Continental’s Twinduro tires can take you there
It’s amazing what a simple thing can do to a motorcycle. By swapping out stock rubber for Continental Twinduro TKC 80 tires ($295.80 for the pair, supplied by Dual Sport Plus), Honda gives our CB500X test bike an injection of attitude that catches our attention. With those knobbies the bike has a look of capability and purpose, and after taking it off-road it’s clear the effect is not just cosmetic.
In our time with the CB500X the TKC 80s deliver consistent and reliable off-road performance on a variety of surfaces—gravel, grass, mixed surface trails and even some sand. Continental says the tread pattern is self-cleaning, and that they’ve engineered the tire to deliver high levels of side stability on soft surfaces. Deep tread blocks provide excellent grip with a minimum of hunting from the 120/70-17 front and 150/70-17 rear.
Looking at the Twinduros it’s apparent that they’ll perform well off-road, but what about on-road manners? About 90 percent of the mileage we accrue on the CB500X is on pavement, and they impress there, too. If you’ve never ridden deeply treaded tires on the road, it’s an odd sensation at first. When turning in for a corner you can feel the tire transitioning between contact patches, and when getting heeled right over it almost feels like the tire is stepping out slightly. But once you know what to expect, the TKC 80s supply no surprises on the road. We notice a bit of vibration at lower speeds, and some mild droning at higher (above 110 km/h), but neither is overly off-putting. One of the biggest drawbacks when riding on-road with heavily treaded multi-use tires is increased wear, but after more than 1,000 total kilometres the only appreciable wear we see is some slight rounding off of block edges on the outer portions of the rear — the result of spirited riding through the most curvaceous roads we could find. The CB500X’s light weight probably has a lot to do with the minimal tire wear, and perhaps that’s all the more reason to consider this type of small-yet-versatile all-round setup.