Vee Rubber VRM-163 Dual Sport Tire

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by gronk, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    I got mine for $85 shipped - 140/80-17 on a 150 rim from High Profile Cycles off Ebay.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/300567887494?item=300567887494&viewitem=&vxp=mtr

    Wouldn't think you'd want to drop down to the 130...but if you do let me know how it works.

    At 5,000 miles the tire is still mostly round with a small flatish spot where it is wearing a bit more down the center. As a commuting tire -> super happy with it -> handles the torque and weight carrying capacity of the F8 with ease and a lot better in the dirt than most other 80/20 tires I've tried (actually it is the best 80/20 dirt tire I've tried).

    http://veerubberusa.com/motorcycle/viewsize.php?Pname=vrm163

    The pic posted above was taken on a 500 mile day with conditions ranging from super slab speeds that were beyond the legal limit, to twistie leaned over back roads, to 6 inch deep loose gravel, to wet dirt and mud....seriously fun tire to ride (for me - your results may vary). The only place its performance starts lacking is in the sticky mud...where the only thing that'll perform better is a true knob. If I were to go any more dirt oriented I'd step up to the TKC and skip everything else in between...

    (going to try out an E07 this spring but will be keeping a spare 163 around as a backup tire)

    = )
    #21
  2. greer

    greer Long timer

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    Still running that 163?

    Sarah
    #22
  3. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    It's still on the F800 but I managed to crack the F800 engine case.

    Long story, even longer saga due to the engine still being under warranty and the warranty riders BMW has that work to ensure that they rarely ever have to pay for expensive repairs even if they really should as the issue was imho and the h.o. of several experts a defect in manufacture AND NOT anything I did to the bike.

    The engine repair is estimated to end up at well over $4,000. Needless to say I'm not giving another dime to BMW after the lack of support they've shown me on this. They offer a 3 yr/36K warranty...they should stand by it instead of using legal mumbo-jumbo to make the customer feel like a complete POS for breaking his bike, then disavow all responsibility for the broken engine, then offer the customer a little itty bitty carrot to try to keep him riding their product.

    F800 will be sold off for parts tomorrow to a mechanic who says he can fix it for cheap. I think he's going to try to weld it up. After examining the severity of the crack, which runs through the pivot mounts for the swingarm, I don't think any amount of welding will make it structurally sound again.

    F800 was a $20,000 (after farkles and maintenance costs) bike that lasted less than 2 years and 30,000 miles before the engine died. Doesn't say much for the longevity of the "Unstoppable" GS. LMFAO - unstoppable...yah right...all it took to destroy mine was for a chain to come off while I was riding down the road. I wasn't even off-road. All I was doing was going to the DMV to get a duplicate license because I had been informed by P.O that mine was too beat up to read.

    NO - I wouldn't call the F800GS "Unstoppable". I think, after all the problems I had with that bike, I'd have to call it a "FRAGILE" motorcycle.

    Sorry...I"m a little bitter at BMW Customer Service (or lack of customer service). Several people have told me to sue because it was kind of a lemon from day 1 but I don't have the time for that crap. I'm washing my hands of the whole affair and will never buy another BMW again.

    I HAVE HOWEVER...put a 130-17 VRM 163 on my DR650 and am having a lot of fun with the tire both on and off road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. greer

    greer Long timer

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    Mercy, I'm sorry to hear about that mess with the BMW.

    But I'm tickled to hear that you like the Vee on your DR. Based on your experience with this tire, would you feel confident loading your bike with luggage and heading across the country? Sorry to pick your brain about it but I'd like to hear what you think.

    Thanks again; hope by this time tomorrow the BMW is completely out of your sight and there's brighter days ahead.

    Sarah
    #24
  5. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    The 130 feels softer than the 140 and it starts out with a slightly shorter tread depth. Not really sure how many miles I'm going to get out of it but here is what it looks like after ~1,000-ish miles on the DR.

    [​IMG]

    As far as my recommendation: After having similar crappy experiences with Heidenau K60 Scout tires not living up to the hype as I've had with the BMW F800, I wouldn't have bought a second VRM 163 if I didn't like the tire for the kind of riding I do. I load up my pelican 1550 hard cases on the DR and travel around all the time with confidence. Long distance --- I think the VRM 130 would work fine but don't have any experience yet to back up that statement. Farthest single day ride I've done on the 130 is about 300 miles, mix of gravel , 80+ on the freeway, and secondary tarmac without the hard cases on the bike. Comfortable tire all around on that ride.

    I can tell you though that I've had it up above 90 with all three hard cases on the bike for about a 35 mile stretch on the freeway and it was extremely solid. No shimmy. No shake. No softness or wobble. And with a good knobbie front on the bike it doesn't do too bad in the dirt either.

    Would I load up the bike and travel across the country on the 163? Definitely! That's the kind of riding I bought the tire to do.
    #25
  6. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    The other BMWs (older BMWS from earlier model years) I've had have been trouble free rock solid adventure bikes. Loved LOVED LOVED LOVED them...quality manufacturing and really fun bikes to ride. No problems at all.

