Tag Archives: trials tire

In it for the fun . . .

I’d been contacted a few weeks back by John from the Atlanta-area. We met in 2013 while riding at Red Bird with Charlie and Steve from Indy. I had served as their “guide” around the loop that day and most all of the group made it intact.  That was a good day but unfortunately the weekend ended on a bad note. [Click here to read more about that adventure]

John and his friends Tom, also from Atlanta, and Tim, from down in Pensacola, Florida had a half-week of riding planned. Their itinerary started with a day in Georgia, one in Tennessee, another at Red Bird, and the final day with Jesse and I at our riding area. The forecast had looked great for many days but it turned to hell in hurry. By the week’s end, there was a 90% chance of rain for the area and it had been raining steadily down that way all week long. Saturated is the term that comes to mind.

I touched based with John and he said they rode part of the Red Bird loop in the rain on Friday and were up for more “in the rain” riding on Saturday. Ok. It was a go. We were going to ride rain or shine! John said they were ready for an adventure and Philip commented they were going to the right place!

Tom (GasGas) & Tim (KTM) Riding Red Bird in the Rain
Tom (GasGas) & Tim (KTM) Riding Red Bird in the Rain

The plan was to meet at 9am but I was up and out of the house early. On the way down I noticed the nice, neat rows of golf carts that Kevin had lined up at the golf course. If folks were going to play golf in the rain, then we could surely handle riding in it. It was drizzling at the house and it rained on and off most of the way. But, when I pulled into park at 8:30am it was barely misting. Good deal.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

I unloaded my bike and put it inside to keep the seat dry and got all my gear on. The forecast called for “numerous showers” and a high in the low to mid-50’s. It was 48 when I turned off the truck. I made the decision at that time to not wear my Klim Traverse pants as honestly, I knew they’d be too hot with the level of exertion that I’d likely experience. But my Klim Traverse jacket was a different story, that was the perfect day for putting it to the test once again. It was loaded up with d3o pads in the shoulders and elbows, the back vent was fully opened, the underarm vents were unzipped about 3 inches, and the pockets were stuffed with spare gloves, batteries, paper towels, and other essentials for the day.

The “Southern Crew” showed up right on time and Jesse was not far behind. David stopped by as we were getting ready and got to meet everyone. That was good. We all appreciate the opportunity to ride where we do.

Tom and Tim at the Staging Area
Tom and Tim at the Staging Area

Things got better as when we rolled out, it was not raining. There were no breaks in the clouds, but at least it was not actively precipitating. Yes! This was much better than I’d anticipated.

As we made our way along the trails I noticed how dark it was. Some of the valleys are deep and there just wasn’t much light. A fresh layer of leaves was covering the ground and obscuring most little obstacles like rocks, roots, and logs. The kinda stuff that’ll grab your front wheel and throw you to ground. Caution was the name of the game. Below is a clip of some trail we rode before first break.

We made our first stop around 2.5 miles into the initial loop so I could see how everyone was doing and make sure they were pleased with the pace and trails. All seemed to be good. They really liked what they’d ridden so far and were ready for some more. By the way, we learned at this stop that John was running a new style Yamaha front fender on his “real” Husky WR250. I’d never noticed if he hadn’t brought it up. What happened to his stock front fender? Still no rain.

Our First Break
Our First Break

A notable section of the first loop was our drop into one of the rock-littered, slick-bottomed, washed-out creek beds we like to ride. It is like a jungle down there in the summer with all the lush vegetation. This was one of the first really technical sections we tackled and everyone enjoyed the challenge! Here’s a little video clip of the descent.

We made it back to the staging area around 11:30 with over 13 miles on my trusty Trail Tech odometer. Within a couple minutes, it started raining. Not really hard, but enough that it would not be fun to ride in. The group sat in the dry barn, ate some lunch, and did some bench racing. All of sudden, the sound of rain hitting the metal roof started to subside so we got our stuff together and headed out on the trail once again. Great timing!

