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Thread: Rear Tire Wear

  1. #1
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Rear Tire Wear

    I used to use a spacer, and run 4.125" Dunlop Elites on prior Airheads, and could usually squeeze 25,000 out of them, probably shoulda changed them a 20,000 though. This current Airhead came with nearly new Kenda tires, front and rear. It's nice to see the Mono shock Airheads now come stock with the metric equivalent of 4.25", but this Kenda is wearing very quickly. It currently has about 2500 miles on it, and looks about half worn out. The front appears barely broken in though. When this rear tire wears out, I'll replace it with something else. I recall the old Dunlop Elites were brick hard, and not real good in rain, but it was a trade off for mileage. Today, a bit older and wiser, I place more priority on tire handling, but still hope to get 10-15 thousand miles out of a rear tire. That's one thing I like about running, "dark side" (car tire) on the Goldwing, the run flat is a safety feature not available on any MC tire (yet). An RF Bridgestone DriveGuard lasts me about 25,000 miles, and handles well in all types of weather and road conditions.

    What kinda mileage are others here getting out of Airhead rear tires nowadays, and what are some of the popular tires to run on the rear?
    Thanks
    Last edited by jhall; 11-17-2020 at 12:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Unregistered User dduelin's Avatar
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    Not currently on an airhead but when I was on my R100 I rode on Bridgestone Spitfire S-11 tires. I never felt they lacked for grip in all weathers and a rear went around 10,000 miles. I think the oem was 110/90-18 but I ran 120/90 on the back.
    Dave

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    R1200RT

  3. #3
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    I put new Bridgestones on my R65 before I went to TN last summer and looking at it now it's pretty worn with only 10 000 km's on the tire.
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    I get 10 -12,000 miles out of the Avon AM26 Roadrider, rear, best performer I've had on my R100S.
    Dave Hutton '78 R100S (mfg 7/77)

  5. #5
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Rear tire wear

    Well, to add in, I get about 9K on Dunlop tires and the same on Metzler. I go back and forth between the two due to availability at the shop I do business with.

    I was just reading an article in the BMW Rider's Association about some guy who uses some kind of a car tire on the back end of a K1600 bike. He claims it lasts much longer and costs a lot less than a dedicated motorcycle tire. It is this month's magazine and the article is "From the Dark side

    "https://bmwra.org/otl-magazine/otl-november-december-2020/


    Too bad we can't do this with our airheads, lol. Cheers, St.

  6. #6
    Registered User jad01's Avatar
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    Are Motorcycle Tires a Ripoff? The Darkside Car Tire Experiment

    Jim (MOA 83200)
    '78 R80/7 (Anastasia) and '84 R100RS (The Millennium Falcon), '86 K75C (Icy Hot)
    '90 and '93 Mazda Miatas (Jelly Bean and Red Hot), '97 Nissan XE PU (Mighty Mouse)
    '96 Giant Upland (big Kendas, baby!)

  7. #7
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Next Rear Tire

    I looked up several tires today in 120/90-18, including Avon AM26 and a few Dunlops. Will probably go with AM26 for next tire. Probably should go ahead and order one, as it looks like it will be needed in another 2000-3000 miles. This Kenda is wearing faster than any tire I've seen in awhile.
    Thanks for all the input.

    As for dark siding, it is a controversial issue and, of course, discouraged by MC tire manufacturers. I would not have even tried it, but for run flat technology. The GL1800 GW accepts a rear tire size (195/55/16) that is common on MiniCooper, BMW, Mercedes and several other cars. Thanks to run flat technology, those cars no longer need a spare; they simply drive at 45-50 MPH, up to 50-75 miles, to the nearest repair facility, same as if using a doughnut spare.
    You can buy a top of the line Run Flat tire for about same price as a mediocre MC tire, and usually get 15,000-25,000 miles out of it. There have been several reports of darksiders experiencing flats, or even catastrophic air loss, and most did not even know it, till slowed down, or TPMS alerted. So the run flat functions on a MC the same as it does on a car. Admittedly, there's a bit of, "wonky" feeling when first riding dark side, but within 100 miles it seems natural. Some car tires are more flat across the tread than others (which causes wonkiness), so darksiders tend to choose the rounded ones. Probably the best currently available are the Pirelli P1 and Snow Control. If there was a run flat car tire that fit an Airhead, it would be my next rear tire. Unfortunately, there isn't.
    Last edited by jhall; 11-18-2020 at 03:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Controversy

    Shoot, imagine the controversy in the airhead world if someone did come up with a car tire to fit! The tubeless snowflake wheels debate flares up now and again and BMW has gone beyond tube type tires even in spoked rims years ago. LOL,

  9. #9
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Dunlop E4?

