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Discussion Starter #1
Background:
I have found that over the course of owning my 07 wee, I have been doing more and more gnarly off-road riding. At times I've felt like I've had no business taking this bike to some of the places it's been. But the bike has done ok for the most part (I've gotten the bike home on its own power every time). However, ground clearance and traction have been my biggest issues - other than me being a big pu$$ and a noob rider. Since I'm kinda stuck with the ground clearance being what it is, I figure I'm going to lean heavier towards an off-road tire. The Tourances got me by on hard packed gravel FS roads but I have been way beyond their capabilities and its time to move on. They're wonderful on pavement but that's about it.

That being said, I also do a fair amount of pavement riding as well. It's safe to say that I am a 50/50 rider. My camping/riding trips are both pavement and off-road and I sometimes commute to work.

Having read a ton of info on the Kenda Big Block there was only a hand full of reports from V-Strom owners. So I thought I would do a detailed long term report based on my set up and riding. Plus I'm extremely slow at work right now so mainly I'm just bored.

The bike: (listing farkles for weight reference and suspension difference as they'll effect tire wear)
07' wee - 30k-ish miles
Stock front suspension - will upgrade this spring to 1.0
Rear suspension - Elka
Jesse Panniers
Givi top case
Center Stand
Givi windscreen
Tank Bag
Tool tube filled with tools
and a bunch of other little things.

Riding:
I'm a conservative rider. I consider my riding style "spirited" but I'm never the one setting the pace with the group I ride with, I'm always the caboose. =)

Tires:
Purchased from Bike Bandit $212 shipped
F - 110/80/19
R - 150/70/17

I'll be mounting an balancing them myself. Having mounted and balanced race tires for my race cars, this shouldn't be an issue. Plus I hate spending 80 bucks for something I know I can do myself.

I'll give exact millage of the bike once installation is complete.

I got the tires yesterday...

First visual impression:
I giggled like a fat kid seeing a cake pulled from the fridge when I saw them leaning against my front door. These things look awesome and earn the name Big Block! They're huge. I already have more confidence on off-road rides.

Hopefully I can get them mounted and balance this weekend. I'll post some details and pics of that process and then will just continue on the report over the course of my time on these beefy ass tires!

 

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I will definitely be following this thread. I plan on making these my next tires, but I've got some miles to go to wear out my Tourances. :thumbup:

I plan on converting to more off-road as I commute less now that I carpool, and I agree that with lacking ground clearance, having good off-road tires will help and inspire some confidence.
 

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Very interesting. Thanks for posting the photo (you're right about them earning the big-block name !).

I ride more on-road than you, but the big-block appearance (and probably off-road performance) is appealing to me for my Wee. I'd like to hear what you have to say after you use them for awhile. Mileage life information is very interesting to me too.

I really like the look and 90-10 performance of my Anakee I and IIs, but Anakee IIIs are coming out now - with a completely different look (looks more street-oriented to me, even though they're supposed to perform fairly well off-road) - so I don't know how long I'll be able to get Anakee IIs. My current plan is to move to Anakee IIIs and hope for the best...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My Tourances have lots of life left with only 4k-ish miles on the front and 2k-ish on the rear. I have just been doing a lot of off-road riding and my last ride I dumped the bike 4 times, due to (admittedly) inexperience and/but mostly inadequate tires. So they need to go. I'll just store them for now unless I start to really dig the Big Blocks then I may see if anyone wants to take them off my hands.

I too will be really watching tire wear. But the reality is, last year I put about 10k miles on the bike so even if I only get 4-5k miles out of a set, I'd be happy. Two sets of tires for a year is not all that bad, especially at $200 a set. Any less than 4k miles... ehhhhhh I may have to rethink. But from what I have read I should be able to get 4-5k no problem.
 

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I'll keep an eye on this as well. Love the tires , fear the mileage. It'll be nice to see what you find out for the rest of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The new Metzeler Karoo 3 will be another interesting tire for this usage. More expensive than the Kenda, but likely longer lived.
Motorcycle tyres, Touring - METZELER - Karoo 3
Should be a decent tire, but the cost is damn near double and not available for another 2mo.

Dude. Dumping your bike on that last ride had nothing to do with you being a newb. That trail was slick!!!
It was crazy slick. The sections that looked hard packed but just wet were as bad as the 6in deep sloppy mud. It had like a film on top that made it tough for anything other than an aggressive tire. Ryan has the Heidenau on his F800, he did fine that day but he is going to switch to the Big Block as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So if you buy these tires and are thinking to mount and balance them yourself... skip it. They are a gigantic pain in the ass. I have never worked with a tire as stiff as these, this includes all of my Hoosier A6's I have mounted on my race cars and those are some stiff ass sidewalls. Me and two other guys couldn't get do it. I worked on them for 4hrs before I admitted defeat and took them to a local shop to have them done. So fingers crossed I will never have to replace them while on a trail.

