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 Motorcycle Safety
 General Discussion
 Tire Life Expentancy and Brand Comparison
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Nordic One
Male Junior Member
32 Posts


San Leandro, CA
USA

Yamaha

1100 Silverado

Posted - 01/22/2005 :  8:57 PM                       Like
This weekend I had to replace the rear tire on my bike. First time finding, buying and getting the tire changed.

I have a 2004 Yamaha 1100 Silverado that I purchased at the end of June, 2004. I just rolled through 10,300 miles on it and still had decent tread on both front and rear tires. I had to replace the rear tire due to a puncture ( nice Big bolt driven in low on the left sidewall. Call me paranoid but I just don't want to drive on patched tires.

When I was at the shop, I asked several of the service personnel there what was expected tire life in miles and I was shocked to be informed that 5,000 miles was considered a good number before needing to be replaced.

I would like to hear other experiences on mileage gotten from Tires.

I also would like to hear any opinions on comparisons of tires.

My bike came with Dunlops and I replaced my rear tire with exactly the same.

Also...tire prices seem to be considerably more than for car tires.

I guess I am looking for general knowledge and experience on tires...

Thanks in advance for any information you can share.

Jerry Godell
Male Senior Member
441 Posts


Kansas City, kansas
USA

Harley-Davidson

FXD SuperGlide

Posted - 01/22/2005 :  10:50 PM
The best advise for good mileage and SAFETY. Check your air pressure often. 10,000 miles is good for me. Harley Superglide. I have friends that change at 6000 to 7000. They don't check pressure often enough.
If you have tube type tires always buy new tubes. Never reuse, no matter the mileage.
Tire balance is also very important. Find a good shop.
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timbo
Advanced Member
594 Posts


Uxbridge
United Kingdom

BMW

R1100S

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  8:50 AM
Yes, 10000 miles is very good for a bike tyre. The mileage you will get is dependant on the tread compound and the power of the bike (and how much you use it).
At the extreme end of the scale, a Hayabusa with supersport tyres will give you less than 2000miles on the rear.
I have had a succession of BMW's and a Triumph Sprint ST. I do a lot of commuting and use touring compound tyres and in general I have got about 7-8000 miles on the rear. I would be able to get a few more miles on the front, but always replace them as a pair. As new, my current R1100S had Michelin Sports compound tyres. These lasted less than 5000 miles

Bike tyres have shorter life than cars for 3 reasons
a) The power & loads through the contact patch is much higher per unit area = more wear
b) The compound has to be much softer than car tyres to give the necessary grip = faster wear
c) The initial tread depth is less as if you put the same tread depth on a bike tyre as on a new car tyre, the bike would be quite unstable = less rubber to wear out.

Hope this helps

Tim
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17396 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  9:13 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Most of that is quite accurate. Tire compounds are different on a motorcycle tire than on an automobile not so much so that you can accelerate or brake more quickly using them, but because you must lean a bike to make a turn and that means substantial lateral acceleration demands. In order to be reasonably confident that your tires will not lose traction and slide out from under you they must be able to continue to grip the road while under no less than 1g of acceleration. (When you are leaned over at 45 degrees you are taking 1g of lateral force.)

So, in addition to being softer, they are made using different compounds.

As to tire life ... I have never experienced less than 15,000 miles of useful life on my rear and 20,000 miles on my front tires - on my very large and powerful touring bike. So it's not the power of the bike that limits useful life of a tire. Rather, I think, it's how you use them and, in particular, how faithfully you maintain tire pressure. Underpressured tires account for most tire wear in normal use. Aggressive starts and stops eat rubber at a prodigeous rate. One skidding stop can consume 100's of miles of tire usefulness.

And, just so that the sportsters don't go off on a tangent ... I have dragged a peg or two on the GoldWing in the twisties. My tires are well used and end up worn across a wide surface, not just in the center line.

10,000 miles on a sport bike is probably about right for useful tire life, on a touring bike you are using the wrong tires or are failing to maintain proper tire pressure if you don't regularly double that.
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Indiana Randy
Moderator
2118 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Wayne, Indiana
USA

Honda

2000 Magna V4 750

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  10:36 AM
The above posts are good, but there's another factor in selecting a tire. It depends upon how you ride. Are you aggressive in the corners? Do you regularly ride in the rain? Quick or easy starts and stops?

Ask 10 people what the best tire is for your bike and you'll probably get at least 5 different replies.

Some tires wear better than others because they have a harder compound. This tire is good for someone who's not aggressive in the corners and puts lots of straight highway miles on the bike. For the aggressive rider, a stickier tire would be better, but it won't wear as long. Some tires do better in the rain/wet than others. Some tires make the bike handle better.

A factory tire is going to be a middle of the road tire probably suitable for the 'average' rider.

