Front tire choice

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by kellymac530, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    I know everyone is sick of tire threads but I am in a wierd spot.
    I am building a custom BMW R1100 with inverted telescopic forks on and a 21" front wheel instead of the telelever and 19" front.

    Since almost no one has a 21" front tire on any BMW GS or GSA I have no reference for what is a good front tire for a heavier adventure bike.

    Even if there are guys who ride dirt on GSs they seem to like a street bias.

    What are you Orange folks using for a dirt biased tire on your big bikes?

    I know I should not waste my time with my piggy, but it is what is.

    I used D606 tires on my 530 excr and was not a fan in the dirt. they were just mediocre on street and on dirt. I usually used a 606 rear with a D752 front...not street legal but it worked great on pavement and was the best on dirt by far.

    I am running a Kenda Big Block on the rear for a starter, we will see how that works, but I am curious on the front.

    I know I do not belong here on this page, but I am in a wierd middle spot. Thanks for any input you folks have, I do love my Orange :D
    #1
  2. el queso

    el queso toda su base

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    The TKC80, Pirelli MT21 and Dunlop 908 seem to be popular choices for a dirt oriented front tire. I have run the MT21's and thought the front was pretty similar to the 606 (hated the rear). Next time I'll try the 908 up front.
    #2
  3. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    The 606 sux on my 525, but is pretty good on the 990. I'm not fond of it on the street.
    #3
  4. Off Road Ryder

    Off Road Ryder Long timer

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    I loved my Gs, always wanted to do a fork conversion, but alas the mighty 950 came into my life.. Theres no going back.
    Stay away from the TKC, soft sidewalls equal pinch flats, and crap in real dirt.
    I like the MT21, haven't tried the 908 front.
    #4
  5. bigdave-gs

    bigdave-gs Explorer

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    Even though I ride a GS, I run the TKC80 on the front. I'm waiting for KTM to bring the 1190 R Adventure to the US so I can test ride it. If it does as well as I'm hoping, it will replace my R1150GS Adventure. Looked hard at the 990 R but it really would have taken a lot of money to make it the bike I'm looking for.
    #5
  6. DirtyADV

    DirtyADV Long timer

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    Metzler Karoo 2T is also an option for a dirt oriented front that can survive some on tarmac also, done more then 10 000 km on one, most of it tarmac with some dirt.

    /Johan
    #6
  7. BoulderGuy

    BoulderGuy out ridin'....

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    I really like the TKC 80. OK in dirt, good on pavement and wears pretty good. Loved the Pirelli MT21's and the Dunlop 606's offroad but they were completely destroyed after a long weekend! They were kind of scary on pavement as well....
    #7
  8. mdfehrmann

    mdfehrmann Been here awhile

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    I really enjoyed the Pirelli Scorpion Rally Front I ran this season, got tons of miles out of it. ( I'd have to check totals but it's over 4k and still looking good)
    I run a 1.6" wide 21" front rim, street pressure all the time, your results may vary.
    It's noisy on the road, hooks up well in the dirt, I didn't fall on my head on the street, I'll run another for sure.

    http://www.pirelli.com/tyre/ww/en/motorcycle/sheet/scorpion_rally.html
    #8
  9. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Thanks for the input folks. You could have beat me up a bit for riding the competition and what a waste of time I am doing, but you guys came through. Maybe you saw my Avatar and felt pity...:roflNot my bike btw.

    So the thought of a 606 on the big bike being better than on a thumper is interesting. I am aware that I will NOT be pushing the big beast anywhere near my 530, so maybe the 606 will be better. But then I did not like it on the tar either.

    The Pirelli MT21 looks interesting. What kind of life are you folks getting out of those and what ratio of dirt/street?

    The 908 has been a thought, good reminder on that one, pricey, but an option. The Metzler Karoo 2T looks too far spaced out on tread blocks to retain any smooth ride on the tar. I could be wrong of course, but looks like a sand tire almost like a Dunlop MX31 or Pirelli Scorpion which I hated on my 530, way to spaced out tread.

    Cost is a factor, not that I will not pay $200 for a front, but only if it is THAT much better than others.

