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whats the best Desert tire setup to run


Well-Known Member
We are going to be riding down in the SW deserts and some in Baja. We are riding a Husqvarna 2T and a Beta 500 and are looking for information on tire and tube setups. Right now I am looking at the Maxxis Maxxcross Desert Intermediate Terrain Tire and the GoldenTyre GT333 IntermediateTerrain for the rear, not sure on the front yet. Also I was thinking of sticking with ultra heavy duty tubes, if anyone has some advice we would really appreciate it. Thanks.


Well-Known Member
I have run the Maxxis Desert IT for years and love it. I have a friend that swears by the Golden tyre as well. I run the Maxxis Maxxcross SI on the front as the desert IT front is not sticky enough for me. I have run HD tubes forever without issue. Others swear by mousse bibs.

I ride a KTM 500XC-W


Well-Known Member
I run Maxxis Desert ITs front and back and Bridgestone UHD (elephant rubber) and never had any issues with them, but might play with the front tire choice because the Desert ITs, like walk up the silt ruts at lower speeds. not sure how the bibs compare to UHD in terms of weight, since the UHDs are pretty heavy themselves.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the information. I think I will run the Maxxis on my Beta 500 and the Golden tire on our Husky TX 300, and stick with the UHD tubes. I'll make sure to carry repair supplies and tools.


Hands down STI tech 2 Pro front , especially the new DOT . It’s absolutely crazy how tough and how well they handle . Can’t speak for the tears as I’ve never ran those .


When we ride in Baja or Death Valley, it's rare we travel fewer than 800 miles during a trip. Our most recent trip to Baja we came close to 3k miles as we zigzagged across the peninsula on our way down to Cabo and back. On the smaller bikes like the 450's, 500's (ktm) and 570 Husabergs we like the Dunlop D606, or surprisingly an IRC Vulcanduro VE33 holds up pretty well on the rear. On bigger bikes, 690, 790, 990, 1190 ect... We like the TKC 80 Continental tires, or Heidenau k60s can hold up pretty well.

Smaller bikes we will also run 16-18 psi, I personally like 18-20 to give me the best chance of avoiding pinch flats. So far, I have never popped a tire due to a pinch on any of these trips. The higher pressure can make some spots a little skatey, but when the time comes that you slam into something burried at speed, it could make the difference.

Other options outside tubes are bib mousse or fireballs, or tubliss


I am in AZ with very similar terrain to Baja. I run the GoldenTyre 216AA Fatty Front and Have used the Desert IT a lot for my rear tire. This is a good and consistent setup. Personally, I think the Desert IT front is trash. Ive ran it 4 or 5 times, and every time I question why I bought it. I actually think the Maxxis SI makes a very good front tire, and lifespan isn't drastically reduced in the desert. However the Goldentyre Fatty blows both of these away.

I am experimenting now with the IRC M5B EVO rear tire. Its actually a sand tire, but many in our riding group have gotten exceptional wear and traction out of it. I have 2 rides on it, so not yet endorsing it.

I think if you look outside the Desert IT family, the STI Tech Pro 2 (especially the D series) have been getting rave reviews, especially from desert racers. This will be my next set of tires to see how they perform and last.

Also: I highly recommend the Nuetech NITRO Mouse, especially for the desert. Have been using them about 6 months now, and into my second set of tires. Have done extended highway stretches and a few 90mph fire road sections and have held up fantastically. Just remember to use LOTS of their lube, especially in the rear, and avoid using 'tire soap' as it can actually dry up the mouses. Its so freeing not having to worry about flats. Period. I know that mouses for Baja trips is a *VERY* contested topic, but when done right, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks. I will be in Baja this fall, and I know that the only thing in my tires will be Nitros.


Well-Known Member
I don't know if they make it anymore, but I used to run the Bridgestone ED78. I rode 30 plus miles in the Baja 1000 one year on a flat rear ED78 and din't ruin the rim or destroy the tire. For years I put the Bridgestone UHD tubes set at 18 psi and rarely got a flat.


I have fully switched to Nitro Mousse front and rear. As stated, tons of their lube and they last forever. Raced on D606 rear and it worked surprisingly great. Have also used the AT81 rigid carcass with great success. Still searching for a front that I really like. I’m frugal, so I get new mousses and tires for the 1000, then use those for the rest of the year for riding on both prerun bike and race bike. We used to use UHD, but after repeated flats from thorns and nails, I am soooooo happy to be on mousses. And, they deaden the rocks. No more bouncing with 18 psi.


New Member
I ride and race the SW desert of AZ, CA, NV, and UT. I have not ridden in Baja, but have used a lot of the tires listed. Generally speaking, running a high pressure in the tire will cause a tire to chunk quicker. I've ruined some tires quickly running 16-18 psi or with a mousse that fits too tight. That same tire will work better and last longer at 12-14 psi or a more appropriately fitting mousse.

I dislike the Maxxis Desert IT. They last a while, but traction is sub par at best. The Maxxis SI front is a pretty good front but can rip the side knobs quickly in rocky terrain.

I think the Dunlop AT81 works fairly well overall, but wear a bit quickly for a long lasting tire. There are better performing tires and longer lasting tires, these do both fairly well but not excellent. I've never tried a dunlop 606.

The Bridgestone X30 or X40 is a fairly good desert tire. They work well in a variety of terrain and have good wear characteristics. The X30 favors the sandy soft soil, where the X40 favors the decomposed granite or slicker terrain.

I've never tried the Goldentyre, but have tried the Shinko 216 front in multiple sizes. I don't think it was any better than anything I've run in the past when new and it chunks quickly.

I'm a big fan of the Kenda Parker DT front/rear in the desert. They hook up much better than a Maxxis Desert IT but last just as long if not longer. The braking performance is some of the best out there in dry slick terrain. I like the Washougal II front and rear for performance, but they don't last as long. For racing in the desert I'll typically run the Washougal II front and the Parker DT rear, unless it is more hardpack then I will run the Parker front as well.

The only place I dislike the Parker DT is wet slippery imbedded rock. They don't grip well in the wet snotty stuff.

If your looking for fun or multi day rides then running mousses are the only way to go. The small cost savings isn't worth ruining a ride or race for me. I was hot and cold on the nitromousse but the new platinum mousse seems to be more consistent and longer lasting. The Michelins seem to wear out at a slightly faster rate. I've only ran a couple dunlop bibs but they don't seem worth the price compared to the new nitromousse platinum.