    Methinks BMW now outsources way too much of its manufacturing outfit...they can't control quality anymore and instead of selling you a motorcycle they are selling you a brand ---> a trophy name. The "quality" of the F800GS that I bought was pretty shoddy by just about every standard I can think of. It spent much of the first few months of my ownership in and out of the shop for "warranty" issues. And just look at how it died less than 2 years after purchase.

    I admit that I was sucked in by the marketing...I "wanted" that cool bike. But I had actually thought that maybe I'd invested in something that I would ride long term, in a good product, made with high standards...that could live up to the BMW name.

    Unfortunately I was proven wrong.

    My DR650 on the other hand...bomb proof bike!!!!!!!
    #26
  7. greer

    greer Long timer

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    Thank you Flashback; got the Vee on my list. We hope to head to Alaska in a couple of months so I'm looking at affordable cross-country tires. We'll swap to something dirtier before we head up the Haul Rd. Thanks again.

    Sarah
    #27
  8. Stephenmarklay

    Stephenmarklay Been here awhile

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    I am in the hunt for tires and these look interesting. They are marketed as an ice tire!
    #28
  9. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    Finally got something negative to say about the Vee.

    The 140's were awesome...terribly versatile and long lasting. I was at 5K miles with plenty of tread left when F8 died. IMHO a great tire. :thumb

    The 130's however, are made from a much softer compound. Now that I've ridden it for a while methinks they will mirror the 130 Heidi -> a flop tire that gets low mileage. I'm just over 2,000 miles on the 130 and it's about 3/4 warn. I'll probably have to change to a new tire @ around 3K miles.

    That's not very good...:cry
    #29
  10. greer

    greer Long timer

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    I'm thinking the same thing, now that a box full of them have arrived on my doorstep. No way they look like they'd last 5,000 miles. They sure are pretty tires, though. And I got excellent service from motorcyclemaniacstore, ordered late Sunday night and they were here Wednesday.

    Sarah
    #30
  11. internalcombust

    internalcombust Yes its dirty, thanks.

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    These tires look very similar to the 705 shinkos I used to love running on my strom. The tread is obviously different, but the sidewall and the way the tread comes out from the edge is very close. I wonder if these are made by shinko, but to vee rubber's specs. These could be my new go to tire for the tiger. :clap I have been looking for more grip than the 705s, but not the stupid cost of most big bike knobbies. I have a set of big blocks to throw on right now, but I know they will burn up fast. Thanks for sharing this info.
    #31
  12. greer

    greer Long timer

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    Just a picture:

    [​IMG]

    Hadn't tried 'em yet, I'll post back when we do.

    Sarah
    #32
  13. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    I'll be interested to know how your 130 works out.

    I'm at just over 3,000 miles and into the wear bars on my 130. That's not very good. I'm curious as to whether I just got a bum tire or if that's the way they all run.

    Like I said before...my 140 VRM-163 was rock solid and a great long lasting tire. Not sure why I burned through the 130 in such a short amount of time.
    #33
  14. greer

    greer Long timer

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    OK, might be a while though. I think we've decided against using these for our Alaska trip.

    Sarah
    #34
  15. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    That's probably a good call. You are going to want a 5/6k mile or more tire for AK. That's a long haul. I'm not sure how the roads are now but last time I did Seattle to the Arctic circle via White Horse and Fairbanks in the early 90's on a regular cruiser it was all doable on normal tires unless you were headed off the main two lane and into logging country or the deep darks of Alaska west of Route 3.

    If I were to do it again, I'd want to be on the DR with knobbies once I crossed the border from the U.S. into Canada just so I could get off the normally traveled routes and do some exploring in the hinterlands. Once you get north of Vancouver the mountains provide all kinds of ways to travel off the beaten path if you have a bike that will do it and are carrying enough gas to ensure that you won't get stranded.

    Lot's and lot's and lot's of Canadian national park in the Rockies that is off the highway, off the pavement, and often on non-maintained routes if you are so inclined to take the time to get there. Plus the U.S. Tongass National Forest on the coast is incredible if you don't mind having your bikes transported from places like Ketchican to Sitka via boat.

    And the Kluane Lake region is just amazing. I took my Harley off road riding up there after we left Haines Juction. Couldn't resist the urge to get on the logging roads and go, even on street tires. Getting up to the Arctic in the Yukon is an adventure in and of itself. If you can find an open rout to Ivvavick National Park I'd say don't hesitate to take it but I had to charter a float plane to get that far north when I was up there. And the Northwest Territories are just off the map amazing.

    ...here I am dreaming of riding it again...it was the ride of a lifetime. I did the continental U.S. to Fairbanks route 3 times...twice by car and once on the bike. Each time I took the opportunity to see different things and take different routes. And one time I started in Maine, crossed into Canada, drove across Canada and then into Alaska. Now that was one heck of a trip...well worth doing by train if you don't wan't to drive. The NW territories are off the charts an amazing place to see.

    You riding from Kentucky or having your bike shipped somewhere first?
    #35
  16. greer

    greer Long timer

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    "...it was the ride of a lifetime."

