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Calling all Adventure riders/experts/people in the know

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by NAK, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    OK... so I can now officially announce that I have got the adventure riding bug as well! And it's going to catch up to you as well sooner or later, I'm fairly confident!

    Anyway, I'm considering getting the F800GS - possibly in the near future. The problem is it does not come with tubeless tyres (yes I know real adventure riders prefer tubed tyres for various reasons, but I'm not yet a real adventure rider :D). The F700GS, however, does (but I'd rather have the up spec more capable F800GS even if it will be limited by my own capabilities!).

    I have got a couple of questions now:

    1) How often would one experience a puncture if they only ride the bike on gravel/dirt roads i.e. no serious off-roading stuff?

    I know this is something that can't be predicted, but just generally want to know the resistance of knobby tyres vs. road biased tyres against sharp objects. Are knobby tyres more prone to punctures than the road biased ones or otherwise?

    2) How do knobby tyres compare against the road biased tyres for normal on road riding? Are they absolutely no good or do they just fare well? In particular I'll be interested to know about their life, grip, comfort etc.

    Thanks for taking the time!
  2. #2 Vertical C, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    The biggest difference for punctures is not knobby vs road, it is tubed vs tubeless. Tubeless tyres can be easier to fix if it is just a point puncture as you can use a worm, but can be impossible of slash.

    A tubed tyre means mending the tube for a punture, this means removing the wheel and using tyre levers to remove the tyre (like a pushbike).

    I believe the 800GS is tubed and the 700GS is tubeless

    Tubed is better for offroad as it allows manufacturers to run spokes which makes the wheels less prone to bending a rim on rocks (which can lead to loss of air on tubeless as well).

    Anyway you wouldn't buy a tyre that is knobby or road based on its puncture proofness. Barely street legal knobbies will probably only last 4000kms on tar on the Beemers, but give you better grip on mud and sand. If you are riding made dirt roads, and only 20% or less of your riding is on dirt you would want a road tyre.

    The 700 and the 800 have different size front wheels, you won't get a wide choice of knobbies in the 700 size.

    Oh and knobbies are noisy on the road and they don't have any grip in the wet on tar.

    As you are starting out you really should consider getting a DR650 or a KLR650 if you haven't done any dirt riding unless you just want to cruise dirt roads and not go onto tracks. Keep the CB400 for commuting then convert the 650 for dirt as much as possible for a year or two then get a GS. Both 650s will ride the speed limit (honest 110kmh) all day but can be thrown on their side and not have to take out a mortgage. I took my DR650 that I had on singletrack with friends who had 450's and it went everywhere they did, just slower.

    I didn't like the 800GS when I rode it, boring motor.....but some of that was the price (this was in 2008 so it was new at the time and I couldn't like it thinking "how could you ride this anywhere fun without stressing about killing a $20K bike"). I see that they can be had for $13ish now with 20000kms sometimes so that might temper that and make it enjoyable.

    I wouldn't have the DR as my only bike.
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  3. It is possible to run tubeless on spoked wheels:

    yamaha_100574_2010_xt1200z_eur_vpbc5_det_001_rear wheel. P3110184.JPG
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  4. The FGS800 are a good bike. Maybe a little more road influenced over dirt. I would tyre up to suit. If your taking the 800 into places where knobbies are needed...... Hope your strong enough to push it out. Even knobbies on a very light dirtbike can clog with clay so forth. Many times I have had to physically drag my bike out of a bog hole.....
    The Beewah is great for dirt roads and fire trails. It would be a real handful on a tight twisty rain forest trail.
    I would be looking for a semi knobby or motard tyre with a high casing rating... High weight capabilities. Usually stronger and less prone to punctures.
    ps a can of finneleak goes a long way when adventure riding.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. #5 Zim, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    There is a huge thread in Vendors section of Adventure Rider called Ask Woodys Wheels,take a month to read it but you would know all there is to this topic.BTW there are a few differant ways to run tubeless with spoked wheels,it gets a touch dicy but it can be done.Info in that Thread
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Thanks guys for the insightful posts!

