Pirelli offers a trials tire that is DOT-legal. It doesn’t provide the amount of ridiculous traction that competition tires do, but it is still as good or better than regular knobbies in many situations.
Trials tires have seen a resurgence of popularity in recent years with a huge boost in sales from the enduro world. No longer are the soft-compound, square, narrowly spaced knobbies reserved for the competitive world. Everyday trail riders have discovered the many benefits and are creating more demand than the actual trials industry. Pirelli has joined the list of tire manufacturers offering this kind of tread, but its approach is slightly different with the MT 43 Pro Trials Tire.
Pirelli wanted to widen the scope of use and strengthen the eco-friendly, low-impact characteristic inherent to these tires. Rather than create a meat that is super gummy, flexible and wears quickly, the MT 43 Pro has a reinforced bias-ply carcass with stiffer sidewall and more durable rubber compound. Tread pattern is different with non-square knobbies and a DOT-legal 11mm depth. Higher speeds and increased heat from dual-sport and pavement use were part of the reason the carcass and rubber compound were strengthened. However, the sidewalls still flex and make an enormous difference absorbing sharp impacts.
Traction is very good under acceleration and braking, but the key is to keep things under control. Getting the rear spinning limits the MT’s effectiveness. Grip over rocks, roots, hardpack and even mud is, for the most part, on par or superior to full knobbies. When the tire is rotating, the closely spaced lugs are actually good at self-cleaning, but we found slippery downhills where the rear tire locks up fairly often is the biggest weakness.
We used the tire on a 2009 WR250F, and the match is nearly perfect as far as we’re concerned. It’s a very competent bike for trail riding and the motor isn’t exactly the type to spin up the rear tire very often. For pure off-road use, with the relatively docile power and excellent wear thus far, we expect to get 3-4 times the lifespan compared to a regular knobby on this bike. Dual-sporting would of course alter the air pressure needs and wear pattern, but we ran 10 psi with stock tubes for general off-road use and haven’t experienced any flats.
Motorcycle-Superstore customers rated it 4.8 out of 5, and all of them echoed our findings – long-lasting performance, excellent grip, wide range of use and attractive pricing. For what this tire is designed to do, the MT 43 Pro Trials Tire met and exceeded our expectations. Throw in the fact that it’s DOT-legal and popular with greenies for its minimal impact on soil and this Pirelli offers more than most tires can even dream of.