Author Topic: What a difference tires make!  (Read 856 times)

Offline mr72

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What a difference tires make!
« on: March 24, 2020, 05:06:25 AM »
Some of you may recall I swapped the low-miles tires from my GS500 onto my Bonneville a short time ago, and put a set of new Shinko E705 radials on the GS. I hadn't ridden the Bonneville a whole lot mostly because of weather and I was riding the GS more. Yesterday I took a longish (1.5 hrs) ride on the Bonnie, really getting a feel for the "new" tires.

OK, first, the GS. The tires I took off were a nearly-new Michelin Pilot Street Radial 140/70 rear tire, and a Pirelli Sport Demon 110/70 on front that had about 1k miles or so on it. The tires that went on were bigger on both ends, 150/70 rear and 120/70 front. These Shinko tires are known for changing the feel making it "fall in" to corners, and I think I understand what that means. My first ride out on the Shinkos with admittedly too little air pressure, the bike felt extremely unstable. Eventually I got used to the feel and stopped thinking the bike was just about to wash out on me. Once I adjusted the tire pressure to some big numbers, I think 40R and 37F by now, it improved but it's still far from confidence inspiring. But I rode it quite a bit and still after riding the Triumph regularly it takes me a good 10 minutes of riding the GS before I feel comfortable on it, but it grips fine and works great, just feels weird. Kind of "tippy".

FWIW I think a part of the difference in feel is also the riding position changes on the GS. The footpegs are lower and forward substantially, and I put a set of Rox-style bar "risers" to actually push the bars back about an inch and a half. The result is moving weight off of the front end. I have lowered the forks in the triples about 15mm but I might return it just to move more weight to the front, I think this might make it feel a bit more solid. But I do think the majority of the difference is the tires having a much more round profile when installed vs. the tires that came off.

The Bonneville, with these mismatched tires, was going from a set of Avon RoadRiders with about 6-7k on them. The old front tire was cupped which was my main reason to try and swap them. Due to the geometry and the low center of gravity, the Triumph always felt extremely planted and stable compared to the GS. The new tires have improved this even more. In fact, on my long ride, for the first time I found myself having to watch the speedometer to keep from speeding through the windy back roads. I bet I averaged 10mph faster in the curves on this ride than any time I rode it before. And there were even some damp spots out there! I wouldn't say the difference is night and day, but it's more like dawn and high noon.

The big thing is that, as intended, this really put a big gap in feel and intent between my two bikes. I haven't had a chance yet to ride the GS on gravel, but the goal was to make it solid on gravel or grass while still being capable on the road. Regardless of the huge difference in feel on the road, I'm pretty confident that the GS will be far better on gravel than it was before. And the Triumph is downright frightening on gravel.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 08:20:48 AM »
"What a difference tires make!"

I've come to the conclusion that tires matter more than the motorcycle itself. I'll take a goldwing with knobbies off road before a DRZ400 with racing slicks.

Good idea to use tires to make the GS have a good use for you. Otherwise the two bikes are very similar in use. I had done the same thing before needing the GS to go back to commute duty. Had to take the dual sport tires off for something that lasts longer.

Enjoy the Sport Demon the Triumph. That is a great tire.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 08:21:36 AM by Bluesmudge »

Offline mr72

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 08:48:56 AM »
I've come to the conclusion that tires matter more than the motorcycle itself. I'll take a goldwing with knobbies off road before a DRZ400 with racing slicks.

I can totally see that. And I'm mystified with why so many people choose tires based purely on appearance. They must not actually ride. All those folks with knobbies on a Bonneville ...

Quote
Good idea to use tires to make the GS have a good use for you. Otherwise the two bikes are very similar in use. I had done the same thing before needing the GS to go back to commute duty. Had to take the dual sport tires off for something that lasts longer.

Enjoy the Sport Demon the Triumph. That is a great tire.

