Author Topic: Was this fate?  (Read 517 times)

Offline Watcher

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Was this fate?
« on: December 27, 2021, 12:45:31 AM »
I usually don't subscribe to stuff like this, but do you ever feel that sometimes the universe is speaking to you?

Ok, so, I've been a user of and huge recommender of the Michelin Road 5 tires for (counts on fingers) 4 years now?  Since they were released, basically.  I had two sets on my M750 before I sold the bike, when I wore the factory Pirellis off my 821 I tried the Power 5 but switched back to the Road 5 once those wore out, at my shop I sell more Road 5s than any other sport touring tire we can get, I got some coworkers on the Road 5 bandwagon, if someone on a forum somewhere asks "what is the best ST tire on the market" I swear I get a shiver down my spine and have to respond with a recommendation of the Road 5, if a stack of Road 5s falls in a warehouse and noone is around to hear it I wake up in the middle of the night wondering what went wrong, point being I really like this tire.

Mid to late November while doing, what else, posting an opinion piece about the Road 5 I noticed I was getting close to the wear indicators on the tread of the rear.  Not enough to need tires right away, but enough that if an opportunity came up I would be happy to change them.  Well, such an opportunity arose, my roommate was going to be flying out of state for the week of Christmas and they would be leaving behind their car.  As someone who still doesn't own a 4 wheeled vehicle, I figure this is my ticket to new-tires-ville!  So I go into work with the thought of buying up a set of Road 5s and waiting patiently for the chance to change them.  But then I had some time to think, and I thought, "should I try something different?"  I fell in love with the R5 so fast and so hard I haven't considered other options in literally years.  I work as a salesman in a motorcycle gear shop, I probably should broaden my experience with tires a little.
So I weigh the alternatives, not much stands out to me except Bridgestone.

The T32s!  Of all the tire brands we can get, the personal choice of the associates I work with is almost a 50/50 split between Michelin and Bridgestone.  Even though nobody I talked to has used the T32 yet, Bridgestone has a great reputation.  I've also ridden on the S21, S22, RS10, and BT016 on various other bikes, so I have the most experience aside from Michelin with Bridgestone.
From a design standpoint the T32 advertises:
-Improved grip in ALL conditions.
-Increased silica content for quicker warm up to operating temp.
-Improved flexibility.
-Increased contact patch on the shoulder for better cornering grip.
-A kickass promo video showing a dude doing stunts in the rain.
-Basically everything the Michelin Road 5 is but... Bridgestone!

Time to change?  Yes, lets do it!   :woohoo:   

What do you mean 2-3 weeks lead time on shipping!?   ???

LOL, so, what had happened was the only distributor who had the tire in stock had a data breach and shut down operations entirely with an estimated return to business of the 20th of December.   :technical:   Mind you I can still log in to their portal and see what warehouses they'd be sending these tires from.  Looks like Georgia or Indiana or something midwest/east-coasty and I'm in Arizona, so if I wait until the 20th to order I'll probably miss my window to use my roommate's car, that's even with the assumption things are back to business on time.
Well, I guess it's back to the Road 5s.
...
Or is it?
It's the week of the 20th now.
What's that, a different vendor now has the T32 available?  Whats that. it's in a closer warehouse!?  What's that, you can all but guarantee delivery before Christmas!?!   :bowdown:
Oh, nevermind, I ran over a razor blade or something and now I have a cut in my rear tire's tread.

So I ended up having to buy the Road 5s off my store's shelf anyway.  :dunno_black:

So now I can't help but speculate.  There was a freak event that prevented me from getting the T32s initially, and at the last minute when I was thinking I could still get them I was basically forced to stay with my usual choice due to another freak event.  Fate?  Or coincidence?   :cheers:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 01:05:22 AM by Watcher »
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Offline mr72

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2021, 06:19:18 AM »
I have recently replaced the tires on my Triumph and one of my scooters, and I can attest that tires are hard to find these days, and you had better be ready for a wait. I did surprisingly get my scooter tires much sooner than expected. FWIW those are Michelins and they are pretty fantastic, for a scooter (S1).

