Best Tire Options For Triumph Modern Classics

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Best Tire Options For Triumph Modern Classics

Your Triumph Bonneville, Scrambler, Thruxton or T100 needs new tires. So how do you choose the right ones? With a multitude of wheel sizes and both spoked and cast wheels (some of which even run tubes), picking the right set for you can be more complicated than you think. We’ve created a list of the best tire options for the Triumph Modern Classic range to help.

Triumph certainly doesn’t do owners any favors when it comes to easing the pains of tire selection. For instance, the OEM rear tire for the Bonneville and Thruxton is radial while the front is a bias-ply. Confused yet?

We asked Triumph specialist, Adrian Packett, of Canyon Motorcycles what the best tires for the Modern Classic range are. Adrian considers Dunlop’s GT501 to be the best all-around tire for the entire range of bikes and recommends the Avon Distanzias if you are looking for something a little more rugged for your Scrambler. If you are looking for a wider range of choices, below you’ll find the best options for your Triumph twin including Adrian’s recommendations.

2013 Triumph Bonneville SE
2013 Triumph Bonneville SE

Triumph Bonneville Base, SE and T100

The Bonneville is available in three models: the base version and the T100. The base and SE Bonneville have 17-inch, cast wheels while the T100 has a spoked 19-inch wheel in front and a 17-inch in back. The base Bonneville, due to its cast wheels, can accommodate more advanced, tubeless tires. The T100’s spoked wheels can, however, run tubeless tires so long as you equip said tires with a tube.

Dunlop GT501 – Available sizes vary costing $105.95 – $233.95

The GT501 is your best bet if you are looking for a non-radial, bias-ply sport tire. The GT501 gives you superior grip in dry and wet conditions while inspiring confidence through corners. A solid option across the entire Modern Classic range.

High Mileage:
Avon AM26 Roadrider: Available sizes vary costing $87.95 – $167.95

This is a bias-ply tire for commuter riding. This tire has the everyday rider in mind. It has a large contact patch and an interrupted center groove to help prevent tracking when riding on uneven roads.

2013 Triumph Thruxton
2013 Triumph Thruxton

Triumph Thruxton

Dunlop Roadsmart II: F110/80-18 R150/70-17 costing $124.95 – $188.95

Dunlop Roadsmart radials have the longevity of a touring tire with the handling of a sport tire; just what you need on your Thruxton. Thanks to a special silica additive these are Dunlop’s best wet-weather tires, too (and among the best wet-weather road tires available today). In short, these tires will not let you down in wet or dry conditions and will last for miles and miles.

High Mileage:

Michelin Pilot Road 3: F110/80-18 R150/70-17 costing $128.96 – $203.95

A sport-touring radial that provides all-weather performance, grip and longevity. A two compound technology makes these tires especially long lasting and provides exceptional grip in corners.

2013 Triumph Scrambler
2013 Triumph Scrambler

Triumph Scrambler

Avon Distanzia: F100/90-19 B130/80-17 costing $109.950 – $130.95 (Front) and costing $99.95 – $183.95 (Rear)

A rugged tire for large capacity dual-sport bikes, the Distanzia is an excellent option for the Scrambler. Made from a compound specially designed to combine excellent wet and dry road grip, these tires are long-lasting and will not disappoint. Available in both Bias-Ply and Radial.

High Mileage:
Michelin Anakee 3: F100/90-19 B130/80-17 costing $111.95 – $175.95

Looking for something that provides a smooth ride on the street and is capable of handling light off-road riding? Look no further than the Anakee 3 adventure tire. A rugged tread pattern and silica compound provides long lasting performance in both wet and dry conditions. Available in bias-ply and radial, depending on size selection.

  • Ayabe

    I always recommend tanned, dyed, and stretched hipster pelts, I can get more than 8K out of my rear. :P

    Good to see some decent choices out there for these bikes, but bias-ply….yikes.

    My last experience with bias-ply was on my 1978 Toyota pickup, had both fronts simultaneously explode at 60mph on the highway. Good times.

    • stever

      What’s a hipster?

      • E Brown

        Term cranky old people use for anyone under 30. I think the progression was whippersnapper, hippie, slacker, hipster. Almost all of the marketing of the Star Bolt targeted them.

    • Nate Terrill

      and they come with cool tattoos straight from the dealer!

  • luxlamf

    Distanzias on my Scrambler made it a much better bike to ride, made the rear a wider with a 150 and it performs brilliantly on both asphalt and dirt.

  • Glenn Rueger

    Also worth mentioning is the Bridgestone Battlewing.

    • Wes Siler

      No it’s not.

      • Glenn Rueger

        Indeed it is and I have just mentioned it .

        • Wes Siler


          • Glenn Rueger

            I should explain myself here Wes. I run the Battlax on the 17″ 170 rear and the Battlewing on the front, so I can’t really say how two Battlwings would feel. I’ve done 50,000 miles on this ’08 Bonnie and have tried many tires including the awful stock Metzlers, the Avons, Conti Road Attack 2.
            The Bridgestone combo has worn the best and given my old brain the best confidence at full lean. I have always meant to try the Michelins but now I’m really stuck on the Bridgestones.
            Smooth sailing, -GR

            • Wes Siler

              On which bikes? “Deathwings” are widely considered among the least capable “dirt” tires out there.

              • Glenn Rueger

                The Bonneville as in this piece called:
                “Best Tire Options For Triumph Modern Classics”
                The Scrambler is a slightly different story but even so it’s not a dirt bike.

