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IBR# 366
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Tires always seem to be an interesting topic, with lots of facts, opinions, and speculation bandied about. So I thought I'd throw in my contribution. :)

For reference, I've had my GT for one year and have put 36K miles on it. That's 4 front tires and 7 rears so far. I tend to ride a lot of long distances, and a thousand mile day isn't unusual. Still, I like to play on the fun roads too, and can hold my own in the twisty stuff against much smaller "faster" bikes so I do get to use the full range of a tire's capabilities.

The GT uses standard tire sizes that are found on a lot of sport bikes (120/70-17 front and 180/55-17 rear), which means that there are a lot of choices out there from full-race tires, to sticky super-sport tires, to sport-touring tires. We'll stick with the sport-touring tires, as anything that gets <3,000 miles is useless to me (and you too, I'd imagine).

Here's what I've had so far on my GT, from worst to best:

4th - Metzeler Roadtec Z6
Handling good, traction good, wear poor at <4,600 miles.
These tires have a solid center band in the middle rear, which means there are no wear bars to check. Several GT riders have been fine at one fuel stop, then were on the cords at the next. They felt fine but the wear isn't that great and I can't trust them so I won't be running these any more.

3rd - Michelin Pilot Road 2CT
Handling great at first, traction great, wear good at 9-10K front, 7K rear (estimated).
These have a dual compound technology that gives harder rubber in the middle for wear, and softer on the sides for traction. I did notice a definite flat spot and hard shoulder transition near the end of these tires' life, which I could definitely feel when leaning into a corner. I also changed them early due to a long trip coming up. Now I do a lot of freeway riding, but still I need to be able to trust my tires to the end of their life. I'd run them again, but as they're comparatively expensive they wouldn't be my first choice.

2nd - Bridgestone BT021
Handling great, traction good, wear good at 6-7K rear (estimated).
I've run through about 2/3rds of a rear BT021 after changing in the middle of a cross-country trip. It felt fine, but I did get some small slips in the wet. The rear BT021 also has a dual compound with harder center tread, but I didn't notice the same wear patterns as the Pilot Roads. I also changed this rear early due to a another long trip, so I don't know how it would have fared over the next 1K miles. Note also that the front tread pattern is significantly different than the BT020 tires. This is supposed to account for the odd feathering wear that the front BT020's are known for. I have a new set of BT021's on the bike now, but haven't put enough miles on them yet to get a clearer picture.

1st - Avon AV55 and AV56 Storm-ST
Handling great, traction great, wear good at 12K front, 7K rear.
These are probably my favorite tires so far. They just plain work, without any fuss. They have a "reactive footprint" technology, which means you get a smaller contact patch when sitting upright for reduced wear, and a larger patch as the bike leans for better traction. No problem at all with wet or dry traction, and they felt great through to the end of their life. These are easily my favorite tires for the GT so far. Note that I did have a problem with one front tire developing a noticeable shimmy halfway through its life, but the distributor simply replaced the tire, no questions asked.

Also-ran - Metzeler ME880
I haven't ridden these tires on the GT, but a friend did for the '07 IronButt Rally as he was concerned about high mileage above all else. He said basically the same things that I've found from my LT days, that these Bias tires are hard as a rock so they wear very well, handle OK but not great, and tend to slip in the wet. I swapped his tires with new ME880s at the halfway point to be safe, but I'd say they could have easily gone the entire 11-12K miles front and rear. Note that he did have to use an odd sized rear, as they don't make a 180/55-17 rear ME880.

As for pressures, I haven't experimented too much. I usually run 36-38 front, and 42-44 rear. That seems to work fine for me.

Hope that helps.
 

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Nice write up Ken. Good info. I think tires are a lot like women though. If we were blind to what we were riding, for the most part they all feel good! At least when new. :teeth (Mileage will vary of course.) ;)
 

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I'm another Avon fan.

Their cross-section, being triangular, tends to make the bike's steering quick. Sine they're not metal-belted, they tend to run smoother, imho, with less vibes and shock inducing bumps. Mine only last about 3K rear and 2X for the front.

Next set will be some Maxxis tires just for fun. Sort of pricey though, and I don't expect them to be as fast turning as the Avons (per above cross-section which is similar to the Metzies).

Not crazy about Dunlops as they are too hard and I've had a bad incident (high-side) with them on a Harley on some dirt. Wear was outstanding though. I leave them to the Harley crowd.

Mack
 

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Capn' Blowhard
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Ken,

Great review(s)! Thanks for taking the time to share - I have some Avons going on right now in fact so it doesn't hurt to have the hunch substantiated. :clap:
 

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has anyone tried Dunlap RoadSmarts

Dunlap RoadSmarts are also list on SW Mototires as tires for the GT.

Being a flatlander, am looking for a solid wear in the middle of the tire instead of on the edges - in other words, long distances.

Thanks

David Adler
 

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IBR# 366
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Discussion Starter #8
MdTbone said:
If the Avon are #1, why do you have the Bstones on now?
Basically, I'm just being spoiled by all these choices. :) On my LT there were only 3 tires that we could run, and two of those sucked. So with half a dozen or more choices for the GT, I figured I'd try them all.

My favorite combo for the LT was a BT020 rear for good handling, excellent wet or dry grip, and decent wear, along with an Avon Azaro front for excellent handling, grip, and wear.

