Front Tyre Choice For 950 SE

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Two Moto Kiwis, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    So when we head south (again :D) from Phoenix we will be two up on Maya (pronounced Miya) our new KTM 950 SE steed.

    So it is a choice between the TKC 80 and Heidenau K60, they are my two but anyone else got some good suggestions for likely road conditions from here on in and which maybe more suitable feel free to chime in, usual combo of tar and gravel, will try and stay out of sandpits two up.

    We had the K60 on the DR's and were not unhappy with them although the new tread depth is not great.

    Will be running K60 on the back, sorted!!
    #1
  2. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

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    I've been enjoying the MT21 up front. It lasts about as long as a TKC but handles the dirt much better.
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  3. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    I've never liked TKCs, they wear out fast and the side walls are weak.

    The MT21 can be found all over in LA and is better option imo.
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  4. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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  5. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    I just mounted K60s on my SE. They seem fine and will probably last forever by looking at the tread; very deep. One thing I can tell you about the TKC is if you ever have a flat front at speed, you're going to lose complete control. As MG stated the sidewall is completely flimsy and it is a safety concern IMO.
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  6. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    The reality of the situation is that you're going to be on pavement 90% of the time riding 2-up and what gravel you do won't be terribly gnarly. I'd get something more road oriented that will last longer. A distanzia or a tourance or something. With that mixture of weight and HP, you'll blow through rears, so I'd get the longest lasting tire I could find.
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  7. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Like Airhead said , you will not see any dirt roads for a long ,long time . And the raining season is about to be over in Central America , so no mud neither .
    In Guatemala I always use the Tourance , they are great on pavement and handle the eventual dry offroad pretty well .
    Stay away from knobbies until you get much further down south !
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  8. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    There's plenty of dirt to be found in MX and CA. If the OP just wants to blast the Pan Am then he can disregard.

    The SE likes a good knobbie up front and you can still drag the pegs on the asphalt with it. The additional mileage you may get with a DS tire is negligible in my experience.
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  9. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Plenty of dirt to be found yes , if you want to look for it riding 2up on a overloaded bike ...???
    And there are lots of small and scenic paved roads besides the Pan American in MX and CA
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  10. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    The SE is one of the most capable big twins offroad regardless of load. A knobbie up front keeps the options open and the performance concerns re asphalt are negligible.

    And I never said the paved roads are not scenic.
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  11. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Reality is 80 - 90 % tar while two up, we will at times drop gear and go for a non tarmac look around like we did at Batopilas, I want some TKC80/Karro above, little better than maybe K60 front but not as knobby as the current front.

    Anyone KNOW the sidewall strength of the Karoo? .... if not I will test and come back here with the real oil.:D
    #11
  12. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    I'm a true believer in the MT 21 on front, just be sure and flip it back and fourth to get the longest wear, the rear doesn't matter so much just as long as you can steer your way through, you will have more than enough hp to turn and burn whatever rear tire you put on the big twin:lol3 I'd personally go with a MT21 up front and a Scorpion, the Pirellis are good imho

    Karoo rubber compound suck imho I run the tkcs long before the karoo:deal
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  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I'm partial to the MT-21 front as well. My front of choice on the 990. Good dry pavement manners for a knobby, bites way better than a TKC, and has a stiffer sidewall. The front MT-90 has a pretty soft sidewall as well. Didnt get hardly an front flats running the MT-21.

    Both Julio and the Goat are correct. You dont need knobbies, but at times you are happy to have them, and you can push it way harder in the dirt. The rear sliding around is no big deal, but front wash-outs tend to hurt kinda bad. Because of that, I always preferred to have a healthy amount of bite up front.

    I run a little slower when its wet, but it didnt slow me down too much on the pavement as opposed to running a street tire. All depends on what you want to ride. But when you get down towards Peru and Bolivia, I would recommend putting on an MT-21.

    [​IMG]

    As far as the rear Scorp is concerned, I got way more mileage out of the 150 than the 140. The 140 is Brazilian made, the 150 is German made, so different compounds I reckon. Its tough to find the 150's down there anyway and they are way more expensive when you do find them. I ran the rear 140 and 150 Scorp most of the time during my Latin America travels, but I put on a rear MT-21 for Bolivia, and glad I did.

    Bad day to not have knobbies. I was running MT-90's front and rear, but I did make it through, just a little harder work.

    [​IMG]



    Not essential, but way better to have knobs for this stuff.

