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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All.

I just bought my first bike a few weeks ago and one of the things it definitely needs is new tires. I'm going to get the exact same size that is one the bike now, but what I'd like to get is your feedback on manufacturers and brands. What do you recommend and why.

Thanks!
 

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My buddy the biker swears by metzelers for 30 years. If it works for his Harley I'll uset them on my shadow.

Dingo.

2010 Honda Shadow Phantom- Custom


This one sent from my other 'droid device
 

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Metzeler ME880s have worked fantastically for me. I can't get my rear tire in that anymore so I switched to the new ME888. It should last longer but I don't like it as well as the 880. I'll be replacing the front sometime next spring -- another 2k miles or so. I got 16k out of the rear, pulled it with about 2k of life left (because I was going on a 2k mile trip) and probably should have gotten 2k more than that but I ran with PSI too high. I've got 22k on the front right now.

Avon Venoms get a lot of good press. DOC330 had one on the front of his 1100 Spirit for 20k+ miles and was very pleased with it. I've got no hands-on.

Some folks love to go cheap. (Not inexpensive, C H E A P.) That's where the Dunlop D404 comes in. As long as I have a choice, I will never again have one of those POS tires on a bike I own.
 

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I've used the Metzler brand for years on several different bikes. But prices have increased substantially. I allowed myself to be swayed by several Goldwing owners running the Kenda tires. I just installed a front tire last weekend. Excellent ride & handling, but does make a little more noise than the Dunlop that was on it.

Time will tell on longevity, but at the price I could buy three compared to Metz's.
 

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I have a set Pirelli MT66 coming but almost went with Kendas,but I figured the extra money over time would be forgotten and once they're on they're on. In a hundred years from now who's gonna know the difference anyway?
 

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I have tried a lot of tires in my 300,000 miles riding and find now that I am not pushing the limits almost all good condition tires feel the same. I replace my tires as a set. I am running Dunlop K177 and K555 on my VT1100C2, Bridgestone Excedra on my VT750CD, Michelins on GW and Avon on my classic Brits. For a while I was strictly Metzeler, however one day, ordering tires, local Honda service tech who I know and trust, asked why I was putting Metzeler on a GW. Softer tire means shorter life and maybe I didn't need the sticky. Reviewing my service records it became evident that when I bought a more expensive tire, I extended its replacement interval and was actually riding on worn tires longer. This convinced me that a slightly longer lasting tire (a little harder compound) was actually providing better grip and runoff since not as worn when replaced as the more expensive tires.

G.
 

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Pirelli is "my drug of choice"...
Metzler is # 2 choice...
No complaints with 14,000 outta two sets (each)
Michelin Commander II on it now, and will make 12,000...
BUT I don`t like this tire!
The rear has slipped braking twice, after (approx.) 60% tread wear...
PLUS ~ I got an "outta round" rear tire which "bounces" at low speed...

Merry Christmas
Dennis
 

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I run the Michelin Commander II on my 1100, 170 instead of the 160 and 100/90 on the front from memory and I love them..... Using the entire tire without any uneasy feeling and they track very well not following the uneven road surfaces like the bridgestones on the other bike.

The 880 gets a good rep and the people I know that have the 888 after the 880 have not been all that impressed but they should get more miles on the 888, I haven't run either of those two.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great feedback. I really appreciate your insight and wisdom - especially those that have been riding for a long time. Have a great weekend!
 

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The 880 gets a good rep and the people I know that have the 888 after the 880 have not been all that impressed but they should get more miles on the 888, I haven't run either of those two.
I will second that. The 888 has stiffer sidewalls. It *should* get better life than the 880 because it seems to be a harder compound. My new 888 rear has slipped more times (5) in 6,000 miles than the old 880 did (zero) in 16,000 miles. I'm gonna stiffen up the front a tiny bit to reduce unloading the rear during hard stops then adjust my riding to be a little more conservative than I was with the 880.

Almost wish I had bought another 880. But I'd still take the 888 over anything Dunlop.

As much as I see folks complaining about Metzeler prices, I've got to believe they don't know how to shop -- or -- are stuck with lousy shop/dealer prices.

o I can get an ME880 rear for $15 (11.5%) more than a Dunlop D404 and know that I'll get 2.5 to 3 times the miles with superbly better handling for every single one of them.

o For the ME888, the price is $36 (28%) higher than the D404 and I'd expect to get 3+ times the miles with handling superbly better for every single one of them though not quite as good as the the 880.

o Haven't priced a Kenda because I haven't found one in my size.

Note: Price comparison based on what I just found at jakewilson.com. (That same place is also known as Rocky Mountain ATV.) I'd check more outlets if I was actually buying a new tire right now.
 

