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After reading the 35 pages of the Darkside Chronicles on the forum I finally made the decision, mounted the tire and took my first 60 mile ride.

Special thanks to RandyO for his posts, Quinton for his technical sizing and user input advice. And this forum for everything..Strom.

I purchased the Achilles 205/50/17 tire for 79.95 and just mounted it with no problem at my local MC dealer. They prefer carry-in for this application.

Installation has absolutely zero problems but with my SW Motech centerstand the right shoe of the centerstand clearance to the tire is only about the width of two credit cards..I may take 1/16ths off for a little clearance.

I took my first 40 miles on the backroads of middle Tennessee...some smooth, some technical tighter stuff and some cobbled up roads that I save for lower speed sightseeing due to the very coarse and rough and neglected texture of the roads. Many of those around here.;

I started out with 41F and 35Rear but while the ride was different...it seemed too harsh to me. That was after about 15 miles. I dropped the front to 38 and the rear to 35 and it seemed to work best for me for the next 25 miles.
I also finished the test ride with 20 miles of higher speed interstate hitting triple digits to check balance and wind stuff around trucks..All went well. No change or better...

The quality of the ride seemed quieter and smoother even on the roughest surface and gave less pucker factor in less than ideal beat up roads. I maintained or exceeded speeds of my known speeds with a MC tire on those roads with the same confidence and not really pushing it.

The input at the bars is more noticeable along the route with high and low areas of the road across some two lane surfaces but not a bit different on the interstate where I really burn up miles and ride a bit above normal traffic.

I have to say this has not been an overnight decision nor has it been a bad one. It is not based on cost but more on convenience, quality of ride, and a little more confidence inspired with a better grip or something.

If you are super aggressive or a real knee dragger and knuckle dragger you may want to stay with a Tourance or MC tire. I ride Fairly aggressive and didnt really feel compromised with any handling issues. As I grow a little more in experience and confidence it will be second nature and I probably havent reached any limits of the tire or the machine.

Hope this might put to rest that while it may not be for everyone, thats good too. But just to add that while I procrastinated putting one on my ST1300 for 87K miles...I dont regret putting one on the DL1000...its a PLUS and not a minus in my book. Two up, interstate, or backroad two lanes..it will work well for me.
 

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I dark sided my vee last year then proceeded to ride Coast to Coast clocking about 27k. The tire looks like i just put it on yesterday. This trip included over 4k of gravel roads including the Trans Labrador highway. The tire works flawlessly in all conditions. The large tread contact patch makes your bike want to stay upright and straight all the time. Very stable in loose gravel or sand. It has better traction/braking than any other tire I have had on the bike. It takes more bar input to start a turn but once your turning it feels like a regular tire. Thats my two cents...
 

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I guess a car tire is fine if you don't corner very fast. A lot of people don't lean their bikes more than about 20 degrees - kind of programmed into human DNA because that's about the limit of traction while running.

I've never run a car tire on a bike, but would imagine that as one leans into a turn it would require more counter-steering, the rear end of the bike would rise slightly because it's a square tire, and once leaned over (due to the steering angle being slightly steeper from rear-end rise), the steering would become more twitchy.

Also, with motorcycle tires while cornering we're accustomed to having to roll on the throttle a bit to maintain speed because the effective diameter of the tire's contact "ring" decreases with lean angle. One would have to get used to not rolling on the throttle as much while in a corner.

Also, it seems to me that the width of the contact patch with a car tire would decrease in a corner (it may get longer, but narrower). With a motorcycle tire it's the opposite - the contact patch gets wider, but shorter while cornering to counteract lateral cornering loads, and longer when straight up to counteract acceleration and braking loads. Not sure how much difference it would make, but something to think about.

Regardless, if one doesn't ride aggressively a car tire might work. If you only use the center portion of your rear tire with a lot of rubber on the sides untouched (also called chicken-strips) then you're probably a good candidate.

