Mitas E-10 4,500 miles review
Being an Adventure Motorcycle Tyre must be the lousiest job in the tyre world. For example, a track day tyre has a short but glorious life and lifts its rider to heroic status, working for the lightest and best handling bikes, in primarily dry weather on the nicest of tarmac. The adventure bike’s tyre on the other hand, has a thankless job where it’s supposed to push around an overloaded machine, providing grip through rain or sun, over broken tarmac, mud and gravel. It’s supposed to do this for thousands of miles, whilst still being stable at motorway speeds and providing moto-grins on twisty mountain roads. A seemingly impossible job.
I set out this summer to ride over exactly these surfaces, so got a set of Mitas E-10s for my BMW F800GS; that’s 90/90-21” and 150/70-17” for the front and rear respectively priced at £69 and £86. I then headed to Minsk, Belarus from Overland’s Oxfordshire office to see whether they would be up to the ‘impossible task’.
Mitas are a Czech brand who, although making tyres for all kinds of off-road vehicles since the early 1930s, have recently been expanding their motorcycle tyre range hugely, to encompass road tyres and especially the adventure travel sector. The Mitas E-10 is classified as an adventure all-terrain tyre. They are one of the most aggressive tyres you can safely fit to a bigger adventure bike. Officially they are rated for 70% off road and 30% on road, and in these conditions, these tyres would probably perform very well. However, in western Europe where we live, most roads are tarmac’d and venturing out on the more fun loose surfaces is a treat, not a daily occurrence.
I fitted them myself in my garage and with my limited tools, everything went fine, though they felt a bit stiffer to fit than my usual brand. Balancing also went well.
My trip took me to Luxembourg, and from there to Warsaw, then to Minsk. That’s about 1,500 miles of initial motorway torture. The tyres at this stage were performing just fine. At every stop I would glance over to see how they were faring; one is always a bit nervous when wearing new tyres and taking them out of their comfort zone.
During my visit to Belarus we managed to do some awesome trail rides. The ground is typically soft sand and the forest roads are long and winding. Occasionally I’d hit muddier spots and let the dirt fly as far as I could make it. The way the tread blocks failed to clog, was impressive. On the loose surface, these tyres worked really very well. They inspired confidence and I could really let the rear wheel dance as much as it could. Equally when it came to slowing down, I had a lot of confidence in the front tyre and the consistent grip it provided.
As I was close, I decided that before my return journey would start in earnest, I would ride north to Finland and then across to Sweden. This meant a few more motorway miles, but also quite a lot of smaller and twistier asphalt. This, alas, is where the Mitas E-10s showed their weakness.
The drawback of having a knobbly tyre that can withstand the motorway torture, is that it’s a bit harder, which in turn reduces the feel you get from it through the corners. The end result is that when you are trying to throw 350kgs of loaded adventure bike through the corners on a nice road, you don’t have full confidence. There’s always a bit of concern about just how much grip you have in reserve. Please note, they never actually let go, but the feeling of uncertainty was there. This sadly takes away some of the grin-factor that you get with a softer, perhaps more road-oriented tyre.
As I seem to have bad luck with the weather around Lake Vättern every time I’m in Sweden, and was there just as the (now traditional) heavy rain started, I made my way slowly through the spray and standing water. This is another situation where the harder rubber compound shows its negative side. There’s limited feel from the road on wet tarmac. Your mind is already at full alert trying to navigate the nasty weather and the lack of confidence from the tyres just adds an extra burden to this. I may have been uptight, but again, the E-10s never let go.
The return journey took me through Sweden to Denmark and then to Calais where I boarded the Chunnel.
Back home safely, the tyres have now completed about 4,500 miles, and they’re not as chewed up as I was afraid they’d be. In fact, I expected to change the rear tyre before I even made it back. They are still in good enough condition to have some fun down a nice gravel lane. At this stage they’d be awful on a muddy path, but there’s still some fun to be had. They are approaching their legal limit, so a change is inevitable.
In conclusion; if you use them for what they are designed, that is riding on loose surfaces, they are great tyres. Even if you take them out of their natural environment they are impressive. I did not expect this sort of longevity considering that they had to endure far more motorway miles than was fair to them. The drawback is the lack of feel. If you don’t mind taking it a bit easier in the wet and in the corners, then these tyres will serve you well and they are really competitively priced.
The E-10 comes in a wide variety of sizes and the ‘Dakar’ version (with the thin yellow stripe) has even stiffer sidewalls with Mitas claiming it’s capable of ‘carrying higher loads on longer adventure trips’.
Review by Jocke Selin.