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...the old 880 did (zero) in 16,000 miles....ME888...D404...expect to get 3+ times the miles...
Sorry I had to chop your post so much but basically you are saying you typically get about 16,000 miles from ME880 and expect more miles from an 888 but when you used 404s you got only 5,000 miles? Wondering how many sets of 404s did you try? I haven't used 404s and its odd everytime anyone mentions Dunlop they discuss 404s but my K177 and K555 have no issues up to about 16,000 miles in 3 sets.

The only bike I have from new that has lots of miles is a 78 GW with 220,000 miles and my records show 14 sets of tires. I change tires at 3/32 tread left.

Bridgestone
Bridgestone
Bridgestone
Dunlop K70
Dunlop K70
Bridgestone
Continental
Continental Front tire got cut was replaced with non-Continental. I couldn't stand the mismatch feel and hydroplaned across a puddle so replaced both once home.
Dunlop K70
Metzeler 880
Metzeler 880
Dunlop
Shenko
Bridgestone Battleax
Avon - Venom (not much mileage on them)

My records show that most the tires lasted the same mileage but I switched from V rated to H rated and ended up with about 25% more miles. The tires that had the most mileage with the same wear were Bridgestone H rated at 20,000 miles. The tires with the least mileage before 3/32 were the second set of Metzeler with 10,000 miles. I did do a 3 flags Iron Butt with those so not sure if that may be related.

Its getting difficult to find rear tires for this bike so I cannot buy matched sets anymore but still buy matched brands. There are less brands offering this size tire but as mentioned I don't find much difference in similar rated tires from different brands so just go with what is available. I think there is a lot of riders who buy a used bike with worn tires and then replace them and think these tires are much better. To me of course new tires are better but not sure if the brand was that much better. I am unable to find any long term testing or mileage testing on tires other than the sport bike grip testing that is meaningless to me as a cruiser/tourer rider so if anyone knows of any it would be appreciated.

G.
 

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Treadwear is DIRECTLY relative to throttle use and braking!!!!
This came up a couple weeks back with a link to a Rattlebars treadwear (explanation) thread???

;)

Merry Christmas,
Ann & Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I will second that. The 888 has stiffer sidewalls. It *should* get better life than the 880 because it seems to be a harder compound. My new 888 rear has slipped more times (5) in 6,000 miles than the old 880 did (zero) in 16,000 miles. I'm gonna stiffen up the front a tiny bit to reduce unloading the rear during hard stops then adjust my riding to be a little more conservative than I was with the 880.

Almost wish I had bought another 880. But I'd still take the 888 over anything Dunlop.

As much as I see folks complaining about Metzeler prices, I've got to believe they don't know how to shop -- or -- are stuck with lousy shop/dealer prices.

o I can get an ME880 rear for $15 (11.5%) more than a Dunlop D404 and know that I'll get 2.5 to 3 times the miles with superbly better handling for every single one of them.

o For the ME888, the price is $36 (28%) higher than the D404 and I'd expect to get 3+ times the miles with handling superbly better for every single one of them though not quite as good as the the 880.

o Haven't priced a Kenda because I haven't found one in my size.

Note: Price comparison based on what I just found at jakewilson.com. (That same place is also known as Rocky Mountain ATV.) I'd check more outlets if I was actually buying a new tire right now.
Very helpful post - I like how you added the cost increase that should factor in longer wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry I had to chop your post so much but basically you are saying you typically get about 16,000 miles from ME880 and expect more miles from an 888 but when you used 404s you got only 5,000 miles? Wondering how many sets of 404s did you try? I haven't used 404s and its odd everytime anyone mentions Dunlop they discuss 404s but my K177 and K555 have no issues up to about 16,000 miles in 3 sets.

The only bike I have from new that has lots of miles is a 78 GW with 220,000 miles and my records show 14 sets of tires. I change tires at 3/32 tread left.

Bridgestone
Bridgestone
Bridgestone
Dunlop K70
Dunlop K70
Bridgestone
Continental
Continental Front tire got cut was replaced with non-Continental. I couldn't stand the mismatch feel and hydroplaned across a puddle so replaced both once home.
Dunlop K70
Metzeler 880
Metzeler 880
Dunlop
Shenko
Bridgestone Battleax
Avon - Venom (not much mileage on them)

My records show that most the tires lasted the same mileage but I switched from V rated to H rated and ended up with about 25% more miles. The tires that had the most mileage with the same wear were Bridgestone H rated at 20,000 miles. The tires with the least mileage before 3/32 were the second set of Metzeler with 10,000 miles. I did do a 3 flags Iron Butt with those so not sure if that may be related.

Its getting difficult to find rear tires for this bike so I cannot buy matched sets anymore but still buy matched brands. There are less brands offering this size tire but as mentioned I don't find much difference in similar rated tires from different brands so just go with what is available. I think there is a lot of riders who buy a used bike with worn tires and then replace them and think these tires are much better. To me of course new tires are better but not sure if the brand was that much better. I am unable to find any long term testing or mileage testing on tires other than the sport bike grip testing that is meaningless to me as a cruiser/tourer rider so if anyone knows of any it would be appreciated.

