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Building the MotorBikePacking Scrambler | Lifan KPM200 Dual Sport Tires

A versatile scrambler motorcycle relies on dual sport tires for stability and traction. An easy and economical upgrade to the Lifan KPM200.


My motorcycles are not pristine, paved road darlings. My scrambler motorcycle is transportation from Point A to Point B. I equally enjoy riding on paved and unpaved roads and I may encounter both on any given route. In fact, in my area, unpaved roads crisscross the countryside mile after mile and exceed the mileage of pavement. Fun Fact: red granite (which is crushed for roads like the one below) is the "State Rock" of Wisconsin!

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy highway cruising, too. But quiet, unpaved country roads typically lead to the best scenery. And I encounter a TINY fraction of the traffic on unpaved roads - which means riding enjoyment, relaxation, AND added safety!

When outfitting the Lifan KPM200 for MotorBikePacking, I converted to dual sport tires immediately after the intial set-up.


One of the selection criteria for the KPM200 was the stock cast wheels with tubeless tires. I have toured from coast to coast, from the Mexican border to above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. I ALWAYS specify tubeless tires, when possible. After you fix your first nail puncture in a tubeless tire - and are back on the road in 15 minutes WITHOUT removing the wheel or tire - you will NEVER go back to inner tubes!

For the KPM200, I selected the Shinko 705 dual sport tires. The bike is supplied with a 130/70 tire on the rear and I selected the Shinko 130/80 x 17. The new tire has the same wdith but a 1-inch larger diameter. On the front, I swapped the stock 100/80 tire for the Shinko 120/70 x 17. The new tire is 0.8-inches wider and 0.3-inches larger diameter.

I was able to buy the front tire in a radial construction (also my preference), but only a bias-ply rear tire was available in the needed size. Thankfully, I find that the radial tire has the most noticable effect on the front suspension and when cornering versus the rear tire which carries the heavier load.

The Lifan KPM200 is a VERY light touring scrambler - now NIMBLE on gravel roads!

Some of my rides have few or no unpaved miles. On other routes, I might ride several sections of gravel during the ride. I have a few routes that are mostly gravel. It doesn't matter with the dual sport tires. The motorcycle is equally stable and safe on both surfaces.

But there are other advantages. First, I have long legs and the new dual sport tires add some ground clearance and improve the seating position on the KPM200. Second, you can rarely ride during the short Wisconsin summers without encountering road construction somewhere along your route. Street bikes, especially big, top heavy touring motorcycles, are notorious for crashing or getting stuck in sloppy construction zones. Finally, I use my KPM200 scrambler as a light touring, "MotorBikePacking" rig. It is very common to find great campsites just a ways off the pavement. I enjoy clean, quiet, private campsites beyond the reach of heavy cruisers limited by slick highway tires.

I also need to point out two "accomodations" that you might need to make if you convert your street tires to dual sport, all-road tires. In the case of the KPM200, there was plenty of room in the rear swing arm for the slightly larger rear tire - but not enough chain length. The new tire required that I add one set of links to the stock chain. But this gave me the opportunity to also convert to a far superior O-ring chain that promises double the life of the stock chain.

Secondly, the added diameter and heavier tread also meant that the kickstand was now too short. The bike was angled too low - OK on solid pavement but a problem on soft road shoulders or grass. First, I purchased an enlarged kickstand "foot". Then I epoxied a tapered pad to increase the surface area on soft ground and increase the total height. (Also shown in the photo above is the center stand which was added during the "Scrambler Build" - a full list of parts and accessories will follow in a later article.)

The KPM200 "Scrembler" with the dual sport tires matches the way I ride - and tour!

My scrambler is "just right" for the farm and forest roads that I enjoy. I slow down a little and drop a gear or two when I cross over onto gravel and cruise the twisty backroads. Unlike more demanding dual sport trails or muddy paths, I don't need to "air down". As mentioned, I might cross from pavement onto gravel for a few miles (a few minutes to as long as an hour), and then back onto a paved highway. I might go from a 60 mile per hour highway stretch to a twisty forest road where I enjoy a leisurely 25 or 30 MPH, and then back again. It just isn't practical to continually mess with tire air pressure. (However, if I found myself in the middle of a bad stretch of rough or muddy roads, I'd take the time to soften the tires.)


Here is a video that shows a typical country road in my area. This township road switches from pavement to gravel and back several times in just a few miles. This road crosses through the center of the Mead Wildlife Area in central Wisconsin. Conditions can be bone dry or wet and soggy; hard-packed or freshly graded - you just never know! That's why I ride a scrambler with dual sport tires!:

The finished product is worth the minor hassles of the installation of tubeless, dual sport tires on the KPM200. Along with the other parts and accessories that I have installed, the "cafe racer" is now completely transformed into an all-road, versatile and comfortable MotorBikePacking machine. It is now the "100 Miles Per Gallon Scrambler"!


The photos below show my Lifan KPM200 “Scrambler” fully rigged with a soft tail bag and the soft panniers I use for touring.

“MotorBikePacking” defines my style of touring. That is, my tours (especially on this 200cc motorcycle) parallel my experience with BICYCLE touring. In fact, I use virtually the same packing list for lightweight bicycle touring and MotorBikePacking. See the related articles at the blog and YouTube channel.

KPM200 dual sport tires


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