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Difference in handling between wheel sizes

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by dryfter, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. The last five bikes I've owned, covering about ten years of riding, have all had 17" front wheels. (All the common 120/70/17 size, except the oldest which was 110/80/17, but I don't remember how it handled anyway)

    I'm wondering about switching to a bike with a 110/80/19" front tyre.

    I just wondered what difference the increased radius makes to handling of the bike?

    I guess there's extra gyroscopic force generated? But what does that mean in practice?

  2. It takes more of a shove to overcome the gyroscopic force so it doesn't "tip in" as well.

    Though the availability of tyres in road biased soft compounds probably has a greater affect on handling.
  3. ????
    What bike and what reason ?
    If your thinking of going adventure riding I can see the point....otherwise there is a reason we stopped using 19's a very long time ago.
    Don't tell me your a Laverda rider lol
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Laverdas even run 18s,I have a BT023 Radial on mine.
  5. This is based only on my personal experiences -:

    16 inch front wheel - too twitchy and hated bumps.
    17 inch front wheel - great for sporty riding, ok for touring on rougher roads, poor on dirt.
    19 inch front wheel - ok for sporty riding, more stable for touring and better on rough roads and dirt.
    21 inch front wheel - poor for sporty riding, ok for touring, best on rough roads and dirt.

    IMO if you want a sports bike or a sports/tourer 17" is the go, if you want an all road tourer get a 19" and avoid 21" unless it'r primarily going to be used off road (oh and 16" inch is obsolete).
  6. Have been looking at switching to something that'd be nicer for small tours, but is still going to be good for my daily commute as well, and someone suggested the new 650 V-strom. I doubt I'd go on a dirt road more than a handful of times a year, but in other ways it ticks the right boxes..
    (Other contenders were the F800ST, but a three-year-old one will cost as much as a brand new v-strom; Another option is to just keep the VFR and modify the seat, bars, find some pannier racks that'll fit, etc etc.. all seems a bit hard, and new bikes are shiny :)
  7. The 19" is for cleanance.. Like rocks and stuff.

    Sounds like you want your bars up and a very relaxed ride, but still be able to turn and have a little jolly on.
    The Fad is with Adventure bikes at the mo...and that helps sales and prices stay up on them.
    If I wasn't doing dirt I wouldn't kick one over...
    I am starting to like my viffer..it's taken three years. TBH they are a great bike if you keep them in their design brief...mine is an 08 and I'm still not sure what that design brief was ???????
    I would look at an old bandit, ZRX1200 so forth. Very upright, and Kenworth like torque. Makes the miles disappear effortlessly. And around 5 to 7 grand.
  8. If you get a strom, definitely change the tyres. I changed to metzlers and it made the bike feel like it had a 17" on the front, and still with the benefit of a 19".
  9. I read that the Metzeler Tourance EXP tyres were meant to be good for on-road?

    How do you think they'd compare to my Metz Z8 ones I have currently, in the wet? Although I don't think *anything* grips well on all the bloody tram tracks I cross on my commute to work :(
  10. Yeah, I want a more relaxed ride, but I like being able to hoon around corners when I get to my destination :)
    I've considered some of the bigger tourers (Sprint ST, GSX1250FA, etc) but I don't like the weight. They're a heavy bike to haul around on the pavement squeezing them into a parking spot, and I'd never manage to pick one up if I dropped it.
    I kind of like the idea of having a bike that I *can* take down a dirt track for a few km if I really have to.. currently, whenever I hit a gravel car park I pretty much slide all over the place. I hate it!
  11. I still a few kms on dirt/gravel so I didn't go with the EXP, just the plain tourances. But if they are anything to go by, the EXP's should stick like shit to a blanket. The plain ones have excellent grip in the wet, and on dry are amazing for an adventure tyre.
  12. Forgot 18". Probably exactly the right size for road work, but left out in the cold by the trend for race replicas.

    Getting decent road tyres for anything other than 17" is almost impossible.

    19" tyres will be in dirt, dual purpose or classic style (for old british bikes for example).

    16" have become almost impossible to get.
  13. What do you make of the Michellin Anakee 2, and the Metzeler Tourance (and Tourance EXP)?
  14. Must admit, not aware of these. touring tyres?

    My main experience was trying to get decent tyres for 18" and the best you could get was a metzeler that originated in the early 80s
  15. Good summary!!!

    I've just moved from a 16" to a 17" and can heartily endorse the comments!
  16. The versys 650 is very similar to the strom but is 17 inch both ends.
  17. Depends on the bike. And therefore the geometry. I find a 21 inch front tops in just as easily on my KTM as a 17 inch. But I'm guessing that has a lot to do with the rim width, & the corresponding profile of the tire. To many variables to come up with a definitive answer.