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Retyrement with Andy Strapz

This entry is part 18 of 21 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #38

Tyres used to make me indecisive. Nowadays I’m just not sure.Ask some advice in the front bar regarding adventure tyres and you’d best have a couple of hours to spare. Hooley dooley. The choice is so broad now I’m like a dog with three dinners: I just don’t know which to choose.

Trying to think about the proportion of dirt and blacktop doesn’t help. It’s like asking me to set out my meal plan for the next six weeks. How the truck should I know? I’m a free spirit, a motorcyclist, looking for adventure and whatever comes my way ’n’ all that. I don’t see a situation where I might get to a corner and decide my wheels just aren’t dressed for it.

In fact, the more I think about it, I find myself in that situation regularly.

Actually, it’s not so much a decision as a rapid realisation…‘Ohhhh SHIT! I smell Dettol!’Maybe when my Lotto numbers come in I’ll be able to afford two sets of wheels for each bike.

But I can’t carry ’em with me, so I’ll need a mobile servant with spanners.


On a recent ride with a bloke who’s been putting up with me for 30 years or more we rode around in decreasing Gippsland circles chasing a true dual-sport ride. Great winding roads were joined up by interesting gravel backroads in a tortuous route.

Maybe 10km or 20km of dirt, then 10km or 20km of blacktop and back onto dirt. Two days of this was a joy. Tomaselli and I rode on the same ribbon of tar two or three bike lengths apart as one and have done for years. Flipping from road to dirt riding techniques every 20 minutes or so was totally absorbing.

Tyres with a more road-biased tread pattern certainly were better than having dirt-friendly hoops on that ride, but we did have a few errr…moments, on some of the damper or deep-gravel dirt sections.

Andy Strapz
Tube or tubeless?

Each-way bet

When I sit down and do some rudimentary maths I realise I spend far more time on the blacktop than dirt. Like most city dwellers I have an hour of Tin-top Targa then the freeway drone to knock over before the wheels get grubby. Much of the time I’m happy to put up with a degree of rumbling from the rim savers to get some dirt-friendly performance ‘when I arrive’ (to quote Vale). If I chose tyres on the actual proportion of road-versus-dirt I actually do, I’d have very road-biased hoops each time.

Therein lies the rub, yon riders of adventurous spirit. I choose tyres on what I hope they will do for the majority of the time I want to play. When I start to mix in the mileage (it sounds so much better than kilometreage) I need from a set of rubber my brain hurts.

Bugger it. A 50/50 tyre will do and I’ll ride it like I’ve got two necks! If they’re not right at least they’ll wear out and I can get a different sort next time.

An aggressive knobby is great for the dirt, but there’s usually a lot of road riding to get to and from the good stuff.
Is this a 50/50 tyre?

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