The second outing included a small loop on the south side of the property and a decent sized loop on the north end. Both of these included some fun “goat trails” that were a little more interesting due to the wet conditions. I just wanted to make sure these guys got to enjoy some of the more technical stuff. The video clip below from Tom shows a portion of what we call the “Cat Cave Hill” goat trail.

Onward! Still no rain! This was good. Their plan was to be on the road and southbound towards Atlanta no later than 3pm and we were on track to make that happen. I don’t blame them for wanting to get home at a reasonable hour.

I made sure to hit the new switchback downhill and the tight single track up the main creek on the north end and rounded out the loop with the primary goat trail above “the bowl”. There was 21.55 miles showing on my odometer when I pushed the bike up into the truck. Not bad for a nasty-wet day, and based on some commentary, they were more than pleased with the whole experience. Something tells me our friends will be back for another adventure!

One more note about the Klim Traverse jacket . . . that is one awesome piece of gear. It is so tough and perfect for all the briar and branches we endure and although I did get a little warm, my upper body was dry and comfortable. Gore-tex is a wonderful material and Klim knows how to incorporate it into their higher-end gear. You can ride anytime of the year as long as you have the right gear and can get motivated to get out in the nasty elements!

A special thanks to the Southern Crew for having nice quiet 2-strokes and for appreciating the riding opportunity. John provided the photos, Tom contributed some video, and Tim entertained Jesse while he struggled with the MotoZ Mountain Hybrid on the gnarly Kentucky terrain. Great Times!

I’d venture to say that not many folks would have loaded up on a rainy day with a 90% chance of rain to go ride. You really have to enjoy the promise of an adventure and truly be “in it for the fun”. We could have just sat at home but where’s the fun and adventure in that?

See you on the trail!

Kenda Equilibrium: Report #3

We now have over 300 miles on a Kenda Equilibrium. It is the 18″ version and I’ve been running it exclusively on my 2-stroke WR250s. Philip used one on the bike he rode in Idaho this summer and I had put close to 100 miles on it prior to that trip. Those miles combined with some recent trail work put it just over the 300 mile mark.

Close Up of the Equilibrium
Close Up of the Equilibrium (~300 miles)

At this point the tire does show some wear, but it still performs very well. I can say this, it does not like the road. It wears down quickly on pavement so keep that in mind. Also, it does not like to be spun as that chews it up too. If you think about it, that is about the same as most trials tires. Their compound does not appreciate spinning or high speeds on asphalt.

As I noted above, Philip (and Jesse) used the Equilibrium in Idaho this summer. Jesse put close to 200 miles on his but Philip did not log that many miles during his shorter stay. They both praised the tire on the sidehills, tackling roots, and climbing over rocks. It also did well when we encountered some damp sections where the trials tire did not.

Another View of the Equilibrium
Another View of the Equilibrium (~300 miles)

I ran the IRC Trial Winner trials tire and was totally pleased except in a couple of damp sections along Germania so it was good to have it along as a point of comparison. Bo was running a Michelin trials tire and was really pleased with the performance too. I was afraid the Equilibrium would shed some side knobs on the rocks but all them were intact even after some crazy rock gardens. Very impressive!

From what I can tell, there are only two very small drawbacks to this tire. First of all it simply does not clean up very well. It is hard to rid the sipes of debris and the lettering dulls rapidly. I realize that has nothing to do with performance but it is part of the total package.

Secondly, it does impact the trail more than a trials tire. It is certainly better than any knobby in that regard, but it does turn up more dirt than the 4″ wide trials tire imprint on the trail.

Other than the two items above, I’m sold on it. I suspect that when the ground freezes it will cease to be so awesome, but we’ll see when the time comes. There is no way you could really run studs in this tire and obviously other tires are more suited to that type of thing.

