If you’re looking for a “gummy tire” that has a good price point and doesn’t wear quickly, the Tusk Recon Hybrid tire fills that void and is worth your money. If you’re looking for a “gummy tire” that is a true performance addition to your dirt bike, the Tusk Recon Hybrid will fall short of your desires.
When it came to ordering the Tusk Recon for the 2022 Shady Burro Enduro, I ordered the 120/100×18. I matched it with the Nitro Mousse Plushie 140/80×18 (NMS18-325), which is what was recommended from the Nuetech fitment chart. If you want a longer lasting nitromousee, go for the Platinum. I installed the Plushie in hopes of better traction with a gummy tire. More on that later.
When the tire came in from Rocky Mountain ATV, I whipped out the calipers to see how the numbers on the side of the tire matched up to what the calipers measured. Since not everyone can measure from the exact same spot, whipping the calipers out in the garage always feels like a bit of an opinion. From outside thread to outside thread, the Recon measured 131mm; that’s wider than I would have wanted for my 300 two stroke. Unless you’re on a 500, I’d order the 110/100×18 and the correct sized mousse foam insert.
Using the trusty Rabaconda, mounting the Tusk Recon tire and NitroMousse Plushie was a fairly easy task. I’m not going to the ISDE any time soon, so I wasn’t trying to set any land speed records.
I always use the silicone lubricant supplied by the mousse manufacturers. Josh from Enduro Method, on Podcast Episode 22.8, says Crisco works really well. That scares me, we put that shit in our bodies. Tire soap works if you’re changing mousses a lot, it just dries out quickly (it’s soap) which can damage a mousse long term.
The Tusk Recon can get traction, but it’s limited. It utilizes a simple tread pattern that wears decently, and doesn’t feel flimsy. It shines most in dry terrain, when it has a chance to bite and dig into the dirt. When it gets wet, or muddy, the tire loses its ability to grab, causing instability and wheel spinning. In muddy situations, the tire would pack up and hold on to the mud. When you really need that extra grippy performance of a gummy tire, the Recon will let you down.
As far as braking and side-knob traction, I felt the tire worked well. Some gummy tires don’t brake well under heavy braking due to the knobs flexing under braking pressure. Besides losing my rear brake pedal toward the end of day two of the Shady Burro, I didn’t have any braking issues. The Recon didn’t roll/flex when turning, or leaning the bike over, which is great for stability, and ground feel, while riding. The Kenda Equilibrium has no side-knobs and no sidewall, so it rolls and flexes like CRAZY!
This may be marketed and sold as a gummy tire, or a hybrid tire, but it didn’t do what I want a gummy tire to do. With the NitroMousse Plushie I had installed in the Recon, I would have expected traction for days. That soft foam insert should allow the treads and plys of the tire to wrap around obstacles, giving the gummy rubber it’s time to shine. That was never the case.
The Tusk Recon is a well priced, long wearing tire that might have some gummy compounds that relate to other hybrid tires. What it doesn’t have is the capability to be a true performance addition to your dirt bike. When you’re in nasty terrain and relying on your rear tire to find that extra 1-2% traction that keeps your momentum in a forward trajectory, you don’t want it to fail. The Tusk Recon failed.
True Hybrid/Gummy Tire Trail Options
If you’re looking for gummy tire options that add performance to your bike, here is a quick list. These tires find that extra 1-2% of traction, sometimes even more, when you truly need it. These aren’t tires that are “priced right”, or created for marketing purposes. These tires make your time on the bike more enjoyable because they perform a specific job, they find traction when traction is hard to find.
Mitas XT-754 Super Light
I’m looking forward to testing this one out! Chris at Trailbound raves about it, which says a lot. I’m hoping it has good wear, that’s my only concern. Will it last when you take it on a 200+ mile ride?
Read more about the XT-754 Super Light on the Mitas site.
Shop XT-754 Super Light on Amazon
As I stated above, I’ve run this tire a lot and I really like its performance. It wears well in extremely rocky terrain, but also has a gumminess that finds traction when you need it!
Read more about the Kenda IBEX on the Kenda site.
Shop Kenda IBEX on Amazon
IRC VE-33 Gekkota
This is the tire I should have taken to the 2022 Shady Burro Enduro. Rich Larsen and I chatted about it alot during our podcast episode, I regretfully kept to my word that I would try out the Tusk Recon.
Read More about the VE33 on the IRC Tire site.
Shop IRC VE33 Gekkota on Amazon.
220 Ride is a small brand out of the Pacific Northwest. They have very affordable tires and I continue to hear more and more about them. Their 120/100×18” gummy tire is one I’d love to put on the Sherco and see how it performs and wears.
Read more about their 18” Rear Semi-Gummy on the 220 Ride site.
Wrapping It Up
What gummy tire is your go to tire? The IBEX was always my go to gummy tire, but the landscape has changed and evolved a lot. I’m looking forward to more trips to Colorado and more gummy tire testing to keep y’all in the loop on what I learn.
If we don’t see you on the trails, we’ll see you on the Internet. Enjoy #GettingSeattime!
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