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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I am new to the forum, so I am not sure if I am in the right spot.

I have a 98 Honda Shadow vt1100T, I need to buy a new front tire, I currently have dunlop 206's and the size on the tire reads 130/80 R18. I am having a hell of a time finding that tire size for a front tire. I can however find that size as a rear tire. Can I buy a rear in those specs or are rear tires purpose made to be on the back? What are you running on your shadow if you're using a similar size? Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

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2003 VT1100C Spirit
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Howdy Frenchfry419!

I've heard of folks running rear tires on the front. They run the tire backwards so the tread pattern runs right for the front. I personally don't recommend doing that, but there may be some folks on here who have done it. Maybe they can chime with their experience.

Also, check with your local Honda dealer to see if they have a recommendation.
 

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2001 Valkyrie I/S
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Motosport has tires in the size you need.


I've never dealt with them before. I normally shy away from Dunlap love Avon and Metzler
 
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I wouldn't be too concerned about matching every number in the tire spec. You can go up or down a size or two and still get a good fit to the stock rim. Changing the circumference of the front tire will affect your speedometer / odometer if that is driven off the front wheel, but this can actually be a good thing, because most makes and models read at least a few percent faster than actual mph.

For example a 120/90 - 18 is only 10mm (3/8") narrower than a 130/80 - 18, and is only 1.2 % larger in circumference. I wouldn't hesitate make this substitution.

Here's a little calculator gadget to compare various sizes with one another: 130/80-R18 vs 120/90-R18 Tire Comparison - Tire Size Calculator (tacomaworld.com)

Personally, I like the old fashioned 100% profile tires to give a nice retro look. My riding style is not too demanding, and I wouldn't expect things to get too hairy on a big touring machine anyway. I'd be tempted to consider something like this Duro HF318 in 4.00 - 18. Duro HF318 4.00-18 Front/Rear Motorcycle Street Tire (midwesttraction.com) It's quite a bit narrower than a 130, but the sidewall is just as tall, for that fat tire look. This is a bias ply tire though, you might not want to mix with a radial on the rear. On the other hand, plenty of folks have done just this and survived many miles of riding, and I know of at least one bike that came from the factory with a radial on the back and bias ply on the front.

I'd check my rim size, and see what range of tire widths is recommended for that size of rim. Your options can open up considerably.
 

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I run a sportbike 130/80-18 rear tire on the front of my VT1100T, best tire I've ever had on there. 16K miles and still decent tread. Also mounted normally. My understanding of the trend to mount them backward was due to fear of problems due to excessive braking force, and mounting backwards might substitute braking for the normal acceleration forces a rear tire would experience. Not sure you can use VT1100T and excessive braking force in the same sentence (other than this sentence,,,)
 
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I'll add some people run the Goldwing 130/70R18. However it throws the speedo off even more. I have also ran the 120/90-18 with no issues along with a (much less expensive) 170/80-15 rear tire on a Sabre wheel in the back. Did seem to turn in a bit quicker with the narrower tread in front, could have just been the new tire, they always feel better... . Others have ran 130/90 with no issues and say it corrects the speedo. The 130/90 tire is awfully close to the fender brace under there, yet people report no problems. Thinking of trying a 130/90 next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Howdy Frenchfry419!

I've heard of folks running rear tires on the front. They run the tire backwards so the tread pattern runs right for the front. I personally don't recommend doing that, but there may be some folks on here who have done it. Maybe they can chime with their experience.

Also, check with your local Honda dealer to see if they have a recommendation.
Motosport has tires in the size you need.


I've never dealt with them before. I normally shy away from Dunlap love Avon and Metzler
I looked at the Avon one on a few other sites, it was listed as a rear tire.. Will that make a difference? I figure as long as its the right specs motorcycle tires are all made to lean and operate pretty much the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wouldn't be too concerned about matching every number in the tire spec. You can go up or down a size or two and still get a good fit to the stock rim. Changing the circumference of the front tire will affect your speedometer / odometer if that is driven off the front wheel, but this can actually be a good thing, because most makes and models read at least a few percent faster than actual mph.

