Best tires for a metric cruiser?

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by That One, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. That One

    That One Guest

    OK- I gotta buy new tires for my Kawasaki Mean Streak 1600. I heard nothing
    but bad news for the OEM Dunlop radials that it came with, although I have
    had no particular problems with them.

    Since these damn things are so expensive anyway, I want to get the best

    That One, Nov 11, 2009
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  2. Round black ones.

    Go to and buy what's on sale.

    Don't worry, be happy.
    Shantideva Upasaka, Nov 11, 2009
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  3. That One

    That One Guest

    Round black ones.

    Go to and buy what's on sale.

    Don't worry, be happy.

    Well this doesn't seem to be too awful fucking helpful. However, they do
    have one tire that will fit:

    Bridgestone Exedra G850 Blackwall Tire

    Are these things better or worse than the Dunlops I have now?

    Other sites have Michelin, Avon, and Kenda tires listed for my bike. Maybe
    That One, Nov 12, 2009
  4. Worse. They will give you Excedrin headache #2 because they are so
    Personally, I like Metzlers (made by the same people that make
    Pirellis which they charge more for.

    When I can't get Metzler's, I go for Dunlops.

    Cheng Shin is a Chinese brand which is trying to improve its
    reputation by rebranding their tires as "Maxxis". I have a SuperMaxx
    front tire on my Yamaha because nobody else makes a tire in that size.
    Nagarjuna's Catuskoti clawed me!, Nov 12, 2009

  5. Oh, look, KrustyUS has morphed again.
    No, it's not. It's Taiwanese. We've done this before.
    The Maxxis has nothing in common the CS tyres of the 1970s. In fact,
    it's pretty good in my experience, if you want a decent touring tyre.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 12, 2009
  6. That One

    Bob Scott Guest

    Indeed - I remember earl '80s Cheng Shins as being teflon terrors and
    was pleasantly surprised when we tried them on my wife's bike a few
    years back. They gripped better than the Pirellis they replaced & lasted

    If they were readily available in the sizes my Laverda uses I'd be using
    them on it.
    Bob Scott, Nov 12, 2009
  7. That One

    TOG@Toil Guest

    I had a set on my Kawasaki GT750 (I think - might have been my 900
    Diversion). Neither was an out-and-out sports bike, but the tyres were
    "fine for the type of bike". Lozzo on ukrm rather rates them as well,
    and his is an opinion to respect.
    TOG@Toil, Nov 12, 2009
  8. That One

    Greg.Procter Guest

    The only advice I can offer is keep the same brand front and rear!

    Greg.Procter, Nov 13, 2009
  9. Tires are designed in sets, of front and rear, and of course are
    either bias ply or

    A motorcycle owner is well advised to use the original equipment tire
    (if he can still get it) and not to change the tire size or carcass

    Of course I learned all of this the hard way, by experimenting with
    over-sized tires in the hopes of getting more traction from a
    theoretically wider tire...
    Nagarjuna's Catuskoti clawed me!, Nov 13, 2009
  10. Nonsense.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 13, 2009
  11. That One

    frijoli Guest


    Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with the OEM
    tire, but that doesn't mean it's the best.

    Generally speaking the OEM size is good, and is chosen
    according to engineering calculations, but the brand and
    type is picked by the lowest bidder for that size and type.

    Tire technology also changes quickly, so do the research,
    and IF you choose the OEM tire then so be it, but don't
    choose it for any other reason than it was the best choice
    for you.

    frijoli, Nov 14, 2009
  12. Quite. I remember my Duke came fitted with Michelin Macadams - a
    dreadful rock-hard touring tyre.
    This is another good point that I hadn't considered. According to
    Krusty's logic, if you have a 30 year-old bike, you should seek out 30
    yer-old tyres for it.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 14, 2009
  13. That's a dated story from the mid-1970's. We live in the 21st century,
    if you haven't noticed.

    The bean counters at Japan Inc. used to buy tires in mass quantities
    because they could save a nickel on each tire and a Honda CB750 only
    had about 50 horsepower and would barely go 120 mph.

    Japan Inc. could, and did, get way with selling motorcycles with
    capital-C Crappy

    But, as demands for performance and higher continuous speeds
    increased, the demands on tires became greater and Japan Inc.
    requested tires to be built to meet those demands.

    So, if you go to the Bridgestone web site looking for aftermarket
    replacement tires, you will find that there is a generic BS tire of
    many offering, and there is
    a *model-specific* version of a tire with an otherwise generic set of
    model numbers.

    IOW, there are versions of Battle Ax tires that are specifically
    designed for BMW's or Kawasaki ZX's, etc., but you wouldn't know which
    Battle Ax was specific for a particular machine if you were browsing
    the tire rack at a discount
    parts outlet.

    And, when the online catalog stores are offering deep discounts on MC
    tires, you
    need to know whether the tire you're mail ordering is a generic
    aftermarket replacement or model specific part number.
    Nagarjuna's Catuskoti clawed me!, Nov 14, 2009
  14. That One

    frijoli Guest

    That was from experience as I used to work for Bridgestone
    in the sales and engineering group. I don't know what
    article you are referring to either way.