    Has anyone here tried a Dunlop Elite 4 on an Airhead? I ran one on a Goldwing, and it is made of 2 rubber compounds. The compound in the middle wears like iron, and the sides wear normally, as most tires do. They are good for 18,000-20,000 on a GW, for those who mostly ride on the Interstate.
    BMWMOA #24809

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jhall View Post
    They are good for 18,000-20,000 on a GW, for those who mostly ride on the Interstate.
    Are there actual BMW riders who "mostly ride on the Interstate? In a 20,000 mile year of riding I typically ride on the Interstate less than 100 miles. Some places it is the only practical route but I usually avoid those places.
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  11. #11
    Unregistered User dduelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhall View Post
    Has anyone here tried a Dunlop Elite 4 on an Airhead? I ran one on a Goldwing, and it is made of 2 rubber compounds. The compound in the middle wears like iron, and the sides wear normally, as most tires do. They are good for 18,000-20,000 on a GW, for those who mostly ride on the Interstate.
    I don't believe the Elite 4 is made in sizes to fit your bike. I went to their web site and they make a 19" front but no rear size.
    Dave

    GL1800
    R1200RT

  12. #12
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Amazment

    It never ceases to amaze me the fantastic amount of different sizes there are for motorcycle tires. It kind of explains a bit of why they are so high priced. So many small batches made in so many sizes.

    Makes me wonder if the motorcycle industry had standardized tires sizes to perhaps, (I will throw out a number to make my point,) 20 instead of 200, the manufacturing companies could crank out bigger batches cheaper.

    Hopefully you all will get the drift of what I am thinking. St.

  13. #13
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Narrowed Down To Two Tires

    Based on feedback here, and reading on-line reviews, I have narrowed it down to Avon AM26 or Michelin Pilot Active. In addition to here, the AM26 has lots of on-line reviews by Airhead riders, and everyone speaks well of it. The Pilot Active may be a bit newer technology, but seems on par with the AM26. Either of them will yield about 8,000 to 12,000 miles, depending on the rider I guess.

    Yesterday, I was reminded of the difference between street tires and ADV tires. I like rural roads here in KY, including one lane black top and gravel, and most always include them in a daily ride. Yesterday I went down a gravel road I was last on with a Suzuki Strom, maybe 6 weeks ago. The Strom's tires make it as sure footed as a billygoat. Yesterday, some sections of the gravel had been freshly graded, and it tossed the Airhead all over the road, often darting. I came to a steep hill and left the bike in 2nd, when I shoulda dropped to 1st. I quickly reached unsafe speed so dropped it in 1st and began to feather the front brake. At one point, it nearly darted off the side of the road, beside a steep bank. After that, I paid a lot more attention, and paused to reflect on the difference between tires. Not gonna install dual purpose tires on the Airhead, but definitely gonna take it a little easier on gravel. Long as I use care, the Airhead will go about anyplace I wanna go, but it ain't no Strom. LOL
    BMWMOA #24809

  14. #14
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Have you ever seen

    Joe, have you ever seen old pictures of guys riding R100RS bikes in the woods like a trail bike? In fact I think I remember one of the MOA magazines had a picture of a S bike being ridden on a fire road or off road just recently, Well recently in the past year or so, sorry I am too lazy to look for it, LOL. St.

  15. #15
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Steven,
    I have no intention of using the Airhead as a trail bike, but do enjoy the KY backroads. I draw the line where ground clearance becomes an issue. That's probably the biggest drawback with the GoldWing, it does not like to be taken off the asphalt. Not many videos of folks riding them in gravel, and I understand why.

    The Strom is a great bike for on & off road, but it was just not my stye, so I sold it to my son. The Airhead is a nice compromise, comfortable enough on and off the asphalt, but not the best in either. It is working out very well for me so far. I am gonna stay with street tires, because that's where it primarily will live, but I would not be satisfied with it, if I could not ride on gravel once in awhile. Biggest pain is, it gets dusty. LOL
    BMWMOA #24809

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