Now as for racing, I personally have no first-hand experience with it in that type of situation but Travis said he’s seen lots of them on the starting line the past few months. He tried one, the 19″ version, at a few races and has been pleased. His comment was that it worked great on slimy roots and rocks, hooked up good in the ruts, and did at least as good as half worn knobby in the deep mud. I believe his plan was to finish out the season with it in terms of racing.

The Tire Stack
The Tire Stack

The last time we ordered some of these tires they were on back order for a couple months. So after a few weeks of testing the first tire, I decided to go ahead and order some more! Note the three on top of the IRC VE-33 in the photo above. Obviously I was impressed enough to invest in a stockpile! Get one for your bike and give it try!

See you on the trail!

Freezing in July

I guess it is all a matter of perspective. Was it a good thing? Or a bad thing? Depends on your frame of mind and desire for adventure. This all started on a morning in mid-July. The forecast was for cloudy skies and a 40-percent chance of precipitation. We were situated in central Idaho and the plan was to ride up to an old Forest Service Lookout structure. Regardless of the forecast . . . the ground is dry and any rain that fell would only improve traction and knock down any dust. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it?

The higher the altitude the better the attitude. Onward! The ride started out well and we enjoyed some relatively new single track trail that leads to some very nice sweeping views of the Sawtooth Mountains. It was cloudy, but we could see for many miles down Sawtooth Valley and all of Redfish and Little Redfish Lake in the foreground.

Redfish Lakes from a Ridge
Redfish Lakes from a Ridge

We stopped along the way for a snack at just over 9,000 feet above mean sea level. The views were spectacular in all directions but the clouds did put a bit of a damper on it. As we moved forward up the trail I expected to come across some snow drifts on the north facing slopes. But this year, unlike others in the past, there were no snow drifts remaining. I’d heard it was a bad year for snow but a wet spring. Thus, no snow drifts on this trail in 2015.

The next stop was a 4-way trail crossing. The tree that hosted the classic wooden trail signage was literally, laying on the ground. The signage was intact but the tree had seen better days. I noticed it was getting a little windy and a bit more cloudy as we made our way onto the trail that leads up to the Lookout.

Casino/Martin Creek 4-Way (2012)
Casino/Martin Creek 4-Way (2012)

There are some notoriously rocky sections in this trail and we all had fun negotiating the obstacles. At the end of the rock garden, the trail drops down a bit and the starts a steady, switchback laden climb to the top. This is when the “precipitation” began. It was scattered but hard rain fell for the next mile of the climb and then it turned to hail. The hail was small but you could hear it bouncing off the helmet with authority!

Freezing Precipitation on the Camera (Jesse's View)
Freezing Precipitation on the Camera (Jesse’s View)

A couple switchbacks later, the hail transitioned to sleet. It started to cover the trail as we parked our bikes several short switchbacks below the Lookout structure. It was coming down hard and frankly, we were getting wet and it was chilly. So . . . we ran for it! Right up the remaining switchbacks to the structure. Philip was leading but I actually made it up first and crawled underneath the decking of the Lookout.

Next I noticed the grounding cables on the structure and the rods driven into the granite just 2 feet away. Hmmm . . . it is storming on this mountain and I’m beside the lightning rod. At about that moment, Philip climbed up and got up on the deck. I followed and found him removing a panel in front of the door. The door behind it was OPEN! Yes, we all ended up getting inside and out of the elements.

I’ve only visited a couple of these lookouts and this is the first time that was open, fully accessible. The crew piled into the little 12 x 12 (?)  structure and found a wide range of items. There was a little square shelf/counter in the middle and one table against one of the outer walls. There was just enough room to walk around the counter in the middle and unfortunately, only two “chairs” graced the structure. We settled in accordingly as the sleet was pounding the metal roof and the clouds began to envelope the mountain top completely.