As mentioned, I ran through 2/3rds of a BT021 rear without any issues and I've heard that the fronts are much improved over the BT020's so I wanted to try the full set. Plus they were $35 cheaper for the pair which helps since I'm gonna wear them out in less than a month.

After that trip, I will either try the Roadsmarts or just pick up two rear Avons to match the new front Avon that's still sitting in the garage. :)
 

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IBR# 366
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Discussion Starter #9
JamesM said:
Good info Ken. Could you comment on how the different tires react to rain grooves?
Haven't noticed a huge difference there. So far, most of my riding has been out of state so I've had less time than normal on our SoCal cheese-grater freeways.
 

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Again, nice report Meese.

I had 021s and sent them back to get PR2s, wish I had tried them now, but like you say, so many choices.

I ran the me880s on my FXDX, was great for that bike, they would slide on braking but never moved in turns, very good feed back I thought.

I have roadsmarts coming for the Versys 120/70/17 and 150/70/17.
 

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Thanks for the report, very useful on our beloved GT. I am curious to hear more on the new Dunlop Roadsmarts. Will they offer more mileage along with good cornering performance? Do they outperform the Michelin Pilot Roads?
 

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Ken,

Just ordered the Dunlops - will they work for flatlanders - we'll find out. Son has 11m miles on his Z6 with thread looking good. But will change them as you suggested.

At 2007 CCR I attended the seminar with the Bridgestone motorcycle head. One point he made and many of us questioned him on was the tire pressure as listed on the tire vs what the motorcycle company recommended. His advice: forget the manufacturer's listing and use the tire manufacturers listing for the cold pressure. If I remember correctly and I asked him 3 times, the motorcycle manuf thru the trade association set up standards for motorcycles.
Agreed to was the pressure as listed on the tire would be the guide and that pressure listed for cold tires should be used - 2-3 lbs lower if one rider with minimal luggage and the cold pressure with rider, passenger and luggage. In other words, a tire is made to be used within a 2-3 lbs difference.

My front lists 42 psi cold - so the lowest pressure would be 39, not the 36 which has been posted. Maybe the low mileage on the GT front is caused by the same misunderstanding that we had with the original LT tires.

Who knows!!!!

David Adler
 

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IBR# 366
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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, it took us a couple of years and a few hundred thousand accumulated miles to get the LT tires sorted out. :) There are so many more options for the GT, but we're sure putting on the miles trying them all. :D

So, David, when are you gonna post pics of that flashy red GT of yours?
 

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dadler said:
Ken,

My front lists 42 psi cold - so the lowest pressure would be 39, not the 36 which has been posted. Maybe the low mileage on the GT front is caused by the same misunderstanding that we had with the original LT tires.

Who knows!!!!

David Adler
I have been running mine at 39/43 just because it "felt" right, and the front didn't cup nearly as bad with the higher pressure. I got 7049 miles out of the stock Bstones, and just mounted a new set of PR2's and will run the same pressure until I get a chance to see how they are gonna wear. I was gonna go with the Avons, (I like the way Avons turn in, in the twistys) but will wait until they get the front tire issue completely sorted. It would have been my luck to get one of the "wobbly" fronts and have to return it. I have a trip to Big Bend coming up next week and I didn't want the possible hassle.
 

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tires

Ken;

both son and I are running our tires at 42 each; am changing to Dunlaps because I'm putting on 4-5m miles 4/17 - 4/27. But saving the Z6 with 7m miles on them -

Taking the LT as I can ride more than the 500 miles of the GT. Still have not dealt with replacing the seat!!!!!

When I return, will install the aeroguards which were just delivered. Looking forward to more protection - the weather still sucks in Chicago.

David
 

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Ken:

Besides the higher air pressure that Barry and I run, we both use Ride-On for balancing and tire puncture protection. But I had to call Ride-On about my car tires and talked to the owner.

He asked how I started using Ride-On - LT site and all the Iron Butters out there- and he mentioned that most heavy mileage people find that the tires add mileage - most stating 20-25% more miles.

Nothing scientific but just information. I'm removing my son's V6 tires with 11000 miles and mine with 9000 - and saving them. I believe I have more center thread left - if I need them to finish the year, etc.

David
 

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Let's Ride
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Ken, have you tried the ContiRoadAttack tires? IMHO very nice tire. Dual compound, good life and decent traction at a good price. Over sea's they love this tire in the English riding magazines. I have had PR2's, Avon Storm and Z6's. All great tires, but the ContiRoadAttacks might be the best value. Give them a try. :dunno:
 

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I'm riding
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I'm on my third set of MeZ6 - they last for 15 Kkm/10Kmi. great tyres for me - esp in the wet. The only "but" - pay attention to extension letter "C" for the rear one.
Thanks a lot for the review - saved a lot of time and money for us.:)
 

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Strafist
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GT-1 said:
Ken, have you tried the ContiRoadAttack tires? IMHO very nice tire. Dual compound, good life and decent traction at a good price. Over sea's they love this tire in the English riding magazines. I have had PR2's, Avon Storm and Z6's. All great tires, but the ContiRoadAttacks might be the best value. Give them a try. :dunno:
I ran the Conti Road Attacks. So far, the P2's are beating them for mileage and wear.
 

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I have found that Kendra tires suite me for my K75rt, last ting over 12,000+ klms :clap:
 
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