    As I said tires are engineered into the bikes according to
    the needs of the bike and riding type. Then, and this IS a
    fact even today, the specifications are sent to the tire
    manufacturers and they BID on the project.

    You are correct too in that model specific tires are used.
    However, the model specific tire are in fact a CHEAPER
    version of the same non model specific in most cases. In
    cases that the model specific tire is not a cheaper version,
    then they are the SAME as all the other tires of that type
    and model.
    frijoli, Nov 14, 2009
  15. No argument. But thast was because Japan itself couldn't *make* decen
    tyres, and they were unwilling to import quality rubber.
    Well, duh.
    In other words, Japan does make decent tyres.

    And they're called 'Battlax' tyres anyway.

    You really don' know what you're talking about.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 14, 2009
  16. That One

    frijoli Guest

    Fair enough.
    My comment was a little too broad, and was directed at the
    post that you should always use the exact same tire as was
    put on at the factory.

    In your case and in others there are no tires that fit the
    stock product lines, and special tires are developed to meet
    the engineering criteria for the motorcycle. I stand by what
    I said though, that the specs are given to the
    manufacturers, and the lowest bidder typically gets the

    That doesn't mean there isn't a BETTER tire available.
    frijoli, Nov 14, 2009
  17. Two typos in one sentence, from an Englishman who's arrogantly proud
    of his
    superior knowledge of the language?

    The horror! The horror!

    So far as I know, there are NO rubber trees in Japan, and all natural
    rubber is probably imported from Southeast Asia or South America.

    Natural rubber is very adhesive and offers good traction, but it wears
    out rapidly.

    The OEM tires on my 1974 Suzuki GT750L were natural rubber Inoue tires
    made in Japan. They only lasted 5000 miles and that started me off on
    a search for tires that would last much longer in touring use.

    I tried exactly ONE Dunlop K-81, it was a natural rubber Irish-built
    K-81 that
    only lasted 3,000 miles.

    But the grip was fantastic! All the Ricky Racers in Los Angeles knew
    to look for the "made in Ireland" on the sidewalls when they bought
    K-81's off the rack.

    A cheapskate BMW rider steered me towards Cheng Shin tires which
    lasted longer, but I didn't like the tread pattern. He claimed that he
    was getting 22K miles on Cheng Shin rear tires on his /5 (or whatever)

    I also tried Nitto tires, which wore very well and Dunlop provided
    long lasting K-81 Mk II's and K-181's that wore like iron under daily
    commuting on California's abrasive concrete freeways.

    I finally got scared of the hard Dunlop K-181 rear and replaced it
    after nearly 15K miles. That's the longest-lasting rear tire I ever

    Sometime during the 1980's Bridgestone began compounding more
    expensive synthetic rubber with natural rubber to make their Spitfire
    series of tires wear better.

    I don't know where Japanese manufacturers get their synthetic rubber
    from, but it would seem reasonable that it comes from some place that
    has lots of petroleum,
    perhaps Malyasia?
    That remark seems to fit you and your catamite Smee very well.
    Since the mid-1980's, anyway. But the OEM Excedra front tire on my
    GS-1100EZ was memorable for having very little grip and the the front
    end didn't feel

    A knowledgeable friend who owned a Yamaha Eurosport wanted to show me
    how he could slide my GS1100 around corners like he'd slid his own
    GS-1100ET around, on a road that was very well known to both of us.

    So we swapped and I rode his Eurosport which had race compound K-81 MK-
    II's and I flat ran away and hid from him on his own motorcycle.

    About five minutes later, he arrived at the hangout and declared that
    my Suzuki's front wheel didn't seem "planted" at all. Part of that was
    due to the difference in weight distribution between his Suzuki and
    mine, but it was mostly that gawdawful BS Excedra tire.
    Oh, goody. Now I can point out your typos, too!
    Nagarjuna's Catuskoti clawed me!, Nov 14, 2009
  18. That One

    frijoli Guest

    Actually those are excellent tires. I rode a friends FJR and
    can say those tires STICK.
    I personally am a fan of Metzeler tires and have been for
    years. I haven't had any issues from any I have used or abused.

    frijoli, Nov 14, 2009
  19. So far as I know, the first British tires to be compounded with
    synthetic rubber were Avon Speedmasters in the mid-1960's. The parts
    guy at a large motorcycle emporium in Inglewood steered me to the
    Avons when I told him I was going to mount wider rims and tires on my
    Yamaha 250cc cafe racer.

    He called the high hysteresis synthetic rubber "cling rubber".

    But I wasn't a good enother rider to find out how well they would

    Then Dunlop came out with their K-81 trigonic section offerings, but I
    was getting heavy into desert riding and didn't buy any at that
    Nagarjuna's Catuskoti clawed me!, Nov 14, 2009
  20. By "rubber "I meant "tyres" obviously.

    And your attempts to divert posts away from your fatuity is pathetic.

    You were, and are, talking nonsense.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 15, 2009
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