Lookout Interior (Pano)
Lookout Interior (Pano)

Two boxes full of glass panes for the windows were on the floor and a box of caulk and window glazing was against the opposing wall. I’d say there were 12-15 gallons of paint, two cordless drills, replacement belts for a sander, some basic tools, small candles, matches, and coolest of all, a Brunton gas stove with 1 and half containers of propane. We took the half bottle and fired up the stove to dry out a gloves, generate some heat, and provide a bit of light. A couple of the small candles had been employed for light as well.

Propane Powered Glove Heater
Propane Powered Glove Heater

After poking around a bit more we found 1/3 a bottle of whiskey, and empty whisky bottle, a couple tarps, a lantern, latches and other small hardware that would be useful for fixing up the places. By the way, when we left, there was still 1/3 a bottle of whiskey!

What we really liked was this piece of paper that was nailed to the side of the counter. It was a hand-written note professing the grandness of the place we had accessed and the value of the structure itself.

It was still relatively early in the day but after about an hour of rummaging around and watching Jesse and Philip take pictures I was ready to head down the mountain. Unfortunately, it was still precipitating. You know . . . the thing that there was only a 40% chance of occurring?

Jesse & Philip in the Lookout
Jesse & Philip in the Lookout

About 20-25 minutes later it all started to subside and we peeked outside. The sleet had just about stopped but we were “inside” a cloud. Our bikes that were parked a couple switchbacks down were not even visible. It was cold but luckily the wind was dying down and we’d all put on the jackets that we’d been carrying in our backpacks. Prepared!

Trailside Parking
Trailside Parking

The group scuttled down the hill to retrieve our bikes and head back towards the Big Casino trail at the 4-way I mentioned earlier. The ground was now wet which made for awesome traction however all the rocks were wet which made it interesting! We crawled back through the rocks and dropped onto Big Casino.

I’d warned Bo and Philip that Big Casino was rocky. It is not difficult, but in places the rocks are relentless. You just have to stand up and negotiate the obstacles or it will simply beat you up. Think you can just get off the trail and go around? Wrong, the landscape is littered with small to boulder-sized rounded rocks as far as the eye can see. Someone picked the path of least resistance many, many years ago!

Philip Negotiating the Rock Garden
Philip Negotiating the Rock Garden

The trail had been clear all the way down, but about 1/2 mile from the truck there was a small tree blocking the trail. Jesse used his big hand saw to get it out the way and we finished up the ride with just under 50 miles on the odometer.

What an adventure! Everyone really enjoyed the trails and the views but the freezing precipitation on the mountain added some extra excitement. We were all a bit wet and hungry so the loading went quickly back at the trailhead. Getting back to town for some food and a shower were high on the list!

This is one trail ride that we’ll never forget!

See you on the trail!

My First Dual-Sport Event

Honestly, I was very apprehensive about this “Dual-Sport” thing as I am not comfortable at all riding on the road.  It scares me. I’ve laid it down going 50+ on a dirt road and can’t imagine hitting the pavement at any speed. But . . . I had been told that this event was closer to an Enduro than any other Dual-Sport event. So with that knowledge we made plans to attend.

The event was staged at Lake Linville in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, the County seat of Rockcastle County. It was a beautiful morning and the forecast called for perfect conditions. There was very little rain the week before so I figured the trails would be relatively dry for the first Saturday in May (Derby Day).

Unloading at Lake Linville
Unloading at Lake Linville

Unfortunately, we missed the Rider’s Meeting as we were trying to get our act together for the day. I had laid out what I thought was the perfect riding gear combo consisting of some Klim Dakar pants, a vented Klim Mojave jersey with my awesome Klim Dakar Pro Jersey layered on top. That Dakar Pro Jersey is so cool. It may be the most bullet-proof garment I’ve ever owned. This was topped off with some Klim Adventure gloves, Gaerne boots, and my trusty Arai VX-Pro 3 with the classic solid white color scheme. Onward!

At about 8:40, riders started leaving the staging area so we followed accordingly. I had my route sheet, the odometer was reset, and my GPS trip log was reset. Ready to go!

Well the first 6.9 miles were asphalt . . . hmmm . . . I’m thinking “What did I get myself into?” Then, we turned onto a gravel road. The gravel quickly deteriorated and at its end was a left onto some single track trail. Very nice. This section was laid out well along the contours of the hillside and emerged at the top of a hill on a gravel road. The last section was certainly more enjoyable than the first 6.9 miles.

There was a “Key” provided on the route sheet that provided two characters codes for each surface type (i.e., BT – Blacktop, DR – Dirt Road, TR – Trail, etc.) which proved to be useful. However, the variance in what was to be considered a Gravel Road was VERY wide. It might be fresh, 1.5″ deep gravel (very sketchy), well-packed gravel, or some washed-out road bed where gravel once existed many years ago. The later actually turned into a little single track trail as riders consistently picked the line of least resistance.

Point of Interest
Point of Interest

There were also “Advanced Sections” scattered here and there. Those were designated with a green Moose arrow rather than the standard issue orange. Those were the best trails we rode all day. If you took the wrong bike on those trails you’d be miserable for sure. Travis rode his DRZ-400’s’ decked out with gnarly knobby tires (IRC VE-33 on the rear) and showed up quite a few guys on pure dirt bikes!

In each of the advanced sections there were places where a bottle neck would develop. Some guy would “fail” at negotiating a hill or creek crossing and a bit of a backup would slow the pace. In most instances we waited very little or creeped around and up through the carnage. The smell of antifreeze (the smell of KTM’s) lingered at the top of every challenging hill as riders struggled and their buddies reached out to help their fallen comrades. Seriously, (most) everyone was very nice and courteous. Certainly a great group of riders!

None of us had any problems at all with the “obstacles” as Jesse employed his Rekluse and displacement to crawl up and over and Travis just attacked each one on that DRZ as it was his only option! Definitely glad I had my “WR” 250 one those sections.

On the Trail
On the Trail

So all of sudden, my odometer is saying that I’m going much faster than I am. Something is up. I slide my Trail Tech odometer out of the holder and back in real quickly. Still reading the same. When we finally come to a stop I see that it has switched to Km/hr and the battery light is flashing. Geez . . . I picked up the older of the odometers. Oh well. So I get a reading from Travis and start tracking it on my GPS. Now I’m doing math on the fly. I’m not an old school enduro rider, nor am I Bryan Bunch. A few stops, turns and so forth on the route sheet and I was done with keeping track of that info.

At one point we emerged on a familiar looking road. Travis asked if I knew where we were . . . Ah hah! We were on the road that goes back to the main trailhead for S-Tree! We continue along that road for a bit and arrive at the Sandgap Community Park. We’ve driven past here a dozen times over the years when riding at S-Tree. There were nearly 100 bikes there when we arrived and they were still rolling in. Lunch was provided as a part of the entry fee but the local Fire Department took donations in a fireman’s boot at the beginning of the lunch line. Good idea for the locals and the event promoter.

Lunch at Sandgap
Lunch at Sandgap

While heading to the end of lunch line, I came across Charlie Williams from Indy. He was pulling in on his GasGas as we wandered towards the shelter house. We chatted a bit and moved forward for some deserved nourishment and bench racing.

Travis was complaining about a certain rider that had left us behind on a trail ride a couple years ago and Jesse said, “Well he doesn’t have anything on Ross!” Charlie chimed in immediately and concurred, “Ross will do the same and he has the right tools to do it with!” If you’d ridden with Ross you would understand!

We saw several riders at lunch that were once KORHS racers. Many asked what had happened with the series. It is obvious that many folks appreciated what we did, but continuing at a loss is just not the way to go. I appreciated hearing all the good comments. I said farewell to Charlie and we headed on down the road to get some gas.

The gas station was a hoot! There were 45+ bikes there at any given moment for I’d say 20-25 minutes. Jeff was topping off the RMX, Travis fed the DRZ and Jesse’s WR300 had sucked down nearly 3 gallons so far! I saw just as many people there as I did at lunch.

The trails during the afternoon were just as good and from looking at the GPS I could see that we were starting to loop back around towards the staging area. The trail traversed some properties that we’d used for racing in the past and it was neat to suddenly realize that we were at that location!

At various points during the day I turned on my helmet camera. I tried to only use it on the best of trails but ended up getting some footage of paved and gravel roads. The plan was to get several 3-5 minute clips out on YouTube and I’m making progress with 4 posted for viewing thus far. Below is the first of the bunch. Make sure to click on the gear and watch it in HD.

Below are the links to the other 3 in this series:


The afternoon trails provided more great scenery, had some tricky creek beds, and were laid out to wrap up the event in a good way. The promotors did a great job for sure! At the end of the day, Travis’ odometer said 116 miles and my calculations using the GPS and my odometer reading before it gave out was also right at 116 miles. Other folks said they got 125 miles so I’m not sure if we missed a section or what. Regardless, it was a good time!

My regret at this point is that  I did not go back on Sunday. I hadn’t made plans to do so but will next year for sure! Marty said the percentage of trail vs. gravel vs. road is about the same but it is only 80 rather than 125 miles. Jeff said it was well worth the time and highly-recommended by many of the riders that had gone with him in the past.

My plan is to go again next year! Who’s going with me?

See you on the trail!

Just before Spring had Sprung . . .

About two weekends before the leaves fully emerged, some friends came down from Indiana for some non-flat land riding in the Kentucky woods. They picked the perfect day as the weather was awesome. The sky was blue, the temps were cool, and the ground conditions were unseasonably dry for April in the Commonwealth.

Ready to Ride!
Ready to Ride!

We arrived at our riding venue around 9:15 and were on the trail shortly thereafter. The ride began with a nice 12+ mile loop that included a lot of our well maintained single track and provided good opportunities for some rest stops with nice views. Things were just starting to green up and the Dogwoods and Red Buds were in full display.

A Spring View from the Overlook
A Spring View from the Overlook Trail

Some new acreage was appended to our riding area recently and we’d been busy cutting new trails all winter long. We knew that once Spring had sprung, the briars would be too much to deal with. The results of our efforts included a nice new switchback hill, some winding trails along and down off a knob, fresh single track through a new growth area, and a sketchy goat trail that requires caution if the conditions are wet. Our visitors were treated with getting to ride all of the above!

Great Spring Riding Conditions
Great Spring Riding Conditions

The afternoon riding included much of our older established trails and in order to make a good loop we did ride a bit of the morning loop backwards. But like someone said, “Riding it backwards is like riding another trail!”

On the Trail
On the Trail

Everyone was having a great time as we kept things moving and covered as much ground as possible. In the end, we’d clocked over 30 miles of classic Kentucky woods riding. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to ride where we do. It is not something that should be taken for granted.

See you on the trail!

Kenda Equilibrium: Report #1

In the quest for the perfect tire that is suited for the varied terrain east of the Big River (Mississippi) I have now acquired a new Kenda Equilibrium. Actually, Jesse ordered two and I got one of his.

The version I have is  4.50″ x 18″ and my first impression was that it is super sticky and the knobs are very pliable. I’d have to say that it is not quite as soft feeling as the Michelin or IRC Trials Tires, but it is significantly softer than the Motoz Mountain Hybrid and the Pirelli MT-43. As for sidewalls, they appear to be thicker than the IRC and Michelin Trials Tires but not as robust as the Pirelli and Motoz which are both DOT-rated.

Kenda Equilibrium
Kenda Equilibrium

A positive point is that the Tire Balls worked VERY well in this tire. It is almost like it was made for them. The shape and size of the carcass is perfect for the balls I use. As usual, I lubed up the tire quite well and put some lube on each ball as I inserted it into the tire. The whole process went quickly and much to my delight, it was a breeze to mount. Just about as easy as mounting an 18″ Trials Tire.

It popped up on the rim with ease and the outline of each ball is visible along the sidewall. Pushing down on the knobs causes it to collapse like a trials tire and the 8 lbs. of air in the Tire Balls seems right on target.

Well I took it for a spin today and was very impressed. It does really well climbing over logs, crossing streams, traversing sidehills, and it seems to hook up quite well in the mud. What really surprised me is how it handled this long uphill that is covered with small loose rocks. The VE-33 does fine on it, but the Kenda Equilibrium rides on top of the loose rocks much like a trials tire. I did a lot of “exploring” today but the plan is to put some miles on it tomorrow.

Kenda Equilibrium
Kenda Equilibrium

I’ll give it a thorough test tomorrow by hitting all our trails down in Casey County. Putting 20-25 miles on in the widely varying terrain should let me know what it is all about.

See you on the trail!


A couple weekends ago I stuffed my new Motoz Mountain Hybrid tire full of Tire Balls. Each ball had 8.5 lbs. of pressure and was well-lubed. The inside of the tire carcass was lube up as well. The tire seemed a “little” softer than when I first mounted it up with a tube but that was probably due to it being ridden flat on its previous outing.

This past weekend promised to be warm and it was going to be fairly dry for February in Kentucky. With that in mind, I put the Motoz wheel on the YZ for another test. Just like last time, I took a spare wheel with my IRC VE-33 ready to go.

I got a late start on Saturday but it was sunny and around 50 when I left the truck. Jesse has gone down in to the bottom to start cutting a new trail in the valley. I took an alternate route that was a bit too adventurous but I made it down with no drama and found Jesse working near the creek.

Cutting Trail with the Motoz Mountain Hybrid
Cutting Trail with the Motoz Mountain Hybrid

The tire was doing well but it did not like sidehills, especially those covered in leaves. Rocks, not a problem and creek crossings were great. Traction was good on an all dirt logging road, but get it on a damp sidehill covered with 8 varieties of leaves from Kentucky’s deciduous forests and it just does not excel. This where the VE-33 would have done quite well and a even standard trials tire might have performed better.

While exploring a bit I learned that at times it would just stop hooking up. Slick logs and some loose dirt on the side of a big root ball were giving me fits. I really think it needs to be run with less air or something. Basically, it needs to “squat” more to be effective.

So . . . I think my plan is to give it a rest until sometime next summer when things a bit drier. This just isn’t the right time of year to test a “trials-like” tire in the Bluegrass State. Jesse is going to give a shot with his Tubliss system and about 6 lbs of air. That may be the ticket!

UPDATE (03/26/15) :  The Motoz is no longer on the 18″ rim as a new Kenda Equilibrium has arrived. “Hills Rider” is vacationing down in the desert Southwest and has this to say about the Motoz:

“Seemed like the MotoZ wore down to the depth of the sipes pretty fast. All edges feathered as it wore down suggesting the rubber is somewhat soft. I think it will work good in the hills (Black Hills) but it is a little sketchy down here in some loose rock situations and hard pack with loose gravel on top of it.”

Mine is going to hang out in the “stack” for a while and when the conditions are more ideal we’ll give it another spin!

See you on the trail!

Motoz Mountain Hybrid: Test #1

Well there seems to be lots of buzz surrounding the new MotoZ Mountain Hybrid tire. The sales guy at bike show promises wonderful traction in all conditions, notes the DOT rating, and the 18″ form factor with some nice rim protection. Slavens has a good video on it as well but I haven’t seen any test results.

At just under $100 per tire, the MotoZ appears to be a great deal. Most good trials tires will run you $130+ . . . however . . . when you consider the milage you’ll get it is certainly worth it. So, I ordered one from Slavens and had just over a week from when I placed the order. Not bad considering it was coming from Colorado.

For the first time that I’ve seen, my tire was delivered in a box. Yes, a big flat cardboard box. It also had the paper work shrink wrapped around the tire but that was in the box with the receipt and so forth. Nice box.

One thing I noted is that the box was heavy. After opening it up I was shocked at how wide it really was. And rounded, not flat in terms of its profile. It is definitely as heavy as my IRC VE-33 and the carcass is very tough. Also, I think the knobs are just as tall as the VE-33 but rectangular and distributed across the tire in a trials tire-like pattern.

Motoz Mountain Hybrid
Motoz Mountain Hybrid (far right)

The next evening I spooned it onto a spare rim and for the first time in over 5 years I installed a tube, not Tire Balls, in my tire. It was a relatively quick process that I did just before dinner. When airing it up it literally “popped” onto the rim. That sounded good! You could see the excellent rim protection. But, it seemed really “hard” when compared to the other trials tires in the garage. So, I set the air pressure at 8psi and called it a night.

The weekend rolls around and I am anxious to give it a try. Mid-20s the night before means the ground will be frozen until about 11am or so. After that, the ground conditions will get just plain muddy and nasty. That should be a good test as we typically remove our trials tires after the first good freeze and run a knobby until June or so.

I was the first to get suited up the day of our ride so I headed out for a short loop. It was a still a bit hard and didn’t squat like I wanted it to but considering the frozen ground, it performed no worse than a knobby. After about 1 mile I headed back and let a little air out of the tire. Probably down to 6psi at this point.

Shortly thereafter we all left the truck for a good loop. The Motoz Mountain Hybrid was doing good on most everything that was not totally frozen. The knobs were staying clean and it hooked up in some muddy ruts where I expected it would struggle. Most of the rocks and roots were slick with a fine layer of ice or they were just plain wet. Surprisingly, it did well in those situations.

At about 5.1 miles into the ride we came to a frozen and rocky uphill where there was not a good way to carry your speed past halfway up. Unfortunately, I slid over into the rut and had to crawl up hill over rocks and roots and some frozen ground. Not too stylish, but I made it up. Now waiting on the rest of the crew.

The interesting thing is that all 3 Yamaha YZ’s ended up making it to the top, but not the KTM 250XC . . . The orange bike made it on the fourth attempt as we joked about putting some Yamaha stickers on this bike. More to come on this . . .

While waiting at the top I noticed the tire as low. It was now squatting and an 8″ section was off the bead. Not good! I got the little hand pump out of my Klim Nac Pac and grabbed the valve stem. Hmmm . . . it was loose, spinning in the rim. Obviously torn from the tube. Actually, not all is lost . . .

I’d thrown another wheel in the bed of the truck that morning, complete with a barely worn IRC VE-33 loaded full of Tire Balls at about 8psi. The rest of the crew forged onward to complete a good loop and I headed back down the hill and took the path of least resistance back to the truck. Some tools from the backpack (and the stand I now require to be able to step up into the truck without ripping the crotch out of my pants) were all I needed to complete a wheel-swap in less than 4 minutes.

After waiting around for a bit, the crew arrived back at the barn. Everyone ate lunch and we grabbed some more water. During that timeframe, Jesse applied a Yamaha Sticker to the back of Kyle’s helmet . . . you know, the KTM rider that didn’t make it up the first gnarly uphill? Well both Smith and Dean were having a ball getting photos of Kyle’s helmet and specifically the Yamaha sticker. Their tag-team approach acquired some good photos and video!! See below!

Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider's Helmet (1)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider’s Helmet (1)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider's Helmet (2)
Yamaha Sticker on KTM Rider’s Helmet (2)

So at the end of the day we’d netted about 23 miles of good riding, enjoyed the great mid-winter weather, and had some good times! Better than sitting on the couch all day!

I know it is cold and nasty, but you need to get out and ride!

See you on the trail!