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Tyres (offroad!) for street bikes.

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' at netrider.net.au started by nicola, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Hi everybody

    This may be a ridiculous question. I have a Honda VTR250 and my friend has a Suzuki GS500.

    I am considering doing a long trip, Melbounre to Perth via the coast and then Perth to Uluru, then cutting across NE corner of South Australia (if there is even a road) into NSW to Broken Hill > Mildura > Melbourne.

    Melbourne to Perth is, I think, fine on the street bikes. Correct me if wrong!

    I was thinking we would change to off road tyres in Perth.

    Can you even put off road or dual purpose tyres on these bikes? Would it be an idiotic idea? Is taking these bikes on central Australian roads ridiculous?

  2. Having not done or looked into such a trip myself, and not being at all familiar with the roads you'd be taking:

    Make sure you do your research before you get detailed in your plans. There is a hell of a lot of nowhere in the middle of Australia, and you don't want to get stuck in it. You will need to ensure you can carry enough fuel, water, and other supplies to get you between each of your stopovers, and that the little dot on the map will in fact be able to sell you the stuff you'll need. Being hundreds of k's from help and days or weeks from when the next person will come past you is a very real possibility, depending on your route.

    Melbourne to Perth shouldn't be a problem, as it's a relatively well travelled route. What merits the most concern is Perth to Uluru, assuming you're thinking of a direct path; not many people have reason to cut through the middle of WA, and there's a lot of rather desolate terrain between the two.

    That isn't to say it isn't doable, only that you should take care and make sure you know what you're doing :). Adventure Rider has a lot of info to be found, and a lot of experienced people kicking around, too.

    Regarding tyres:

    As long as you can find tyres of a suitable size, there is nothing stopping you from putting them on (as long as there is a tubeless version or you're willing to use tubes). Whether it's worthwhile depends on what roads you're planing on taking and what at what speeds.

    You will be limited by ground clearance and how willing you are to risk a drop (no single track, sorry :p), but dirt roads shouldn't be a problem. Weight is also a factor -can make life harder, though it's not a showstopper- but even the GS500 isn't too bad (for a road bike).

    Knobbies will give you more grip on dirt/gravel/sand (obviously), but you'll be sacrificing asphalt grip and may increase noise and vibes (depends on the tyre). Very knobby ones will also tend to wear significantly faster on the road, though I doubt you'd need that level of dirt grip (and 5000km+ is easily possible on some).

    It all comes down to how much you'd be using them; for a short stretch here and there you could probably get away with road tyres and a bit of care/low speed, but if you'll be spending a more significant time off the tar then you'd be wanting something more suited to it.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Perth to Uluru shouldn't be too bad. It's bitumen as far as Laverton and the longest stretch between service points is only ~200 km on well travelled roads. Although the Goldfields region looks empty, there's actually shitloads of traffic so you won't end up stranded for long should the worst happen.

    Beyond Laverton, the Warburton Road is decent quality gravel (or it used to be). There's been a proposal floating around to seal it but AFAIK it hasn't happened yet. As far as Warburton there's a fair bit of traffic going to and from Warburton itself and the settlements at White Cliffs and Cosmo Newberry. Or again, there used to be. I haven't ventured far up the road myself but I used to spend some time in Laverton and saw quite a few vehicles passing through. I don't know what the Territory end of the road is like, but there may well be similar levels of traffic between Warburton and Uluru/Alice Springs.

    Incidentally, both Cosmo Newberry and Warburton used to have fuel. Supplies may be erratic though, and it will also almost certainly be the unsniffable Opal stuff. I have no idea how bikes will react to such petrol.

    So I'd regard the Warburton Road as a challenge on two wheels but it ain't the Gunbarrel Highway or the Canning Stock Route.

    Edit: Actually it looks like I'm well out of date (haven't been out that way for 13 years now) but there are at least 3 roadhouses between Laverton and Uluru, as seen here.
  4. Thanks PatB and kohhop !
    Really interesting varied responses, both of yours quite positive....
    But I posted on another forum and got almost exclusively discouraging responses eg. 'you're on a suicide mission'.
    I can't find anyone who has actually done the Great Central Road (the biggest issue) on a street bike, only on off road or adv bikes.
    There are enough fuel stops, the furthest distance is a bit over 300kms I think, but of course we would carry extra fuel and water just in case.
    I am in super early stages and am trying to gauge if it is insanity or not.

    I know neither of us have great bikes; I am considering trading in my VTR for an off road bike so I can do some dirt stuff but I do love the VTR.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Going by what Pat said and since you seem to be looking at the main roads (rather than the backroads that can land a person in trouble), my reservations a greatly reduced. I can't see any significant problems with the trip.

    Both the VTR and the GS500 are solid bikes, nothing to look down on. The GS in particular has the advantage of being old and simple... makes it easier to fix when you've only got fencing wire and duct tape :D. As long as you're comfortable riding your bike all day it should be okay -- people tour on posty bikes ;). If you want to check just how they'll do, then simply take 'em out to the country and hit some dirt roads.

    However, if you really want to upgrade to a more adventurous bike, this Strom would fit the bill very well (the seller is a really nice bloke, too). All set up and ready to go, unless you're still on restrictions 8-[. Plenty of other good adventure bikes pop up in that thread, too, if the WeeStrom is no good for you.

    'Course, bike choice again depends on exactly what you want to be doing... if, by "dirt stuff", you mean dirt roads, then a Strom or Versys would be perfect, but if you want fire trails and single track and such then you'd be wanting something closer to a DRZ (which would be much less suitable for touring) or a TE610 (which is impressive in its high [100km/h+] performance, considering the type of bike it is).

    TL;DR The VTR250 and the GS500 should be workable.
  6. I would nottt want to be doing that long distance on my old vtr!
  7. I don't have any helpful info but this sounds like an awesome trip!