For example a 120/90 - 18 is only 10mm (3/8") narrower than a 130/80 - 18, and is only 1.2 % larger in circumference. I wouldn't hesitate make this substitution.

Here's a little calculator gadget to compare various sizes with one another: 130/80-R18 vs 120/90-R18 Tire Comparison - Tire Size Calculator (tacomaworld.com)

Personally, I like the old fashioned 100% profile tires to give a nice retro look. My riding style is not too demanding, and I wouldn't expect things to get too hairy on a big touring machine anyway. I'd be tempted to consider something like this Duro HF318 in 4.00 - 18. Duro HF318 4.00-18 Front/Rear Motorcycle Street Tire (midwesttraction.com) It's quite a bit narrower than a 130, but the sidewall is just as tall, for that fat tire look. This is a bias ply tire though, you might not want to mix with a radial on the rear. On the other hand, plenty of folks have done just this and survived many miles of riding, and I know of at least one bike that came from the factory with a radial on the back and bias ply on the front.

I'd check my rim size, and see what range of tire widths is recommended for that size of rim. Your options can open up considerably.
Will it be any easier / harder to mount a 120/90 -18?
 

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I figure as long as its the right specs motorcycle tires are all made to lean and operate pretty much the same.
The belts inside the rubber are arranged in specific ways to either predominantly resist the accelerating force or the braking force. The tread style is also different, to optimize tracking and braking performance. And the rubber compounds are different, because rears carry more load and need to resist wear more than fronts which better not slide out from under you. Of course, every rule has been broken by folks who survived, The Dark Side – The Love of Car Tires on Motorcycles – Haul N Ride , while other folks who followed the rules may have had some bad luck:

I've broken a few rules in my day. My '96 1100 ACE is in the process of getting new rubber as I write this. It's a process, because I dismount the old tire, then spend considerable time de-rusting and working on the rim before mounting the new rubber. Meanwhile, the bike is out behind the house, staked down with straps, and balancing on a jack stand while this process proceeds. As for the tires, .... The story starts out with "My buddy noticed a big stack of tires behind a motorcycle repair shop he was patronizing. The owner says, "take as many as you want, I have to pay to dispose of them". .....
Will it be any easier / harder to mount a 120/90 -18?
I've always found it's easier to mount a new tire than to dismount an old tire. The lighter the tire, and the taller / softer the sidewall, the easier it is. I doubt you'd notice the difference between a 130/80 and a 120/90, all else being equal.
You may want to find out if the tires you have on there now really are the correct factory size and go from there.
130/80R-18 radial did show up as the factory tire when I looked up the specs for a '98 "1100T" .
 

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The Bridgestone Battlax BT45V rear tire I used had a tread pattern almost identical to their matching front tire. Just checked, I've put close to 18K miles on it, something like 3000+ miles of that in the rain, no problems.

The BT45 is no longer available, replaced by the BT46 series and I am not finding any in stock at my usual sources.

The D206 is lucky to get 8K miles.
 

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I just bought and installed a pair of Shinko 777s. They are directional tire, with arrows indicating orientation. The front and rear have identical tread patterns, except the front is reversed. Or the rear is, whatever.

The only problem I have with running a vintage profile your is the rears tend to be very square. I greatly prefer a more modern profile.

Oh, and I can confirm that removing the old tires was more difficult than installing the new ones. Except the installation might take more time because you need to be careful (or I do, anyway, as I'm running tubes.)
 

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I looked at the Avon one on a few other sites, it was listed as a rear tire.. Will that make a difference? I figure as long as its the right specs motorcycle tires are all made to lean and operate pretty much the same.
Like @D's Spirit said you have the tire mounted in reverse of the way they normally would. I tire is designed to turn in one direction and is normally mounted that way. When you mount a rear tire on the front you have it mounted in the reverse direction.
 

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I ran a Bridgestone BT-45 rear tire on my Phantom and got 20k miles on it before it started cupping. The tire was fine and I had zero issues with it. I cannot remember if I reversed it or not.

If you want to go the route of a rear tire on the front do some research and make an informed decision.

Eric


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