Forever in search of the perfect combination of longevity, off-road grip and confident on-road cornering, I was pleased to hear Mitas Tires is in the working to set-up business in Thailand. Mitas was established in 1933 in the Czech Republic, and the E-07 dual-sport tires I received for testing are made with the same 'function-first' approach as tires from other eastern bloc countries are famous for.
No single tire is perfect for every situation. There are too many factors to consider, including off-road grip and on-road longevity. However, the Mitas E-07 is the closest thing I've found to a true 50/50 tire for adventure bikes.
The appearance of the Mitas E-07 is decidedly narrow and aggressive, something to consider if you're into the aesthetics of a fat tire – but don't be fooled, these tires are real performers. On-road handling is noticeably lighter and more responsive than the Pirelli Scorpions that I currently use on our adventure bike. In the dirt, the narrow tires cut through soft surfaces to grab hold, and give an excellent overall grip. This narrow-tire approach rules in most situations off road and is consistent with the advantages sought in dedicated dirt bike tires – a solid win in both traction and off significant protection to the rim and help prevent pinch flats in the case of a hard edge impact.
For the off-road endurance testing, I headed to a stretch of approximately 2,000 kilometers of trails and gravel roads I never wanted for a different tire. These tires far outperform more street-oriented adventure tires but fall behind the big bike knobby tires only by the tiniest margin, if at all. It's worth noting that I encountered only minor mud during my testing, but in gravel and rocky conditions the Mitas is one of the best tires I've used. As the weather will hopeful soon move to the wet season the limitation of the close block tread pattern is more noticeable, but performance is still good overall with only full-knobby tires moving ahead.
To find the traction limits on the pavement, I took the Mitas E-07s onto the racetrack. Although this may not be where you plan on taking your adventure bike, you certainly can't fault me for seizing the opportunity to push the limits. In short, I had not trouble putting a knee down while chasing down unassuming sport bikes. Certainly there are better choices for pure pavement performance, but the Mitas E-07 never let me down and gave plenty of warning when they started to squirm and scratch for grip as the pace heated up. In the wet, performance is on par with the competition, which is perfectly acceptable for me since I don't get crazy in the rain anyway.
As for longevity and mileage, these tires match the street-focused competition such as the Metzeler Tourance, and double the mileage of the typical big bike knobby tires. With the price landing on the economy side of the curve, these tires are a huge win, two thumbs up… Sadly the exact sales price is not set yet…