How many tires have I changed over the past 60 years? Too many. The Avon Gripsters on my Suzuki DR650 were getting down to the end of their useful life, with almost 4,000 miles on the rear, normal life for those semi-knobbies. Avon had just announced its new TrailRider, an “adventure” tire with longevity in mind. Let’s give ’em a try.
The dual-purpose tire has always been a compromise between longevity and traction, and at least a dozen different companies are now offering many, many choices. Lots of knobs and the tire wears out quickly, too pavement-oriented and the rider can find him or herself in trouble in the rough stuff. Avon has long offered the Gripster, with a rough street/dirt rating of 60/40, and the long-distance 80/20 Distanzia. Now the TrailRider replaces the Distanzia with a 90/10 rating, as Avon has appreciated that many of these adventurous bikes don’t really get off the pavement much.
The TrailRider is a touring/dual-sport tire, built for distance—should anyone want to go from the UK to Vladivostok on one set of tires. Or do a lap of the Australian continent. Adhering to speed limits of course, as a constant 100 mph can tear up any tire quite quickly. Not a serious problem with my DR, which tops out at about 90 mph.
To quote Ashley Vowles, Avon’s lead motorcycle-tire engineer, “We’ve designed the TrailRider carcass construction to deliver improved grip and handling. Our chemists have come up with a new super-rich silica compound, using the latest compounding technology to enhance wet grip without affecting mileage.” The computer-generated tread pattern has deep sipes of a new design that help to squeeze out the water faster. Avon says this tire was developed in England, with English (wet!) weather in mind.
Fortunately here in California we have been getting a wet winter, so I had ample opportunity to test the grip in wet circumstances. Since I did not fall down, I’d say the TrailRiders work quite well. A trip out to the Carrizo Plain National Monument showed me their competence on asphalt, and on relatively civilized dirt roads. Their primary market will be the big adventure bikes, Ducati Multistrada or BMW GS, Suzuki V-Strom or Honda Africa Twin, but I am happy to have them on my DR as they should last a good long while.
The TrailRider comes in 18 different versions, six front, 12 rear, fitting everything from my DR to a Yamaha Super Ténéré. Eleven are radials, seven are bias-ply. Lots of sizes are available, with my AV53 90/90-21 front having a suggested retail of $128, the AV54 130/80-17 rear is $205.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Call (800) 624-7470 or visit avonmoto.com