But for the riding that I do - no way. Way too many fun roads around here to not use the entire tire. I routinely use the entire tread surface on my all my bikes. Even when hanging off my sportbike with my chin bar less than 2 feet off the ground the entire tread gets used.

Certainly not for everyone, but it may work for some.
 

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It is not based on cost but more on convenience, quality of ride, and a little more confidence inspired with a better grip or something.
Nice report, Russ, factual and non-emotional.

I sold my GL1800 in 2010, after having used 4 M/Ts and 2 C/Ts. I didn't ever get the mileage some others got, but just seemed so much more secure on all surfaces. The stability on wet surfaces, plus the throttle-on stability while exiting curves, felt so much better.

Let us know how it goes as you accumulate more miles. You still riding in-state SS1000s?

Bill
 

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That's right, your guessing


the only thing you got right is that the darkside isn't for everybody

you have to get used to being limited by the capabilities of your front tire:beatnik:
A little thin-skinned are we? I think most will agree that car tires are not well-suited for aggressive riding.
 

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That's right, your guessing


the only thing you got right is that the darkside isn't for everybody

you have to get used to being limited by the capabilities of your front tire:beatnik:
So Mr. Darkside expert tell me, what didn't I get right?
 

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Thanks for the report. I've got a General Exclaim UHP tire sitting here ready to go on my bike. I'm a pretty aggressive rider and love to play in the twisties, plus off road, so we'll see how it works. :)
 

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I've had to occasionally replace a front tire due to a cut and having a brand new rounded profile up front and a relatively flattened out 12,000 mile tire on the back has made for some very jacked up handling...the front rolling in and the back resisting and trying to stay relatively straight up and down. And the reverse, new rear to a semi worn and squared off front and the back end falls into turns wonderfully and the front needs to be wrestled down.



How can it begin to feel "normal" when a squared off car tire is essentially rolling on to it's corner between the sidewall and the edge of the treadblocks and you've got a conventional bike tire up front with a rounded profile?
 

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I keep reading bits of the Dark Side with positive results for the practitioners. Do it work for the Wee also, too. I'm getting close to wearing out a Battle wing at 5800 miles.
By the by, Lots 'o guys running sidecars run car tires.

I always love the nay sayers replies with no actual experience.
 

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I would never put a car tire on one of my bikes but if you like it then that's all that matters. Just can't figure out why you would want to reduce your bikes performance.
 

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So Mr. Darkside expert tell me, what didn't I get right?
Here Axelwik, let me post RandyO's comment so that you can read it again.

That's right, your guessing

the only thing you got right is that the darkside isn't for everybody

you have to get used to being limited by the capabilities of your front tire:beatnik:
As I read it, RandyO has posted a truthful and accurate response to your post. He only had to do it once.

You, on the other hand, have felt a need to post two, somewhat "needling" responses to RandyO.

I see that as being more "thinned skinned" than RandyO!

Axelwik, RandyO knows exactly what he is talking about. He has "been there and done that", and has the experience, and information to talk about it. And, it seems that others back up his facts.

Your post is purely speculation based upon guesses. To jump into the Darkside ring, you have to mount up a car tir,e and actually ride it to be able to make informative comments that may be useful to riders.

That's just my humble opinion though.

B.L.
 

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By the by, Lots 'o guys running sidecars run car tires.

I always love the nay sayers replies with no actual experience.
Yep, lots of sidecars run car tires. Did you ever wonder why? Think about it.
 

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Here Axelwik, let me post RandyO's comment so that you can read it again.



As I read it, RandyO has posted a truthful and accurate response to your post. He only had to do it once.

You, on the other hand, have felt a need to post two, somewhat "needling" responses to RandyO.

I see that as being more "thinned skinned" than RandyO!

Axelwik, RandyO knows exactly what he is talking about. He has "been there and done that", and has the experience, and information to talk about it. And, it seems that others back up his facts.

