The choice of a right tyre for your motorbike can help you get a lot more performance and a lot more safety out of your ride, as long as you match your tyre to your ride. Today I’m going to compare two of the heavyweights on the market; Mefo and Avon.
The Mefo Explorer is an extremely popular on-road off-road tyre. It’s got a much rounder profile than the stone master, so it’s going to last a lot longer on the street and give you much greater lean angles without getting squirrely around on the road. It’s also got big knobs, so it can still get great traction off road.
People in Alaska use this tyre for their trips up to the Arctic circle. It’s got great traction for river crossing and muddy tracks and because they travel thousands of miles on the pavement, it lasts much longer than a true mud tyre.
The Avon Distanzia is the most street oriented tyre in the off road selection. It has a much rounder profile, which is perfect if you’re going to be doing about 90 per cent street riding, but still want to be able to fire down a road or a dirt road occasionally, it’s a great choice- this tyre is street oriented enough so that you can go to a track and drive on a Super Moto and a great traction, but you’re still going to be able to get into the gravel and dirt occasionally, as long as it’s not too hairy.
The Big Three
Avon’s street tyres consist of three types: To start with there is the Distanzia, which is a borderline on road / off road tyre. You’ve also got the Storm, which is their long distance sport touring tyre, and you’ve got the VP2, which is their super sport tyre.
One thing you’ll notice with any tyres which are geared towards the super sport side,(such as these), is that the channels for rain start getting smaller and smaller. That gives you a larger contact with the road, but it also decreases the tyre’s ability to remove water in the rain, because it can’t get the water away as easily. If you decide you’re not going to do any off road riding, the Avon Storm is probably your best choice for a street tyre. It lasts a long time, if you’re going long distance sport touring. It also has plenty of grip if you’re going to do track days.
I’ve actually used this tyre on my Tiger 1050. It works great on track days. The other reason this tyre stands out is because it’s still got large stripes, those channels to get the ran out of the way, so the tyre sticks really well when trying to get the rain out. What you’ll notice when you start moving toward more sport oriented tyres, that those stripes get so small, that a lot of times, when it starts to rain, a sports tyre will have less grip than a tyre like the Storm, which is designed to be an all-around tyre.
If your riding style is focused less on all-weather touring and more on aggressive street riding, then the VP2 is for you. It’s optimized for high powered sports bike, and it has a dual compound construction. The centre core is a harder compound so it’ll last a long time, but when you lean over to the sides, it’s got a softer, stickier compound so that you’ll have a maximum compound patch. The stripes are also a little smaller on the Storm, decreasing your contact. Overall, if you’ve got a sports bike and you’re going to be going to track days, riding aggressively, and you still want a DOP street legal tyre, the VP2 is the choice.
Whether you like maximum chaos in the bud, or you like sliding around the corner with your knee on the ground at a racetrack, choosing the right tyre can give you a lot more control, safety, and performance out of your motorcycle.