    Vertical C The F800 is going to be my adventure/touring bike so the CB400 will stay! I'm a bit paranoid by the fact that the F800 only comes with tubed tyres which can be a real PITA to fix. For this reason I wanted to know which tyres are less likely to get a puncture based on their construction.

    For example, I was thinking since the road biased tyres would have more flesh on them, it would be more difficult for a sharp object to penetrate its casing (perhaps the object will bend before going through the casing as has happened to me once before). On the other hand, they would have a larger contact patch so more likelihood of picking up sharp foreign objects! With the knobbies, even though they have chunky knobs and a smaller contact patch, I'm not too sure if their casing is as thick as the road biased tyres. If it is, the knobbies will be the way to go for me!

    I haven't really given a thought to any other bike. Unfortunately, all bikes in this class are butt ugly, the F800 being a bit reasonable looking (the new 1200GS is pretty dandy though - that LED headlight is the thing, but I'd rather wait for a couple of years for them to iron out any gremlins it may have). That said, the F800 is still one ugly son of a b*tch, but I'm sure over time it'll grow on me! The main reason I'm going for it is because it most likely is the best in its class (from all the reviews that I have watched/read), plus all the gadgets and gizmos that it comes with.

    And this guy's videos has had a huge role in tempting me to get one!


    jazzfan Indeed, the 1200GS does come with spoked tubeless tyres.

    bretto61 I was leaning towards the knobbies because I think they will be more confidence inspiring on loose surface. And from my very short career in riding, I have learnt that confidence is everything when it comes to riding (not over-confidence though).

    I can't see how the road biased tyres would perform well on dirt roads because they are effectively the same as any road going tyres, perhaps a bit harder maybe? That said, I'd still get them if they perform any better in terms of preventing punctures.

    I wouldn't be doing any hardcore off-roading initially, that's for sure. Just those unpaved dirt roads and some loose gravel surfaces between country towns!

    BTW what is that finneleak that you have mentioned? Does it work with tubed tyres? Google search didn't return anything significant.

    Zim Thanks for the pointer, will have a look at that thread as well.
  7. #7 bretto61, Feb 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2013
    Fineleak works with both tube and tubeless tyres. It's a temp fix, although I have run my postie bikes bald with it in the tyres. It's just a can of air and shoite to stop the leak. Costs between $15 and twenty bucks. A can will do two or three punctures on a bike.
    You can also buy little air canisters... like the ones you use on a soda bottle if you can remember them, to inflate your tyres again.

    Ok nothing tracks a true line on gravel. You will move about with knobbies as much as a road tyres. Knobbies bite better spinning up or locked up on gravel, as opposed to roadies. A decent semi will work pretty well till the going gets wet! And then the weight of the bike will really show up. So ride accordingly and don't go down that wet clayish hill, or black mud. Stick to the gravel and a semi is in it's element. It has the contact patch with a harder casing than a rodie. You will find you get more punctures through pinching the sidewall in the dirt as to things going through the tyre.

    I like adventure riding. It gives you a sense of .... achievement, self pride ??? dunno it's good. You can stretch it out to a few days and with only a swag and a few cans of something to eat. Almost makes me feel tribal again :)
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  8. I had a few sets of pirelli mt21 tyres on my tenere for about 4 years, they don't last long at all riding to and from work. I rode it mainly on country unsealed roads and lots of fire trails, never really tried to do any single track with it, too bloody big and top heavy. I had crash bars, hand gaurds and pannier racks, so lots of protection and the bike still looked terrible and had dents in the tank (hurts when those big fuel tanks land on your MX riding boots)

    I carried spares every time I went on a long ride. Never got a puncture once. I was so paranoid about it to be honest. The only time I got a puncture was at work from a massive screw, cabbed it home and back with the spares and changed the tube. It was a rear and it's really not that hard, not like it matters to lay the bike down on it's side anyway.

    bit by bit I went off road less and started running michelin anakee tyres, they were also great on the unsealed roads.

    to be honest I liked the idea of tubed tyres a lot more for riding off into the unknown.
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