Your post is purely speculation based upon guesses. To jump into the Darkside ring, you have to mount up a car tir,e and actually ride it to be able to make informative comments that may be useful to riders.

That's just my humble opinion though.

B.L.
Blackie,

I guess you didn't read his post. He said that the ONLY thing I got right was that it's not for everyone. I was asking him WHAT I didn't get right. I'd like to know the reasoning and science behind it, aside from, "it lasts forever."

Am I wrong in thinking that as the bike leans the rear end is forced upward?

Am I wrong in thinking that more countersteering is required?

Am I wrong in thinking that as the rear rises up the steering geometry gets steeper?

Am I wrong in thinking that the contact patch gets narrower (and maybe longer)?

Why so defensive?
 

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Axlewick.. I had a car tire on my supercharged valkyrie. it was great on the superslab and really good for gettin off the line.. but to answer your questions.. no you are not wrong with your assumptions.. I have been riding for 53 years and did my share of dirt track racing.. once I moved to the mountains I took the car tire off and was glad i did..
 

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Axlewick.. I had a car tire on my supercharged valkyrie. it was great on the superslab and really good for gettin off the line.. but to answer your questions.. no you are not wrong with your assumptions.. I have been riding for 53 years and did my share of dirt track racing.. once I moved to the mountains I took the car tire off and was glad i did..
Thank you! A voice of reason!
 

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Axlewinkie, I know about square tires and sidecars, they don't lean and the footprint is just fine.
For old farts who lean less a car tire may fit into a retirement budget a lot better than most bike tires.
I don't think most of the dark siders are being the young squirrels we were once.
I do wear my tires to the edge but am willing to listen to arguments for change.
Who knows, maybe it's really an adrenaline rush that's addicting. Like sniffing glue, if you haven't you just don't know!:biggrinjester:
 

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Axlewinkie, I know about square tires and sidecars, they don't lean and the footprint is just fine.
For old farts who lean less a car tire may fit into a retirement budget a lot better than most bike tires.
I don't think most of the dark siders are being the young squirrels we were once.
I do wear my tires to the edge but am willing to listen to arguments for change.
Who knows, maybe it's really an adrenaline rush that's addicting. Like sniffing glue, if you haven't you just don't know!:biggrinjester:
I agree with most of what you say. I never said that one should not do it, but I do think that one should think about the way one rides to determine if it's the right choice. I think I'll stay away from the glue-sniffing though.

Motorcycling is a game of managed risk. For many motorcyclists a car tire might work just fine because, like you said, they don't lean the bike much.

But for someone who pushes the envelope on mountain roads or canyons I really don't think a car tire is appropriate.

That said, I might be inclined to mount one on a big fat cruiser or Goldwing, but a V-Strom is a different animal. A good rider on a V-Strom can give supersports/superbikes a run for their money on a tight, twisty mountain road. I don't think I'd want to try that with a car tire mounted on the rear.

Another thing to think about, which may not have any bearing on reality - but it doesn't matter, is liability. If an accident were to happen, and it wouldn't matter if the car tire was at fault or not, insurance company lawyers could potentially pin all the blame, "that rider who caused the whole accident through gross negligence."
 

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I'll have to get a pic of me dragging my pegs.. if that counts as being aggressive enough. Other than some more input required on the bars, I haven't discovered a negative yet.
 

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A little thin-skinned are we? I think most will agree that car tires are not well-suited for aggressive riding.
No...just saying that as someone who has not experienced it, you don't have the right data to back it up.

I have a CT on my FJR. I've ridden it very aggressively along some of the mountain roads in the area, Lolo Pass at speed, twice, during a rally, and some absolutely wonderful canyon and mountain roads in Cali near Lake Tahoe on the way to Hell Hole Reservoir.

So...coming from someone who has a CT on their bike, has 25k miles experience on that CT, and has ridden it aggressively...yes, they ARE well-suited for aggressive riding.
 
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