Tire traction - old or cold? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Tire traction - old or cold?

Hi all,

It is about 46 degrees here today and I went riding for about 20 miles. I made it a habit to tap the rear brakes to see what kind of traction I have. Starting out, the rear tire didn't have much traction. About 20 miles later, same amount of traction - very little.

The factory tire has almost 9k miles on it, but it doesn't look all that worn. I was hoping to go to spring on these tires, but I may not be able to push it that far.

Would the cold temperature make the tires loose a lot of traction? I don't remember that last year.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 03:32 PM
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Cooler days generally mean longer warm-up times on a bike. This can vary somewhat depending on the type of tire you are running since different compounds can have different characteristics related to weather.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 04:20 PM
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I tried the stock tires at a track day and found them to be unsuitable for keeping me off the ground. 9K is alot for those tires. The tires warm up pretty quickly in 40deg weather however the asphalt or cement can take along time to evaporate its moisture from the overnight, especially if cloudy. I love my Michelin Pilot Road 3's. Be safe.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 04:43 PM
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Michellin pilot power 2ct. Phenomenal tire. I've used them on track days three times. Peg scraping and no loss of traction. Commute daily and even in the rain I feel confident on corners. On my second set I got about 4500 miles on the first set til the wear bars were showing which is pretty low but imho they are worth it for the incredible traction. I'm at about 3800 on my second set and I may get another thousand out of them. Been riding a lot of twisties lately
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 06:25 PM
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The stock tires suck even when its warm so yes when its cold they can be a hazard I do recommend the PR2s and PR3s...but for Fall and Spring I installed Heidenau K73 and they are simply awesome, and totally confidence inspiring even in cold weather and in the wet.

I had the PR2s on my FZ8 last year. One cold morning I left home, and a minute later when leaving a stop sign I wanted to leave on a burnout (yeah I know even at my age, I sometimes have these stupid ideas). The road was wet, and it was probably around 5C, revved it up, leaned forward, let go the clutch, the front wheel lifted instead of the rear spinning. That's gotta give you an idea of how well these tires perform in these conditions!

Last edited by Kawa007; 11-05-2012 at 06:31 PM.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 06:37 PM
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I rode home 15kms from work, 2 degrees C, with a -1 wind chill, night time. The rear tire (Michelin PR3) was cold to the touch when I got home.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 06:41 PM
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They wont warm up if you ride calmly in a straight line in those kind of temperatures, no tire will (aggressive acceleration and braking will, but then again not recommended when its cold :P) That said they will stick more then 95% of tires even when cold.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 06:57 PM
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Air pressure is key for me no matter what tire I've had on my V. It seams the harder, and therefore longer lasting, a tire is the more air pressure has an effect on performance in cold weather.

Here is a list of some of the tires I've had on my bike and the pressures front/rear used down to -5C both dry and rain. Obviously would be snow below freezing but it can get cold and dry for some stretches here in the Fraser Valley. Rain has more of an effect on the tire performance than just cold.

Stock Dunlops-32/34 (would heat up great in the dry but any rain would leave a cold tire no matter how low they were so I left them at a safe pressure)

Bridgestone BT021- 28/30 (**** tire, very low pressure just to get even a little heat. Lasted a very long time sad to say)

Shinko Advance 005- 32/33 (any higher in the cold and they would not heat up)

Avon Distenzia- 34/36 (great tire that heated up by the first corner. Didn't last long though. Would run these all year if I could afford them)

Conti Motion- 32/34 (still didn't heat up the way I wanted to but to go lower would make the tire feel too squishy)

Shinko DS 705's- 30/32 (might go lower still as in the rain the tire is still not hot enough after my commute. However, in the dry the tire is smoking hot so I'm afraid to lower them any more)

I know it's not a perfect science but I hope some of this helps someone else out.

Cheers.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 07:49 PM
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Some great threads on this topic, probably about 15 threads.

Lower tire pressure will help. One of our fellow riders dropped his bike just out of his drive way it's on video! It was cold!

Some extreme cold weather will produce traction below 1%. Mico frost can be an un-seen hazard.

Try lowing the tire pressure.

( RIDE FREE BE SAFE )
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 07:00 AM
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How are you testing the traction of the rear tire by using the rear brake? I can stand on my rear brake and my tire doesn't lock up even in 25F weather.



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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 07:15 AM
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How are you testing the traction of the rear tire by using the rear brake? I can stand on my rear brake and my tire doesn't lock up even in 25F weather.
The V has a rear brake???
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 07:47 AM
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The V has a rear brake???
Well, it's got that pedal that makes the brake light come on and keeps the bike from rolling when it's stopped on a hill. Not sure about a "brake", but "parking pedal" sounds good.

