Motoz Tractionator Desert H/T Tire Review
Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right pair right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Tire manufacturers must have taken this to heart, because they’ve created a vast selection of tires for the dual-sport community to choose from. It seems there’s an option for every type of riding, whether you’re a commuter that hits a gravel road on the way home, long distance adventure tourer, or weekend warrior looking to link trailhead to trailhead through twisty mountain roads.
If you’re looking to “conquer the world” via the unbeaten path, take a close look at the Motoz Tractionator Desert HT Tires. These tires were designed for hard trails, packed sand and fast rocky conditions, leading them to become a popular choice among rally competitors. Constructed with thicker sidewalls the hard compound Tractionator Desert HTs are built for heavy duty use and are DOT approved. The carcass is wrapped in thick rubber to protect against punctures and rubber cushion zones allow some flex, reducing chuck off.
The tread design creates an aggressive look, enough to conjure images of plowing through gnarly trails, even though the bike is sitting still right in front of you. A closer examination of the tread reveals a cup-like mid-section in the rear, which helps to dig in for traction on steep climbs or looser terrain. It’s also designed to catapult rocks at your buddies that are following too closely.
A 21/18 combo was selected for our CRF250L Rally Replica. The front was easy to install, while the thicker rear took a bit of patience and some muscle. Since these are DOT tires, we thought we’d test them on the road first, and as expected they caused lots of vibration and noise. On the highway, the whirring of the tires was so loud it drowned out the sound of the CRF’s engine. The bike felt squirrely during cornering, whether it be an off-ramp or at inner city stoplights. In the wet our 250L felt even more unstable.
Trail terrain on the east coast is often rocky, with lots of changing elevation. The Tractionator Desert HTs exceled off road, especially during technical, root infested hill climbs. Our heavy CRF, which used to feel like a street based dual-sport, now feels more like a proper trail bike. The 250L doesn’t put out a lot of power, so late braking is required to keep up with the rest of the flock. The Tractionators give a lot of feedback, inspiring confidence to be aggressive with the brakes and “backing it” into corners. They provide so much traction upon acceleration in the dirt, that a quick jab at the clutch is required to kick the rear out around corners.
Through mud, the front feels a bit washy, but the rear center scoop tread works like paddle to keep things moving. In a rock garden, both the front and rear felt quite bouncy, probably due to the harder tire compound, although the bike remained controllable. In gravel and sand the Tractionator’s are fantastic.
We’ve only put about 800 miles on the Motoz tires and the wear seems to be moderate. They aren’t being shaved down as quickly as knobbies on tarmac, but they are wearing a bit faster than big block tires. As aggressive as we’ve been with the bike, we’re surprised that none of the knobs have chunked off.
ADVMoto rates this tire an 85/15, designed primarily for off road use. Even though we can’t recommend riding on rainy roads with the Tractionator Desert HTs, they’re a great choice for someone who wants to retain the off-road performance of their enduro, but also pass a state safety inspection. MSRP: Front $78.99 | Rear $94.99–$107.99 PacificPowersports.com
|▲ Excellent off-road performance||▼ Sketchy tarmac performance, especially when wet|
|▲ Better wear than trail knobbies||▼ Noisey and vibey on the road|
|▲ Deep tread design offers bite and longevity|