    [​IMG]



    Heck, for just starting again from the States, you might even consider a rear Conti Trail attack, guys have been getting crazy mileage out of those on the 9X0's. Given the mileage accounts, that tire ought to get you well into South America. There's a thread on the OC about them, but I have not tried one myself, just not dirt oriented enough for me.

    One thing about riding the SE, you'll be constantly looking for rear tires. :lol3
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  14. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Hmmmm opened a tin of worms :D

    Back in the US now so time to make some orders.

    Back tire we will run the 150/70 - 18 K60, keen to see what actual milage we get outa that.

    Front ... bugga me, not sure now, always had TKC 80 in NZ and loved it, prolly ok on a lighter bike.

    Kenda K784F Big Block Front Tire?

    Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara Front Tire? ... similar to the Heidenau

    Throttlemeister what is sucky aboy the Karoo?
    #14
  15. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    The Sahara 3 is similar to the MT-60, you will find both in Latin America as well. An OK compromise tire I guess if you're 80 to 90% tar, but I would still rather run the MT-21.

    One buddy of mine ran the Kenda big block and complained that it wore down pretty quickly, but had really nice pavement manners. I dont have first hand experience with that tire though.

    Havent tried a Karoo front, but the rear I ran lasted less than 500 miles then most all the knobs were chuncked off or smoothed out. The tire was trashed in one day of dirt road riding in Nicaragua. Granted I was spinning the shit out of it, but its an absolutely crappy compound IMO. We pulled into Puerto Cabezas and Mario looked at the rear tire and commented, "Well Vicente, we were wondering, but now we know the Karoo is an absolute pice of shit." :lol3

    Once you get down south the most common 21" choices that you will see will be random Chinese dirt bike knobbies, mixed with MT-21, MT-60, MT-90, some Sahara 3's as well IIRC. MT-60 being the most common of the Pirellis from what I saw.

    Buen viaje!
    #15
  16. Dean74

    Dean74 Adventurer

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    i've done about 80,000 miles on an SE in the last 3 years in almost 50 different countries, and tried almost every off road option available. My vote goes to Michelin deserts. I think conti's are complete rubbish, as are karoo's. Dunlop rally raids are great, but the front is not as hard as the Michelin so it doesn't last as long. mt21's are ok, but dont last long enough.

    the only downfall is instability when they're new, but it improves once they have a little wear. give me deserts anytime, sure they suck on the highway, but if you're worried about that buy a bmw and put conti's on it instead.

    dean.

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  17. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    What sort of milage do you get out of the Michelin Deserts as I have never used them.

    Cheers Andi
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  18. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    For sure the Michellin Desert off road but that MT 21 does amazing on road and darn good offroad and will last a good while if you take the time to reverse it's rotation for even wear before you cup it too far also it is common to to find.

    Like others and I have said the rubber compound on the karroos is way to soft and doesn't last on the pavement, you will get more out of a front but I still don't care for the compound. TKC will do much better job lasting and again on the front I would reverese the tire before the knobs cup too much, it will help the tire last much longer.

    Since riding down in Latin America I have become a true believer in the MT 21 as an all around great tire that I love having on the front to let me 'feel' the front end more in the loose stuff. The only draw back is when new and hard on the front brakes or in really wet conditions, but of these improve with wear. My second choice on the front would be a tkc or the Mitas tires I found in Venezuela since the MT21 wasn't available there.

    Just hearing from MG and Crashmaster with their experience on big twins is enough to convince me:deal

    As your trip goes on you will get to find out what really works for you on your new bike and your style of riding. Safe travels.
    #18
  19. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    I don't recall seeing Deserts in LA but maybe I wasn't paying attention.

    Vinny sold me on the mullet set up. It's a great compromise. I'll put the mt21 up against any street tire on the tarmac, I was scraping pegs all over LA on asphalt and the tire was always well planted. I think a lot of folks are parroting memes they've heard on the internet without any real experience.
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  20. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Mate that is for sure, listening to the advice from others who have the bike and the miles/area, everything is a compromise between off road and road.

    Being two up of course changes it a bit so a will try and make the best decision between wear and traction given probably 95% between Phoenix and SA will be on black top, we ran the K60 Heidy front as well on the DR's and liked them just the tread depth to start with is not huge but in 32000km we have not had one flat.

    Also we are not setting any world speed records continuing our RTW trip as I want to look out the window too.:D:D
    #20