I'd rather be riding.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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How are you testing the traction of the rear tire by using the rear brake? I can stand on my rear brake and my tire doesn't lock up even in 25F weather.
Yes. I hold the rear brakes at about 15 - 20 MPH and I normally don't get a lock-up at that speed unless I stand on it. If it locks up sooner, the traction is bad (if just started raining or something). I adjust my riding accordingly. I do it a few times during the ride if I suspect something happened to change the amount of traction I have - changes in the road, tar snakes, etc.

I have read a lot of the threads on here about traction and tires - and seen the video of the guy that went down right out of his drive way.

Zatx, what kind of tires do you have? I can get the rearend to lock up if I am going 15 MPH+. Yesterday was more like 5 - 10 MPH when they started locking up. I am not very agressive on the front brakes when that happens. I found out the hard way that front brakes in low traction have to be dealt with very carefully.

Now another question - how do you test what kind of traction you have on any given day?

I am doing 36 rear and 32 front on these tires. I will lower them a couple and see if that helps. But from most of the reviews and RIREPS
(Rider Reports), I am thinking PR 3's.

Last edited by stallhorn; 11-06-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 09:41 AM
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Yeah, you just need to slap some good rubber on there ASAP, which is less expensive than a crash... You'll also enjoy the ride more, with improved feel, handling and comfort.

How are your suspension settings?
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 12:57 PM
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How are you testing the traction of the rear tire by using the rear brake? I can stand on my rear brake and my tire doesn't lock up even in 25F weather.

I'm lucky to live in an area with a lot of hills and mountain roads. Those same roads that are glorious in the summer are a bit of a challenge come winter going down them. The rear brake lock up is a good indicator for straight line traction but in the corners you just have to 'feel' the tire. Sometimes there is a little shutter, sometimes there's a little slide. I like to stay far up in the seat and front tire (and therefore more in the middle of the bike) when traction is in question and let the front get the most heat to start on my commute. It's just a matter of slow to start, build up a sense of traction and keep it easy and smooth.

To be honest, for me winter riding is more to do with what's between the ears than tires.

Falling down is your bodies way of saying you just screwed up.

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 01:00 PM
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I literally can stand on my rear brake pedal at any speed and not get a lock up. My OEM Dunlops must be awesome!

And I've never tested the traction my tires are getting. I go slow till I'm confident that they are warmed up through miles traveled. I've read too many horror stories about these stockers to risk it. Plus I saw that video that others have mentioned in this thread. Guy pulls out of his driveway and promptly lays it down. I try and learn from others' mistakes, not my own.



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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 03:39 PM
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In colder temperatures the tires will never heat up noticeably and you will have slightly less traction due to the harder rubber compound. This will probably never even be noticeable though or significant enough to effect riding unless you are really pushing it.

What I find is noticeable though in cold weather are things like residual frost on pavement or steel surfaces in the morning or in the shade, black ice, etc.. These things can be invisible and a real hazard too.

The recommended tire pressure in the manual is 32PSI (front) and 36PSI (rear). This is regardless of brand or model at least for sport touring type tires. You can get slightly better traction by going down a few PSI at the expense of faster wear and poorer fuel economy. I would not recommend going any higher than these ratings as you will loose traction.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, you just need to slap some good rubber on there ASAP, which is less expensive than a crash... You'll also enjoy the ride more, with improved feel, handling and comfort.

How are your suspension settings?
I didn't mess with my suspension too much. I am about 175 lbs and I tightened the back one click but didn't touch the front. I measured the sag and it was within the range of what the Lee Parks riding school instructor said. I didn't get too crazy with it. Maybe I should take a second look along with new rubber.

Thanks all as always.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 01:42 AM
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The stock tires are crap. Just get rid of them already.

Michelin Pilot Road 2 is a great tire, I rode it 7000 km until it was worn out (1.6mm rear 2.0mm front), and then switchted to Bridgestone BT023. I really like the BT023, it is more stable than PR2 when cornering, just as grippy, and lasts longer (7000 km rear, 10000 km front). My riding style is sportish-aggressive, so your mileage may vary. My stock tires just lasted 5000 km as well. BT023 and PR2 feel nice warm when riding.

You can use front bake + more throttle to quickly heat up the tires (and to create additional wear) on straight sections. Don't overdo it, ABS recommended

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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2012, 02:50 AM
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Below 50*f , my tires do not warm up enough to race. I can break the rear PR3 in a corner easily when its cold out on the Versys.

ONCE I spun the tire out from under me like some pulled a rug out from my feet. I was on a KLX 250SF and it was 17*f that day.

Since then I am more careful in the cold. I leave a bigger margin for error. I still ride down to the mid thirties f, just slower.

David
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