    Yep, that's exactly how Doug and I felt when we went in '08. Been chomping at the bit to go back ever since. We'll ride from KY, and just as you said, need a reliable 5,000 mile tire. We didn't want to spend too much, since we'll be pulling them off and swapping to T63's in Anchorage. Based on what I'd read about the Vee on the F8GS in this thread and elsewhere, I thought they were the very ticket. Who'd a thought Vee would change compounds between tire sizes? I'd looked hard at Shinko's, but couldn't get past the reports of failures that kept popping up here and there. Sure don't want to be in the middle of the Yukon with a trashed tire.

    Sarah
    #36
  17. Quovadisnt

    Quovadisnt n00b

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    Hi everyone,
    Flashback, I also ride the F800GS but unlike you I'm just starting at this size, I'm used to the CRF450. Sorry for your warranty issues, Bimmer Bummer. I really like the thought that this tire VRM-163 is more of a 70/30 vs. 80/20.

    I can't find much information on two things. My "local" dealership recommends over the phone that I stay to the sizes recommended — Front: 21-90/90, Rear 17-150/70. What made you comfortable putting on a tubeless and change the geometry of the rear (17-140/80)? Aren't beads different, if nothing else, between tube and -less? It seems that you installed the tire, how hard was the install (guessing by hand)? Did you install beads for balancing? Really want to try this tire.:D
    Also what were you running on the front at the time? I'm running on Anakee 2's and though their road manners are exemplary, running them off-road leaves a lot to be desired.

    Thanks for all the information and knowledge.:ear
    #37
  18. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    Hi Quo. This is going to be a lengthy reply.

    Let me preface that your dealer is correct. Whenever possible you should run the size tire that is recommended for your bike and rim. But that in no way means that the tire recommended for your bike is the only tire that will fit on you rim. As a matter of fact, all tires are made to different specs and are sized slightly different, even the ones that are sized for your rim. And all rims (even rims of the same "size") are made to different specs and sized slightly differently.

    Think of your rim as a general receiver that can accept a range of tires. Tires sized for that receiver can vary in dimensions, and even how the bead fits, but when you buy a tire that is sized for a 150/70-17 rim, you can be certain it will fit the 150 rim without issue.

    Now there are various advantages to using tires that are not the right size for your rim regardless of what bike you ride. For instance thinner tires work better in off-road conditions and wider tires work better in super-moto conditions. Going one size up or down from your rim size is usually works without issue. Two sizes up or down and you get into "maybe it'll work" territory where you need to do your own testing. On the stock rim for the F800 I've seen people use 160, 150, 140, and even some 130 size tires (notably the D606).

    Anytime you mount a tire that wasn't made to fit you rim you are changing the tires operating geometry. Sometimes that works for the better, sometimes it doesn't. It's really a factor of rim design, tire design, how you ride, and bike geometry.

    When going larger you need to consider available width between the sides of the swingarm and whether it will rub on your chain or fender.

    When going smaller you need to ensure that the tire seats well enough so that there is no slippage.

    Yes I do all my tires by hand. But (here's the caveat), I don't have a balancing machine. When I mount up a new tire that I've not had experience with I have it done professionally so that I can ensure the rim gets properly balanced and know how much weight it needs for future tire changes by hand. I had the 140 Vee mounted at my local BMW dealer while I was in for some warranty work. It needed a little more weight than the Heidi that came off during that change.

    If you want to try the tire, try the tire. I still recommend the 140 vee for the F800 as a general purpose tire even though the 130 has gotten a thumbs down from me for the DR. The 140 was a solid, fun, long lasting tire for me.

    ---fronts vary --- I usually like a more aggressive 50/50 front over a street front simply because street fronts like the Anakee 2 or Heidi K60 do not provide adequate steering control in the dirt. TKC 80 is always good on the front with just about any rear. But my favorite front for all my bikes that go in the dirt is actually the Shinko 244 (it's a tire that isn't for everyone but one that suits my kind of riding very well).
    #38
  19. Quovadisnt

    Quovadisnt n00b

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    Flashback, what a response! :y0! This is so cool, great personal insight and opinion along with knowledge, thank you. And what a response time too. You have a disciple.

    I may go more conservative on the front than you just because my routine would be twice a month and an hour before reaching the trails. Now I just hope that the dealer will mount the tire.

    Cheers and thanks again. :clap
    #39
  20. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

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    Verdict is in. After one last ride on the 130 VRM 163 yesterday I'm pulling it off with less than a milimeter of tread left @ approx 3800 miles.

    I think what did it in was the highway riding. It's so soft that even at higher pressures it heats up extremely hot when I would ride 80+mph and hot tires wear extremely fast.

    But, on the bright side, the bead broke extremely easy...all I had to do was stand on it in flip flops. :wink:

    So it would be an easy fix on the side of the road if you ever got a flat. I had the distinct mis-pleasure of trying to change a Heidi K60 that went flat on the side of the road once. What a terrible experience that was. The sidewall was so stiff that it took a hydraulic press to break the bead.

    ...and I found a nail broken off in the tire. It didn't penetrate through to the inside. At least it's a solid tire, even with no tread left. My thumb is tilting back towards positive again.
    #40