Mitas, part of the Swedish-based Trelleborg Group (annual revenue of $4 billion), is attempting to make inroads into the United States motorcycle tire market. Seasoned off-roaders are familiar with the Trelleborg name, as the company used to provide OEM tires to Husqvarna Motorcycles. In 1999, the Czechia-based Mitas purchased the nearly century-old Trelleborg motorcycle tire business, only to have Mitas bought by the Trelleborg Group in 2016. Suffice to say, Mitas has a rich history of manufacturing motorcycle tires for street and dirt use. That brings us to the two dual-sport tires we tested on a Honda CRF450RL—the Mitas Terra Force-EF front and EF-07 Majestic Enduro rear-only tires.Both tires are part of the Mitas Enduro Competition lineup. As Mitas is based in the Czech Republic, enduro competition means the FIM Enduro World Championship series. As a result, the DOT-legal Mitas Terra Force-EF and EF-07 Majestic Enduro tires also meet the FIM environmentalist-driven standards for EnduroGP tires. The most notable regulation is that the knobs can be just 13mm tall—just a little over a half-inch. Fortunately, the shorter knobs work better for enduro and dual sport riding than the tall-knobbed motocross tires we prefer on groomed tracks.
The Mitas line of FIM tires have three rubber types—the “yellow stripe” Super all-around tire; the “green stripe” Super Light with a softer rubber for hard terrain; and “double green stripe” Super Soft, with the softest carcass and tread for rocky terrain and Hard Enduro conditions. Both test tires came in the mid-range green-stripe version—Enduro Soft Compound with Superlight Carcass. Both are serious off-road tires.The Mitas-shod Honda CRF450RL was tested on graded roads, the most challenging single-track trails in the Sequoia National Forest, and twisting paved roads—dual-sport riding defined. It was ridden through Yosemite National Park—all on asphalt.We just couldn’t get enough of the single-track that we wanted on trails we knew would be difficult to traverse in the late-summer forest conditions. The Manzanita Tunnel on the Just Outstanding Trail (see photo with the Honda and KTM-mounted son behind) has since burned down. It’s a trail I introduced in 1992 to hundreds of Dual Sport participants of my Sequoia Scenic Challenge—part of the AMA National Dual Sport Series.As expected, the Mitas Terra Force and Majestic Enduro combination shined on the Sequoia trails. These are single-track routes that receive very little maintenance and are victims of years of fires and droughts. Downed logs force riders to either jump them, or bypass them.These are the kind of trails that require the highest level of performance, and the Mitas tires delivered. The width of the 140/18 rear tire and front tire tread pattern, along with carcass and compound formulas, take the street-legal CRF450RL and make it feel like a dedicated off-road enduro racebike—an enormous step up from the stock IRC GP-21F/GP-22R combo.On these sort of tight, technical trails—the type of riding I prefer—the Mitas tires were killing it. Whether the terrain was loose dirt, a jump off a downed log at the top of a hillclimb, or slaloming between the trees, the Mitas pair delivered complete confidence and performance. The compound and carcass design were completely at home.Tires focused purely on performance will suffer for dual-sport riding, which has a broader range of demands. The soft knobs and carcass, for instance, do not inspire confidence for high-speed drifting on fireroads.The situation gets even worse when the Mitas EF-07 Majestic Enduro is introduced to pavement. Even when not pushed to their limits on the challenging back roads we often use to connect different trail systems, the soft compound Majestic Enduro wears extremely quickly. In comparison, the Terra Force front with the same compound wore much better on the pavement. When the Majestic Enduro was bald, as the “after” photos show, the Terra Force still had some life in it. That’s not what we expected, but the photos show the results.Compromise is the name of the game in dual-sport tires—if you want it to be. Some dual-sport riders put lots of pavement miles on their mounts, and they will be buying the Majestic Enduro tires by the 12-pack. However, suppose your version of dual-sport riding means virtually all dirt, with pavement riding being a last resort. In that case, you will be pleased that you can have DOT legality and Hard Enduro competition-level performance from the Mitas Terra Force-EF front and EF-07 Majestic Enduro rear pairing.Mitas EF-07 Majestic Enduro Sizes
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!