I decided the Himalayan’s original Pirelli tires were getting too worn out and a bit square, and started looking around for a new pair. The MT60s had done a good job, getting me safely through a winter’s worth of riding and into this season’s first journeys, but they are quite street-oriented, and I wanted something with more bite when riding off-road. I was also somewhat disappointed that the original tires had held up for less than 9000 kms (5600 miles), especially considering the bike is relatively light and not exactly a monster when it comes to power, with all of 24.5 horsepower.
There are plenty of tires of various manufacturers that fit the bike’s 21″ rim up front and its 17″ rear, but I narrowed it down to local favorites Heidenau K60 Scouts (made in Germany!) and the Czech Mitas E07s. In the end I decided to go with the Mitas, as they are universally praised as fantastic 50/50 (percentage of use on/off-road) tires that last a long time and handle a variety of conditions very well. They are also quieter than the Scouts, which can be quite loud on the road from all accounts, and to top it all off, the E07s are less expensive, so in the end it was a no-brainer.
Can tires be beautiful? They definitely have a certain “chunkey” aesthetic, as far as I’m concerned, and they fit the agricultural nature of the bike just fine.
The E07s have a good deal more profile than the Pirellis, but that doesn’t seem to affect the bike’s performance on the street too much. The Enfield feels very much as it did with the MT60s, except when I leave the road, where the new rubber provides much better grip on gravel roads and in the sand. I do notice a bit of noise at around 60 kmh (36 mph), but that quickly fades away as I get faster. The Scouts, on the other hand, seem to be a good deal louder, and a friend who uses them on his BMW is not amused with all the “singing” his tires do at a variety of speeds.
I recently put over 1000 kms (600 miles) on the tires while riding past golden fields of grain in Poland, and was very pleased with them. They are well-suited to the rough riding conditions we encountered in that country, as is the Himalayan, for that matter. I haven’t gone off-road that much yet, but when I do, I’ll have the right tires for exploring old paths across fields and through the woods. They might not be up to the demands of the TET (Trans-European Trail), but then I may not be either!
For an interesting review that certainly influenced me in my tire-buying decision, take a look at Bret Tkacs link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnEcI3F_pqE