Should I worry if my tires don't "match"? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: tacoma
Posts: 56
Should I worry if my tires don't "match"?

I was told that because I have two different tire manufacturers, that I have "created a Frankenstein" that will be unpredictable and hard to handle. Is this really true? Asking for honest opinions here, with empirical data to back it's easy to just assume things. So I bought a Heidenau K60 Scout for the rear, and a Mefo Super Explorer for the front.

I wanted the front tire to be a bit "stickier" and to have a certain tread design, thus the Mefo, and I wanted the rear tire to have longer wear and still be agressive, thus the K60. I was told that if I ride it now like I'm used to doing with the Metzelers I always used before, that the front tire will stick nicely going around a tight corner, but the rear takes forever to warm up and will break free and swing around. That doesn't sound fun to me...

Is there anything to this? I admit on Metzelers I ride my L2 Vee like a crotch rocket, scraping the pegs and sliding through corners, and I know I will have to "slow down" a bit on these off-road tires, but is it *really* that bad? I bought them for going up in the mountains and a planned trip to Alaska soon'ish but I've never ridden on anything except sticky street tires. I've been thinking about siping the rear tire blocks to give them more "give". Thoughts anyone?

rear: (Medium).JPG
front: (Medium).JPG

EDIT: saw this post but it focuses on street tires:

Last edited by mushu; 02-18-2018 at 03:21 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Vancouver Island-Canada
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Hi Mushu, read this thread it might relive some of your anxiety. FWIW front and rear don't match anyway because they are different sizes. Would I ride with an off road 10-90 rear and a pavement 90-10 front...not likely, but others may have a difference of opinion. I also wouldn't put a car tire on the rear of my machine either, with my limited knowledge of the subject.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: tacoma
Posts: 56
Well, I understand the fact that the front & rear are different sizes of wheels, but that actually doesn't really matter when the manufacturer designs the tire with that in mind. Something that is specifically engineered for those two different sizes, with appropriate compound percentages and tread design and sidewall thickness, etc, etc...those engineers do their best to make it as perfect as possible because they want to avoid lawsuits.

And, for the same reason, I'd never run a car tire on my motorcycle because the designers did not engineer that tire for the unique stresses that a motorcycle will put on it. While there may have never been an accident directly attributable to running a car tire on a motorcycle, it doesn't pass the smell test, and it doesn't take an engineer to know that...just common sense.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: North Carolina
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It's true that a tire engineer designed those two tires to work in tandem, so he can safely make an engineering judgement that those two tires are the optimum combination based on the parameters of his test, because those two tires were tested together. That allows the legal department of the tire company to say that the manufacturer recommends that only matching tires be used, and they won't recommend that mismatched tires be on the bike. Mainly because they've only tested those two tires together, and not every possible combination of tires. From both a legal and engineering standpoint, they're protected. There's no upside to a tire company trying to test every other tire on the market, or even other tires within their own brand, to say that this brand will work with that brand. If you notice, engineers don't say it's inherently dangerous to mix tire brands; only that it isn't recommended (because they aren't going to recommend something they didn't test).

So what you're left with is anecdotal evidence from other guys who've mixed tire brands; since no engineer will ever test them, anecdotal evidence is the best evidence you're going to get. I can say that I have mixed a front Battlewing 501 with a rear Shinko 705 with no issues, under the conditions of how I ride (I'm a pretty low key rider). If I was the kind of rider that pushed my bike to the extreme all the time, I would probably not mix tires; if I was constantly at the edge of the performance envelope, I'd opt for the absolute best combination of tires. For me, the Battlewing and Shinko were a good combination; good wet performance, decent tire life, good cornering, and a lot less vibration than a Shinko front/Shinko rear setup. I ran the Battlewing on the front through two different 705 rears, until the BW wore out; then I replaced it with a Shinko (because the Shinko was cheaper).

I don't think anyone can honestly say that any front tire is a good match with any rear tire; tires do behave differently, and do have differing levels of performance in things like wet environments. It's probably as unsubstantiated to say that every mismatched tire combination is fine as it is to say that no mismatched combination is fine.

"No matter where you go, there you are."
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,456
I run mismatched tires all the time and am alive to talk about it. The only thing I try to avoid is mixing bias and radial tires. Other than that I could care less if they tires tread pattern or manufacturer match.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 08:38 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 871
It's generally accepted, (though still anecdotally), that it's ok to mix tire brands as long as you don't mix tire types, i.e. don't mix radial with bias ply, street with dirt.

I don't want a pickle, I just want to ride my motorsickle. A. Guthrie.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-18-2018, 11:31 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Northern California, USA
Posts: 35
My K6 Vee came to me wearing a 50%-ish worn Metzler Tourance (the 'standard' one) front and a new Bridgestone Battleaxe Adventure 41 rear. Handles fine. The front will probably be ready for replacement when the rear's done. Still deciding what I'll run next.

Most likely Shinko 705 radials front and rear. Maybe Shinko 804/805 if it looks like I'll be exploring more logging roads.....or ,maybe a Motoz Tractionator GPS front and either a Motoz Tractionator GPS rear or Tractionator Adventure rear. Ah tires.......... Almost as bad as deciding what oil to run....


Godspeed Greywolf

-John 3:16-
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-19-2018, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pasadna area
Posts: 13,558
I've mixed and matched brands over the years but would stay with a street pair and a ADV pair rather than mix the tread patterns. They would stick but might feel funny, ha, ha!
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