Tire Reviews from a 2015 R1200GSA rider/commuter

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by OTR/L, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. OTR/L

    OTR/L Been here awhile

    May 13, 2016
    South Carolina
    Here is my personal review on several tires that I have tried over the past several months in the South Eastern United States of Western North & South Carolina and Northern Georgia. I purchased the bike with 1,500 miles on it in May of 2016 and have since accumulated over 20,000 miles in 8 months.

    About me and my riding style: I mainly use the bike for commuting on a daily basis for work (75-150 miles per day) for home health care as an Occupational Therapist. The bike always has BMW/Tourtech panniers and top case with 20 lbs of crap stuffed in them at all times. I weigh in at solid 210 lbs plus 10-15 lbs of gear. My riding is a mix of interstate, 2 lane, and city commuting between the 3 counties that I cover. On the weekends my wife (95 lbs) and I will load up to northern GA about 3 weekends a month in the Spring/Summer/Fall and ride several hours a day in GA/NC. We typically hit several miles of forest service roads for a mix of gravel and aggressive tarmac riding. In the winter months we stay local and she may ride with me 1-2x per month for a few hours.

    Some reviews will be copy and pasted a little from some reviews that I may have given in the past. I would just like to consolidate them for a reference.

    Anakee 3-

    Reason for choosing: It was the stock tire that came on the bike.

    Overall the tire performed very well on all types of paved roads and in all dry conditions. The tires never felt insecure with aggressive riding in the mountains on tarmac riding solo or two-up. I never really road these tires aggressively in wet conditions, but they performed well when ridden cautiously. On gravel/forest service roads they performed as a regular road tire IMO. I never really found that these are an 80/20 tire, more like a 90/10 at best.

    Conclusion: A good tire for a rider that may see a few miles on maintained gravel roads here and there and mostly tarmac. One very annoying item was that the tires do not maintain the set air pressure for more than several days. I was required to fill the tires with air (2-4 pounds) per week.

    Visual impression: These tire look pretty good on a GSA. The tread design is different than a typical road tire and appears to be an ADV tire.

    Total Miles

    Rear #1: 5,300 miles

    Front #1: 7,900 miles

    Rear #2: 5,000 miles

    Avon Tailriders-

    Price Installed (Mounted and Balanced): $380

    Reason for choosing: These tire were not widely used and reviews were few and far between, but good non the less. They offer a dual compound construction, aggressive tread pattern, and a good silica compound for wet weather riding. Avon stated they put all there knowledge into designing this tire, and it shows.

    Initial impression, After variety of miles; 20 miles freeway at 75-80mph, 50 miles of 2 lane, 20 miles of mountain forest/gravel roads, and over 100+ miles on some nice SC/eastern NC paved mountain roads with about 225 total miles.

    Freeway- not any different than the Anakee 3's. No wobble or shaking. Very stable as expected.

    2 Lane- Same as Anakee 3's with a different noise, not a howl but a mild hum like an all terrain truck tire (not a mud terrain). I think that is expected as these are an "80/20" tire.

    Forest/Gravel Road. These really out performed the A3's in my opinion. The bike feels more planted and I felt I had much more control. I also feel that the Avon's had more bite with acceleration. I feel that the tire felt a little stiffer at first but either I got used to it or it's about the same.

    Paved mountain roads- With my wife on the back I was careful to fully scrub the tires in as they felt loose on the exit of a few corners at first. After they got scrubbed in and after the gravel I got more aggressive but still more conservative than usual with my wife on the back. We hit SC 178 into NC to NC 215 out of Brevard up toward Waynesville and then 276 toward Brevard on down to Greenville, SC. I felt very comfortable with the tires and never felt the need for more grip, I actually felt that I was able to lean the bike more into a turn than usual, even than riding solo. After I got home I noticed that I easily used all of the tire, no chicken strips, with soft tacky rubber when heated up.

    Conclusion: Overall I'm happy with the tires. I still need to ride with them in the rain and solo in the mountains to make a more definite comparison with the A3's. As of now I like them better and would recommend them so far. I got 5,500 miles and 5,000 miles out of my rear A3's and 7,500 miles with the front A3. I am hoping to get 6,500-7,500 miles with the Avon's.

    My final review of these tires as I have replaced them last week.

    The rear made it a total of 5,300 miles, about 1,500 less than what I was hoping for.

    The front made it to 7,500 miles with about 50% tread remaining.


    The rear tire performed very well on gravel forest service roads. I would say better than a TKC 70, just because a fellow mate got his GS stuck in gravel as I made it through the same area with no drama. I just can get past how the TKC 70 can be good off road with a solid rubber center strip. The Avon tire handled rain well in the mountains with no drama or slippage. On dry pavement the tire stuck very well. The tire compound would heat up very nicely (tacky to the touch) and actually ball up with aggressive riding. On the highway it tracked very well on a multiple 200 mile days at 80mph.

