Best dirt bike tires is a popular subject, and with good reason. Your tires are the main point of contact with the ground, and so they affect performance, and can radically change the way your dirt bike handles. Picking the right brand of tire is often trial and error. It may take you a few sets to find a combination you like.
TeamMA has pulled together the best dirt bike tires available. All of these tires are of high quality, but you may find some suit you better than others. Be prepared to experiment over time.
We have grouped our choices by riding style, (Motocross, Trail and Sand)
Some manufacturers name their tires according to terrain, and some use the compound of the rubber. This can get very confusing. To make things simple, TeamMA took a vote, and it was decided that we group our reviews by terrain, as you will likely know what type of surface you will be riding on. Here is an important rule to understand before you buy a tire.
Hard compound tires are for SOFT terrain (Soft ground requires harder compounds/tire walls to maintain tire shape).
Softer, durable compound tires are for HARD terrain (Hard ground requires More flexible rubber [softer side walls] but with durable rubber so that it does not wear away).
Best Motocross tires – Intermediate surface
Intermediate dirt bike tires handle a wide variety of conditions. For novice racers who are on a budget, a good intermediate works well for race day; however, the condition of the track is an important factor.
If a track has variable surfaces, without too much blue groove, or deep wet mud, then an intermediate will race well. Ultimately tire choice can win or lose a race, so if you have the budget, always carry a choice of tires. For motocross, you will need intermediate to hard compound tires.
Michelin Starcross 5 Medium
Michelin offers meticulous research and development, pro-level partnerships and race-proven products. Starcross 5 is a proven choice for motocross riders. Michelin quotes a “flexible carcass and advanced technologies,” as key benefits. The result is a lightweight and robust tire, with exceptional performance.
Why we chose Michelin Starcross 5 Medium
Rotational forces drastically affect power to weight ratios. When you have a spinning mass, (such as a wheel or tire), more weight makes it harder to accelerate and stop.
Michelin has reduced the carcass weight of the Starcross 5 significantly while maintaining carcass flexibility, strength and durability. This means faster acceleration and shorter stopping distances without compromise.
The new range of Starcross 5 tires have “comfort casing”. This technology reduces tire rebound, improving handling and even reducing arm pump. The Starcross tire is ideal for racing as well as weekend leisure riders who want more comfort on extended rides.
Tire rigidity is excellent, with a denser ply lining reducing the risk of pinch flats, especially when riding rockier sections.
Finally, we love the new tread design. Gnarlier, more aggressive knobblies are always welcome. The Starcross range has a unique pattern for every compound. The intermediate is designed to cope with upright acceleration, increased lean angles, and gnarly riding.
Bridgestone Battlecross X30 intermediate
Bridgestone is a major player in professional motorsports, with proven pedigree and legendary products. The Battlecross range is the latest Bridgestone dirt bike tire, and the X30 targets the intermediate/hard compound market.
Why we chose Battlecross X30 Intermediate
Bridgestone offers three variants in the X range. The X30 extends across both intermediate and soft compound categories. The X30 is non-directional, meaning you can turn the tire round to get a bit more life out of it. We like that.
Up close inspection reveals a recess in the face of each of the knobblies on the front tire. These recesses are for increased grip when turning. A unique sidewall fin on the rear tire helps the dissipation of heat under extreme conditions and reducing tire flex. On the rear knobblies, a small area of raised rubber increases straight-line acceleration.
The X30 is the best intermediate choice from the Bridgestone range, coping with varied to soft circuits.
Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST – Intermediate
Maxxis has made huge leaps in motorsport over the last couple of decades. The Maxxcross MX-ST launched a few seasons ago and is a popular choice. The MX-ST is designed in conjunction with 7x Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath and is aimed at competitive motocross riders. Available in soft and hard variants if required, it is the intermediate that makes our guide.
Why we chose Maxxcross MX-ST – Intermediate
The Maxxcross has a pliable carcass, designed to improve rider comfort and increase impact absorption, you will receive more feedback from the wheels. Predictable cornering is always a bonus when you are riding off-road. The stability of this tire extends tire life.
Traction, stability and braking performance are superb thanks to advanced tread patterns. The MX-ST became the official Tire of MXGP and is a great choice for riders who can only afford one type of tire.
Pirelli MX32 Mid Soft (mid to soft terrain)
Pirelli’s wide range of tires starts to make sense as you get further into their range. Whereas most manufacturers have a suggested “set” for front and rear. Pirelli allows overlap with their products. For example, you can buy a mid-soft rear tire and match it with either the soft or soft-mid version for the front.
