Tire strategy Heidenau K60 on 10K+ trip

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by MplsMoto, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    I've read just about everything I can find on the Heidenau K60 tires and there seems to be a bit of disparity in the performance and mileage people are getting out of them, so I thought I would seek some advice more specific to my situation. I'm trying to avoid carrying a rear tire if at all possible.

    I'm doing a 10K+ trip from Minneapolis to Costa Rica - via Baja. I plan on riding to Texas, then over to San Diego - probably all pavement with the potential for some maintained gravel roads. I'm on a f800 GSA, riding solo at 160lbs for myself and camping, maintenance and gear somewhere around 100lbs+.

    I'm running the stock Pirelli Scorpions currently, but once I get into Baja I plan on doing mostly gravel roads (40/60), back on mainland Mexico to Costa Rica I'll probably be more 50/50 - but will be seeking gravel roads (no off-road). I'm an expert off-roader, but I will be loaded and don't want to push it by going into the unknown.

    So currently I'm thinking I should ship a pair of Heidenau K60's to San Diego - that takes 2K off the K60s, then have the Pirelli shipped back to a friend in TX for the return trip - shaving another 1K back home. That would be about 8K+- on the K60's.

    With all that in mind, I've read that the K60's are not so good in sand - which I'm sure to encounter in Baja. I'm thinking I can make them work, giving me the best of all things - but I'm willing to switch out the front for a knobby and deal with carrying another front for later in the trip - or could use some advice on buying tires in Central America.

    I'm open to all options, just looking for some experienced riders to weigh-in on how they would handle things.

    Also, advice on heavy duty tubes and whether to install sealant or carry some along.

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    I'd just do the entire trip on the K60s. Keep the speed down and the pressure correct when cold, accelerate more gently and you should do just fine. If they're worn out when you hit the border northbound, get fresh rubber there. Have you changed a K60 yourself? They are a bear, even on a tire changer!

    I've had no problems with K60s in 1.5-2" sand on my 1150GS loaded, but not overloaded - it's already too heavy. Adjust pressures before getting into the sand. Don't run the pressures too high on pavement, either. K60s are stiff sidewalled SOBs.

    Sealant is a good thing, but it can be a mess when changing tires. I'd put in the slime, carry a spare tube and tools to change it out. Spare slime? Probably not.

    Buying tires south of the border can be really problematic. Sizes in stock will vary widely. If available, your size will not be anywhere close when you need it - Senor Murphy's Law. Most of the "new" tires I've seen down there are very old and very high priced. FYI -Shipping a tire to you down there will be a long drawn out hassle with lots of fees involved.

    Try doing without some of that weight. I'll bet you can lose at least 20 lbs with a close look at it.
    #2
  3. norcal1

    norcal1 Cameron Park, CA.

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    Did a 8000 mile round trip from Sacramento to Prudoe Bay this summer. With quite a bit of gravel road side trips and the tires could go another 2k. So I think you will be fine with the K-60.
    #3
  4. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Thanks guys,

    My biggest concern was confirmed, they may be a bear to change in the middle of nowhere.

    I was thinking HD tubes with Slime.

    The Mitas E-07 is my other option I guess, but that's a 3 ply too and maybe stiff.
    #4
  5. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    Problems changing is why I've stayed away from Heidenau.

    Used the Mitas E-07 Dual Sport (17x140) for a 9K trip to Alaska an my GSA with zero issues and it's still not to the wear bars at 10K.
    Worked great on the gravel roads and corners excellent on pavement.
    Mounted them myself without machine assistance.
    Have not tried the 4 ply Dakar?
    Just ordered a replacement DS 17x150 (now in stock).
    $184 delivered from www.mx1canada.com
    Did not like the Mitas front and it barely made the 9K trip.
    Now running a TKC front which I like much better even if I have to use 2 fronts to 1 rear (used to be the opposite).
    #5
  6. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Thanks for the all the advice, it's change my mind.

    I'm going to use the Mitas e-07's. The two main factors in my decision are ease of changing in the field and reports that the Heidenau's are a bit slick in the wet.

    So, has anyone ordered the Mitas e-07's in the US, and if so what was the cost and timing?
    #6
  7. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    You have to get the Mitas out of Canada - $55 to ship or so, about the same for 2 tires.

    Holkster is right on about changing a K60 and about going TKC front. So much better off, and shouldn't have any trouble getting the miles to get you through. The 50/50 fronts will wash out. All depends on your offroad needs.

