The number one, most asked question I receive about my bike is regarding my tires. Wherever I travel, whether I come across another rider, or I am just parked having a bite to eat, (this happened last evening), and a casual observer inquires as to “where I am headed”, the conversation always turns to my tires.
I have been running Continental TKC 80 tires on the front and the rear of my bike. I have about 4,500 miles on them now.
Pic Rear, (Um....flat spot?)
The number one question about these tires is, “How are they on the road?“ Last evening’s question was, “Don’t those things ‘howl’ going down the road?“
Having ridden them in various conditions and on various surfaces for several thousand miles, I would like to offer my opinion, (IMHO!), about these tires.
I have run the OEM Trailwing, Michelin Anakee, Avon Distanzia, and the TKC80s over the last 12 months. I have to say that the Continental TKC 80 tires are the best “sneakers” I have ever run on my DL-650. They have handled absolutely everything that I have thrown at them without one hitch. Interstate travel at speeds of 75 and 80 mph, (GPS indicated), dry or in pouring rain. Secondary roads; frost heaves, sand covered, and sand filled potholes, (I’m talking really beat up, New England roads!), again, whether dry or soaking wet, (also at high speeds.....:mrgreen:.). And lastly, dirt roads of various "ingredients", also dry or wet. I can carve turns with them that amaze me, (“These tires shouldn’t be able to do this!” were once my thoughts.).
There are two downsides of running these wonderful tires, (at least for me and my style of riding.).
1) Longevity. Right now, I have about 4,500 miles on both the front and rear. I may be able to squeeze another 1,000 miles out of the rear. Or at least one last big weekend trip. I think I could get another 2,000 - 3,000 out of the front. If I forecast this season of riding, (mileage-wise), based upon last season’s riding, (I am already ahead of that…..), I will be spending over $600 just on REAR tires alone, if I keep replacing them with TKC 80s. I can’t afford to do that.
2) Fuel economy. I can say that I have lost 25 to 30 miles out of a tank of gas. I used to stop for gas at the 275 mile mark, (this is with a loaded bike on one of my weekend excursions), knowing that I could push it to 300 miles if I had to, (I’ve done this, twice.). With the TKCs installed, I start to get that “panicky” feeling at 240 miles. At 256 miles, I filled up with 5.4 gallons of fuel. That was cutting it a little too close for me! Fuel economy for me is “mission critical” to the kind of riding I do.
So………this evening I ordered a new set of tires; my old, reliable friend, the Michelin Anakee, (11,000 miles out of it last year) for the rear and a Metzler Tourance for the front, (The Michelin Anakee front I had mounted last season took a really funny shape in just 3,000 miles. I don’t want to try that tire again.).
I am also going to try, as some other’s have done, to mount and balance these tires myself using hand tools and Dynabeads. I want to see and learn what this process is like.
In summary, if anyone has a desire to try TKC 80 tires on their bike, I can say, (IMHO), to go ahead, you won’t be disappointed!!! Just beware that you will lose fuel economy and $$$/mile on wear compared to a more street oriented tire.
And, no they don't "howl" when you go down the road!!!! They are a little "bumpy" at speeds below 5 mph. Kind of fun.
PS: The second most asked question regarding my bike is, "What is it?". I have removed all stickers and decals. Even experienced riders get confused....:rolleyes: