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Tyres: Mitas E-09 Dakar

Mitas tyres are affordable yet highly regarded in the adventure community. This is why I decided to get myself a few sets and try them out.

Mitas say the E-09 is a trail tyre for demanding riders who have an emphasis on off-road riding. They tyre is said to have 20/80 road to off-road balance and the manufacturer claims it’s suited to even relatively rough off-road conditions. The Dakar version of the tyre is reinforced, and that’s what I used. The riding was extremely gravel and off-road based, with very limited tarmac riding.

When new, the grip is rather good in both ends and the tyres clear pretty rough terrain without a complaint. However as the knobbles are in a straight line across the tyre, the grip becomes slightly imbalanced with wear. Traction stays good, but the lack of sideway grip may come as a surprise.

The problem is emphasized on front tyres, since their knobbles are considerably lower and smaller. The wear is surprisingly rapid. Sadly the quickly wearing front tyre becomes extremely slippery before long, especially in muddy conditions.

On the rear, the wear is less aggressive and the performance is more consistent throughout the tyre life. At certain point you’ll just realize that you aren’t getting ahead as well as you used to and the powerslides become wider (which is just more fun, isn't it?), but the change is significantly more subtle.

It's very important to realize Mitas weren't kidding when they said E-09 is meant for 80% off-road, as they really aren't for tarmac. As a final verdict, the rear tyre is a very good purchase. The front, however, is not acceptable because of limited tyre life and rapidly diminishing performance. At best the tyres are on relatively rigid surfaces, such as gravel roads and firm forest paths. When fresh, they manage a wide variety of conditions, however, just as promised.

Now I just need to find a good tyre for the front. I wonder what C-21 would be like...

Bikes and sizes used:
KTM 640 Adventure, tyre sizes 90/90-21 & 140/80-18
Yamaha XTZ660 Ténéré, tyre sizes 90/90-21 & 130/80-17