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

Good Dirt Tires

Better Dirt Tires

Best Dirt Tires

Pirelli MT21 Rear Tire

Michelin T63 Front Tire

Michelin AC-10 Tire Combo

Price: $97.99

Price: $67.99 - $69.99

Price: $144.99 - $155.99

Features:

  • 90% off-road/10% on-road design
  • Blocks have greater resistance to tearing
  • Optimized tread for use on dirt tracks and gravel, cross country racing and in the desert
  • Effective traction on all surfaces

Features:

  • 'S' speed rating for highway use
  • Reinforced knobs resist tearing and abrasion on asphalt
  • Well-suited for mainly off-road use
  • High level of grip on the road

Features:

  • 'R' speed rating for highway use
  • Resists tearing and chunking even under hard use
  • Aggressive bi-directional knob pattern
  • Excellent traction on virtually any terrain
 

DOT Tires More for Pavement Riding

Good Pavement Tires

Better Pavement Tires

Best Pavement Tires

Shinko Dual Sport 700 Tire Combo

Shinko Dual Sport 705 Tire Combo

Pirelli MT90AT Scorpion Rear Tire

Price: $95.98

Price: $114.83

Price: $119.99 - $148.99

Features:

  • Aggressive tread pattern with deep lug construction
  • Reinforced side knobs for cornering stability
  • P (94 MPH) or S (115 MPH) speed rating
  • 60% on road and 40% off-road

Features:

  • Rubber compound resists tearing during off-road use
  • provides excellent wet and dry weather adhesion
  • P (94 MPH), Q (99 MPH) or H (130 MPH) rated
  • 80% street and 20% trail riding

Features:

  • Optimized carcass for best stability at high speeds
  • Flexibility of use on asphalt roads and on rough ground
  • Tread with large central blocks for a more stable ride
  • Compound with balanced silica content gives better grip on dry and wet surfaces
 

Written By: AndrewT