Do you get a discount on the tires off the shelf in CG? If not, would you still be such an advocate of the Michelins?

FWIW I did consider, very strongly, the PR4 and PR5s for my Triumph. They don't make the right sizes for me in the 5s, but they do in the 4. I ended up with Avons and I am extremely happy with them, mostly because finding the Michelins in stock in the sizes I needed was basically impossible. I did put not-recommended size rear Avon tire on my bike but it works great.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2021, 02:19:41 PM »
I also love Road 5s. Iím 13,000 miles into a set and looks like I still have 20% tire life left. Iím not going to say itís the best ST tire you can buy though.  I think that the Road 5 pushed the entire industry forward and we have far more really good sport touring tires to choose from than we did even a few years ago. I hear the new compound in the BT45s (or is it BT46 now?) is great. My wifeís 2018 bike has a set of Pirellis that seem great.
All my tire opinions were formed 10 to 15 years ago and I donít think any of that info is relevant anymore.
My next set of tires will be Pirelli Sport Demons just because I got a front tire for free. The sport demon used to be one of the top tires for the GS500 but I think thatís a tire that has fallen behind the technology curve.

I still recommend the Road 5s to people who can afford a set but I wonder if I know what Iím talking about.  The problem is it takes a couple years to develop a complete opinion of a tire and by then the entire industry has moved forward.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 02:23:54 PM by Bluesmudge »

Offline mr72

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2021, 02:46:46 PM »
That free front Sport Demon may match really well with a Michelin Pilot Street Radial in the rear on your GS500 or other light sport/standard. I loved that combo on my GS and then also on my Bonneville.

Of course the Avon 3D-XM, which have now been replaced by the Spirit ST (virtually identical tire), are a few notches better than the Sport Demon / PSR combo. I didn't like the way the Pilot Street Radial went near the end of its life, got very soft and squirrely, particularly on the off camber roundabout I have to ride nearly every time I go anywhere. That's what pushed me away from Michelins radials when the Bonneville needed new tires. Plus, all the Triumph guys were raving about the Avons, the reviews marked them very close to level with the Road 5s, they were substantially cheaper, available in the size I needed, and they're British tires, which seemed fitting.

To keep the multinational thing going on my Indian Vespa, I put Michelins on it, adding a little Frenchness. Plus, it's not like you have a lot of choices for good tires in a 3.50-10. I an super tempted to put minibike knobbies on the spare Stella and go ride it on a tour of gravel roads. I guess I'd need to make up some kind of scratch plate to keep rocks from dinging the crap out of the underside of the body/frame.

Offline Watcher

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2021, 09:40:15 AM »
I have recently replaced the tires on my Triumph and one of my scooters, and I can attest that tires are hard to find these days, and you had better be ready for a wait.

Yeah, I'm noticing that for quite a lot of customers' tire requests, but it seems to mostly be with cruiser sizes and types.  Most of the tires my shop usually stocks seem to be ok for availability, but Metzeler Marathons and some Dunlops seem to be harder to get.  Dirtbike tires were in short supply for a while, too.

Do you get a discount on the tires off the shelf in CG? If not, would you still be such an advocate of the Michelins?

Yes, but they don't have to be off the shelf, I can order whatever I want and get employee pricing on it. 
I think I'd still advocate the Michelins regardless.  They're within "as close as makes no difference" pricing range of several competitors, and that holds true for my cost.  I think the Bridgestones were going to be like $10 cheaper for me, at retail there's like an $8 difference, lol.


I ended up with Avons and I am extremely happy with them, mostly because finding the Michelins in stock in the sizes I needed was basically impossible.

I'm interested to get your take on Avon.  The only ones I've ever ordered for customers were the Cobra and/or Cobra CHROME for cruisers, usually with really fat rear wheels, and I haven't gotten any real feedback.  No news is good news, I guess, but I like details.

I also love Road 5s. I’m 13,000 miles into a set and looks like I still have 20% tire life left. I’m not going to say it’s the best ST tire you can buy though.  I think that the Road 5 pushed the entire industry forward and we have far more really good sport touring tires to choose from than we did even a few years ago.

