Anyone that has ever ridden a dirt bike competitively knows the tire you chose can be the difference between a podium position and trolling around mid-pack. Choosing the correct tire for the riding conditions is essential to having success on the track.
One company that understands this is Pirelli, winner of 43 World Motocross championships since 1980. The Italian tire company has come out with the MT450 to help generate traction in dry, hard-pack situations while still remaining grippy enough for intermediate conditions.
We took possession of a pair of the MT450s and sent our resident dirt devil, Jeremy Hamblin, out to see if they were indeed as good as advertised. For those that are literary challenged, the short answer is yes. The tires not only performed as advertised, they actually exceeded our expectations.
The MT450 front is constructed of lightweight rubber to reduce unsprung weight, which lets the fork better respond to bumps and increases a rider’s ability to point the bike in the right direction. The pliable rubber used in the 450s increases grip on hard surfaces, and its wide-spaced knobs provide grip in a variety of loose surfaces.
“The MT450s were great on hard-pack surfaces,” said Hamblin, who was running 13 psi in both the front and the rear of the Pirellis mounted on a 2004 Honda CRF450R. “They worked the best in harder type dirt, but still hook up and go really well in the loose, mulchy dirt.”
Wide-spaced knobs provide grip in a variety of loose surfaces, and according to our resident dirt tire tester, Jeremy Hamblin, they were awesome.
Pirelli designed the MT450 rear for intermediate terrain and subsequently created it to have a lower profile, which creates a bigger footprint in the dirt. Just like the MT450 front, the rear is constructed of lightweight rubber to reduce unsprung weight. The center knobs are lower in profile and stiffer than the outside knobs, which makes the tire hold up longer under hard acceleration.
Hamblin was impressed with both ends, but he was really infatuated with the grip in the rear.
“Out back, the tires hooked up really well,” said Hamblin. “I was pretty impressed. I didn’t think they would be that much better than other tires, but they truly increased overall grip in the hard-pack.
Pick the wrong tire and it will not only cost you money, but it might just cost you the win as well. These tires list for $78.99/$89.99 for the front and rear, but they are currently selling on Motorcycle Superstore at just $61.99 and $71.99 respectively, so it makes sense to pay the money to get the correct tire for conditions you ride in.
Check out www.pirelli.com for more information on the rest of the products available from Pirelli.