This flexibility gives a broader set of options for you as you tune your set-up and may well provide you with a competitive edge. Pirelli names it’s tires by the type of terrain you ride on. So mid-soft is a hard er compound.
Why we chose Pirelli Scorpion Mid Soft
Pirelli has proven success with the Scorpion range.
The combination of mid-soft front and rear is a winner. Not only does this combination cope with mud and sand, but it will also compete with intermediate set-ups.
Racers with smaller budgets can use the Pirelli combinations efficiently, even when things get softer.
The MX 32 comes in a mini size for junior dirt bikes. The front tire design has developed with feedback from riders in the MXGP series.
Best Motocross Tires – Hard Ground
More durable compound tires are designed for hard terrain, providing grip and flexibility when the surface of the track or trail is abrasive and hard. Although it is rare to find motocross and supercross tracks with abrasive or hard-packed ground, you may find yourself facing conditions that require a flexible, more durable tire. Here are our suggestions.
Michelin Starcross 5 Hard
Why we chose the Michelin Starcross 5 Hard
The Starcross 5 hard uses much the same technologies as the Starcross Intermediate above. Where the Hard version differs is in tread pattern and sidewall design.
The Michelin StarCross 5 Hardachieves a high level of surface contact. Michelin has achieved this by placing the knobblies close together. The rear of the set utilizes an alternating pattern which aids dirt removal.
With Michelin’s new technology providing a stiffer casing, you have the freedom to experiment with much lower tire pressures. It is the combination of your tire pressure choice and the course terrain which make this such a useful product. You can run this tire as low as 2psi if you need to, with far less chance of a puncture.
Bridgestone Battlecross X40
Why we chose Bridgestone Battlecross X40
The X40 has all of the technologies of the X30, with the addition of tie bars, which significantly increase knob stability. Featuring the distinctive Bridgestone castle design on every single knob on the rear tire, the X40 offers maximum forward propulsion and increased grip under hard acceleration.
One of the other big pluses with the X40 is that it reaches beyond its category. Unlike the Michelin Starcross 5, which is a dedicated hard tire, the X40 performs well in loam and doesn’t lose its way in the sand. Having a hard ground tire that also deals with the really soft stuff is a big plus.
Pirelli Scorpion MX-Hard (Hard surfaces)
The latest Scorpion MX comes in six variations. The MX Hard is for those out and out gnarly, rocky surfaces and tight-packed ground. The Pirelli engineers achieve rigidity, grip and sidewall integrity at the sharp end of competitive riding.
Why we chose Pirelli MX-Hard
The latest design reduces rim-roll, allowing rapid acceleration on all types of surface.
We like the knobbly design, maximizing surface area grip with oversize knobs.
The MX hard is ideal for supercross, and the handling is superb even in wet conditions. A big hitter for competitive motocross, favoring the more aggressive rider who is racing on challenging softer terrain.
What about when conditions get soft? Motocross advice has you covered. Our final section looks at the best soft ground tires available.
Best Motocross tires – Soft Ground
Dunlop Geomax MX 33
The Geomax 33 sits neatly in the high end, high-performance category. Dunlop has seen a resurge in popularity at dirt bike events in the last few years, maybe even at the expense of Bridgestone. The Geomax range delivers what the marketing promises.
Motocross riders often need a tire which copes with the soft and intermediate ground. The MX33 is specifically designed to meet the needs of competitive riders facing variable conditions.
Why we chose Geomax MX 33
Ride fast on this tire, and it will reward you with both feel and traction.
We love the higher blocks with an increased biting edge, delivering grip in medium to soft conditions.
Versatility, precise handling, coupled with smoother braking, are on tap.
The MX33 works on intermediate surfaces far better than its predecessor, making it a great choice for those Motocross riders who race on a limited budget, or weekend riders who mix track days with other riding.
The X20 is a pro-level niche tire. Expect curved side lugs to maintain traction at high lean angles, self-cleaning knobblies which prevent the build-up of mud and debris, and rigid knobs to keep things moving when the ground gets exceptionally wet or muddy.
Why we chose Bridgestone X20
Hard ground is a challenging terrain to ride, and bike set-up is complex. The Bridgestone X20 is a competitive choice when things get wet and mushy.
The X20 punches up into the next class, and so if you race regularly on are boggy, sandy and muddy surfaces; but you find yourself running on harder grit and loam on occasions, the X20 will cope.
Bridgestone’s sidewall and casing design provide excellent acceleration and incredible cornering regardless of how soft things get on track. Ride with confidence.
The X20 is the most versatile soft compound tire, with capability running from hard and rocky terrain down to soft mud and wet tracks. This tire favors motocross riders who sometimes hit the harder ground.