Maybe you're right, when the R5 came out it was really innovative with the design and bold with the claims they made, and as far as I can tell those claims were realized.  Other tires may have come along afterward that are improved, but the real question is are they better enough to warrant trying instead?
Some to me seem like instead of being better designed they're just made with more modern materials.  That's kinda what I feel about the Angel GT2.  They went back to that center-line radial rain sipe on the front, which is pretty archaic of a design choice.  I've heard from users that they tend to "tramline" as a result, but the compounds are better than the previous generation GT.  I'm hearing similar longevity as the R5, but with what I consider to be a lesser tread I wouldn't recommend it, especially considering they're only about $10-15 less than the R5 is.
Even still, there's not really that much to set models apart in the mainstay tire brands.   Continental does an interesting thing where they basically heat-treat different hardness zones in a single rubber compound, but it's so different from what everyone else does I don't know if I trust it (seems to me it would lose its temper after too many heat cycles, but the reality is probably that the tires don't get hot enough in normal use for that to be an issue).
Dunlop just seems, I dunno, average?  Pirelli I'm not a fan of for reasons.  Metzeler seems good quality but nothing from them really seems to stand out to me.  Avon I just don't really know much about.  And Heidnau/Mitas are a little too obscure to go for unless I'm getting a specialty tire.
That leaves me with Michelin and Bridgestone, and while I wanted to try the Bridgestones I couldn't, lol.


All my tire opinions were formed 10 to 15 years ago and I don’t think any of that info is relevant anymore.

Hard to say.  Seems to me like the brands haven't changed all that radically in the way their tires "feel" or the quality of their manufacturing, just that as technology has improved everything has gotten a little better.  What you liked a decade ago you'll probably still like today.  Of course opinions are just that, and just because I think something is "the best" subjectively doesn't mean it's "the best" objectively.  Taste honestly does contribute a lot to tire choice.

My next set of tires will be Pirelli Sport Demons just because I got a front tire for free. The sport demon used to be one of the top tires for the GS500 but I think that’s a tire that has fallen behind the technology curve.

I agree, the tread design is quite a ways behind.  I also find the Sport Demon to be too hard/stiff, but that's a complaint I have about basically all Pirellis.  I would only personally run Pirelli on my bikes as an emergency decision, I really don't like them.

I still recommend the Road 5s to people who can afford a set but I wonder if I know what I’m talking about.  The problem is it takes a couple years to develop a complete opinion of a tire and by then the entire industry has moved forward.

Yeah, it can be quite hard with tires.  Unlike with, say, helmets where you could ride in several different ones back to back to back you can't easily compare and contrast tires in the same way.  At the same time, like helmets tires are an investment that can last a long time so the chances to try something different don't come around that often unless you've got the dosh to spare.
I guess if you really hated your tires someone will always be willing to buy them used so can recoup some cost, at least.
Regardless, I've liked the R5 enough to run them again and again whereas every other tire I've had before, be it tires I got with a bike or tires I've put on myself, I've "gotten my money's worth" from and put on something different.  It's a lot like my Monster in that its the first tire I've really clicked with and that's kept me on the straight and narrow ever since, lol.

It's not like you have a lot of choices for good tires in a 3.50-10. I an super tempted to put minibike knobbies on the spare Stella and go ride it on a tour of gravel roads. I guess I'd need to make up some kind of scratch plate to keep rocks from dinging the crap out of the underside of the body/frame.

We started stocking the Shinko Mobber in my store for people on Groms/Monkeys who wanted something sort of DS-esque, they're gaining popularity.  Shinko makes a cheap tire but for something that small for a little fling you really can't go wrong.  The 421 in 3.50-10 is only like $35.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2021, 10:08:44 AM by Watcher »
"The point of a journey is not to arrive..."