Yeah, many of the rides I have done with the GS have been exploring the really forgotten back roads in my area, which are abundant. These roads tend to be in horrible shape and they are essentially inaccessible on my Triumph, so reworking the GS has opened a lot of roads that were closed for exploration to me before. In fact my parents own a piece of a subdivided ranch with a cabin on it that is about 1.5 hours of highway from my house, and then 10-20 miles of gravel county roads including a couple of bare creek bed water crossings. The GS makes getting there on a motorcycle possible for me.

And the better road tires on the Triumph is a huge bonus. It has made the Triumph even better at what it was already excellent at before. It's a happy accident that this particular mismatched tire combo works so well. I just happened to have them on my GS so I figured they were worth a try. I think there's a chance the Sport Demon will wear out before the rear tire, and I will then be on the fence about whether to replace it with a Michelin to match the rear or another mismatched bias ply Sport Demon.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 12:07:04 PM by mr72 »

Offline natedawg120

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 09:57:49 PM »
I agree with tires make the bike, I kept Michelin Pilot Pros on my GSXR750 and Michelin duel compounds on the GS500. Couldn't go for highway rides to much on the GSXR without taking the twisties, didn't want to flatten the centers on the soft tires.
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Offline Watcher

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2020, 11:29:12 PM »
"What a difference tires make!"

I've come to the conclusion that tires matter more than the motorcycle itself.

Sorry that I'm kind of late to the party on this one.

I agree with this statement.  The right bike on the wrong tires can make it seem awful, while the right tires on the wrong bike can exceed expectations.

I never really was that concerned with the tires on my older bikes.  Either they had what they had and it was what it was or I bought the tires I could afford and wasn't picky.
Now, especially being in my line of work, the world of tires really opened up to me, and I got to buy and try plenty of different options on plenty of different bikes, as well as talk with trusted colleagues about their experiences as well, and the tires really can make or break the bike.

Everyone has their favorites, of course.  It's hard to say one brand or one tire is objectively better than another.

When my boss got his Hypermotard he liked it but wasn't impressed, citing disappointment in the handling in curves.  It came with Pirelli Rosso II tires as stock.  He finally got them to where he was satisfied that he got what he paid for and put some Bridgestone RS10s on it, Bridgestone tires being his preferred brand, and instantly his impression changed.  The bike handled differently, more how he expected, and started to favor it.

I feel it'll be much the same with me.  I've been favoring Michelin the last few years, and my Monster came with Pirelli Rosso IIIs.  Coming up on tires soon, going to put the new Power 5s on it.  The bike is wonderful, but still, doesn't quite handle to my expectations.  Not bad, just...  Not Michelin, lol.
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Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2020, 08:15:09 AM »
I recently put Michelin Power 5s on my GS500 (first time I've ever purchased a Michelin tire). Its the best non-knobby tire I've tried to date. The amount of feedback under hard braking is impressive. I purchased them mainly for wet/cold weather performance but I have yet to find a situation I don't love them.
Pirelli sport demon is the only other tire I have liked as much as the Michelin in the dry but I trust the Michelin more in the cold/wet. From what I have seen, this tire is taking the motorcycle community by storm. I have yet to see someone give it a bad review, other than low mileage on heavy bikes (they make a GT version for that). Its the best tire for most street bikes. Especially commuters.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 08:18:03 AM by Bluesmudge »

Offline Watcher

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2020, 12:42:33 AM »
I have yet to see someone give it a bad review, other than low mileage on heavy bikes (they make a GT version for that). Its the best tire for most street bikes. Especially commuters.

Be sure you aren't confusing the Road 5 with the Power 5.

The Road is the touring tire.  The Power is the hypersport tire.

Though the Power RS is the only one I'm seeing in anything close to GS sizes..?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 12:44:50 AM by Watcher »
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Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: What a difference tires make!
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2020, 11:19:02 AM »
Ooops.  :o
 My tires are the Road 5 in 110/70 and 140/70. Everything I said applies to the Road 5. I've never tried the Power 5
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 11:20:05 AM by Bluesmudge »

 

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