What tire makes are available that fit the 250?

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Introduction and notes

This is a list of tires available in sizes that will fit the Ninja 250. There are no recommendations made here, as there is no one "best" tire. This list shows only tires which have been used and reviewed by members of N250RC. There are more tires available, particularly for the rear, less so for the front. If you wish to try one of the tires not listed here, you'll have to do your own research.

Use this list as a starting point in your purchase process. There are many sources of information on tires, such as searching our forum, manufacturer sites, other forums, and various motorcycle sites. Google is your friend. And remember, there are probably several tires that will work for you.

Speed ratings info

About size 110/90-16 tires

About wider tires

Can I put a front tire on the rear?

Ride height and different tire sizes

Scooter tires

Performance tires

Pirelli Sport Demon

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 100/90-16 front

One of the most popular tires for the EX 250 due to its good grip and handling. Good wet-weather performance, too. Run a search on the board for (many) opinions, and you too can join The Church of SportDemontology.

Bridgestone BT45

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 100/90-16 front

Always a favorite, due to its good handling and dual tread compound. The center treads on the rear tire are made from a harder rubber, while the sides are softer for cornering. Rain response is excellent.

Dunlop GT501

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 110/90-16 front (have to raise front fender to fit)

A popular choice for both speedy and distance riders, the GT501 is one of the few tires that can combine excellent grip with longevity. It has very good wet performance, and is the tire of choice for Ninja 250 racers (see below).

One of our long distance riders has run several sets of race take-offs, which means they've been used for a couple track days/races and then sold to a street rider. He has put a further 12,000 miles or more on each set (YMMV).

Since not everyone wants to raise the front fender to accommodate the larger size, it is common to run a different performance tire in the front (size 100/90-16). The GT501 rear/Metzeler Lasertec front combination is popular. Other choices would be BT45s or Sport Demons.

Dunlop GT501: The Racers' Choice, by Jim Race

Metzeler Lasertec

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 100/90-16 front

Metzeler has consolidated all of their performance bias-ply tires into this tire. It has a classic Metzeler tread pattern. They compare favorably to the GT501s for daily riding and wet performance; they are one of the best rain tires you can get, and the handling is very good, too. Of course, sticky tires usually don't get great mileage. At least three club members have gotten fewer than 7000 miles from the rear tire (YMMV). The fronts seem to be doing better.

Pirelli MT75

Sizes: 120/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

If you're looking for an inexpensive, sporty tire, this is a good one. MT75s have a rabid fan club on the board. Handling & grip are excellent, wet and dry. There's no real secret to the grip - they're soft as hell. Therefore, they don't tend to last as long as some tires (YMMV) but are very inexpensive: You can get 2 sets of MT75s for what a pair of Metz Lasertecs will run. If you're not averse to mounting your own tires, these are a very good option.

Recommended for the inseam-challenged as a way to get a slightly lower bike.

Avon AM63 Viper Stryke

Sizes: 120/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

This is one of the newer tires available. Our wear tester reports handling and wet performance under various conditions is excellent. Wear is good, especially considering the low price.

Speed ratings are "P" (continuous 93 mph).

Pirelli Diablo Scooter

Sizes: 130/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

A good budget performance choice. Sticky in aggressive mountain riding, stable in straight stretches, and confidence-inspiring in wet conditions. Tires track well and stay planted, and the price is right. As with most sticky budget tires, expect to change them on a regular basis, especially the rear.

Speed ratings are "P" (continuous 93 mph).

Dunlop GT301


Sizes: 130/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

A better tyre choice than stock. Good wet and dry grip reported by one of our members from Oz. We don't have a lot of information from club members, so ask local riders if you're interested in this replacement.

Touring/all-around tires

Kenda K671

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 100/90-16 front

A good value all-around tire. Recommended for commuters who occasionally do more sporty riding. Not a track tire, but unless you're insane they grip well on the street. They handle rain and heavy loads very well.

The only downside of the K671 is they are a little heavier than most of the other tire options. This makes the bike a little less flickable, but unless you ride on the edge of traction, you'll probably never notice. Other than that, they clearly perform and also last a good amount of miles. And they're quite inexpensive.

This tire is also called the Cruiser. Don't confuse it with the K673 Kruz. The Kruz is designed for Harley-esque bikes.

