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Tyres lifespan and choice

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Spocky, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Hello all,

    I am very new to motorcycling but realise that the tyres are a more critical part of the bike than for cars. I have a couple of questions for independent opinions:

    1) How long do tyres on a mid size (650cc Ninja specifically) last with normal riding?
    2) Reviews I have read discuss changing the tyres to different versions. How do you assess tyres in view of improving the handling characteristics of the bike with a particular tyre when obviously you can't try them all out on your specific bike? Is there an independent guide to tyres and performance with different bike makes and sizes somewhere?

    Cheers Spocky

  2. It all depends on what tyre you use (compound) and how you ride. What is normal riding to you won't be for many others.

    Two different riders will get vastly different life from the same tyre on the same bike dependant on how they ride.

    There are plenty of great tyres on the market, See your supplierand let them know what sort of riding you do will be the best bet.
  3. Your bike manaul will often recommend stock tyres to fit on your bike so you can use that if all else fails.

    Alot of people try to go up a size on their rear tyre so from behind the tyre looks fatter so try to avoid that as it will affect how the bike handles, tips in to corners etc and may not even fit on the rim properly.

    As SBK said, work out what kind of riding you mostly do - commuting, spirited rides through twisties, everyday riding etc and go from there.
    In my expereince it has more or less been a trial and error thing with tyres - some feel fantastic, give great feedback and grip like a bastard where others won't give you any confidence, will not tip in easy and will feel like you are riding on wooden tyres.

  4. Realistically, as a newbie, you probably won't have the experience, and certainly shouldn't be pushing hard enough, to be significantly affected by different tyres.

    As long as they're the standard sizes for the bike, have a brand name that is recognisable (Bridgestone, Michelin, Metzeler, Avon, Pirelli etc; avoid Cheng Shin, Vee Rubber, Kenda and other cheapies), are less than ~5 years old (there is a date code moulded into all tyres) and not cracked or worn out they will work fine. I wouldn't even be too concerened about them being a matched pair from the same manufacturer at this stage, although it's nice to have.

    When you've got a few thousand kms under your belt, you'll be in a much better position to start experimenting with tyre choice for maximum life/dry grip/wet grip/sharp feel etc. For the time being, you need to establish some kind of base-line from which to work. These days, the manufacturer's OEM fitment (usually some flavour of Bridgestone) is as good a place to start as any.
  5. Touring/ commuting, michelin pilot roads or dunlop roadsmarts.
    Sports tyres Metzler m5s, dunlop qualifiers 2, michelin pilot power bridgestone 003s.
  6. Thanks for that. My riding will be general commuting and some evening and weekend longer rides to get my experience up. My question was aimed at when should I look at replacing tyres (I don't believe in using them until they are bald) and was thinking around the 15000km sort of mark (on average) and was after some tips as to what should I be looking for in the way tyres work as to what I should put on next. I do listen to dealers but they have a biased opinion (ie they will recommend what they have) so I was looking a bit further afield. I'm asking this as I see several reviews discussing the Ninja 650 and talking about changing tyres to improve the handling and was wondering what the rationale behind that statement was and how it was determined.

    Cheers Spocky
  7. You can't set a fixed distance to replace tires. A hard turing tire might give more kms, a soft sport tire might get significantly less.
    Have a look at the tread on your tires and you should see an occasional low rib in the grooves. This is a wear indicator and when you get to these, it is time for replacement. However, you might replace the tires before then due to the tire squareing off (the centre gets worn flat before the edges wear out) due to commuting alot, or because of damage.
    Like what was said above, it really depends how you ride the bike. A couple of track days will shorten the tires life (but sometimes not by much as track days wear out the edge of a tire more which normal riding does not).
    Enhancing the handling of the bike is also a very subjective thing and different people like different things. I like Pirellis as they are nice and neutral feeling for me (do not tip in too fast or too hard to tip in). This feel comes from the shape of the tire under load and as such can not be viewed when the tire is on the shelf. Get a tire and try it. Ask people what they like and why and do they ride simillary to you.
    As for distance, for me, I do not like to have tires on for much longer that 15000km for two reasons (many on here will not get more that 5000km, some will not even get 3000km).
    1) Grip. A tire that last a long time may not grip as well as a tire that wears out faster.
    2) Damage. I find that you tend to get punchers every now and then and the longer a tire is on the bike, the long time you have to get that puncher and the more life the tire is likely to have (in km) which you will now have to through out.

    I ride a Yamaha FZ6N which is not LAMS (not sure if yours is) but is also not a very heavy or powerful bike. I use the Pirelli Rosso's which I have read terrible things about on here but I like them. They get about the right millage and they seam to grip well enough for me. YMMV. I do take these tires to Phillip Island track days and they are good enough for me to be one of the faster riders in the medium slow group and a medium paced rider in the medium fast group. Not sure on the lap times but probably 1:55's -2:00's ish and at those lap times, they wear well and do not slide much for me.