Which tires for sporty touring? (V650 '08) - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Which tires for sporty touring? (V650 '08)

So, the front and rear tire need to be replaced on the V. I've had the BT023 front tire on the bike for 21,000 MILES. Pretty frickin' amazing if you ask me. The rear only got about 9,000 Miles.

Here is a set for sale on eBay:

120/70ZR 17, 160/60ZR 17 BRIDGESTONE BATTLAX BT023 FRONT REAR TIRE KIT - 2 TIRES | eBay

So my question is - What tires of similar quality and mileage are worth considering?


I've watched the "sport touring tire shootout" vids and they never really have that "cornering or braking on a cold day" test that we need to know about. I want some good tires that I can ride at pace and get good feedback from.

I Don't Think I want the Michelin PR4's, as they are WAY pricy for 10k mile rear and 13k mile front.

Are there any tires that make the awfully rigid suspension feel less jolty? I imagine I just need to rebuild the front fork valves .

THANKS!!!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 12:58 AM
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I've just installed some Metzeler Roadtec 01 and am really impressed with the difference they've made. They seem to absorb minor road imperfections better than previous tires too. They are the best of the 5 tire models I've used in my subjective option. Better feeling in the corners than the Michelin's IMO. Steering seems to feel less vague and feedback is better. This may come down to the front tire profile. One issue with the premium tires is they will last a lot longer and perform better through their entire lifespan as they will usually wear more evenly with dual compound, which helps justify price, especially if you are paying for an install. One reason I got the Metzeler's is the reported excellent cold and wet weather traction one one tire test I watched reported. No cold weather now so I can't confirm. Another tire that seems to get good reviews and is a similar price to the Bridgestone's is the Dunlop Roadsmart 3's. Having experienced both good and cheap tires, they are not something I would skimp on, as they can make a noticeable difference in handling.

Tire wear and life expectancy has a lot to do with how you ride. If you trail brake and ride corners much the front can wear at the same rate as the rear. Similarly a softer compound on the front will reduce life expectancy but perform better in turns and under hard braking. In most tires I've used the front wore at a similar rate to the rear. In the Michelin Road Pilot and Pirelli Scorpion tires I've used, the front tire used a much softer compound than the rear. It's a lot easier to recover from a slip in the rear than it is when the front tire slips. Usually when the front slips it means your going to crash.

Last edited by twowheels; 06-23-2017 at 01:20 AM.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I've just installed some Metzeler Roadtec 01 and am really impressed. They are the best of the 5 tire models I've used. Better in the corners than the Michelins IMO. One issue with the premium tires is they will last a lot longer and perform better through their entire lifespan as they will usually wear more evenly with dual compound, which helps justify price, especially if you are paying for an install. One reason I got the Metzelers is the reported excellent cold and wet weather traction one one tire test I watched reported. No cold weather now so I can't confirm. Another tire that seems to get good reviews and is a similar price to the Bridgestones is the Dunlop Roadsmart 3's.
The Dunlop RS3 was a slider, offering similar performance to a michelin pilot supersport (non-evo). It would get squirrely near major lean angles. On a rear that is a maybe. For a front - hell no.

Do you think Metzelers can be had in the USA for a reasonable cost?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 01:08 AM
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I heard the PR4 GT's are good. If you are riding hard and riding twisties a lot, no tire is going to get you better than 10k at best. I have friends that have gone 12-14k on these and similar type tires, even on an FJR, but the ride is straight, freeway commuting. GT's allegedly give you a little more life.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 02:44 AM
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I heard the PR4 GT's are good. If you are riding hard and riding twisties a lot, no tire is going to get you better than 10k at best. I have friends that have gone 12-14k on these and similar type tires, even on an FJR, but the ride is straight, freeway commuting. GT's allegedly give you a little more life.
The GT's are for heavy weight bikes and not the Versys 650. Don't think they come in a 160 either. Basically the same as the non GT tire but with extra plys to handle the extra weight and power of larger bikes.

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Do you think Metzelers can be had in the USA for a reasonable cost?
The Metzelers are selling phenomenally well. Canadian wholesalers are sold out of the 160 size currently and don't know when they can get more from the back ordered factory in Germany.

They tend to sell here at a similar price to other premium tires like the Michelin Road Pilot 4 and Pirelli Angel GT. As stated earlier though premium sport tour tires tend to last longer than most tires however so may be more of a bargain in the long run. On line prices are usually best and you can often find a local retailer who will price match. I've been told by more than one tire retailer that the wholesale cost varies by the quantity purchased so usually high volume retailers can offer discounted prices. My previous tires were Continental Conti-Motions which are very cheap and last a decent amount of time but have very poor grip in wet and cold. Also they can feel a bit vague in a corner. I would not recommend them unless cost is your only consideration.

https://fortnine.ca/en/reviews/best-motorcycle-tires/
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Last edited by twowheels; 06-23-2017 at 03:07 AM.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
The GT's are for heavy weight bikes and not the Versys 650. Don't think they come in a 160 either. Basically the same as the non GT tire but with extra plys to handle the extra weight and power of larger bikes.


The Metzelers are selling phenomenally well. Canadian wholesalers are sold out of the 160 size currently and don't know when they can get more from the back ordered factory in Germany.

