Enduro racing, or rally raids as they are referred to in Great Britain, are multi-surface races, run against the clock, and are popular worldwide. With courses that include the infamous Dakar, and the huge distances and intensive conditioning required of the racers, the sport places it’s own special demands on racers, machines, and particularly, tyres.
The reason for this is the multiple, diverse surfaces that are involved in these races. They cannot include any more than 30% of sealed asphalt: the remainder are made up of anything from soft, dry sand, to shale, to wet mud, to bare rock. This means that these racers must have as multi-applicable a wheel as exists, in order to maximise their grip and their advantage, through the different surfaces of the race.
Enduro tyres, even above and beyond that of slicks or racing tyres, are very much expendable: in order to grip all of these different surfaces, a softer compound is necessary, which by its very nature, will wear out quickly, particularly if it encounters the tougher, harder, and hotter surfaces of asphalt or shale. In many cases, enduro racers will be changing these tyres out after each run.
This comes with the soft rubber: the knobs on some enduro wheels are so pliable, they can be twisted nearly 180 degrees, with only one’s fingers. It is little wonder, then, that the sport can be an expensive affair.