    The front tire held up well until 7,000 miles or so. The front did well in all conditions as did the rear. However, I noticed a little bit of cupping, but I also brake hard and late in the mountains. I also noticed a few small cracks in the tire. For these reasons I decided to replace the front and keep that as a spare if ever needed for a short period only.


    I can only compare the Avon Trailrider to the Anakee 3 on the GSA. Overall I was very happy with the performance the Avon tires. I think they are better than the A3 in all aspects, and since they cost a little less, that's a plus for the Avons. I was really hoping to get 6,500-7,000 miles out of the rear since it is a dual compound tire. I think the middle portion is about the same as the A3, but the sides maybe softer as they do get very tacky and ball up with aggressive riding. I think if they made the center portion a harder compound, they would have a real winner. The tire did get pretty flat on the center in the end, but I did do a 750 mile slab run to finish off the tire.

    Total Miles

    Rear #1: 5,300 miles

    Front #1: 7,500 miles with ~50% tread left

    Michelin Pilot 4 Trails-

    Price installed (Mounted/Balanced): $455

    Reason for choosing: Going into winter with little chance off roading and with a trip planned (was cancelled) from SC to Key West, I thought I would give these a try. These tires get rave reviews and you pay for it.

    Initial Impression: These tires felt very planted and secure and provided and much quicker turn in than either the Anakee’s or Trailriders. I think this should be expected since this is a dedicated road tire. The tire is a little louder than I thought it would be for a road tire, same as the Anakee, but quieter than the Trailrider.


    The front looks great at 4,200 miles with very mild cupping noted.

    The rear is done at 4,200 miles with mild cupping on the edge tread noted.

    The tires are great road tires and turn a big GSA into a bike that will easily sneak up on sport bikes in the twisty roads, even with two-up and panniers. They provided amazing grip in dry and wet conditions with no slipping noted. They gave amazing turn in and literally just lean the bike deep into a corner very easily with great confidence. I was only able to use all but 1/2” of the front and 3/4” of the rear tire. I feel that the way the tire is designed, you probably can not get rid of the chicken strips with these tires as I scrapped my pegs many times and they are still there. If you ride 100% on tarmac,I highly recommend these tires, but I would get a GT rear and not a trail for longer wear. I kept my front and I will go with a GT rear in the future. I would have went with a GT rear, but my wife and I would like to spend some time on some forest service road this month. Just like the Anakee’s, the tires do not maintain the set air pressure for more than several days. I was required to fill the tires with air (2-4 pounds) per week.

    Visual impression: These tires defiantly look out of place on a GSA, like a lifted F-350 with 24” wheels shod with street tires….but they handle so well…..

    Total Miles

    Rear #1: 4,200 miles

    Front #1: 4,200 miles with ~50% tread left

    Shinko 705-

    Price installed (Mounted/Balanced): $260

    Reason for choosing: I have read multiple great reviews with this tire and the cost does play a significant role. Upon my research, I have read that these tires are made in South Korea and on the same line as the Continental TKC 80’s. They did have some issues early upon their release, but everything seems to have been sorted out. Since I replace my tires every 8-10 weeks, it would be nice to pay $100 for a tire, rather than $175+. I figure if I get 4,000 miles out of a rear tire, I’m still ahead of the game financially.

    Initial impression:

    After the Pilot 4’s, these tires turn in significantly heavier and slower. This may not be a fault of the tire, but just a difference between a dedicated road tire and a 70/30 tire. They are also significantly louder going down the road, much like an All Terrain tire on a pick-up truck but nothing like a full Mud Terrain tire. I have found these tires to ride very well at highway speed with good tracking and a fairly smooth ride. I do get a little front wobble when the front in is light under full throttle acceleration; on to a freeway for example. It does smooth out and is only prominent under those conditions. Braking feels good and they hold corners very well. I have not felt any slipping with aggressive corning and they seem to stick well. Overall I have only had these tires 5 days/600 miles. I’ll head up to the mountains this weekend and get some twisty tarmac and off-roading for a further assessment…… to be cont……

    Visual impression: These tires look great on a GSA, very similar to the Avon Trailrider’s with a beefier look. They are definitely more aggressive than the Anakee 3’s and a little more than the Trailriders’s. I would easily put them as a solid 70/30 tire.

    Total Miles

    Rear #1: ???