Have you heard of the Yamaha Star Club? You may want to visit that site. There are a few good threads on tires. (do a google search) You'll see people are experiencing anywhere from 4,700 miles to over 16,000 on a rear tire.
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DoubleDip
Senior Member
262 Posts


Erlanger, Kentucky
USA

Yamaha

650 V-Star Silverado

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  1:15 PM
What is the best gauge for checking a motorcycle tire? I'm familiar with the Lincoln Head of a penny and wear strips for a car tire, is there something similar for a M/C tire?
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timbo
Advanced Member
594 Posts


Uxbridge
United Kingdom

BMW

R1100S

Posted - 01/23/2005 :  3:25 PM
You can actually buy tyre depth gauges. Over here in the UK the legal limit is 1.6mm minimum, but most people replace when down to 2mm or less.

Another thing to watch for is a squared off rear tyre, caused by doing an awful lot of straight line steady speed motorway riding. Bike tyres work and feel best with a good roundish profile - if the tyre gets squared off it feels really evil, and can effectively trash a tyre long before it's actually worn down to the legal limit.
You can help avoid/minimise this by doing gentle weaving from side to side occasionally when cruising - it helps keep the profile. keep it gentle tho' as it scares the car drivers!

Tim
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6960 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  9:25 AM
The best I've ever done on any of the four Ducatis that I've owned is 4000 miles on a rear tire and 6000 miles on a front. But I don't do any freeway riding if I can avoid it and all the rest is either stop and go or spirited riding on twisty roads. In other words, I don't ride in a manner conducive to high mileage.

The Bridgestone BT-020 sport touring tire has given me the best mileage, and the Bridgestone BT-010 sport tire was the worst at 2500 on the rear. The Michelin Macadam 90X was almost as good as the BT-020, but didn't give as good of grip. The original Dunlop D204 that came with the first Monster I owned lasted just slightly better than the BT-010 tires. I understand the Avon AV45/AV46 combination gives better tire mileage for the kind of riding I like, but they're not usually in stock at the local motorcycle shops.

I generally run the rears until the wear bars are showing. The front tires usually get the sides worn off before the middles, so when the edges of the tread begin to show a bit of cupping, I replace them.
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DoubleDip
Senior Member
262 Posts


Erlanger, Kentucky
USA

Yamaha

650 V-Star Silverado

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  6:47 PM
quote:
Originally posted by timbo

You can actually buy tyre depth gauges. Over here in the UK the legal limit is 1.6mm minimum, but most people replace when down to 2mm or less.

Another thing to watch for is a squared off rear tyre, caused by doing an awful lot of straight line steady speed motorway riding. Bike tyres work and feel best with a good roundish profile - if the tyre gets squared off it feels really evil, and can effectively trash a tyre long before it's actually worn down to the legal limit.
You can help avoid/minimise this by doing gentle weaving from side to side occasionally when cruising - it helps keep the profile. keep it gentle tho' as it scares the car drivers!

Tim



Tim
Thanks for the info on the tire gauge

There is a place in North Carolina called Deal's Gap "The Dragon" http://www.dealsgap.com 318 curves in 11 miles. Well Kentucky is sort of prepatory course for Deal's Gap.
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OB
Male Advanced Member
529 Posts


Houston, TX
USA

Buell

1125CR and others

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  8:01 PM
You got several answers here and you can see the range.

Jim Davis was running touring tires on his Wing, (Believe they were the Dunlop K491s but could be mistaken). His reported mileage would be near the top of the scale for vast majority of most motorcyclists, however, the tires for his bike were compounded by the manufacturer for high mileage.

Have tried most of the tires Scott Nelson mentioned on my Bandit (or their sucessors) He gets less mileage than I do, but, I never got over 7k on any of the ones I've tried on the Bandit. The BT-010 is the performance oriented tire, and I would expect low mileage. I've tried the Dunlop D205, Bridestone BT-020 and the Michelen Macadam 90X (which they don't make anymore due to notorious cupping, replaced by the Macadam 100X I beleive). They are "sport-touring" tires and should get a little more mileage than the true performance oriented street tires.

Most people change their rear tires more often. I don't get the large spread most people do. I would like to figure that one out, but haven't. I am about ready for a front tire when the rear wears out and I usually change the front when I change the rear.

My mileage on my last three bikes typical per tire follow.

Yamaha Virago 6-9K
Bandit 5-7K
Valkyrie 8-13k (of the 7 pairs I have had on the Valk, I only changed the first set at 8K, all the rest were 10K or above) with Original Dunlop D206, 1 pair of Bridestones at about 7k, I really had bad luck with those and will not buy them again for the Valk. Presently have Avon Vipers and according to my friends and on-line groups give the best mileage. Should expect 15-20K, we will see, so far so good.

My opinion? Touring bikes have tires that fit them to obtain high mileage (at the expense of traction). Cruisers are following the line of touring bikes with longer mileage tires becoming the standard. I have never heard of any one with a sport or sport-touring bikes getting anything close to 10k on a tire. Most of the time it is substantially lower and I am afraid that I can not personally say that I have broken that trend.

