The Motoz Tractionator RallZ: An Alternative to the Tractionator Adventure
The Motoz Tractionator Adventure tires that I reviewed previously on my 2019 KTM 790 Adventure impressed me so much they’ve become the measuring stick I use for all other adventure motorcycle tire reviews.
A friend of mine informed me I might prefer the Tractionator RallZ front tire better than the Tractionator Adventure, which I found steered a bit heavy. I wondered what the difference would be between the 30/70 rated Tractionator Adventure and the 20/80 rated Tractionator RallZ.
First things first—I had to find a set to put on my bike.
Mission Impossible: Trying To Buy RallZ Tires
Revzilla and Cycle Gear don’t carry Motoz tires, and the only distributor in Canada recently changed to Kimpex. Kimpex (along with other smaller companies like Pacific Powersports) struggled to meet the high demand for this Australian rubber in 2021.
After months of searching everywhere, I managed to find a front 90/90-21 RallZ at GW Cycle (a local motorcycle shop here in Calgary, Alberta) completely by chance. The 150/70-18 rear took a lot longer to get a hold of, but Triple Clamp Moto impossibly came through for me when no one else could. Thank you for your extra effort, Amir!
I purchased the tires for this review and didn’t receive any assistance, rebates, or influence from Motoz.
There’s obviously going to be a difference I can’t address between running these tires on my 472lb fully fueled, 105hp, Husqvarna Norden 901 versus running them on a larger, heavier, more powerful bike like a BMW R1250GS (let alone adding factors like a passenger or luggage to the equation). So take all of this under consideration while evaluating how these tires will perform on your motorcycle.
The total distance ridden on the RallZ was 7000 km (4350 miles) with about 80% of it occurring on pavement during highway riding at speeds over 70 mph. Temperatures ranged from a low of 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) to a high of 43 Celsius (109 Fahrenheit).
The remaining 20% off-road portion comprised 3 days of desert sand riding in Mojave, California at the 2022 Revzilla GET ON! Adventure Fest Mojave Rally. Additionally, there were many gravel roads of varying hardness and depth, rocky hills, soft and hard dirt trails, and shallow and deep mud in the Black Hills of South Dakota during the 2022 Revzilla GET ON! Adventure Fest Sturgis Rally.
To keep things consistent during testing, I try not to deviate from the motorcycle manufacturer-recommended tire pressures. The RallZ is advertised by Motoz as a tire that doesn’t require lowering the air pressure while riding off-road, seemingly making this a great pairing for me.
Unfortunately, I had difficulty fully seating the bead on these tires when I installed them on the Norden in March 2022. The weather was very cold here in Alberta, Canada at that time, even inside my garage. I thought I had the front and rear tires seated fully, but as it turned out, both front and rear beads were leaking slowly.
Norden Rim Issues
By the time I reached Mojave in April 2022 (the bike was trailered down to CA), the rear tire was flat and I had to reseal it in the warmer air found there. I didn’t notice the front leaking until I had ridden for several hours in the desert and damaged the front rim after all the air had slipped away unbeknownst to me.
The damaged tubeless rim wouldn’t hold air anymore, and I was forced to install a tube in the front tire for the next 3700 miles (6000 km) of testing.
It’s fair to say running a tube in the tire affected the longevity and performance of the front RallZ. So the results and impressions of the front tire discussed in this review will reflect that.
Adventure Tire Ratings (On-Road/Off-Road Ratios)
As mentioned above, the RallZ is rated a 20% on-road and 80% off-road tire. My impressions of its performance are completely in line with that evaluation.
On-Road Performance of Motoz Tractionator RallZ Tires
The 90/90-21 front and 150/70B-18 rear tubeless tires are Q-rated (safe up to 100mph). At speeds slightly faster than that, the Norden would begin weaving progressively worse as the speedo climbed.
The first 100 miles or so, I wasn’t in love with the RallZ front tire, because it behaved nervously on pavement, but it wasn’t surprising since I’d been warned about this by others who have tried these tires. After a good scrub on gravel and sand trails in Mojave wore away the first layer of rubber, I found these tires gripped nicely in corners and traveled well on straightaways too.
I also felt confident leaning aggressively into corners near Big Bear in the California hills outside Los Angeles while traveling at higher speeds. As promised by some of my RallZ-loving friends, I found the front RallZ tire didn’t steer as heavy as the Tractionator Adventure front did at lower speeds, and felt just as stuck to the road.
The Motoz Tractionator Adventure tires howl noticeably on the pavement with a steady, high-pitched drone resembling an air raid siren. The RallZ are slightly louder but have an intermittent cadence to the howl to my ears. The volume and rhythm got choppier as the front tire wore out over the course of my testing.
I’d say that sound-sensitive riders will detest riding with the RallZ on asphalt. For myself, sacrificing tire howl for improved off-road performance is a good trade, especially since I ride with a minimalist windshield and the subsequent wind noise drowns out plenty of the tire noise anyway.
