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Old 12-16-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
390beretta OP
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Tires for an '88 K75

This is my primary mode of transportation. (My wife rides an '08 Versys and we have a '10 Jeep Wrangler) but when weather permits, which is almost always here in Phx, I ride the bike.) I put new tires on the bike when I bought it (Pirelli sport demons), now about 10,000 miles later, the rear is looking close to replacement time. Most of my miles are city miles, with a few 200-300 mile trips thrown in. Here's my question: I know that there are somewhat limited choices available for my bike, given that, what tires might you recommend?

I want "good" tires under me. I replaced a very new front tire (due to a nail puncture) that had only 3000 miles on it recently. Just wasn't comfortable with a plugged tire. I'm also thinking that I've gotten very good service out of the rear tire. I don't ride very aggressively, but do sometimes, just to get out of potential trouble, but not as a rule. So, I don't think I need a particularly "sticky" tire, but one that will provide good wear and reasonable traction if and when....

Thanks
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:05 PM   #2
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I like the Sport Demon. The Bridgestone BT45 is a good tire that is probably available in a size for your bike.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Michelin Pilot Road 3. I don't think there is a better tire to be had for that application. (The 2's would be fine as well)
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:27 PM   #4
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If you're getting 10k out of a tire, I'd stick with it. I've never gotten half that out of a rear on my '95.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:40 PM   #5
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Bridgestone Spitfire S11s are a good bang for the buck tire on a K75. If you ride a lot of grooved freeway though I wouldn't use them as the middle groove on the front tire can track annoyingly.

Michelin Macadam 50/50Es are also are good tires that will give good mileage but they're grooved too and will also track on grooved pavement.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DAKEZ View Post
Michelin Pilot Road 3. I don't think there is a better tire to be had for that application. (The 2's would be fine as well)
These.

I have a set on my Versys. Love them.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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The OP's bike takes bias tires (at least I'm pretty sure '88s were still bias). So assuming you want to keep running bias (I know some have put radials on) . . .

On my old K75, I replaced the Metzeler Lasertecs with Michelin Pilot Sport Activs (I think this may actually be the replacement for the Macadams). The difference was pretty significant for the better. I didn't keep the bike long enough to test the mileage, but they are a long wearing. For whatever reason, they are popular with the Goldwing trike crowd, but I found they handled really well and transitioned better in the curves than the Metzelers. If I had kept the bike, I would have stuck with those Michelins.

I also considered the Sport Demons and Battlewings as those also had pretty good reviews from K75 riders. Obviously, though, Duck is the expert in all things K and has far more miles on K bikes than I, so I would weigh his advice heavily.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:14 PM   #8
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PR2s/3s are great tires and you can run a 110/80-18 on the front of a K75 but what size PR can you put on a 2.75x18 rear wheel?
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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I use Bridgestone BT45's. They work well and are only $180/set from several online outlets.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:38 PM   #10
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No advice, but: more power to you! A K75! Sweet machine! You made my day!


(FWIW, I used Metz on my K100, but that was eons ago, before they invented rubber.)
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:06 PM   #11
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How the flaming hell did you get 10,000 miles on a Sport Demon?

My current faves for olde motor bikes are the Avon RoadRiders. I've been through four or five sets on my GS850. If you're the kind of gentle soul who can coax 10K out of the Pirellis, you should get close to double that with the Avons. I guess I'm not that gentle...

Nothing wrong with the Sport Demons, and many folks like the Bridgestone BT45 and Michelin Macadam (I think they have a new name now).

I would avoid the Bridgestone Spitfire -- the BT45 is a much better, much more modern tire. As others have noted, there are far better options than the Metzelers these days. The world has moved on...
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:30 AM   #12
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I would avoid the Bridgestone Spitfire
WHY? I've ridden those pretty hard on a loaded up K75S and they performed just fine.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #13
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WHY? I've ridden those pretty hard on a loaded up K75S and they performed just fine.
I'm sure they worked just fine for you. But there are even better tires nowadays. Why not take advantage of the best you can get?

Nothing wrong with the Bridgestone Spitfire, but it's been around a long time and the state of the art for bias ply tires is now found elsewhere -- Bridgestone's BT45, Pirelli's Sport Demon, and Avon's Roadrider are all thoroughly modern in construction and compound. (Michelin and Continental also make excellent V-rated bias ply rubber, but I haven't tried them yet.)

The Avon RoadRider in particular is most impressive to me because of how well it behaves down to the last scrap of rubber. I tried a set of the Spitfires, and they were shagged in less than 3,500 twisty miles. The worst part was how they turned evil (wobbly and greasy, poor transitions) for the last 1,000 miles. (Yes, tires last a lot longer for normal people than they do for me... your mileage will likely be better.)

By contrast, the Avons don't feel or grip any different throughout their life span, and I consistently get 6,000 miles of abuse from each rear and 12,000 from each front. Wet grip is better, too.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:45 PM   #14
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Have you ever ridden on the Spitfires? I put about 1,200 miles (including LOTS of twisties and sweepers) on a set before selling the bike and they worked just fine. Here's what the rear looked like after a few hundred miles:


Notice the lack of chicken strips? Maybe I'm not enough of a tire snob but any tire that can ride to the edge of it's tread and have the rider (me) be happy with and confident in said tire is a decent tire. YMMV.

I don't really care though what tires other people put on their bikes because it doesn't impact me one whit. All I can do is report that I rode on them and found them to be a really good tire.

And, to be quite honest, I think all bias ply tires are shit and that you're much better off running a K75/K100 on good sport touring radials like Avon Azaros, BT-023s or PR2s. I run a BT-023 front and Azaro rear on my K75 and I find that to be awesome.

However, since, at least to my knowledge, their isn't a radial available for the stock 2.75" wide K75 rear, you need to swap in a 3" wide rear wheel in order to run radials - which is what I did.

But the 3" rear is a three spoke and, being an 88, the topic bike most likely has Y-spoked wheels unless somebody has swapped in 3-spokes so one would probably want to get a three spoke front as well if going the radial route.

Edit: And yes, I do recognize the irony of me claiming not to be a tire snob and then a few sentences later proclaiming that all bias ply tires are shit. Enjoy...

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Old 12-24-2012, 10:58 AM   #15
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You seem a bit tense, duck...


As I stated, yes, I have used these tires. I wore out a set of Spitfires on my Suzuki GS850G, which I flog mercilessly. They stick just fine. I used them to their limits on a trip to North Carolina. You might have heard there are a few nice roads thereabouts.

But as good as they are, there are now bias-ply tires available that work even better -- primarily, they last longer and remain more consistent throughout their life span.

Relax -- nothing I wrote contradicts anything you wrote.

If you like the way Spitfires work on whatever old nail you ride, feel free to continue using them.


If the OP's K75 can accept radial rubber, great. I don't know, since I don't have a K75.
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