And by all means keep an eye on tire pressure, that definitely is the most important thing about tires. Keep them properly inflated.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

quote:
Originally posted by Nordic One

<snip>

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Victory
Advanced Member
633 Posts
[Mentor]


Pawcatuck, CT
USA

Victory

10th Anny Vision

Posted - 01/26/2005 :  6:58 AM
I beleive tire pressure is the number one thing to stay on top of for your tires. I would also check fork fluid, tire tracking (bushings, wheel bearings and such) to mention a few. Think about what the road surface is that you ride (remember when they put glass and old tires in the asphalt?). How you ride like others have said. My good mech spins the tires after mounting on the bike to make sure they track straight and true. It's time consuming but I think it's worth it.
Dunlops are the only M/C tire made in the USA that I know of. I like Avons which are owned by Cooper. Many of my friends like Metzlers. (sp?)
I think the Dunlops are a great all around tire and give good mileage. I like the way the Avons handle in the twisties on a big bike.
Perhaps you could find others with bikes like yours and see what they like/dislike about certain tires on your model bike.
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04

Posted - 02/02/2005 :  9:15 AM
When it comes to brakes and tires I rather error on the side of caution...especially if my bride is riding 2 up with me. I just changed my tire at 10K even though the service manager said I had about 2k left on the tire.

Ciao,

BadaBing
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Stormin
Starting Member
6 Posts


USA

Posted - 02/03/2005 :  6:51 PM
Some great info and comparisons here. I think tire compounds have tremendously improved over the past 20 yrs. On my 83 Shadow 750, that I did 2 cross country's on, I averaged about 5k on the rear, and usually 9-10k on the front. Let me say, right up front, that I usually replace ALL tires, on ANYthing, before they get close to bald. Usually when I can easily see the "wear bars", I replace the tires. Something about safety. If I can;t afford good tires, I don't need the ride in my stable.

James Davis, a question sir: you talked about hard starts and stops really affecting tire life, and I agree. Something I have NEVER understood here though, that you may be able to shed some light on, and that is the hard starting principle. I do NOT spin tires on a bike. Now I can SEE how spinning tires, or skidding stops would decrease tire life, but it SEEMS that tire life is decreased with just hard acceleration. Any thoughts on why that decreases tire life, in the absence of spinning the tire? My turbo is due a rear tire now (a metzler), at less than 5k on it. My 1100 Spirit has 6700 on the stock Avon rear, and still has good tread.

Norm
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17396 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 02/03/2005 :  7:00 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Tire traction is made up of two components: stick and grip. The stick part is normal friction/adhesion. The grip part comes from the ability of the rubber to deform and surround imperfections in the surface being driven on. In that way the tire is able to provide some 'push' against the side of those imperfections in addition to just friction.

Anyway, rubber compounds are merely bound together strands of polymer, typically well aligned one with the other. Acceleration and deceleration (of the kind that does not result in melting the rubber and/or shredding rubber to be left as marks on the ground nevertheless does stress and break those strands. Broken strands end up shed from the tire. Enough shedding and you have visibly reduced the deapth of tread.

The front tire has about half the exposure to shedding (as opposed to shredding) as does the rear tire as it is only exposed to braking stress while the rear has both braking and acceleration stresses.
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 03/04/2005 :  3:09 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
First of all I thank you people for sharing so much of your experiences in these discussion forums. I have learned quite a lot from these posts already in my few months of riding.

In my previous life I used to race a car in local amateur club events and used to do all my mods both on the engine but also the chassis suspension and tyre selection. All the points mentioned are correct but I guess that there is another factor that should be considered in a tyre's life apart from the remaining thread depth. It's the (shelf) life of the rubber even if the tyre is not used at all and is still on the dealer's shelf. The same applies if the bike spends a number of months in a year idle in a garage (without adding up the miles), its tyres are still losing their useful life.

While in the short term this natural aging can be cured by using the bike again and scrubbing the hardened rubber to expose a new layer. There is not much that you can do when this aging process affects the sidewalls. I learned this through experience when one day I went to a garage clearout sale of racing slick tyres and bought a set for my car. It looked like a real bargain. A set of new slicks still with stickers on for a bargain price.

Visually they appeared perfect until i put the weight of the car on them and tiny hairline cracks started appearing on the sidewalls which were bad enough to leak air in such a fast rate that I had to pump air into them after every heath of a best of 3 runs hillclimb event. While the tyres were new in terms of thread depth and level of grip, the sidewalls were weak and I lost confidence in them and kept thinking that one would eventually blow out especially under hard cornering forces. I only did one or two events with them and threw them away. I lost confidence in them and in turn it affected my performance.

So I guess its not only mileage that should be considered but also the number of years that they have been in use. I do the odd car mechanic job for a few friends as a hobby. Many times I give them advice to replace their tyres and they reply that why should they, pointing out that there's still life left in them, basing their argument on the amount of thread depth left. They seldom stop and look at the cracking sidewalls!

Edited by - marsam on 03/04/2005 3:23 PM
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administrator
Forum Admin
86 Posts


USA

Posted - 09/06/2005 :  4:15 PM
Recovered from Archive today.
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