6-thousand mile service: tires.

One of the items on the list at 6-thou’ miles is, “IMGP0996_battleaxe rear_x1000Checking spoke tension.”  I sure HOPE to hell the three-spoke solid wheel is tensioned.  I’ve heard and seen pics of these with wire wheels and they’re gorgeous, also supposed to be better off-road where a bit of wheel flex is useful – better to bend than to break.  The oil is fresh already, but it’s time to get the young patient (in suspended animation) to the Bavarian Doktor (Diplomingenieur) for a checkup and teeth-cleaning…

The currently fitted Bridgestone Battlax BT-50 is a bit tired and has a fairly well used profile, out to the edge anyhow, and the front’s about the same – and if these tires are original equipment at 16-years going on they’re probably pretty dried-up and crusty…Ansd they have probably been superseeded by another variant – like maybe the BT-023?

It’s all mush now but ages and ages ago on the FZ600 I liked a combo of a tall Metzler on the 16-inch front, in order to try and get it to mimic a 17-inch front and help stabilize the overly quick (to me) turn-in aspect, with a complimentary Dunlop on the rear – sticky but not too wide to make it truck-like.  But this is a whole ‘nother animal,.

I haven’t been following the Tire Wars much in the past ten-odd years with my focus (or what remains of it) mainly off-road, but I recall my buddy Petey (who’s very-very picky) said he liked the wet-weather traction of the Bridgestone’s, but for WET he really liked the Avons best – and that’s what you would expect coming from a country (the UK) that was constantly bathed in wetness.  And I he was riding as Connie at the time – so a similar animal – and also red.  Hmmm… Can’t I just stick-on a pair of Pirelli MT21’s and get out in the dirt?

As I recall Metzler Marathon’s wore like iron but had similar grip, while the good and sticky stuff came from Dunlop and Pirelli…and Bridgestone was a relative newcomer to moto-rubber.


About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

10 thoughts on “6-thousand mile service: tires.

  1. I came to the conclusion that sticky rubber is cheap insurance. Mileage was secondary. Also I learned to listen to the people riding the same bike model, and even more closely to the riders of said model that rode at least as hard as I did (preferably harder) .
    I bought a set of tires that had a good rep, but that was for 4cyl bikes. I rode a 2cyl Duc. Worst matchup I have ever encountered. I put them on for a CA Superbike Class held at Laguna Seca. My OEM tires were too worn to be allowed in the class.

    It rained. My 900 SSSP Ducati would slide the front end at the start of a corner, and then slide the back. Just about the time one end would stop sliding, it would transfer to the other end. Then it would repeat the sliding routine at the corner exit. The severe lack of steering lock accentuated the problem.

    I didn’t crash, which is more than several other riders could claim. I got real tired of tiptoeing around the track, though. Not sure I really needed a tuneup on sliding on pavement. Got a fair amount of that in the 80’s when racing my Guzzi.

    Made one long street ride up Hyway1 north of the bay. Got rained on. Tires came off right after that ride. Scariest ride on track and street, for me.

    Yeah, my tire knowledge is now 15 years out of date.


  2. As Gomez sez, The Michelin PR (methinks you would want the Pilot Road II for your bike) is a great choice. That said, I believe that for the BMWs, Bridgestone’s BT-023 would be even better.
    Have you searched for an oilhead owner’s group? That might be the best way to find a model-specific, up-to-date recommendation.


    • *Cough-spit!* Talk about gatekeepers, BMW wants $40 a year just to become a forum member/user and search at “BMW Motorcycle Owners of America” – and the UK groups speak Metric (grumble)… My racer buddy Baxter has espoused the Dunlops but he uses up ALL the tire in every corner and pushes it harder than I am willing – or even skilled at this point.


    • I did the BMW MOA thing for one year. Never used their forum. Let it lapse… I really don’t read much in the way of dead tree magazines anymore so I have a bunch of their magazines still in the wrapper. So overall 40 bucks down the drain… R1200R.org is open and free…

      As far as tires, my R1200R came with Conti Road Attack tires and they are fairly sticky, but since I never road on any other tires besides knobbies I have no clue if they are any good. You might want to take a look at the tire thread over at r1200r.org. I remember it being pretty good.


    • Thanks Kirkster! My road sensitivity is way down too, compared to dirt. I learned everything about suspension and handling in the dirt. Street-bikes just didn’t talk back to me much, everything is/was behind a veil of asphalt and dampened by sheer weight and inertia – at the rate I ride anyhow.


    • The truth about modern road tires is cliche, but true: They are ALL better than you need or can use. The big caveat, however, is that this only holds true when they are new, and for some models, when they are at the right temperature.
      All tires wear, of course, but some wear in a way that quickly degrades the feel and/or handling (read: wobble/weave characteristics). The most common indicator of this type of wear (as opposed to the familiar flat-center syndrome), is feathering at the edge of the tread blocks. If you look at your tire’s grooves and the tread blocks look taller on one side than the other, it WILL affect your handling (the only question is how badly).
      So not being a roadracer, I look at my tire purchases in terms of good handling for the longest period. Besides the obvious issues of cost/benefit ratio and riding confidence, I also hope to delay the pain-in-the-ass factor of taking off wheels, driving them down to the dealer, waiting while the new tires are mounted, etc., every six months.
      Before I make a recommendation, one final caveat is that all the tire manufacturers keep claiming “new and improved” wear characteristics. Well, maybe it is or maybe it isn’t, I don’t know.
      What I can say is that in the court of public opinion, Dunlops have a long-standing reputation for sticking like glue early on, but wasting their tread profile and losing their sweet handling very quickly (sometimes in as little as a thousand miles). Pirellis are much better, but also have a rep for degraded handling once the profile changes. Metzelers (although supposedly built in the same factory as Pirellis) have a much better reputation for maintaining consistent handling. Michelin’s Pilot Road and the latest Bridgestones are also lauded for their good wear. The latter two seem to be priced better than the Metzelers, however, so for your application, one of those two would be my recommendation.
      FWIW, however, I have heard from one reputable source that the BT-023 works quite well on the BMW boxer.


  3. If the scooter is strictly for road use, I highly recommend any of the Michelin Pilot Road series – got over 18k miles on the original set on my recently traded beemer. good traction (maybe even better in wet conditions). Of course ymmv due to road conditions and riding style.
    Oh yeah, around 7k on the second set which still look almost new…………..;-)


    • Thank you very much GomeznSA! The dealer says they sell a lot of Metzlers, but I have a feeling that is because they’re German too. Scooter will be road use two-up mainly (so if I go too fast the fist comes out and my side gets dented)- and twisty, crowned, lumpy country roads – avoiding all the slab-asphalt as much as possible.


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