    The K60 is a very durable tire and highly likely there's no issue making them last for your trip. Although they're not great anywhere for traction they are adequate, even for some sand. The trade off in traction is for durability. I cannot comment on tube repair in the field with them but widely reported to be a bitch to break a bead and get one on and off by hand with irons. For your trip I'd probably run the K60 rear and a TKC front, but I have never run either long enough on the Tiger to know for sure they'd make the 8K miles. Strongly likely yes. The ED07? It may come up short by a thousand or so. Would be nice to have someone that has actually run them out on a similar bike for a total mileage report.

    There are pros and cons for thick tubes. For a trip like that, and for when we get out well away from rescue in really tough terrain like Death Valley, I like a 4mm tube. Bridgestone and Michelin both offer an 'ultra heavy' in a 4mm natural rubber. I've had brand new tubes out of the box leak at the seams so will only go name brand like Pirelli, Michelin, Bridgestone, Moose Racing. They all make a good tube. An extra heavy tube resists pinch-flats better, so definitely for the front, not so sure for the back though...next paragraph.

    That said, if you get a thorn or a nail that pokes thru the tire it's going to go thru a tube regardless of how thick it is. So a lot of riders have gone back to a 3mm (standard thickness) or standard heavy duty tube because they're easier to get into the tire, they're easier to patch and the patches seem to hold better, they run cooler, and they reduce unsprung weight. There are a lot of advantages for a moreorless standard HD tube.

    I would probably install ultra duty tubes and carry standard replacements, one each, and plenty of patches. I would consider taking two fronts - can always be used in the rear for an emergency, like if you should hole all your tubes and run out of patches - have heard of that in really out of the way tours. Personally I have never had a flat off road in more than 40 years of riding. I've had them after a ride, and in the shop, but never had to patch one in the field. I'll keep knocking on wood. :D

    I don't care for slime at all - just a huge mess. Some swear by it, it does have its place I guess. If it was the only way I was going to get back to civilization then I'd use it if someone handed me a bottle, but I would never carry it.

    Good luck and have a great trip!

    EDIT: Oh, and one other thing...rim strips - I hate them. As a long time offroader I've changed a LOT of knobbies. A rim strip just seems to get in the way, have seen them deteriorate and flat a tube, they will slip and slide around making getting the tube stem and rim lock (if you have one) through it and the rim a real bitch. So, I always just toss them the first time the tire is off and apply about 3 layers of duct tape, stripping the tape off in about a 1" wide strip. Then cut the stem and lock hole with an exacto or razor knife. You never have to deal with a rim strip this way. The downside is it can lock moisture into the spoke nipples. I've had older woods bikes where the nipples froze up. Oh well, it's a calculated risk and good trade off for me.
    #7
  8. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Thanks for all the advice, it really was a big help. So many threads, so many opinions - but it really comes down to your riding style, the terrain you'll be riding and your setup.

    So, the tire decision is made. It's going to be Mitas E-07 on the back and TKC80 on the front (f8GSA). HD tubes, HD spares, no slime.

    I'll be riding desert gravel roads 50/50, so sand is expected - that's why I decided on the TKC front. I chose the Mitas for durability and ease of in-field removal (vs. Heidenau K60). Most reviews rate the Mitas better on wet pavement with good durability. I think this setup is the perfect compromise for my trip.

    I'll be riding about 2,200 miles of pavement on my way from Mpls to San Diego, so I'll be using my stock Pirelli Scorpions, swapping to D/S tires in San Diego and having the Scorpions shipped to Austin, Tx for my return - at which point I'm sure the D/S tires will be toast. I'm expecting to put 9K on the D/S tires, 3K on the road tires.
    #8
  9. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Well, that's exactly what I would have done...must be that great minds think alike. :evil

    Good luck and get a RR started. Let us know how it goes.


    EDIT: BTW, I see you're coming all the way to SD to cross. Consider doing that earlier, Mexicali, even Tecati. So much easier than dealing with TJ - it's a horrible mess. Just FYI. Most of our baja bound californians go over at Tecate. Check out Hacienda Santa Veronica and Mike's Sky Ranch for an overnighter.
    #9
  10. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    RR coming.

    Thanks for the advice on the border crossing, makes sense!
    #10
  11. two trackin fool

    two trackin fool Long timer

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    ????????
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  12. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    I went thru his history...he never did start a RR here, a 'blog' instead: http://mplsmoto.blogspot.com/2013/11/mpls-to-costa-rica-ride-report-baja.html

    Looks like there was a new bike after the trip, never saw an update on the tire situation but it looks like he did change out to mitas and tkc in CA before crossing into central america.