Metzeler ME 880

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; no front
Important buying information

The most-recommended tire for loaded touring. Reports say it's good in the wet, too. However, there is often some serious cupping after 10,000+ miles. That takes some getting used to when riding aggressively. For someone who has only one set of tires, and who does varied riding, this could be a big deciding factor. This tire should really only be considered for serious touring.

The ME880s grip well in the rain and last a long time, but they are expensive. If you ride more than 10,000 miles per year, this is a good choice.

Avon Roadrider

Sizes: MT90-16 rear (130/90-16 with higher load rating, aka 'reinforced'); 100/90-16 front

These tires are being marketed as a general purpose tire. They are a good compromise between mileage and performance. They have good grip and are long-lasting. A good choice for 'sport commuting'. One N250RC rider rode across the country and back (8000 miles) and wore off only 2/32" of tread. They turn in slower than the stockers, but they can make deeper turns and the bike is more stable when turning.

Metzeler Feelfree

Sizes: 130/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

A relatively new model in 2013, with a price of about 25% less than an OEM Dunlop K630. Tested on a long-distance ride of 5000 miles at 75 mph. The tire only lost half its tread depth on this ride. Handling and feedback very good compared to the K630. This tire is recommended for touring and general use. Sporting use not tested. Don't confuse this with the Feelfree Wintec, which is designed only for cold weather riding.

Speed ratings are "P" (continuous 93 mph).

Kenda K657

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; 120/90-16 rear; no front

This is supposed to be the sportier of the Kendas, but it's a heavy 6-ply like the K671. It advertises a stiff casing and high-speed stability, so it's generally more suited to commuting or touring than aggressive riding. More confidence-inspiring when cornering, stopping and quickly accelerating than the stock K630, even in heavy rain. Compared to the MT75 it won't corner quite as aggressively, but should last longer. Mileage reports have been pretty good. It also soaks up bumps a little better, comfort-wise.

Since this tire doesn't come in a front size to fit our bike, you'd have to mount a tire from another manufacturer on the front.

Cheap tires

Dunlop K630

Sizes: 130/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

Loudboys: I don't know what kind of situation the OE tires are designed for, but it sure isn't regular street riding. They don't handle predictably, they don't stick very well, and they don't last very long. The stock tires are fairly unforgiving compared to most of the good replacement options. Once they're unstuck they tend to stay that way.

Ian: Dunlop K630's are pieces of crap, and you're doing yourself a huge dis-service by riding on them.

Dunlop K330

Sizes: 120/80-16 rear; 100/80-16 front

We've had one member try these tires. He says they don't have the typical sportbike tread pattern, but are soft, sticky tires. K330's are original equipment for the Buell Blast, and guys on the Buell forums are generally changing them out for MT75s and Viper Strykes.

Pirelli MT66

Sizes: 130/90-16 rear; no front

This is basically a Harley tire. The tire life is good, but the tire has almost no wet traction, so it would be a poor choice for touring (even though it's labeled as a touring tire). It's made for long, straight, dry stretches of interstate. The cornering on dry roads is no better than the stock rear. Crawling to a stop at a light in the rain is annoying as well.

Cheng Shin tires

Cheng Shin tires are what you might call a 'value' line of tires. The thing is, they're not that much cheaper than a good set of MT75's (not cheap enough to justify their lack of grip, anyway). Don't skimp and get one of these; spend a little more and get a good tire.

Maxxis tires

This is the upmarket division of Cheng Shin. While Maxxis scooter tires are generally well-received, their motorcycle sizes have yet to make a big splash on our board. Very few members have had them. For the price, you can probably find an established brand that will do the job as well. If you see them, and the price seems good, you may want to give them a try. There is very little information to go on yet.

A couple member reviews of Maxxis tires:

M 6103: 130/90-16 rear only; Good in dry weather, but never felt comfortable in the rain.

V1 M6002: 130/90-16 rear; 100/90-16 front; Their high-end sport tire. If you spend a lot of time riding on the freeway where there is grooved pavement, stay away from this tire. The straight line center groove is hell to ride with.

Shinko tires

No better than the Dunlop K630.

IRC tires

Standard equipment on the 2009 EX250. See the comments for Shinko tires.