Motorcycle Tires... Changing Brands May Yield an Improved Ride
The bike only had 4,000 miles on it when I bought her. I put a few more miles on that original set of tires before replacing the rear tire... I was a bit nervous. Thinking a $300+ tire every 4000 miles or so was gonna sting a bit! It was in my mind that the first owner was at fault.
The front tire I bought the bike with took me more than 12,000 miles and got replaced on my ride up the Alaskan Highway at the Yamaha Dealer in Anchorage, Alaska.
Now, I'd heard plenty of guys criticizing the Metzler Motorcycle Tires. But honestly, those first couple tires seemed to work ok.
That next back tire(I put a full set on in Anchorage) gave me just over 9,000 miles and probably could have gone a few more safely. The previous owner had likely been, I thought, harder on the throttle than I. I put a fresh rear tire on in Hamilton, Montana with the front tire promising to make 12 or 14 thousand miles before giving out.
Less than 4,000 miles later, after a 175 mile high speed two up ride across the Arizona desert... I spotted this when we'd got back to camp. (we've been wandering full time for more than two years now)
I'd been hearing lots of people complain about various problems they'd had with the Metzler brand and wanted to change... I simply hadn't had the "issues" and just hadn't ever gotten my ambition pumped up enough to do that.
This tire failing in such an unexpected way, gave me the motivation.
Well I chose the Avon Cobra tires, and also chose to move up from the factory 210 size on the rear to the fatter 240 profile.
I wasn't half way home from the Bike shop that I had swap the tires for me when I realized how much better the bike handled with that new Avon tire profile.
When you Look at the Metzler profile, (this is also the other side of the Failed tire) their Motorcycle Tires for the rear of the Raider have a varying radius across the tread. It actually almost comes to a peak in the center.
I hardly ever got to the outside of the tire, even though I tend to scrape the pegs fairly often! :)
Looking at the Avon tire in the pic below, it's far smoother and more even in the Radius across the face of the tire.
Now mounted, it's wearing evenly, as far as I can tell, all the way to the extreme outside edge of the tread... it's using the entire tire.
If you look real close at the Metzler pic, you can see the darker band of the "flat spot" in the middle. I cleaned the tire a lil' too much for a good picture! :)
The result for me... which I attribute to that smoother profile is a much smoother and better handling cruiser. The bike just rolls from one side to the other, smoother and for lack of a better word, more gracefully.
It wasn't until I put the Avon on that I realized the Metzler was causing me to have to make constant, small little steering corrections to compensate for that changing radius... at least that's how I perceive it.
Now, I pick a line and the bike just rolls through a corner without those constant little course corrections.
Another plus is, the Avon tires seem to "Track" road grooves and cracks less than those old tires. Kind of a nice bonus.
The bike also seems to "Stick" stronger. I expect that's because the Avon tire is reputed to be a bit softer rubber. Now some will say that's gonna make it wear faster, and I expect that's true. The caveat on that is that the tread on the Avon Cobra Motorcycle tire must be twice as deep as what it was on those Metzler 880 tires.
The end result is, even if the Avon tires do wear faster, even if they wear twice as fast... they should, with that far deeper tread yield me the same or better mileage life than the "Factory" tires I took off.
...and get that mileage providing me a whole lot better ride while that set of motorcycle tires is wearing out!
I've only got a a thousand miles or so on the Avon tires at this writing... I'll update what I get when they wear out and have to be replaced... but so far, they haven't even scrubbed off the flashing from manufacture!
My bottom line on this deal is... just because the Factory chose some certain Motorcycle Tires... that don't mean they are the best... Likely a bigger influence was the "Deal" the factory got from the Tire Manufacturer.
Snoop around... do a lil' research... and I'm betting you can find a superior tire for the same money.