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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am planning a trip from the West Coast to the Midwest and back, with many stops along the way. Should be almost exclusively highway riding, and I have read many posts on tires and sprockets, but haven't found the exact advice I'm looking for.

1) Right now I have Tourance tires front and rear and am very happy with them, but wanted to make sure I have a very long-lasting touring style tire on the bike before I leave. Have heard that Tourances are one of the more long-lasting and grippy, any other options? I have to replace them before I leave, regardless, so thinking either new Tourances or something better, perhaps.

2) Also am looking at gas mileage and wear on the engine. May be upgrading to a 16 or even 17 tooth countersprocket, have many of you found them to be well worth while? Wondering if I will be happy on the highway with them, but won't know for sure until I throw them on. Usually like to travel at 70-75, maybe 5000-6000 rpm.
 

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I guess the first question that you need to answer is how many miles on the tires, and the drive train? From there you can start to build a better picture of what, if anything needs replacing.
 

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I have done coast to coast a few times not on a 'Strom but I think it is the same. I have a spare chain and sprocket and chain at home as well as tires as I buy them when I sale in the winter. All this can be sent to me in a few days by family in a pinch. I have a list of " I need help" contacts as well along the way. get the GPS POI file for the Suzuki dealers as well. I always carry a spare brake and clutch handle as well they are in my standard kit. SPOT is really cool to have people follow you with or some of the smartphones have a GPS ones that you can download and run. It is a lot of fun I like to travel solo and meet people along they way
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess the first question that you need to answer is how many miles on the tires, and the drive train? From there you can start to build a better picture of what, if anything needs replacing.
Well, like I said, I need to replace the tires regardless because the rear is patched so I don't trust it for a cross the country trip. The front's got a few thousand left, but that wouldn't survive the trip, so also needs replacing.
As far as the countersprocket, I have a 15 tooth now, and just need some advice about weather it's worthwhile to go with the 16 or 17. Bike's got 38k, still running great.
 

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I've done a few of the the trips you are describing and one trip totaled about 8,000 miles. I ran a Bridgestone Battlax and did the trip no problem. I use a 16 tooth sprocket and found it improved fuel economy a touch but what I liked about it was it keeps the RPM induced vibration down when running 75-80mph. If your riding two up should probably stay with the 15 tooth but for myself with full load 16 tooth wasn't too noticeable but made for a more comfortable ride at highway speed.

 

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I have a 16 tooth front sprocket on mine (installed after the initial 500 mile break-in) and like it. The change effectively reduces the engine RPM by about 6%. I still have plenty of acceleration capability in any gear.

As far as fuel mileage, I just returned from a weekend trip to Branson, MO. A total of 1100 miles, 80% Interstate roads, speeds generally in the 70-75 range, weather was the typical Spring gusty winds and frequent rain, bike set up with rear aluminum cases but no top box, stock windshield (w/ Madstad) and Touring Laminar Lip -- 51 MPG for the trip.

Ride safe.
 

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I choose Anakee 2 and 17tooth spocket just got back from the Moonshine Run in Ill.Tires have 6000 miles and R still looking good with over half the thread live still left.I think your tire chose is good.I loved having the 17 tooth what makes the 17 better than the 16 is with the 17 U can downshift the 5th and have close to what U would have if U had a 15 tooth on.So 6th gear with the 17 is like having a overdrive and the WEE handles it just fine.My Avg. MPG for the trip was 50.with hi being 58 and low being 44.Alot of wind played into the low MPG.Hope this help.Oh this was with 3 Pelican 1550 and a mid size bag on the rear seat.
Bob
 

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2 cents

Use the 16T countershaft. The 17T is great riding solo on the open road, but is too tall when you get into the twisties.
For tires, if you want a 100% street tire, and will sacrifice a little bit of wet weather handling for mileage, try Metzler's ME880. I used the 110/90 front with the 160/70 rear. If you are a sane person, these will make the trip and you'll have plenty left after your trip.
Another great road tire, which I am currently using, is Continental's Road Attack Dual Sport in stock sizes. The wet/dry handling is amazing and they seem to wear as well as the Bridgestone Battleaxe's.
On the road, the Battleaxe's are a very good handling tire wet or dry; but they get noisy as they wear down.
 

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You're not gonna do better than Tourances for high mileage.

As to sprockets, keep it at speed limit +5 and you'll get great gas mileage.
 

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Have heard that Tourances are one of the more long-lasting and grippy, any other options?
These qualities are mutually exclusive.

