photo credit: Motodomains.com

Dual Sport Tires vs Off Road Tires

Dual sport tires offer better on-road performance than off-road tires because off-road tires have large, rubber knobs that stick out to provide a solid grip on just about any surface that’s not completely flat.

Safety Considerations for 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

There are a few safety considerations to familiarize yourself with before you hit the trails on your 50/50 dual-sport tires. Having a fair bit of knowledge on what to expect will allow you to have an adequate amount of preparedness to help avoid some of the more common pitfalls these tires bring about.

  • Always Inspect your tires before and after your outing, doing this simple maintenance exercise will allow you to catch potential issues before they become problems.

  • Ensure your tires are correctly balanced. This will drastically improve your level of comfort and safety.

  • Stay within your comfort zone and keep your overall riding style consistent. Often when brash bikers stray from their habits unexpected things tend to happen.

  • Check the weather forecast before heading out. Rain and motorcycles do not get along. Avoid wet roads and trails whenever possible because 50/50 dual-sport tires are deadly when used on wet paved roads.

  • Check the condition of your tire tread occasionally and don't delay replacing worn-out tires.

  • How To Balance Dual Sport Tires

    Sooner or later, your dual-sport tires will require balancing. When done correctly, you'll notice reduced vibrations and increased overall stability. We highly recommend that you learn to balance your tires because it will give you the power to optimize your bike and tire performance to match the bike's tendencies and behaviors.

    Begin by propping the front tire off the ground, and then loosen the axle pinch bolts to reduce binding, but keep the axle in place. Next, remove the brake caliper or push the pads in the caliper body. Repeat these same steps for the back tire, except you also have to remove the chain, then take off the caliper or push the pads so that they no longer contact the disc. But leave the back alone for now so we can finish up the front. 

    With the caliper out of the way, spin the wheel slowly and make a mental note of where it comes to rest. Do this one more time, and then using a piece of chalk or tape, mark the 12 o’clock position on the wheel. This is “the light spot” on the wheel, and after marking it, turn the wheel to the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. You’re looking to see if the light spot returns to the 12 o’clock position on its own. If so, tape a wheel weight onto the rim at the light spot. Repeat the above step until you’ve added or removed enough weight that the wheel remains motionless when turned to both the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Do this for both tires and then put the chain back on, retighten your bolts and pump the brakes. 

    Do Dual Sport Tires Need To Be Balanced?

    Yes, but there are a few different ways to go about balancing your tires, so take these instructions with a grain of salt. To give you a clearer picture of this process, we included a link to a YouTube video below.

    Conclusion

    As you now know, the process of choosing the best dual sport tires for your specific riding style requires some forethought. Hopefully, we've provided you with enough knowledge to make your purchase easier to manage, and we wish you good luck.

    Quick Recap - Best 50/50 Dual Sport Tires

    Before you hit the road, here's a recap of the three best 50/50 dual sport tires:

    1.  Heidenau K60 Scout
    2.  Metzeler Karoo 3
    3.  Kenda K270

    People Also Ask

    Below are a few of the more popular and important questions and answers regarding dual-sport tires. Though the answers to the questions are relatively brief, we assure you that knowing this stuff will come in handy at some point.

    How Long Do Dual-Sport Tires Last?

    Dual sport tires typically last anywhere from 4,000 to 9,000 miles.

    Should I Replace Both Tires at The Same Time?

    It is not necessary to replace both dual-sport tires at the same time unless they both require it. Just try to get the same brand and model or something very similar since mismatched tires tend to cause handling and stability issues.

    Photo credit: Automotivechord.com

    How Much Lean on Dual Sport Tires?

    You can get some pretty wild lean angles using dual-sport tires, but to be on the safe side it's best to stay within the 50 to 30-degree range.

    Why Do Dual Sport Tires Handle Poorly in Rain?

    Dual-sport tires handle poorly in the rain because the surface has knobs, bumps, and all sorts of protrusions that prevent the tire from making solid surface-to-surface contact with the road. Throwing rain into the mix accentuates the already poor rubber to road contact. 

    Are Dual Sport Tires Safe on the Street?

    Dual sport tires are only as safe as the person who is sitting atop of them. If the rider understands what their dual-sport tires can do on paved surfaces, everything should be fine.

    Troy

    Hi, my name’s Troy. I started riding motorcycles with Clay mid-2020 and soaking up his vast knowledge of bikes. I have been writing for a few years and decided it was a good time to start writing about what I’m passionate about - motorcycles. No matter how bad your day is, a bike will always make you feel better, that’s my motto.