Dirt bikes are made for the dirt, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes you need pavement to get to the dirt and you can't do that, at least legally, without a set of Department of Transportation (DOT) approved tires. This is just a fancy way of saying street legal tires.
Of course, some dirt bike owners love their ride so much they can't stand the idea of leaving their baby in the garage during the work week and only "taker out" on the weekends. Using a dirt bike as commuting transportation isn't out of the ordinary and besides what better way to start a long day at work than on your dirt bike?
Regardless you'll still need those DOT approved tires.
Riding dirt bikes without DOT tires...
You'll also need to make sure your dirt bike is street legal. So check out our guide on getting your dirt bike up to speed, if you will, then check back here for those DOT approved tires.
DOT approved tires primarily exist for dual-sport riding which is both off-road and street-legal riding. These bikes feature street-legal equipment such as lights, speedometer, mirrors, horn, license plate mounting, and mufflers. Dirt bikes approved for public roads are registered and licensed. Some models favor street use and others prefer the off-roads.
...get's you stopped real quick.
The same can be said for DOT approved tires. Dual sport tire design ranges from the typical knobby tires that look very similar to a motocross or off-road tire. Others look more applicable to a sportbike - a bit slicker but still with significant more traction than a true sportbike tire.
Therefore, the design dictates the type of riding. A knobby Dual Sport tire is for those who use the streets to get to the trails. Keep in mind that the more knobs (i.e. looks like a straight-up dirt bike tire) the faster it wears on pavement. So keep your distance on pavement to a minimum to plan on replacing often.
On the other hand, the sportier tires adapt best to road riding but can manage pretty well on dirt and gravel roads. So if you ride mostly on public roads but like the durability of the dirt bike and enjoy taking side dirt roads for a little adventuring you'll want a tire that's best suited for pavement with applicable off-road traction. You'll see knobs but with far less crevasses than the tires designed for dirt riding. You won't get far with these tires on a true motocross track or trails with loamy soil.
Therefore, before picking tires know whether you'll be riding more on dirt or pavement. The following are recommendations for tires in both categories.
DOT Approved Dirt Bike Tires
DOT Tires More for Dirt Riding
DOT Tires More for Pavement Riding
Written By: AndrewT