    Front #1: ???
    JustKip, glen gs, Pilotboz and 9 others like this.
  2. adam71

    adam71 Been here awhile

    Oct 23, 2010
    San Leandro, CA
    Great review! Thanks for taking the time to do that!
    OTR/L likes this.
  3. xjwheeler

    xjwheeler Adventurer

    Apr 8, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you for the reviews! I recently ran a set of 705's from NC to Vancouver, BC on our way Deadhorse. All things considered they did extremely well in the wet, high speed highway riding with temps in 80-90 degree range on a fully loaded GSA. The front looked brand new and the rear looked like it probably would have made Fairbanks though it would have been a definite stretch. Once this set of K60's wears out I'll probably go back to the 705's they perform pretty well for their price point.
  4. Hog1450

    Hog1450 I use the oil you hate Supporter

    Dec 17, 2015
    NWFL Panhandle, Florida KHRT
    Nice write and review, thanks!
    RunninRanger and OTR/L like this.
  5. OTR/L

    OTR/L Been here awhile

    May 13, 2016
    South Carolina
    I'm very optimistic about the 705's. I road the bike pretty hard today and they did very well. I also left this morning with wet roads, they seemed to do very well. I just need to get used to the heavier/slower steering. The PR4's really made the bike turn in like a sport bike. If I had a regular GS with only light gravel roads in my future....the PR4's would be the definite tire for me. The Avon trailrider's are still a great tire though, pretty close to the PR4's for an 80/20 tire
  6. 51phiveoh

    51phiveoh 51phiveoh

    Mar 4, 2014
    SF Bay Area
    Is this the Avon Tailriders AV54?
  7. OTR/L

    OTR/L Been here awhile

    May 13, 2016
    South Carolina
    Yes they are
  8. yellowwing

    yellowwing Adventurer

    Jan 17, 2006
    California Central Coast
    I am on my second set of the Avon's. Got 6,000 on the rear the first time. Looks like this rear will do about the same.
    Front is still doing well at about 10,000 miles. I could not wait to get rid of the A3's that came with the GS.
    I think the Avon's are better in every way except the wear of the rear tire where I got 7,000 miles. That extra 1000 miles
    is not worth it.
  9. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin' Supporter

    Dec 7, 2016
    Seattle & Phoenix
    As a riding "noob" of 7 months and three bikes (one sold), I have the A3's on my GS, and Pilot Road 4's on my 1200R, and I can say without a doubt the PR4's are MUCH nicer and seem to want to hold the road, whereas the A3's feel like they just want to run over it. When the A3's are done on my GS, it's getting PR4's...
  10. brando4905

    brando4905 Been here awhile

    Sep 28, 2016
    Marion, NC
    Thanks for the review. I'm down to the wear bars on my second Anakee III rear in just over 7k miles on a GSA. Front is tired now too. Ordered a set of 705's a couple days ago, can't wait to try them out.

    FYI to anyone interested in these for the LC, most online resources for the 120/70 r19 front is not available at the moment. However, there is a vendor on eBay with stock in the US, took a bit of searching but I found them. Not affiliated.
  11. Ergh

    Ergh Been here awhile

    Dec 22, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Did you find that with the Anakee 3's you experienced a bit of side to side oscillation at low to medium speed?

    On my new MY16.5 bike it sometime feels like the front is being a little wandery at low to medium speed. It's perfectly fine at high speed though.

    I'm almost convinced it's due to wind and that it's due to the fact the R1200GS is so much more of a wind sail than my previous MT-09 (FZ-09) was.
    JustKip likes this.
  12. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    May 31, 2009
    Sunny California
    I didn't. They do track road imperfections a bit more than others though. Maybe it's that. Also, I ran them at lower pressure with, for my taste, much better results. I ran 34/38 PSI (~2.3/2.6 bar) in my daily riding and 34/40 for riding with full luggage setup. Less noisy and better grip.

    Oh, and I had no issues with air pressure at all.
  13. Travman

    Travman Been here awhile

    Aug 19, 2010
    Marietta, GA
    I have 6k miles on the PR4 Trails on my GSA. The front looks good but the rear is at the wear bars. I'm torn between just getting another rear or putting on a set of Pirelli Scorpion Trail II's. Very satisfied with the PR4's, but I would really like to try the Scorpions.

    Question for those in the know. Can I save my PR4 front and put it back on later, after I try the scorpions. This is the first time I've run though a rear well before the front. Usually the front is close to going so I've always swapped out the set.
  14. Fastman

    Fastman Been here awhile

    Sep 15, 2002
    Webster Groves, MO
    Short answer ... yes.

    I have a No-Mar tire changer and swap back and forth between Anakee 3s (long road trips) and TKC-80s (local/unpaved riding).

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
  15. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Feb 11, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Sure, just store it in a reasonably cool location out of the sun.

    The Scorpions are great tires!