Seriously you can sit on these tires unmounted and they wont collapse under the weight.

The main issue is the same as others have stated on other forums; the sidewalls won't flex and stay in the center of the wheel, the bead wants to seat immediately and won't allow for the other side to slide over without use of pneumatic mounting machine or a gigantic clamp to keep the sidewall pinched.

So, lesson learned, Kenda Big Block = use expensive tools to get them mounted.

That said, I'm still giddy to get on the bike and try them out!

New Big Block (150/70/17)- 2k mile Tourence (140/80/17)


The other item that caught my attention is how small the actual sidewall is and how much the tread wraps around the tire.


I hope to get the wheels back on the bike tomorrow or Monday.
 

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The picture with the Tourance makes it look a lot smaller in diameter??? Is there really that much difference?

If it is smaller, that will help with your offroad gear rations some.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know, haven't measured it. But my assumption is that if one is smaller than the other the difference is negligible because its still on a 17"wheel. It would have to be 18" or 16" or 15" before it would make a difference in gearing.


Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So not an extended ride but I did make it out for a bit tonight and will commute to work in the morning.

First impressions:
Slow speed pulling out to the main road, definite vibration that shakes both the bike and I. The front end feels pretty twitchy but stabilizes with speed. Both of which I anticipated. It is a knobby tire.

Pavement:
Ever ridden next to a lifted up 4x4 with big ass knobby tires at highway speed? Well they sound a lot like that. They have a rumble/roar. They are a louder tire but didn't bother me and again, was expected. Truth be told, I dig it. :yesnod:

The handling seems decent. While I didn't get into any twisties, normal speed cornering was fine and felt ok. The one thing that will take some getting use to is; there seems to be a defined point of cross over when leaning the bike. Its like I can feel the tire transition from being upright to being on its side. Once there it holds well but the first few leans offered a bit of a pucker factor as the bike started to lean and then went full lean. Or at least that's how it felt as I didn't get into real hard leaning turns. So on pavement transitions are not as smooth as with the Tourance. Not anticipated, but makes sense so no worries.

Off Road:
There is a mile or so long gravel road that leads to a boat ramp just down the road from my house. It's hard packed, flat but has several holes/ruts filled with water. There is a lot of traffic on that road so it's very smooth for a gravel road.

Wow, this is where these tires want to be! They felt amazing and got rid of huge amounts of gravel road squirm. I can't wait till the weekend to get up to the mountains. I don't know what else to say, the difference has to be experienced. They're fantastic!

Question for those already running these tires... what pavement pressures do you run?

Mine are at 30psi.

I'm reading that off road, the tires are great at 10psi and can safely go lower. one fella says, 1-2psi but don't know that I'll go that low.




 

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Discussion Starter #14
Had a fantastic ride today! I can't say enough about the performance of these tires. As I'm getting more comfortable with them on pavement I'm enjoying them even more. The twitchyness I felt at first leaning the bike over, it has either subsided or I got use to it because I don't notice it or feel it any more.

Now to the good stuff - off-road:

These tires are the cats pajamas! The difference is 10 fold. I can't say enough about them. The bike doesn't dance underneath me like it did. The front end doesn't slip out in mid turn and damn, I can finally accelerate out of a turn! My dual sport riding was sooooooo much more enjoyable today!

We revisited the same area where I dropped the bike 4 times in the super sloppy mud. Last time it took me 45min - 1hr to get through this road. Today I did it in 10min! I never even had a moment of "Oh shit, Im about to go down." Instead these tires allowed me to tread threw it without hesitation. Redemption.

On the gravel fire service roads, they hooked up so well and are very stable on packed or loose gravel and over bigger rocks.

The only time I did get sketched out was back in the super muddy section someone laid down a stretch of big fat gravel in the middle of the road, rocks the size between racket balls and baseballs. I veered out of the soupy several inch deep mud to ride on the gravel. The bike was not happy! and danced like crazy. I immediately veered back into the mud because it was more stable there.

But again, these tires.... :thumbup:















Oh yeah They handled like champs in the water too! :hurray: Since no one snapped pics of me crossing, I'll show you the ones I snapped of my buddy making it across.


 

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Discussion Starter #15
So on my commute to work this morning I got to experience how the tires handle under emergency braking. Short answer = They Suck!
 

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That thing looks awesome with those tires on it. I'm going to buy a set to put on when I do a WV weekend trip and then put the more street oriented tires back on for everyday riding. I work at a bike shop shop so it's not a big issue swapping them out.
 

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How is the fender clearance in the mud?
 

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Had a fantastic ride today! I can't say enough about the performance of these tires.
Welcome to the dual-sporting side of the Strom. Properly set-up it will surprise you. Ya might try a fork-brace and braced handlebars. Great pics and write-up. :thumbup:
 
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