They tend to sell here at a similar price to other premium tires like the Michelin Road Pilot 4 and Pirelli Angel GT. As stated earlier though premium sport tour tires tend to last longer than most tires however so may be more of a bargain in the long run. On line prices are usually best and you can often find a local retailer who will price match. I've been told by more than one tire retailer that the wholesale cost varies by the quantity purchased so usually high volume retailers can offer discounted prices. My previous tires were Continental Conti-Motions which are very cheap and last a decent amount of time but have very poor grip in wet and cold. Also they can feel a bit vague in a corner. I would not recommend them unless cost is your only consideration.

https://fortnine.ca/en/reviews/best-motorcycle-tires/
Looks like the smallest rear in GT is a 170.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 12:35 PM
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The Dunlop RS3 was a slider, offering similar performance to a michelin pilot supersport (non-evo). It would get squirrely near major lean angles. On a rear that is a maybe. For a front - hell no.

Do you think Metzelers can be had in the USA for a reasonable cost?
First really negative review for the new Dunlop RS3 i have seen. Just installed a pair and have not had a chance to try them out yet. Most reviews are pretty good for theses tires. Anything will beeter that the bald stockers. Hope I have a good experience with my DunlopRS 3s. Time and miles will tell!

JoH
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2017, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Again, RS3 not a bad tire, I just prefer to have a tire that just sticks. I won't hit the traction limits cornering on the V I hope :P. The tire sliding around is not my idea of a good time.

That said. I ordered the Metzelers yesterday, and they showed up today. I can't believe the price I got them for - The Metzeler rebate makes them attractive! I've always wanted to try a set of the fine German tires.

50-2016 production date stamped on teh tire... so these are pretty fresh.

Thanks for the words of wisdom everyone!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2017, 06:22 AM
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Get michelin pilot road 4 (PR4).
I regularly get 20'000km from these (been doing over 150'000 km total on PR2 and PR4).
Worst was 18000km, best was 22000km.
Compared to a stupid wearing and cupping dunlop, it's totally worth the price extra (and you almost save another 60$ tire change at the garage).

Just get PR4. Period.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2017, 07:17 AM
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Get michelin pilot road 4 (PR4).
I regularly get 20'000km from these (been doing over 150'000 km total on PR2 and PR4).
Worst was 18000km, best was 22000km.
Compared to a stupid wearing and cupping dunlop, it's totally worth the price extra (and you almost save another 60$ tire change at the garage).

Just get PR4. Period.


The PR4 is a great tire, I just took off a set to mount the Roadtec 01's and I will say that all the reviews are correct..The Metzler is a fantastic tire. it turns in better and it holds a line better..and the feedback is awesome at full lean.
I've only done about 2000 miles so far so I can't comment on longevity, but if they do the same mileage as the PR4's do, they are a winner for sure
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 10:33 AM
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I used a set of the Bridgestone BT023's on a Cagiva Navigator I had and over a long trip they stuck well and worn even better. The dual compound meant the tyres still had a nice rounded profile as they wore. I'd recommend them and it pretty much comes down to cost and personal choice. There's not really a bad tyre out there these days and it comes down to considering the various profiles and how hard you ride. The Michelin PR's have a lot of grooves which may make them a better rain tyre but how hard do you ride in the wet? I just bought some Bridgestone S20's from Rocky Mountain which are on a close out special (July 17) and are very nice to ride on though they are a sports tyre and I'm yet to see what mileage I'll get.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 10:52 AM
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Other than the OEM tires, I ran shinko ravens the rest of the 30,000 miles I owned the Versys. No complaints from me, but I am not a racer wannabe either. The only time I felt any slippage was when ice was forming in the mountains. They were decent on gravel roads too.

Every tire is a compromise. You want a tire that has very low risk of sliding out on you, then you have to plop down the cash and expect to change tires often.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 07:40 PM
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I'm liking the Pirelli Angel GTs. Depending on price, I may give the Michelin PR4s a shot next time.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I like these tires A lot so far, TBH I really don't like the feel of the PR4 when really warm (I did a track day on one... lol).
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2017, 11:31 PM
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I have just bought a cagiva navigator. Love it!!!

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2017, 09:14 PM
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I have just bought a cagiva navigator. Love it!!!

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 05:51 PM
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First really negative review for the new Dunlop RS3 i have seen. Just installed a pair and have not had a chance to try them out yet. Most reviews are pretty good for theses tires. Anything will beeter that the bald stockers. Hope I have a good experience with my DunlopRS 3s. Time and miles will tell!

JoH
I burned through the OE rear tire on this last trip and had to get a replacement "quick". The only thing available was a Dunlop Road Smart III. It wasn't horribly expensive and after about 1000 miles it seems to be a good tire. No sign of center wear and adequate traction in the curves (at least for me). It sounds/looks like it might be a pretty good tire.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-27-2017, 12:31 PM
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I'm replacing my rear tire this weekend with a Dunlop RS3. The stock D222 only lasted 6,000 miles and had a manufacture date on 12/2012. My bike is a 2016 650. I'm taking it to a track day the following weekend and will report back on its cornering grip.

2016 Versys 650, Carbon Gray/Black
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 09:45 AM
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Just back from the track day at New York Safety Track in Davenport, NY (Western Catskills). It was a lot of fun and well worth the money ($140). For those in the NYC metro area, I signed up through Rockwell Cycles in Ft. Montgomery (near West Point). They will trailer your bike up and back for $40, which is worth it if you want to get back to the city Sunday night and don't want to ride the 3 hours back on your bike. If you call the shop, ask to speak with Donny. They also get a slightly better price for the track day itself. Not sure why.
Anyway, the Roadsmart III on the rear did great. Didn't notice any slipping and I pushed it at least as hard as I ever would on the street. Now let's see how long it lasts in normal riding. Hopefully, longer than the stock D222s.
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