Kenda tires have a reputation for being a low-cost alternative for dirt and street bike motorcycle riders.

Rest assured the folks at Kenda are also interested in having a reputation for churning out top-quality products.

One key to getting longevity and good performance out of your dirt bike tires is to choose the right tire for your riding application.

Step 1—Choosing Size

This is simple enough because it’s based almost exclusively on what size bike you ride. And reading tire size information applies to any and all brands of dirt bike tires.

From kids bikes, to a 250cc, to a 400cc, it’s as simple as reading the tires on your bike.

While there are three basic tire size numbering systems—metric, alphabetical, and standard inch,—typically, you’ll see something that looks like this:

A common front tire size is 80/100-21.

A common rear tire size is 110/100-18.

The first number tells you the width of the tire in millimeters. The second number tells you the aspect ratio—the height of the sidewall relative to the width of the tire tread. The last number is your rim diameter, measured in inches.

Step 2—Choosing Tire Style

The primary difference among the various tire types is tread spacing.

On soft terrain tires, you will find more space between the knobs, and those knobs will be much taller. Tread depth is much deeper on soft terrain tires.

It’s important to select the appropriate tire for your specific terrain, said Gus Niewenhous, sales and marketing manager for Kenda’s Powersport division.

“If you’re running a soft-terrain tire on hard terrain, you’re just not going to get the traction you need, and you’ll ruin the tire pretty quickly,” he said. “All those knobs are made to get down into the terrain. If they’re just spinning, they’re going to catch on things and tear off.”

On hard terrain tires, there is much tighter spacing, and the tread depth is much shallower.

It’s all about traction. So, for the best performance, and for saving you money on tire replacement, it’s important to understand where you’re going to be riding when choosing which tires to purchase.

Kenda made this handy chart just for you. Please consult it if you’re trying to decide which type of Kenda tires to buy:

You can learn more technical information about Kenda’s off-road motorcycle tires here. And you can shop for them here.

Thanks for reading. Here’s a cool screenshot from the 1985 version of Nintendo’s Excitebike to reward you for getting this far:

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Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.