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it has a 160 from the factory, how will the cornering be affected if I put a 170 or even 180 onto the rim? I know the profile changes somewhat, but how does it affect the handling? Cornering specifically...

Common sense says stay with factory size, the bike was engineered to have that tire on it, but then again it was not engineered to be track bike, maybe just a quick bike with an overall emphasis on relaxed or "spirited" riding styles....

The whole reason I ask now is with my clip-on handle bars I'm riding this bike a lot more aggressively and I'm curious if I could get any advantages out of a different rear profile on fast hard leans.

My old zx6r had 180s on the rear, I could lay it over and shred the rubber down to the edge of the tire, on these 160s I can't get it to the edge and I don't know if its the taller suspension, the tires, or just me the rider? I suppose lean angle isn't the best way to measure cornering ability but it does suggest you are pushing the bike to its limit, which is what I'd like to do.
 

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Our versys rim are not meant for tyre wider than 160. Someone i know insisted that it will improve his cornering lean due to the extra contact patch. Until he crashed out, that is.

Consider swapping in the 636 wheel if you want a 180 tyre. And you'll need this:

http://www.twfracing.com/PartsPages/636wheelconv.html
 

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Stock 4.50" wide rim is ideal for a 160/60-17 tire, and a 5.00" rim is also applicable (acceptable). The 4.50" rim is also applicable for a 170/60... Recommended rim for a 180/55 is 5.50" wide, with 6.00" also applicable.

http://www.stevenott.com/draft5751.pdf

http://www.dunlopmotorcycle.com/tire-catalog/sport-trackday-race/sport-touring/roadsmart-ii/

180/55 might 'fit', but it should not be fitted to our 4.50" rim. Tire profile and integrity is compromised with a narrower rim, which affects its performance and handling... You would however be fine with a 170/60-17. Compare actual width which does vary between different tire brands and models.
 

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it has a 160 from the factory, how will the cornering be affected if I put a 170 or even 180 onto the rim? I know the profile changes somewhat, but how does it affect the handling? Cornering specifically...

Common sense says stay with factory size, the bike was engineered to have that tire on it, but then again it was not engineered to be track bike, maybe just a quick bike with an overall emphasis on relaxed or "spirited" riding styles....

The whole reason I ask now is with my clip-on handle bars I'm riding this bike a lot more aggressively and I'm curious if I could get any advantages out of a different rear profile on fast hard leans.

My old zx6r had 180s on the rear, I could lay it over and shred the rubber down to the edge of the tire, on these 160s I can't get it to the edge and I don't know if its the taller suspension, the tires, or just me the rider? I suppose lean angle isn't the best way to measure cornering ability but it does suggest you are pushing the bike to its limit, which is what I'd like to do.
If you look at tire manufacturer's web sites most have charts that recommend MIN, MAX and OPTIMUM rim width for a specified tire model and size. In my experience a wider rim is required to get any advantage from a wider tire.

I tried going to one size over the stock width on a previous bike and would not do this again. Because a bike tire has a round profile what happened is I just got a tire that was rounder but not actually any wider on the pavement or visually any wider. The contact patch size did not really increase because of the extra cross sectional curvature (pinching) for the tire to fit on a rim that was narrower than it was designed for. The extra tread width on the sides was unusable as it was near vertical with the extra curvature, I would have had to tilt the bike over past the point of dragging hard parts to get the tread on the edges of the one size over tire to contact the pavement.

I would say if you want more traction go for a sticker sport bike tire in the stock size instead of a sport touring tire. The sport touring tires that are usually fitted to the Versys use a harder and longer wearing rubber compound compared to sport bike tires. It provides longer tread life than sport bike tires but slightly less grip. Track tires are not good for the street though as they have a very narrow and high operating temperature range in which the rubber is designed to grip and require tire warmers just to reach their correct operating temperature.
 

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Tire recomendations...

Michelin Pilot Road 2ct

Michelin Pilot Road 3

Stickey on the sides, hard in the middle.

Put a 44t ot 43 t Sprocket on the rear and you've got yourself a nice tour machine!
 

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I am not sure if you need anything more then street touring tires for street level riding in our days. My last Angel ST rear lasted over 8K touring miles on a loaded, two up FZ1, and it had plenty grip to do very spirited rides in the mountains. My self preservation slowed me more then my tires. In face I would not hesitate to take a set to a trackday.

Stickier tires would be only needed on high hp bike while on track. IMHO.
 

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Personal experience : stay away from pilot road 2. This this is hardly wat i would call grippy. But it does give excellent mileage, if straight up touring is your only use.

Currently on Pirelli angel st. Better grips. But I've heard of poor mileages. Well it's all relative no?
 
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