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Old 25 Apr 2001
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Michelin Desert Tyres

Is it possible and indeed a good idea to fit Michelin Desert tyes to a F650.
Furthermore, as my planned trip will encompass soft sand/ruts and fair to good roads -about half and half - are they Ok and safe to use on roads.
Or, is there a compromise tyre outwith the above,
Input from F650 desert crossers would be appreciated.
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Old 30 Apr 2001
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I recently tried Continental Twinduro (road-legal knobblies) on both a 650 Dakar and a R1150GS and was impressed with them on gravel and tarmac alike.

Another obvious choice is surely the 'Dakar' tyre (made by Pirelli I think) that Chris Scott compliments in his latest book.

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Old 10 Jun 2001
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I used Deserts across Kenya, Sudan and Egypt two up on a BMW R100GS PD. They are really scary when you first use them on the road. The bike will not go around tight corners unless you go really slow!! This gets better as they wear down though.

They were fantastic in the rough rocks and sand. Great grip and directional stability. I only got one puncture in Egypt which was due to a patch on the front tube coming off in the heat. (this was put on when the made a hole in the new tube fitting it in Nairobi!!)

As I could not fix it I rode 100km on tarmac on the flat front tyre. The side walls are so strong than the tyre kept it's shape, did not heat up or let the rim get near the road.

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Old 20 Jun 2001
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Have got TK80 on my F650 dakar, they provide good grip on the road for a knobbly tyre and good on gravel track and light mud.

In deeper mud did not like them, did not give as much grip as MT21 did.

Your choose of tyre will depend on what the majority of terrain you will be passing. A friend of mine did a load of piste riding in deep sand on a pair of Mitchelin Saharas and was impressed.

There is no doubt that the king of off road/desert riding is the Mitchelin deserts although hairy on tarmac

I do believe that you have to made a few mods on an F650 for them to fit.

I'm not decided on what tyres I'm going to use on my overland trip and will be covering many different terrains in Africa so will try out a few varitions before I go.

One minor point to remember if you are short in the leg like me, Knobblies increase the height of the bike which takes a bit of getting used to.


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Old 21 Oct 2001
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I must say I would avoid a Dez on an F650 - go for a normal knobbly that is flexible enough to sag at low pressures in sand. When I F650-ed in Libya in 98 (lightly loaded) rear Mich was way too stiff in really soft sand - a lot of whhelspin and ran out of fuel...- I even had to get off and push sometimes! a first.. MT21 etc are better in this respect, I would guess.

Chris S

Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things


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