G.
WOW! With over 220k miles and your meticulous records its like you've been doing your own tire research project all these years! Awesome. Very interesting to see that it seems like for the most part they all lasted the same.

Was there a difference in handling and "feel" when you switched from V to H?

I bought this bike to be my cruiser. Short trips, with or without my lovely wife behind me and cruising around town. Not to say the price doesn't matter, but I just want to find a great tire that gives an above average ride and feels good on the road, that will last an average amount of time. Reliability would also be something I would put above longevity. I'm also not looking for some super soft performance tire you'd find on a crotch rocket.

I really appreciate everyone's help!
 

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As much as I see folks complaining about Metzeler prices, I've got to believe they don't know how to shop -- or -- are stuck with lousy shop/dealer prices.

o Haven't priced a Kenda because I haven't found one in my size.
Around here, shops REALLY jump prices on Metz, Michelin, and Avon because they are deemed as "premium tires".

I agree, if you want "true" pricing differences, shop around online prices!

I'm glad you mentioned Kenda, and I'll chime in on those since I've been riding on them for two seasons on both my Shadows. Cost for tires online (delivered) was < $150 /set for both bikes from Chaparral Motorsports. I mount tires myself, and use DynaBeads for balancing.

  • VT700 - I've put about 7K on these tires, and both are hardly showing wear. Even the rear still has deep tread grooves. They provide excellent traction wet or dry, and I feel very secure on them, even on gravel roads. The are a bit "stiff" on bad-roads, but I don't expect a luxury-car ride on them. They also hold air very well... rarely do I need to add more than a pound or two unless the weather shifts hard (but that is normal for any tire).
  • VT1100C2 - I've put roughly 9K on these tires, and they are wearing a little faster than the lighter VT700's set. I'll likely have to change out the rear sometime late in the season next year... expect maybe another 5K out of it? The front should be good for another 9K, but I'll likely change it when I do the rear, especially if I change brands. Handling is spotty sometimes in the curves, as I can feel the rear break loose for a second if I'm too aggressive (but that may be less of a tire issue, lol). Braking is good, and they track perfectly straight, even if I lock the rear. Wet traction is still excellent on these tires, even with current tread-wear. On the heavier bike, the front tire does "sing" to me on the highway, which is my only real complaint about them. Tire pressure is very finicky on the Sabre... + or - 2 PSI, and you KNOW IT, as the handling change (sidewall flex) is very noticeable, especially when 2-up and/or full-loaded with touring gear.
Do I recommend Kenda tires, yes... but I feel they fare far better on lighter bikes like my VT700 or a VT750. I think when it's time to change tires on my Sabre, I may look hard at a different tire due to the bike's weight, and the fact that it sees more 2-up and touring than the 700. Perhaps a radial like the Michelin Road 3 Pilot? My son has those on his NightHawk, and they are wearing like iron and stick to the road like Velcro (although his bike is half the weight of my Sabre). I guess cost will be the factor (again), when the time comes... Seriously, I've gotten good wear out of these, good traction, and good performance... For < $150/set, I've got nothing to complain about!
 

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For better mileage I run a "rear" tire up front.

Bridgestone Battlax BT45V Sport Touring Rear Tire - Motorcycle Superstore
Out of all the front tires I've run on my VT1100-T(have 85k miles on it now) this is the smoothest that I've had but don't know how many miles I'll get out of it yet. I use to get 12k to 15k miles out of the E3(front tire) that I ran twice. Then I switched over to a "rear" tire up front and have not gotten less than 20k miles out of the last two "rear" tires I've run up front. The POS Dunlop D206-F was the worst tire I've ever seen and that was the stock front tire for my bike.

ROD
 

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WOW! With over 220k miles and your meticulous records its like you've been doing your own tire research project all these years! Awesome. Very interesting to see that it seems like for the most part they all lasted the same.

Was there a difference in handling and "feel" when you switched from V to H?
On cruiser and tourer I do not notice any difference in tire brands and did not notice anything switching to an "H". The worst handling is of course worn tires. The second worst was a mis-match set. I see some posts about breaking the rear loose or sidewall flexing and I must state that there is no way I ride a cruiser or tourer anywhere near those limits. I did race in the 70s and could tell the diference in tires but todays tires are far superior. As mentioned the GW is getting hard to find tires and I am not brand loyal so whatever fits. My VT1100C2 gets Dunlop Ks because I want the whitewall and a tire with some longevity. My VT750 has Bridgestone and they may be original since that bike doesn't get much mileage. So I am running 4 brands currently and don't feel any noticeable difference.

As far as service records, I owned British bikes and cars in my teens in the 60s and decided DIY was the best way to go so learned to keep good records. Very happy when spreadsheets and computers happened as my writing is terrible. It is a bit shocking to review the records and see 1 of my bikes has had 14 sets of tires and I still ride it!
 
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