    Smooth on the tarmac, and good traction in the dirt with fair life for fair price. If that makes sense. I would rather a tire slip a bit on the street, if predictable...but stick in the dirt. I am sure that will sound stupid to some. I hope you know what I mean
    #9
  10. el queso

    el queso toda su base

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    I had 606s on a KLR 650 for many years and i really liked them. Even in the canyons they held pretty well, and when they started to lose grip, they were very predictable. I did get a lot of pinch flats though...
    #10
  11. bigdave-gs

    bigdave-gs Explorer

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    I can tell you this, I have run the Karoo on the front of my BMW and while it did an OK job both street and dirt, it didn't last very long. I went back to the TKC80's and it will carve a paved road like you wouldn't beleave and does very well off road. I average around 10,000 miles on the front TKC80 before the knobbies wear so unevenly that I start getting vibrations. I run AirSoft BB's front and rear to balance my tires and I think this helps my tire milage as well. I have found that 0.55 oz in the front and 1.0 oz in the rear balances the tires up to my top speed of 116 mph. I run the Tourance in the rear because I haven't found a rear knobbie that I can get more that 2000 miles out of. :cry When I go down to the Gulf Coast I will take a TKC80 rear so I can ride in the sand and then change back to the Tourance for the ride back home.
    #11
  12. Off Road Ryder

    Off Road Ryder Long timer

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    I get about 4 to 5 K out of a front Mt 21,Thats pushing the bike fairly hard. I find it very stable on the road. Off course one guys idea of stable is another's nightmare. Its all about expectations:deal. If your doing that mod it sounds like more off road ability is what your after. With the 21, I imagine your running tubes, so pinch flats become an issue.. Hint, strong sidewall, especially on a GS.




    #12
  13. Scott Baja

    Scott Baja el semental negro

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    I like the front TKC on my KTM. It handles well on pavement, and tears it up on dirt. As far as a soft sidewall and any kind of flats, I never air down, as I only air down in deep sand, and have not had the occasion to do so with this tire. Its worn out now, and I will be replacing with another. Still searching for a rear tire I like, but thats the 18 inch, and dosnt apply to you. Buy the way, I had a R1100GS and loved it. Just to let you know, the KTM stole my heart..........:freaky
    #13
  14. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    Anyone use the Mitas Dakar E09?
    I know it is a pita to get here in the states, but if it is worth it...pita does not mean I can't.
    #14
  15. bigdave-gs

    bigdave-gs Explorer

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    Never ran an E-09 myself but have heard from other inmates that it is very soft and doesn't get very good milage. I've heard the E-10 is a better highway milage tire that still has good enough knobbies for off road, but the cost difference in a Mitas and the TKC isn't justifiable to me.........
    #15
  16. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

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    I'm interested in this question as well. When I ordered my new wheels from Woody I talked at some length to Zach about his preferences for a front tire on the big bike. I was thinking MT21 but he was pretty insistent that he'd had better luck with the Scorpion Pro.

    I'm planning on spending the riding season this year making a front tire selection for the Alcan 5000 in 2014 so will probably end up trying both; the new wheelset in the basement is sporting the scorpion pro for now. Guess we'll see!

    Steve
    #16
  17. GrenDesb

    GrenDesb Been here awhile

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    I've tried the D606 and the MT21.

    At first I liked the D606 but the MT21 is equal or better in every aspect.

    The MT21 is much more stable and solid on the street.
    #17
  18. Grinderman

    Grinderman Been here awhile

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    O.k. I have riddent the 606 hard and the tkc hard. The 606 was a joke on the pavement and was o.k off road. The TKC was really good off road and on. I pushed that tire hard! For overall performance I was impressed with the TKC. The problem with the conti is the SOFT SIDEWALLS!!. If you ride really aggressively in the dirt this is not the tire for you. So I posed the same question as you awhile ago on this forum. Someone in Australia ( I always trust those guys regarding these bikes) suggested the Michelin Starcross HP4. I figured what the heck. I tried it and I welll never look back. Badass on the dirt, and I have pushed it fairly hard on the tarmac. Great tire with long wear life compared to the 606 and tkc. It is not street legal but I don't care.....
    #18
  19. YOGOI

    YOGOI Prick

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    Interesting! I'll have to give that one a try. I'm always up for try'n something new, and I like the idea of a 90/100.
    I had been running the Dunlop 739 FA, but now that it has been discontinued, and it seems every ones going to 90/90 sizes for true dirt tires, I wasn't sure what I was gonna do.
    #19
  20. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    My issue with running the MT21 is it clearly says that it is for light to middleweight bikes...I am on a HUGE beast. Bigger and heavier than your 9x0 ADVs.

    I would like a DOT tire, but on my 530 I have had great success with non DOT Dunlops like the 739 and 752. But I think they dropped both of those now for the new line, the Geomax MX31 and MX51.

    No experience with the new tires there.

    I am thinking of starting off with the matching Kenda Big Block front. Looks a bit tame for dirt, but you never know till you try it.
    #20