              • Jonathan Noble

                Wes, the name “Deathwings” refer to the Bridgestone Trailwings. I had a TW302 once, it was awful.

  • Hallock Hill

    What about a radial for a base, mag-wheel Bonnie?

    • Wes Siler

      You’ve got a ton of options. I believe the Pirelli Diablos come in those sizes and would be my choice for performance. Or check out the RoadSmart IIs, which are just great all-round tires.

      • Jesse

        Going to be looking into this. There is an early 80′s Suzuki standard in my garage running 18/50/100 and 18/50/110, which clearly need replacing.

        • afewgoodfingers

          +1 on Pirelli Diablos. I’ve been running the Diablos on my 2010 mag wheel Bonnie for the past 3,500 miles and I’m very happy with them. I use the bike for daily commuting and for fun on the weekends and the tires have been great for everything so far. I can’t really speak to their wet weather capabilities as the bikes spends it’s time in Central Texas and rain days are few. Will probably get them again when these wear out.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    Bias-Ply v/s Radial. What are some benefits of each? A quick google search incidates that cost is the only advantage of bias-ply tires. Is that correct? What’s the best way to figure out that you need a new tire? The OEM tires on my Scrambler are not very good for street riding, so I might replace them with new tires this coming season.

    • Wes Siler

      On the street, bias plys are less desirable than radials. Off-road, they’re what works well.

      You need new tires when your old ones wear out or, in a case like yours, when you decide you want better ones.

      • Guest

        How does the above statement square with your recommendation of a bias ply tire for performance riding on the base Bonnie? No TROLLOLOL, genuinely curious.

        • Nate Terrill

          Disqus is all kinds of fucked up, today.

      • Nate Terrill

        You recommend a bias ply tire for performance on base (mag wheel) Bonnies in the above article. How does that square with the above statement. No Troll, just curious, as I am going to be in need of some new rubber soon.

  • Kr Tong

    Great call on the Dunlop Aeromax GT501. They were used as an oldschool ninja 250 race tire when almost nothing else fit. They come in just about any size, have reasonable tread life and are confidence-inspiring to the point that you’ll be maxing out your retro suspension in no-time. I had them on my ultramegaSFhipster-tastic CB900C, which had a 16″ rear and a 19″ front. My buddy in the 81 had them on his FXDX, both of which are BIG bikes with reasonable power and had nothing but praise for them.

    • Jesse

      Oh, but those pipes, man. Love it.

  • Joshua Winn

    I have bias front, radial rear tires on my bike, an F650GS Single, can anyone tell me why some manufacturers occasionally recommend a mix the two types?

  • cliffordb

    I bought my Bonneville new in 2003. Since then I’ve tried all kinds of tires for long distance bitumen riding here in Australia and have settled on Avon Roadriders. Not necessarily the highest mileage tire around, especially when you have a load but they stick like glue.

  • Rich Wentz

    I rode Avon AM26s. Highly recommended.

  • Jeremy

    I put continental tck80′s on my scrambler – pretty sure those are the ones on the jack pine too. I like how they look and they ride nice. A bit bumpy at slow speed, but smooth once you get going. I haven’t pushed them too hard yet in the corners, but they seem grippy enough for what you would do with a scrambler.

    • Wes Siler

      GREAT tires, they just don’t last very long. And yeah, those are what were on the Jack Pine.

  • equ

    Pirelli sport demons. I put some on my now gone w650 and they upped performance dramatically.

    • Mark D

      I’ve got them on my EX500. Probably the highest grip non-radial tire, but wears a bit quickly for commuting. If you’re not a daily rider, though, they are hard to beat.

  • Maneesh Joshi

    Triumph has officially launched here in India and is booking the bikes for delivery at the end of Jan. Prospective customers have asked dealers about this very same tire question and have got a strange reply that “fitting any tires other than stock will void the 2 year unlimited kilometer warranty.” That sound really strange. I don’t know if this situation obtains elsewhere in Triumph markets.

  • mpsan

    Interesting – none of the recommended tires come in the size to fit on stock Thruxton wheels. My ’07 is a 130 wide fit…are people just forcing a wider tire on?

    • InkedIron

      Curious if you received an answer to this question…

      • mpsan

        Not from this forum, but essentially the recommendations are absolutely incorrect. You can’t put a radial tire on a spoked wheel – you need a bias-ply tire which can have a tube fit to it. A spoked wheel can puncture a tubeless tire. I ended up putting Pirelli Sport Demons on my spoked wheels.

        • InkedIron

          Nice. Thankyou for calling that out. What do you think of your Pirelli’s? Enjoying them?

          • mpsan

            So far they have done me right! Just went on the first proper ride out of the city this weekend and they were great, though I wasn’t pushing too much as they are still quite fresh and I had a passenger :-)

            • CafeThruxCapacitor

              What sizes did you end up going with for front and rear?

        • DTMiglin

          Not sure if you’re aware, but the stock rear tire on a Thruxton/Bonneville is a radial tire.

  • killian101

    I could not disagree more with the choices for Bonnies and Thruxtons. pirelli sport demons are hands down the best tires you can buy…yes, they wear faster than most. But you cannot best the grip in almost any road condition.

  • Wallace Morrison

    I have Metzlers, getting these Dunlops next. I wanted Continentals, but I believe I have changed my mind.

  • Sal Paradise .

    I have been using Shinko 712′s on my T1000 with fairly good results. They are about $130 for a set, so they are easy on the budget.