Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"You get what you pay for." How many times have we heard that phrase? We usually hear it (or say it) during a discussion of some inferior product that failed sooner than we expected.

Yet, the idiom is true both ways, for high quality products as well as no quality products. I am testing it again myself in regards to motorcycle tires.

In about 22 months of riding I have watch Lady's odometer turn past 28,000 miles. Not too bad for an Ohio rider where there is only about 6 or 7 months of riding weather. But like many riders in less temperate climes, I ride all year, as long as the temps are above 25ºF and there's no ice or snow on the roads.

In the course of those miles, I replaced the original rear tire, an IRC brand 170/80 15", at about 18,000 miles. I put on a Dunlop K-555 of the same size and had to replace it this week after about 10,000 miles.

The K-555 cost around $120 and the tire I replaced it with is a Metzeler ME880 at a cost of about $175. I'm hoping I can get at least 45% more miles from a tire that cost about 45% more.

We'll see.

Of course, the trade off with a longer lasting tire, is a less sticky rubber and less traction. But since Lady is a cruiser that spends more time on interstate highways (my daily commute) than on a grand prix road course, I should be OK.

Ride Safe!


irondad said...

There are dual compound tires available now with harder tread in the center and softer on the edges. Some of the differences are more than the amount of mileage due to stickiness or not.

Like you say, you're riding mostly straight line so it's not an issue. I ride big sport touring bikes. Some tires give more predictable and clear feedback. Some tire profiles will turn in more linearly than others. Some start to turn then fall in a bit.

Then there's the compounds that have more silica and are better in the rain than others. Complicated world isn't it?

My philosophy is that the combined contact patch of my tires is about the size of a size 10 tennis shoe. I want that to be the best I can afford!

Steve Williams said...

I would love to get 10K miles out of a tire. My Vespa rear tire is lucky to go 3500. And it's 120 bucks each time I change the thing. Those little tires really spin.

I do want the best tire I can get under me. Riding has enough risks without me skimping on rubber...

There are about 8 different tires available for the Vespa -- Michelin, Continental, Pirelli, Kenda, Sava, and a few others. Wish Metzler had something.

You're right though, you do get what you pay for.

Doug C said...

Irondad - Yeah, surprisingly complicated. Ain't technology great! You're abesolutely right about having the best underneath of you.

Steve - My friend Ron rides a Bergman and was telling me his tires run around the $120 mark too, which surprised me. Of course, the cost of anything associated with this passion has surprised me one time or another.

Baron's Life said...

Informative post... I Doubt the new tires will last 45% longer but we'll'll have to tell us... I don't mind spending money on tires and first and foremost on 2 wheels...actually I feel safer on my 2 wheels than in the cage

Allen Madding said...

I love the permint. Does it smell minty fresh?


Doug C said...

Baron - I don't think I'll get thast much more out if it eaither but... I got to tell you, I took a ride Saturday over some wet roads and the feeling you get knowing you have good rubber keeping your track is amazing. A real boost to the confidence!

Allen - Ha! I bet the typist had some subconscious thing going on when they typed and looked at the color of the band!