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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ever wonder what happens to your front fender when you go off road? It gets pretty beat up. In the case of knobby tires, the front fender takes even more of a beating. The knobby tire, with their tall blocks, really takes up a whole lot of room under that front fender. That, plus the block pattern's propensity to pick up and hold on to larger rocks can destroy your front fender rather quickly. The knobby tire does indeed look great and aggressive.

Here it is with the more normal looking Dunlop Trailmax Mission tire.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

BOOM! Instant bad ass! I've had people yell out their car windows asking me about these tires! Shinko 804 front.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

This is the underside of the front fender. Note how the plastic has been ground down a lot. So much so that the plastic near the top has become thin. Later on, a big rock punched a hole through the sufficiently thinned out upper portion. I put duct tape to cover the hole.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

Duct tape to cover the hole. Until the next rock breaks through it.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

I put the Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires back. Notice there's more daylight between the tire and the fender now.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

Luckily, a new front fender is relatively cheap for the VStrom 650. I think about $75 (that's cheap for an OEM fender).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't plan on doing the above because I've decided to keep a less aggressive set of tires on my VStrom 650. Knobby tires are cool and they definitely make a noticeable difference off road. But in my opinion, it takes away a bit too much desirable pavement performance, which erodes the great attributes of the VStroms. The Dunlop's and similar tires will be the most aggressive I will ever go. These tires have plenty of performance off pavement, on terrain that is well suited to the VStrom. 90% of the time it's my own ability that limits what the VStrom can do off road.
 

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yeah, duct tape no good, you need to epoxy some thin sheet metal plate, conformed to the inside of the fender (to reinforce" the area. Which Suzuki should have done in the first place, but on the other hand they advertised Vstrom as ADV bike, and not Off-Road bike :)

There is also when you deflate the front knobby, and then ride "spirited" the tire OD will increase, to the point the tire may start rubbing against the fender.
AdventureTech "kit" does helps a little, but ultimately you need some metal inside the fender to keep it from damage.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I replaced the fender. Don't want to take the time fixing it since a new fender isn't expensive. I'd rather be riding. No more knobby tires for my VStrom. If I feel that I must have a knobby tire, I'm on the wrong terrain and I'd better turn around. And/or if I often find myself in situations where I wish I had a knobby tire, then I should be riding a different bike. I really like my VStrom exactly for what it's made for. I just took her for a short ride with the full Dunlop Trailmax Mission Tires. I forgot what it's like to roll smoothly, and have shorter stopping distances! In any case, the Dunlop TMM tires can take me to 85%-90% of the places the knobby Shinko 805's can.
 

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Fender lift is kinda standard practice.
I'd say the Mission is probably the best suited / matched tire for a Strom anyway. Even with all the suspension mods a Strom is only so good as an off-road machine anyway. Push it and it comes up short in more than a few ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you using the Trailmax on the rear as well?
Yup.

I had the Shinko 804/805 set for about 3k miles. It was pretty damn good considering how blocky they were. But I did notice more vibrations at slow speeds and just a bit of vibes at high speeds. I also noticed less acceleration and engine responsiveness as the knobs do absorb power and have much higher rolling resistance. Braking distances increases. But the handling in corners didn't suffer, and the off road traction was phenomenal. The rear did not last more than 3k miles. So I ran the rear Trailmax Mission and kept the front Shinko 804. Great combination! Off road you get the traction and confidence of that knobby front tire, with less vibrations at the rear, plus longevity. Still had to deal with the longer stopping distances from the front knobby though.
 

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I have knobby tyres on my '18 dl1000 since december 2021.
I'm actually finishing my 2nd Michelin Anakee Wild on the rear and my 1st Anakee Wild in the front.
They're doing the job. I've used them in mud, on rocks, on gravel, on tarmac.

My next tyres will be Mitas E07+ Dakar. Less grip on wet roads but they can be used longer than the anakees.

Concerning the front fender, I've printed (3D, ABS) some 4 centimeters long spacers to relocate it higher : I've never had any problerms with mud or rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd say the Mission is probably the best suited / matched tire for a Strom anyway. Even with all the suspension mods a Strom is only so good as an off-road machine anyway. Push it and it comes up short in more than a few ways.
I agree 100%. The VStrom's biggest downfall off road is the 6.4" of suspension travel and ground clearance. That's plenty on pavement and on Easy to slightly Moderate off road work. I love the bike as is within those limits and I don't plan on pushing beyond that from now on.
 
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