The RallZ never slipped or hesitated to perform on wet pavement during my testing, and I wasn’t spinning the rear wheel, thanks to the grip and the impressive traction control available on the Norden 901. TC level 6 is my preferred choice of setting whenever I’m on the pavement (my bike has Explorer mode enabled for this reason), but I adjust it downward to 4 or 5 whenever I’m off-road.
Off-Road Performance of Tractionator RallZ Tires
Perfect is not a word I like to use in reviews, but it’s difficult not to ascribe it to the RallZ on any off-road surface. Off-pavement is the proverbial “wheelhouse” for this tire, and it easily earned my 100% score.
All I ask for from a tire when riding on gravel of any depth is for it to track straight as possible. The RallZ excels at this and took little damage from the pebble-covered roads I frequently find myself riding on.
Zero complaints from me—and an admission that I’ve never found anything better for this to date than the RallZ.
Riding in the Rocks
Rocky trails were plentiful in the Black Hills of Sturgis, ranging from small 2” diameter ones up to big 10”, rim-bending boulders. No further rim damage was sustained after installing a tube in the front, and nothing doing on the tubeless rear rim either.
Many sharp, tire-shredding, triangular shards were in great abundance too, all of which were repelled by the tough sidewalls and knobbies of the RallZ without incident.
The self-sharpening lugs on the rear RallZ worked as advertised, even when I got a little throttle-happy drifting/spinning out of rocky corners. The edges of the knobs did get chewed up more than on dirt and gravel while doing this, but I haven’t found a tire yet that won’t get destroyed prematurely if used too much in sharp rock gardens.
The RallZ took it all in stride.
Dirt and Mud Riding
I didn’t get to ride in some really nasty, deep clay mud holes (which I had hoped for), but in regular mud puddles and through water crossings, the RallZ never faltered or disappointed me with its grip on reality. Steady as she goes.
The lugs self-clean with a simple twist of the wrist after each mudhole is left behind, unlike some other tires I’ve reviewed, which clog up the treads until they’re smooth (like the Bridgestone Battlax AX41, for example).
Riding in Ruts
The side lugs on the RallZ were notably good at gripping the slopes of ruts I encountered. This is a test I always like to do with a tire on reviews. If the bike slides down the slope and ends up riding at the base of the ruts, that’s a failure in my books.
The Tractionator Adventure tires were equally adept at this task, I might add.
Mojave was my first encounter with true sand riding, and the RallZ made the learning curve an easy one. Motoz also builds a Desert HT tire that is a proper desert-bred design, but I truly wonder if it’s necessary when a RallZ tire is available. I guess I’d need to try out a set to know for sure.
Tracking straight and finding traction in loose sand is challenging at times, but I found myself confidently flying around at high speeds as if I’d always been riding in the desert.
Riding Completely Flat
As mentioned, at some point during my first day of riding in Mojave, my front tire began leaking air slowly until it all fell out near the end of my 6-hour tour. Despite being completely flat, the front RallZ was still working in the sand very well, and I only noticed the problem when I left the sand and cruised back onto the paved road.
An uncomfortable “wobbling” sensation of the bead separating from the rim in the merging lane for a highway brought me to a halt immediately on the side of the road. That’s when the horrible truth immediately became clear about my situation.
I was able to reseat the bead on the side of the road using a portable air compressor and a ratchet strap, but the rim was damaged and not holding air. Twice more on the half-hour ride back to my campsite, I had to stop to pump it back up, but it got me back to civilization in one piece.
It’s a marvel to me just how well the flat front RallZ performed out in the sand! That is one tough sidewall!
Longevity of the Motoz Tractionator Rallz Tires
The RallZ are a softer compound than the Tractionator Adventure tires are, so I wasn’t expecting to accumulate the same 14,000+ km (8700 miles) they impressively racked up.
After the GET ON! Sturgis Rally was over, I looked at my front tire and worried whether there was enough tread remaining to get me the nearly 1000 miles home to Alberta. As you can see in the photo below, the knobs were scalloping excessively at that point, but traction was still reliable.
With that kind of wear going on, the handlebars were vibrating excessively, and the noise was increasing. Death seemed imminent for the front RallZ, but like the Energizer bunny, it just kept going and going, all the way back home!
Front vs. Rear Tire
After 7000 km (4350 miles), the front RallZ had less than 1mm of tread depth remaining, and I sent it into retirement after thanking it for its service through the severe and unfair punishment I had laid upon it.
Despite its haggard appearance and wickedly uneven wear, the tire was still hooking up on and off-road without any signs of cracking around the tread blocks.
The Norden 901 Front Brakes
The Husqvarna Norden 901 has powerful front brakes equipped with steel braided lines. The pressure from just one finger on the lever slows it down dramatically from any speed, and the front RallZ didn’t tolerate a couple of emergency stops I made dodging Bambi’s brothers while out on the road.