    I had forgotten about this thread 'till it came up in my favorites this morning from the last post.
    #12
  13. KustomizingKid

    KustomizingKid Been here awhile

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    I had really bad life with mine on my Xr650r... If the rear doesn't have that center rib don't expect shit for life out of it. Also not the right tire if you want to ride anything fun in baja, imo.
    #13
  14. KustomizingKid

    KustomizingKid Been here awhile

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    +2 on crossing at Mexicali... Very easy. Make sure to get your tvip and visa there too, just tell them you are crossing over on the ferry. La Paz to Mazatlan? Get a cabin on the ferry... Learned that the hard way hahaha.
    #14
  15. Silverfin

    Silverfin Been here awhile

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    Similar situation. Will be taking a new 2014 Yamaha Super Tenere with new stock tires to Panama and on to Columbia (via boat) and then S America. Not yet sure what new tires will come on the bike (Battle Wings or Tourances...probably BWs). We are 2up and heavy so tires will probably wear faster than norm. We are starting in Seattle and thinking of putting new K60 on in San Diego or San Fransisco (where we have a place to stay) to get us to Pamama/Columbia. Does anyone know who sells K60s in this area...this way we start our trip with new K60s and can have a shop change them...just need a reliable source. Guess we could carry them on the bike from Seattle (slabing it to save time)...hate to start trip with extra tires.
    #15
  16. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Hey guys,

    I did bail on doing a ride report here on ADV, I actually bailed on the site altogether after getting into one too many confrontation from the trolls here.

    As for the tires, the Mitas E-07 on the rear and the TKC-80 on the front was the perfect combination. I ended up putting around 8K on both - and they're just now needing replacement. The rear because it's worn, the front because it's cupping.

    I think it depends on your riding style, if you're a guy who's heavy on the throttle just for the fun of it you'll burn through the rear faster. I think riding more gravel would have caused more wear as well.

    I rode quite a bit of pavement from La Paz to Panama, riding off-road mostly in Nicaragua and Costa Rica - where the tires simply shined. I ran into riders using the Heidenau K60 - the main complaint being they are very slippery on wet pavement. I'm confident I made the right choice. I rode no mud, so I can't speak to that.

    As for dropping-in in Mexicali, I got my visa and insurance in SD and had no problems crossing. Virtually no other traffic. I ended up getting my vehicle permit in La Paz before I got on the ferry. No problems. I got my money back before I crossed into Guatemala when I canceled the permit.
    #16
  17. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Have tires shipped to your place to stay in CA. You can have them changed there, ship your old ones home or something. They'll hardly be worn.

    My fav is americanmotortire.com but can't remember if they have the heidies.

    I would also bring a tube for a tubeless in case you dent a rim so bad they won't hold air. Not likely two-up, but cheap insurance nonetheless.
    #17
  18. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    There's some real ass-hat's here aren't there? LOL.

    I enjoyed your blog, read thru it today. It was disjointed though, not in order, and seemed to be missing the last half of your trip.

    Did you ship from Panama to Columbia? Another local guy to us here did a similar trip and it's a great read - he posted on the fly while he rode - I think that would be tough to do...
    His RR here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=22537609#post22537609

    Thanks for stopping back... :freaky
    #18
  19. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Thanks, I just read my blog again too - it was a good journal but it was starting to take too much time away from the trip, and once I got behind it was a nightmare to go back.

    Yes, I've been an active contributor on many forums over the years, and this one has a huge problem with trolls and jerks. Not worth the fight, still bitter.

    I ended up in Panama city. There's one place at the airport that ships bikes, building to the left of to DHL on the second floor, up the stairs - second door on the left. (sorry, can't remember the name right now and can't find it in my email) that ships to the US (multiple destinations) and also to Columbia. My bike ultimately shipped via DHL to Miami. Smooth as silk, got my bike two days later.

    I recommend shipping via air if you have a few extra bucks - I figured it was $400 extra ($1000 vs $1400). It cost $150 to "crate" the bike. It was actually just a pallet with cardboard wrapped around the bike, then shrink wrapped. I assisted, breaking-down the bike in a steamy warehouse with two helpers. There was another rider there doing the same (Pete Day - Mosko bags) so it helped to do two bikes at once. Don't forget to get your stamps on the way out, there's a passport stamp proving you shipped your bike. Only one person at the airport exit office who knew what I was asking for.

    I bought four ratcheting tie-downs in Panama City, which was a huge help. I gave my two old non-rachet tie downs to Pete - he was thankful as he forgot to buy some.
    #19