Best Dirt Bike Tires for Rocky Terrain

Each brand of dirt bike tire comes with pros and cons, and it can be difficult to find a tire brand that fits your dirt bike and the terrain you wish to explore. Below are the top six tires to choose from for the ultimate rocky ride.

The best dirt bike tires for rocky terrain are:

  • Bridgestone Battlecross Tire Combo
  • Dunlop MX71
  • Michelin Starcross MH3
  • Shinko 505
  • Maxxis Tire Combo
  • Pirelli Scorpion MX32

There are dozens of companies that offer consumers hundreds of options for dirt bike tires, but there are some important things to know before choosing a brand. Read on to learn more!

Bridgestone Battlecross Tire Combo

Durability

These tires are built to last through any hard trail, especially rocky ground, but also whatever else may come up that buckles from the ground. These tires are newly designed with the idea to tract through gritty sand and slippery mud. The traction on these tires is specific to the front tire and improves stability for the entire bike. There won’t be any need to have to change these tires for several months, as they are built for wear and tear.

Performance

Whether you’re an experienced rider or just learning the ropes of a difficult trail, these tires are quick to grip when braking and accelerating at a quick rate, no matter the terrain. These tires easily maneuver when the ground gets harder to handle and won’t slip with any turns or quick decisions that may arise.

Value

For the quality of tire that one would be purchasing, these tires sit at a higher price of $151.99 per tire. With consideration to the traction of the tire and maneuverability, this price is a little high but does have great quality.

Dunlop MX71 Geomax Tire

Durability

This tire is a relatively new competitor to the dirt bike tire industry but has quickly become a favorite, especially for pro racers. This tire is considerably stiffer than any other Dunlop tires, which allows for a better grip on the difficult trail one desires. Though it’s durability isn’t as excellent as the Bridgestone tires, it is a great choice for beginning trail ride adventurers.

Performance

With the particular cross-stitching of the tread design, this tire performs excellently on all forms of ground. The grip on the ground is specifically designed to come over the shoulder of the tire, so when making quick turns it grips the ground quickly and won’t throw the rider off. The ride on these particular tires is considerably smoother because of the tread. The overall performance is fantastic and proves to be an excellent beginning tire for rocky terrain especially.

Value

As a beginner tire for rocky ground and trails, the price point is considerably low, with a starting value of $39.99 per tire.

Michelin Starcross MH3 Tire

Durability

This dirt bike tire is perfectly designed for the weekend warrior or trail riding enthusiast, as its knobs and tread are better suited for something far more difficult than a beginning smooth ride. With its knobs perfectly sculpted and evenly placed, even along the side of the tire, it equally grips all turns and trails a more experienced rider may choose to conquer. Its knobs are considerably larger, which means it will last a lot longer than most other tires and be able to wear and tear more than a few months.

Performance

The overall performance of this tire is that its better suited to climbing up higher and encountering more rocks than anything else. The tread on the tires is a lot thicker and more evenly placed so as to have more room to grip and ride. This type of dirt bike tire is also stiff, which allows for less gyrating rides as riders may climb and jump off of other rocks or bumps in the ground. Its longevity is perfect for tougher trails.

Value

Considering the overall quality of this tire, its price point is considerably lower than what would be normally expected for this brand and type of tire, with a general asking price of $38.99 per tire, and can range from there.

Shinko 505 Tire

Durability

Never heard of Shinko? That’s certainly not surprising, as it is an imported dirt bike tire from Japan, which makes it more unique than the other tires, as it is put through more rigorous testing and has different standards than other brands as well.

It isn’t designed like the other tires, with a stiffer type of tread, but it is more sticky, with flexible knobs on the tread. With this particular tread design, it makes it a little different from the other tires in the industry, as it grips loose dirt, gravel, and rocks to more easily climb up things. On the downside, this tire does lose traction as it wears on.

When it’s been worn two-thirds of the way down, riders may experience a loss in quick breaking. These tires definitely do not perform well in the wet, so ensure your ride doesn’t involve any rain or storms.

Performance

With its peak performance in dry, and very loose conditions/terrain, this brand of dirt bike tire is great for mountain trails and being able to climb up boulders or steep inclines. This tire doesn’t experience any problems with having rocks or mud get stuck in its tread, which helps lessen the wear and tear and boosts the life of the tire.

Value

Being that it is an overseas brand and has to be shipped in, the price of the tire is relatively inexpensive, with a beginning price of $40.75 per tire. Though it is fairly cheap, it performs excellently for its design, especially considering these tires go through different testing because they are foreign.

Maxxis Combo Tire

Durability

Having “combo” in the title makes the tire a little more versatile than one might expect. This tire is able to not only do well on looser dirt tracks but is also well-suited to rocky terrains, with the ability to overcome many obstacles such as rocks and exposed roots. The tread on this dirt bike specifically states that it is built for longevity, and will uphold against any terrain it goes through. Overall, this tire is incredibly durable and states so by the length of its knobs.

Performance

Because of the excellent length and overall design of the tread on these specific tires, it is able to perform incredibly well on rocky terrain, which is exactly what dirt bike riders are looking for when it comes to a tire that has a tread designed to glide over rocks as if it were hard-packed dirt. There is a wide variety of soil conditions it can go through, which makes it an excellent option for experienced or barely beginning riders who want to try out more difficult terrains.

Value

Though this type of dirt bike tire may have more versatility than the others, its pricing is considerably higher than any of the other tires that are mentioned in this article. It can be priced as low as $147.99, but can also be as high as $191.98, which is much higher than what can be expected for an average dirt bike tire. Though it is pricey, it does have more versatility than any of the other tires listed here.