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Offline mr72

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2021, 09:58:43 AM »
Shinko 421s would be bad to the bone on my Stella. Hard to justify banging up an unrusted, straight and otherwise usable rare scooter. But it's tempting. Maybe I can find someone to trade me a grom clone for it. Or seriously, if I can find a Sachs Madass 125 .. THAT might be the ultimate beach bike... I even have a little bit of money burning a hole in my pocket; enough that I could add it to what I could get for the Stella and easily buy a Madass.

FWIW my initial impressions of the Avon 3D-XM is that they are spectacular. But I can't compare them to a PR5, which might be even more spectacular, IDK. Could be just a good match for my not-so-stock Bonneville. They are good enough that I wouldn't hesitate to replace them with the exact same tire, or a Spirit ST, once these go south. The Avons that were on the bike when I got it (RoadRider) were good, but the front one cupped when it still had a lot of life left in it and it gave me a bad taste for Avon tires. I mean, tyres. We'll see how these get when they are >50% worn.

The Pirelli SD did kind of go off a cliff when it got on the wear indicators on one side. The Pilot Street Radial rear also went off a bit of a cliff, well before it was on the wear indicators. I noticed the PSR was very soft when I took it off compared with the far stiffer Avon that was going back on. I guess wearing off that much rubber made it very pliable, but this was alarming. Plus, inside the PSR there were hundreds of little balls of rubber about the size of BBs. Something really odd about that.

Offline Watcher

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2022, 11:47:20 AM »
I noticed the PSR was very soft when I took it off compared with the far stiffer Avon that was going back on. I guess wearing off that much rubber made it very pliable, but this was alarming. Plus, inside the PSR there were hundreds of little balls of rubber about the size of BBs. Something really odd about that.

Michelin runs a very soft carcass to begin with, so they tend to feel extremely soft  when they reach retirement.  Every tire tends over use, unless it's just sat out in the elements, then they tend to harden.

Rubber "pearls" are something I see on occasion, but not reliably enough to say it's a specific model or brand that "just does it."
It's almost assuredly related for foreign matter in the tire, I often see pearls along side balance beads, as an example.
Or it could be from under inflation, overheating, or other unforseen issues, I'm really not sure.

I still low key want an SSR Razkull, slap some Ducati Monster stickers on there and troll everyone, lol.  They're also cheap enough I could just buy one outright.
Not sure what's stopping me.  Adulting?
"The point of a journey is not to arrive..."

-Neil Peart

Offline mr72

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2022, 12:20:58 PM »
Almost bought a Razkull for $500 a while back. I thought it would be fun and figured I could flip it and make money when I got bored. Storage space pressures prevailed.

Now I have three 125cc motorbikes crammed in my garage. So much for planning.

Offline Bluesmudge

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Re: Was this fate?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2022, 12:16:51 PM »
Well, Michelin ups the bar again and has released the Road 6 for 2022. Sounds like it has everything we like about the Road 5 but has been improved to have  even more wet weather grip, longevity, and cornering feedback.

https://www.michelinman.com/motorcycle/tires/michelin-road-6

I think I'm still going to run a set of Sport Demons as my next GS tire but my wife's Honda CTX700 is almost due for tires so we will try a set of the Road 6's on her bike. I have to give Michelin credit for not resting on their laurels, to continue improving such a good tire.

The Sport Demons last about half the mileage so I'll probably end up with Road 6s on my GS as well within a year or two. I've been riding recently in some torrential rain and also cold weather down to 28 degrees F with the Road 5s, often while pulling a trailer, and I'm constantly impressed by how the Road 5s feel like they are on warm/dry pavement. I've never had a tire do such a good job of transmitting that feeling of grip up through the handlebars. Again, this is after more than 13,000 miles. Amazing tire.


EDIT: Well, I may have to take it all back. Screw you Michelin (maybe). On the Michelin website the Road 6 is not listed in a 110/17 front and 140/17 rear like the Road 5 was, so no go on the GS500. However, Revzilla does list those sizes but they are Out of Stock. I hope Michelin does end up including those sizes or continue to produce the Road 5. Otherwise I'll have to look elsewhere in the future.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 12:33:52 PM by Bluesmudge »

 

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