By James Parchman
[This Avon Distanzia Motorcyle Tires Review was originally published in the November 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
Designed initially for the Euro market, the tough-looking dual-sport and adventure-touring beasts with which we’re all familiar were named (Paris-Dakar, Tiger, Trans-Alp, Africa Twin, Adventure, etc.) after exotic places, creatures and happenings. Moto manufacturers then conjured up adventure-inspired advertising, hoping to invoke a psychosomatic urge for motorcycle travel to far-off destinations.
It seems to have worked, as the adventure touring motorcycle has developed a great following on the continent. It took a bit longer for cruiser and sportbike-oriented Americans to understand the concept…a machine looking like a bulked-up dirt bike, but also fast enough, street legal, and with a comfortable riding position to boot. Nowadays there is hardly a manufacturer that does not participate in this market; even Harley-Davidson does so, via its innovative Buell Ulysses.
Tires for these machines have also evolved. First-generation versions were adventurous in appearance but left much to be desired in off-road stability and grip while still providing good handling, ride comfort and longevity on pavement. Brand and size choices were limited. Today, most manufacturers offer adventure-touring tires intended for a range of on/off highway use of approximately 60/40-90/10. Tread designs run the gamut, from muscled-up street looks to go-anywhere grabbers, heavy on the cleats.
We tested an adventure-touring tire from Avon, the Distanzia, on a Suzuki 650 V-Strom and came away impressed. The Distanzia motorcycle tire was introduced into the American market in 2000, intended to replace the popular Gripster. Manufactured in sizes to fit the full range of adventure bikes, the Distanzia leans a bit more toward the street end of the equation than the Gripster (later re-engineered and marketed for smaller machines), but is limited only by the rider’s skill in most dirt, gravel and fire-road applications. The Distanzia is available in radial and bias-ply models, and in H and V speed ratings.
Evaluating the Distanzia, we’ve racked up 5,300 miles on a mixture of V-Strom friendly roads. Its tread design is confidence inspiring for the typical 80/20 street bias most owners of these motorcycles find appealing. Riders with heavier pure-dirt requirements may wish to consider a deeper cleated tire. Our tires have been mounted/dismounted several times, require very little balance weight, and have a low leak-down quotient. Longevity seems good; the front (AM43) had an initial 5.2mm tread depth, and 4.0 still remains. The rear (AM44) had 8.0mm when new, with 6.0 remaining. There is no abnormal cupping, and little road noise. Wet road traction is good. Our Distanzia’s performed well in the twisties, being very stable and giving up little, if anything, to pure street tires.
With many of the great motorcycle roads located in remote areas and suffering from declining surface conditions, it matters not if your next adventure touring destination is Ushuaia, or a little closer to home–the Avon Distanzia is a tire capable of getting you there and back again, while enjoying all the miles in between.
For more information: See your dealer or www.avon-tyres.co.uk/motorcycle