Best Dirt Bike Tires – (Trails – Enduro)
A motocross tire will not be the best choice if you regularly ride trails and enduro. When conditions switch between loose, soft surfaces and harder, more abrasive surfaces, then your tire needs adapt with your riding style.
Here are our top picks of trails and enduro tires.
Dunlop D952 Intermediate Enduro Tires (Trails and leisure)
Dunlop is a world leader in tire technology. We have included Dunlop’s D952 for weekend and trail riders. The intermediate dirt bike tire category is one of the most popular for weekend riders. The Dunlop D952 is often labelled an enduro tire; however, Dunlop claims it is a leisure off-road tire.
Why we chose the Dunlop D952
If you want a tire that is going to handle everything from the tarmac, through to slippy mud, then a dedicated motocross intermediate will not work for you. Moorland, farmland, forests and trails require a more comprehensive tire. The D952 is ideal, however, please note; it is not road legal.
The Dunlop D952 compound has a longer lifespan than a tackier race/motocross tire. Weekend riders will appreciate this as their riding places increased demand on the compound. With a more robust sidewall than some of its competitors, the D952 can cope with rocks and crevices too.
We can become fixated on racing products when we ride dirt bikes. Not everyone rides as hard as a world champion, though. If you are a leisure rider, looking for a hard-wearing, capable and affordable dirt bike tire, then the Dunlop D952 could be the one.
Pirelli Scorpion XC medium – hard groundPirelli manufactures world-class tires for many motorsports. The Pirelli Scorpion XC is the natural rival of the D952.
Why we chose the Scorpion XC medium – hard ground
Pirelli’s Scorpion range has a bewildering number of tires, each doing very niche jobs. The XC (cross country) nails the leisure dirt bike class.
Increased durability and rigidity are perfect for you if rocks and tree roots are regular features on your rides. If you just want to get out in the dirt for fun, the Pirelli Scorpion XC is a great tire to consider.
The Scorpion XC is road legal, and great for bouncing between roads and trails.
IRC Tires Battle Rally BR99 (intermediate trails)
The Battle Rally BR99. IRC tires are long-established. RC tires started in the late 1920s and has been developing motorcycle products since the 1950s. IRC offers dedicated motocross tires, classic off-road tires and other niche models. The IRC Battle Rally range is another all-round dirt bike tire.
Why we chose the IRC BR99
The BR99 inspires confidence on any type of off-road surface. IRC has an excellent reputation in the industry with old school riders. As we move toward more hi-tech materials and ever more competitive products, the choice for the all-round rider gets more difficult. The BR99 offers superb grip through all surfaces, with a road-legal, robust design.
Maxxis Maxxcross EN Hard (Soft ground) dirt bike tire
Why we chose the Maxxcross EN hard (Soft ground) dirt bike tire
The Maxxcross EN is all about performing under the harshest conditions. Whether you ride All Terrain, Enduro, Hard Hard, Pack Intermediate Rocky or Soft, this incredible tire will do it all. The Maxcross has a large footprint area. Leaning towards the hardcore weekend rider, and enduro rider, if you want a tough tire, which will handle well, and deal with the odd section of soft, we think this is a tough tire to beat.
The real bonus with the Maxxcross is that it is road legal too.
Best dirt bike tires — Sand
When you are riding exclusively in the desert or on the beach, then you have to have a tire that digs in, stays in shape and helps you get the power down.
Dunlop Geomax MX12 Sand tire
Why we chose the Geomax MX12 Dirt Bike tire for sand
The MX12 is in direct competition with Michelin’s Starcross 5 Sand. As well as having paddle-style knobs, and high air pressure capability; the MX12 also has self-cleaning grooves.
It is difficult riding in sand. The MX 12 makes it that bit easier. Handling and acceleration in the sand are so much easier when you have the right tires fitted.
Michelin Starcross 5 (Sand)
As the terrain gets softer, so the demands are more specific. It doesn’t get much softer than sand! The Starcross 5 Sand is a niche tire designed exclusively for the ever-shifting surfaces of dunes, beaches and desert trails.
Why we chose the Starcross 5 sand, dirt bike tire
If you are looking for a soft compound tire for sand, this tire is a leading contender.
A super aggressive rear tread keeps your rear wheel locked down and the power to the floor. The Starcross 5 has the same reduced weight casing fas the motocross range, meaning faster acceleration.
A Flexible carcass gives unparalleled handling in the sand as well as allowing the high PSI required for this type of riding.
Take time to experiment with your tire choices. Use forums and feedback from other riders when looking to solve handling issues. Over time you will find combinations to suit your riding style and budget.
Have fun out there!
Martin & TeamMA