I just changed the Tourance on the rear at almost exactly 10,000 miles. Down the middle it was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Contact with the centerline stripe on a turn in a drizzle to avoid a dead varmint proved it to be just as grippy.
 

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These qualities are mutually exclusive.

I just changed the Tourance on the rear at almost exactly 10,000 miles. Down the middle it was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Contact with the centerline stripe on a turn in a drizzle to avoid a dead varmint proved it to be just as grippy.
Another vote for the Tourances. I got almost 14k on mine and still have a few miles left. I keep them at 38psi
 

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I've run 4 different types of rears and didn't find tourance grippy at all compared to the others, except for the oem trailing.
 

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I love the Tourance tires. I'll be needing tires soon and won't hesitate to put them on again. I get onto a few gravel roads from time to time. My current set has 13,000 miles on them. In my opinion, the Tourance is the best all-round tire for the V-Strom. --Brent
 

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My $.02 on tires for 95% road (you just never know if your curiosity will lead you down that gravel road).

Bridgestone Battlewing. Awesome.
 

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Regarding the sprocket. I run the 16 tooth and think the bike is dramatically more relaxed when pounding miles on the slab, like you'll be doing on your trip. I've been at fairly high altitudes against strong headwinds and the bike was starting to meet it's match. A 17-tooth would have been way too high in those conditions (granted, you can drop into fifth if you want).

I have come across a few riders who went to 17, but later dropped back to 16. Never knew anyone who went to 16 and dropped back to 15.

Regarding the tires, the gold standard for long life will be the ME880s, as mentioned above, in the 110/90 and 160/70 sizes. The bias model will last longer than the radial model according to all accounts I've read on the topic.

This tire is bigger than stock so if seat height is an issue, this is something to consider. Also, the bigger tire is going to exaggerate the effect of the 16-tooth sprocket just a titch more.

Expect 13,000 to 15,000 miles on the rear and twice that on the front.

These are not track-day tires but just fine for the kind of riding a Wee was built for. They handle significantly better than the stock tires on gravel roads. In deep goo, not so much.

Jim Winterer
St. Paul, Minnesota
 

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Well, like I said, I need to replace the tires regardless because the rear is patched so I don't trust it for a cross the country trip.
Here's what happened last time I started a trip with a plugged tire. Made it all the way to Bonner's Fairy, Idaho:



After patching it twice, it finally gave out 1000 miles later in Baker City, Oregon and the ONLY tire in town cost me $260. I suspect the woman saw that I had no choice and raked me over the coals.



Mind your chain too. I had to replace mine in the Sears parking lot in Auburn, WA around mile 750. I didn't even think about the chain, but the bike had 15,000 miles on it when I started the trip, and it was probably the stock chain! There was no hint of impending failure prior to that day, but nothing heats up a chain like 600 straight miles of riding.




....and this was shortly after when my TB boot popped off in stop and go traffic on I-405. It was a pretty crazy day that put us well behind schedule.



Moral? Give your bike a good once over and replace all worn parts prior to departure. It's hard to imagine that you'll be puting like TWO oil changes worth of miles on your bike in a short time. It may seem expensive or a waste to replace a tire that still has some life in it, but it will cost you 3X as much on the road.
 

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Here's what happened last time I started a trip with a plugged tire. Made it all the way to Bonner's Fairy, Idaho:
After patching it twice, it finally gave out 1000 miles later ...
I'm curious what type of plugs were used that failed ... mushroom, gummy string, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, my rear tire is a Tourance with LOTS of tread left. I hit something a few months ago and brought it in to get plugged from the inside. I've heard that it should be good to go from here on out, but not sure if I should replace it before I leave. The place that patched it did not use some piddly little sticky plug, but serious professional-type plug from the inside.

Thoughts?
 

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If it were me I would replace the tire before you go, especially if it's plugged or patched, and save it to use up when you get back. I did about 4300 miles a few weeks ago, and that's exactly what I did, though the tire wasn't patched or plugged, it just had 5k miles on it. I don't have any problem riding with a plug or patch done correctly, but I wouldn't leave on a long trip with one if I didn't have to do so.

You will wear the tire down in fewer miles on a long trip than you will riding locally, but you probably know that. The new Battlewing I put on the day before I left is now nicely squared off. :thumbdown: So you may well be ready to switch back to the Tourance soon after you return. No matter how much we'd like all the roads to be twisty, on long trips it just doesn't happen that way unfortunately, damn the luck!

A 16 tooth sprocket works well running 75-80, imo.

Have a great trip!
 
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