Avon TrailRider Tires Review

Avon TrailRider Tires
Avon TrailRider Tires

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.

Call (800) 624-7470 or visit avonmoto.com


  1. Tried lots of different adventure tires and I’m happiest with these. All tires slide around off pavement and aggressive tread tires are noisy, wear fast and are much less than ideal on wet and cold pavement. These are the best balance for me. I’ve climbed gravel mountains with these with about as much ease as TKC80’s and I lose no confidence on wet roads, they are quiet, and they last.

  2. I have mix feelings about these tires. I like the way they handle on the road when dry. The problem I have with them is on a wet road.

    The rear tire feels good and planted. No problems with the rear what so ever. I actually like it. I’ve only had the rear slide under me once. I was leaving my house on a dry day and I went on a main road. I accelerated a bit hard and the rear went out for a second or two. Never had that happened to me before. But this is the first bike I own that is not a sport bike and the tires were cold. Still, it wasn’t full acceleration for the tire to had given out. I kept the throttle open and the bike recovered with no problem.

    The front though, it feels good on dry pavement. On a wet road it feels OK, but when I hit even a shallow puddle of water the front feels a bit loose. That is the best way I can explain it.

    This is the first set of tires that I put on my Tenere 700 after taking off the OEM tires, but I don’t believe that it’s the bike because I rode my bike in the rain twice with the OEM tires and I don’t recall having that feeling at the front.

    I wish manufactures released water tests results they do on their tires. I’m not interested on just their construction and how much grip they have, but how good they can evacuate water at different speeds. Specially at higher speeds.

    My theory is that average speeds people drive/ride here in the US are higher than in most other countries. One of the reason why Yamaha requieres the routine maintenance on my T7 to be performed every 4,000 miles, rather than the 6,000 miles for the T7’s sold in other countries.

    May be Avon designed the tires with the mentality that the bulk of their tire sales is in the EU.

    That is why I wish I could look at water evacuation tests of tires at different speeds. Specially at speed more compartible to the speeds we are used to here in the US. I am not talking crazy fast in the rain.

    The other rainy day I was doing 55-60 mph most of the time I was on the freeway. Compared to the 75-80mph cruising speed I generally do on a dry day.

    The other thing is when you see magazines and people testing tires or giving a review, the vast majority of time they either never test them in the rain or barely (if at all) mention wet performance.

    I get it, it doesn’t rain everyday, but there are track and other testing courses they could use to test them. Of course nothing beats putting a few miles on them out in the real world on a good rainy day, and on different types of roads. One reason to me the bast majority of so called tests and reviews are pretty useless.

    One thing I look for are videos of tires ai am interested in in YouTube, I always do a search for a test or review of the tires in the wet. They are extremely hard to come by.

    It seems that when magazine claim that they do good or great in the rain they either are assuming based on the compounds used to make the tires, or they go wit the manufactures claims.


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