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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Tires

I don't really NEED new tires yet but I'm installing some anyway. The OEM Dunlop RoadSmarts are still in OK shape after about 5000Kms but the back tire is squaring off and worn down to the indicator bars. The front tire is still fine. In my squidlier days I would have kept it on another 1000Km or so until the cords were showing before I changed it, but these days I can afford to avoid such unneccessary risks. Plus, I've got a trip planned down into Montana, Wyoming and Idaho for the first week of August and I want to do it on fresh rubber. Chances are the rear tire would have needed to be replaced part way through the trip, which wouldn't have been practical. Also, I find that motorcycles don't handle so well on a square tire. ;)

Given that my front tire is still in good shape, it would have made more sense to just order a replacement rear Dunlop. That was my intention, but I couldn't find any retailer, local or online, that had a listing from Dunlop for the 190/55/zr17 size. In fact, Dunlop's web site doesn't even list this size, though it is the OEM tire for the VFR1200. They could only get me the 190/50, which is a lower profile tire that I expect would be detrimental to the handling of the VFR. I don't like to mis-match tires so I decided to get a new set in a different brand. I was able to order a set of Pirelli Angel STs in the proper size for a reasonable price from Bayside Performance. From what I've read they should wear a little better than the Dunlops and probably handle better too, with a similar level of grip. I lurked on a couple of Hayabusa and ZX14 boards to see what their members had to say, as those are 2 bikes that devour tires. I heard claims of 7500+ miles longevity. In my experience I've found that Pirellis tend to have a bit of a pointier profile, which helps the bike turn-in more quickly.  I'm looking forward to trying them.

When I get new tires I always take the wheels off myself. It costs less this way, and I don't trust anyone else to remove and install my wheels or brakes... particularly hamfisted bike shop technicians working against the clock. I want everything done in the correct order and with the correct torque specs. I have all the neccessary tools and stands and it doesn't take me long.

The front wheel comes off easily. I like to loosely re-install the calipers while it's sitting rather than try to hang them from wires. It's important not to let them dangle from the brake lines.

Check out the size of this brake caliper... 6 pistons, 4 pads. Could these be the biggest brake calipers ever fitted to a Honda motorcycle? It looks like it belongs on a sports car.

Here's the rear tire, down to the wear indicators but still in ok shape.

 The front tire, still with plenty of life left in it. I'll sell these to a stunter for 50 or 60 bucks.
 The muffler has to swing away to get the rear wheel off. I unbolted the hanger and loosened the clamp at the collector.
 The rear wheel off, with its machined face.
 The final drive, hub and rear brake. Very sturdy.
 Unsprung weight reduced by several lbs:
 The new Pirellis over the old Dunlops. Does it seem like the Pirellis have a pointier profile?
 Deutschland Uber Alles (my wife's family is German)
 Another view of the massive brakes. The caliper seen on the right contains the Linked Brake System. The 2 upper pads and pistons are powered by the rear master cylinder. To my eye, the 2 linked pads seem to have about a mm less wear on them. That would be indicative of my riding style and how little I use the rear brake. The VFR1200's brakes do not link from front to rear.
 This is the left side linked caliper. You can see the additional brake line going into the top which powers the linked pistons.