During one of those frantic braking moments, I felt the front wheel “stutter” which at the time I assumed was the ABS working as planned. In hindsight, I suspect it was the tops of every second center knobby shredding on the hot asphalt road.
To be fair, however, I also have to admit to an unhealthy preference for using my front brakes alone more often than using a balanced front/rear combination.
An Early Exit From Service
All these factors point to an early exit for the front RallZ, because other people I’ve spoken to have gotten 10,000 km (6000 miles) out of their front RallZ tires. Those numbers would be closer to my prediction for its life expectancy if I hadn’t been forced to install a tube, make emergency brake applications, or ride through the Mojave Desert without air in it.
So I sheepishly admit to failing to provide the most valuable information for this front tire review because of the issues I had. In light of these facts, please take this information for the front RallZ with a grain of salt.
The Rear RallZ Shines
The Rear RallZ measured almost 6mm of tread remaining at the same 7000 km mark when the front tire gave out. Meaning I was getting 875km (544 miles) for every millimeter of tire wear by my calculations.
Ergo, if I continue to run the rear RallZ and the same rate of wear persists, the resulting life would be approximately 11,000 km (6800 miles). That aligns with what other people have been claiming to get out of RallZ tires, so I think my math is right.
That’s a respectable and acceptable performance in my books from this rear tire.
Value for Money of the Motoz Tractionator RallZ Tires
The 90-90-21 front RallZ sells for $131.99 US at Pacific Powersports while the 150/70B-18 rear goes for $252.99. Yep, these sneakers are expensive to buy!
The Rear Tire Options
To my thinking, the biggest competitor for the rear Motoz Tractionator RallZ tire is my current favorite adventure tire: the Motoz Tractionator Adventure. The Adventure rear costs slightly less ($247.99 US), lasts longer, and in my opinion, is about as good at finding traction on and off-road.
After trying out the RallZ, I’m going to pick the Adventure over it.
Another strong option would be the Mitas E09 (photo below) which goes for $202.99 at RevZilla. I used this tire when I rode an Africa Twin to Tuktoyaktuk in June 2018. It matches the RallZ for longevity (about 6000 miles) but falls a bit short of the awesome self-sharpening Motoz tread blocks’ ability to find traction and is very squirrely on pavement when brand new.
After that, I’m afraid my list gets very short for rubber that will last as long as these ones do while also providing the same off-road traction. You can find tires with one of those two attributes OR the other in abundance, though.
The Front Tire Options
When it comes to front tires, it’s a much bigger toss-up, and everyone will have many different opinions about which way to go depending on preference. If sticking with the RallZ or Adventure rear is the way to go (and I think it is), then we may as well pair it with a different Motoz front—but which one?
The Tractionator Adventure front is still a great choice ($120 US), but it does steer a bit heavy at low speeds. Because of that, I find myself with a wandering eye, and predictably Motoz has already responded with a replacement called the Tractionator Dual Venture costing $137.99 US.
Spoiler alert! I’ve already installed the DV on my Norden and have taken a quick ride with it on the asphalt. I’ve still got the RallZ rear paired with it, and it feels very good compared to the RallZ front. It’s more nimble, much quieter, stable up above 100mph, and sticky right out of the box when riding on-road too. This tire looks like a Continental TKC80 on steroids, and I like that.
I’m about to leave on a 3-week long ride from Canada to Mexico on the Continental Divide Trail. The Norden will be wearing the Dual Venture front and a brand new RallZ rear for this escapade.
When I get back home, I should be ready to write the Dual Venture review. I’ll also be posting updates on the wBW Facebook group about how the trip progresses.
Final Verdict on the Motoz Tractionator RallZ Tires
Jim… you’re doing it wrong. You ran these RallZ tires opposite to the intended purpose of their design: 80% on-road versus 20% on-road.
Guilty as charged.
The RallZ are the perfect tire for anyone that rides more off-road than on-road… but that’s clearly not me.
I treated the Tractionator Adventure tires the same way but found a notably better set of road manners on them despite being only 10% more inclined to work on the blacktop. It surprises me what a difference that amount makes, but I can’t deny my preference for the Adventure over the RallZ. It’s a better fit for my style.
I think the majority of other riders are like I am, and they would benefit more from passing by the RallZ in favor of the Adventure. That said, if your preferences skew the other way, it might be worth looking at the RallZ instead.
The wildcard in this is how the Dual Venture front tire will pan out. If it can hold a candle to the Adventure off-road (and Motoz says it does!) then my recommendation from here on out will be the DV up front with the Adventure on the back.
- Manufacturer: Motoz Tyres
- Price when tested: $132 US (front) $253 US (rear)
- Made in: Thailand designed in Australia
- Sizes: Multiple sizes of tubeless and tube type available
- Safety Designations: DOT FMVSS 218
- Review Date: August 25, 2021
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