Pirelli Scorpion MX32 Tire

Durability

There may be tires that are designed for hard terrain, but this tire is built for hard terrain, with every type of difficult, rocky, and up-hill terrain one could think of.

The knobs on these tires are much larger, which means they allow for a much larger contact service, quickly gripping the ground and carrying the rider up any desired trail. These larger knobs on the tread also create more stability and traction when going quickly or making tight turns. The larger knobs create a better tire, which includes less wear and tear, giving it a longer riding life than most other dirt bike tires.

Performance

No matter the weather, whether it be rain, shine or snow, this tire easily grips to whatever surface it is given. Any ride is incredibly stable, because of the excellent design of the tread and the specific placing of the knobs. The risk of sliding off of any trail is greatly decreased, which makes it an excellent choice for hard and rocky terrain addicts.

Value

With the fact that it was designed specifically for hard and rocky terrain, the price point of this tire is considerably higher than any previously mentioned dirt bike tire. The average price can be from anywhere of $96.99 to more than $100 per tire. Though the cost may be high, this would be the best tire for even the toughest rocky terrain.

Best Overall For a Rocky Terrain Tire

With all of the tires listed above, and all of their qualities detailed, the one with the best overall quality and performance would be the Pirelli Scorpion MX32 Tire.

Though the pricing may be higher than any of the other tires, its traction and specific design towards rocky terrain make it the best option for riders who have the urge to climb up mountains and not lose stability. It is even able to overcome obstacles such as rain and snow, which many of the other tires aren’t able to do.

Many of the other tires have tread that is designed to climb loose rocks and up mountains, but not as specific and unique as these tires. The Pirelli Scorpion MX32 Tire is remarkable and is highly recommended for those devoted to the trek.

Best Value For a Rocky Terrain Tire

Keeping one’s wallet in mind, you don’t have to go with the cheapest tire for your dirt bike, because it’s important to go with something that will still last a while and give you a good ride. One of the better tires, more bang for your buck, would be the Michelin Starcross MH3 Tire.

Its tire/tread design is still excellent for rocky terrain but doesn’t do well in wet weather conditions. The tread on this bike is longer and larger, which does give it a longer wear life.

With a comfortable price point of $38.99 per tire, it is a reasonable option that won’t break the bank, and will still do an excellent job of riding the ground while still sticking to the ground.

What Purpose Do Hard Terrain Tires Serve Compared to Other Terrain Tires?

The important thing to know about hard terrain tires vs either soft or intermediate terrain tires is how well each handles the rock, sand, dirt, roots, etc. For each tire, the traction is created with certain elements in mind in order to be able to overcome and adapt to the situations the tire is placed in.

For soft terrain tires, the way the knobs are placed on the tire help it to get through sand and mud, which requires less grip on the part of the tires but has great traction to push through softer situations. These types of tires are great for dirt tracks, racing.

Intermediate tires are, of course, the perfect intermediate between soft and hard. If your dirt bike sees its fair share of a dirt track, but also has an edge with going for weekend trail rides, these are also a great option for doing either or, but nothing too uphill or tremendously rocky. It is considered an across the board tire because it can do other things besides dirt tracks or trailblazing. The knobs of the tire are closer together to account for grip in different situations.

As for the hard terrain tires, they are designed in such a way to be able to climb mountains rather than sail across desert floors. These tires are not created for dirt trails and racing, it is more for adventurous rides. The stiffness of the tire creates for less jarring rides and are incredibly durable. The tread on this tire is close, as it allows for easy grip on the ground. There is no loss of traction with hard terrain tires.

What Qualities to Look For

With all dirt bike tires that are built for hard terrains, mostly being for rocky surfaces, the tire will be built slightly different than soft or intermediate tires, in regards to specifically the tread/knobs. The knobs should be placed in such a way that they are closer together and will grip the ground, giving better traction and stability to the rider. When looking at the tire in general, they may all look the exact same, but it is important to read specifications on what they do, and look more closely at the design. Some will have larger knobs, which give the tire a longer life and won’t have to be changed as often with however many trails may be driven on.

It’s important to see if the knobs go over what is considered to be the “shoulder” of the tire, as those knobs help with traction when turning, especially tight or quick turns that may be unexpected and on looser materials such as sand on rocks or loose gravel.

The traction on the tire also helps to ensure a safe and effective brake when other obstacles may appear. To stop on a dime can be dangerous, and it is important to consider this when riding rocky and steep terrains, as it will prevent riders from flipping over the handlebars.

These qualities are incredibly important to consider when choosing a dirt bike tire for any type of rocky trail a rider may choose, as it could make the difference between a safe stop or road rash.

Trial Tires

First of all, it is important to know what a trial tire is, so as to be able to pick a dirt bike tire that is better suited to the trail/terrain one might want to adventure on, as it is very specific and will vary depending on the dirt bike and what purpose the tire needs to serve. Trial tires are known as the tires built for rocky trails, with that being their sole purpose. These tires aren’t designed to glide over smooth terrain or go for a race; they have a specific type of tread that is closer together in order to better grip the ground.

They use a stickier compound of tire that will literally stick onto the surface and help to keep traction up the trail you’re going on. It can be very soft, flexible, and appear almost sticky. Some trial tires can be more firm. One brand that is very popular in trial tires is Dunlop.

When checked on psi after a bumpy road, they handle well over every bump and jump they take. Trial tires, however, do not work well when a rider is constantly skidding, so it is important to recognize how well one is at climbing a trail and apply that to the selection of tires you so choose. Keep in mind the tread of a tire and how close the knobs are when buying a tire for the type of terrain you want to adventure across.

Jim Harmer

I'm the co-owner of DBP. I live in Star, Idaho and enjoy dirt biking with my wife and two boys throughout the Idaho mountains.

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