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Discussion Starter #1


DEATH WING

Who coined the phrase for the Bridgestone Trail Wing TW31 front tire?
Can anyone link to the first use of the term?
 

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This forum was originally started by Chopper Charles and if it was not him who coined the Death Wing term I would suspect Lizrdbrth had something to do with it. What is interesting about the front tire is that it is fine on the pavement and is surprisingly long lasting. Where it becomes the death wing is off road where it is absolutely famous for slipping out from under you in various conditions and you won't know it is happening until it is way too late.

GaryL
 

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The moniker Deathwing or Bridgestone Deathwing has been around since before the interwebs. I remember hearing it from a Vstrom tech and a GS rider in circa year 2001(ish). Unfortunately its history and claim to blame (and rightfully so) predates any forums. Now whether it predates the 87 Tdub, I am not sure. That would be tough to prove but I can infer that the name started shortly after the introduction of the tire from Bridgestone. Now, that date I have no idea of. It would be cool if someone that has a connection or works at Bridgestone could tell us when they first released that tire. That would give us a good estimate at least ;)

*Important note that Bridgestone makes various models and tread patterns for various bikes that all proudly bring warranted shame to the name TrailWing.
 

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A friend of some guy's girlfriend I know, is new to motorcycles and is still riding around on his stock tire. So, from purely a safety standpoint, should this person change it? I hear there is particular brand that comes in a 4.0 x 18 size, is best? I believe those that have logged 1000's of miles on many different types of tires and motorcycles, in all types of conditions may or may not know something about what may or may not be true?

Truth or fiction?
 

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As Sthrnromr said all trailwing tires have been known as deathwings. I took them off my WR after 1 ride and they came off the Wee after my first venture on gravel. I had heard of the term long before joining this form and have removed them from all my bikes.
 

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A friend of some guy's girlfriend I know, is new to motorcycles and is still riding around on his stock tire. So, from purely a safety standpoint, should this person change it? I hear there is particular brand that comes in a 4.0 x 18 size, is best? I believe those that have logged 1000's of miles on many different types of tires and motorcycles, in all types of conditions may or may not know something about what may or may not be true?

Truth or fiction?
Some do just fine with the trailwing tire until they dump the bike in the loose dirt or going over a wet branch or root. Shinko makes a couple good front tires in the correct sizes we use. The Golden Boy and the 241 come to mind. Your friend is free to do what ever he wants but I would make a suggestion and direct him here to read some of these tire threads.

GaryL
 

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This forum was originally started by Chopper Charles and if it was not him who coined the Death Wing term I would suspect Lizrdbrth had something to do with it. What is interesting about the front tire is that it is fine on the pavement and is surprisingly long lasting. Where it becomes the death wing is off road where it is absolutely famous for slipping out from under you in various conditions and you won't know it is happening until it is way too late.

GaryL
I can attest to it's ability to "slip out from under you" first hand from a spill I had a few weeks ago. I would argue that it's fine on "most" pavement; however, if it's uneven at all, it can also be a death wing on pavement :)
 

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Well Gang,
I acquired my '07 TW with only 520 miles on it, about 2 months ago. It had, and still does have, both original tires on it from when it was new. The bike had been sitting for a five year period prior to me purchasing it. Long story short, I did a lot to bring this little T-dub back to life and, it runs like a charm. Now, as far as this "Death wing" front tire is concerned, well, I'm not here to argue with any of you seasoned vet T-dub riders but, I've put over 400 miles on it since I got it running. And, around at least 100 or maybe 150 of those miles are off road miles. And, of those miles, a fair percentage of them is in somewhat "ugly" terrain. I mean terrin with large ruts, rocks, side banking, hill climbing, hill descending, sand wash running and a whole lot more. I'm running about 15 psi in that original front tire and, well, so far, it has not let me down, not "slid out" or, caused me any real headaches of any type.
In other words, that original front tire, even though it's actually 12 years old, seems to be pretty sure footed in any and all operational conditions that I've thrown at it, up to this point. I have kept in mind, the warnings of how it can fail you at any given time, based on the terrain you're traversing at the time. But, so far, no issues. I think I'll eventually get some new tires simply because of their age.
Scott
 

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Well Gang,
I acquired my '07 TW with only 520 miles on it, about 2 months ago. It had, and still does have, both original tires on it from when it was new. The bike had been sitting for a five year period prior to me purchasing it. Long story short, I did a lot to bring this little T-dub back to life and, it runs like a charm. Now, as far as this "Death wing" front tire is concerned, well, I'm not here to argue with any of you seasoned vet T-dub riders but, I've put over 400 miles on it since I got it running. And, around at least 100 or maybe 150 of those miles are off road miles. And, of those miles, a fair percentage of them is in somewhat "ugly" terrain. I mean terrin with large ruts, rocks, side banking, hill climbing, hill descending, sand wash running and a whole lot more. I'm running about 15 psi in that original front tire and, well, so far, it has not let me down, not "slid out" or, caused me any real headaches of any type.
In other words, that original front tire, even though it's actually 12 years old, seems to be pretty sure footed in any and all operational conditions that I've thrown at it, up to this point. I have kept in mind, the warnings of how it can fail you at any given time, based on the terrain you're traversing at the time. But, so far, no issues. I think I'll eventually get some new tires simply because of their age.
Scott
Tire age has been discussed here numerous times. Pretty sure the consensus of opinions placed the time frame around 5 years no matter how much tread they had left. Based on that, your tires are about 7-8 years well past their safe usefulness. IMO I would use them until they pop but only off road. I would not trust your 12 year old tires going down the road at 55 MPH.

GaryL
 

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The trailwing is fine for slow rough riding. Pick up the pace on 2 track with a gravel medium and try to switch lanes and the trailwing is most likely to slide out without warning. With other tires you will actually feel it start to slip and have a chance to recover. Arizona has lots of those types of trails. Another key to switching tracks is to do it under power so the front tire skims over the loose stuff. On my WR the trailwings would would cause me to be in a 2 wheel drift around some corners (not a pleasant feeling) while with a D606 rear and a MT21 front only the back wheel was drifting by my choice and I was going faster. Play around with enough tires and you will find which you like for different riding area and your style of riding.
A new rider could be put off riding if they dump it hard enough. At our Chaiils ride we saw how quickly a deathwing can turn a good rider upside down.
 

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Well Gang,
I acquired my '07 TW with only 520 miles on it, about 2 months ago. It had, and still does have, both original tires on it from when it was new. The bike had been sitting for a five year period prior to me purchasing it. Long story short, I did a lot to bring this little T-dub back to life and, it runs like a charm. Now, as far as this "Death wing" front tire is concerned, well, I'm not here to argue with any of you seasoned vet T-dub riders but, I've put over 400 miles on it since I got it running. And, around at least 100 or maybe 150 of those miles are off road miles. And, of those miles, a fair percentage of them is in somewhat "ugly" terrain. I mean terrin with large ruts, rocks, side banking, hill climbing, hill descending, sand wash running and a whole lot more. I'm running about 15 psi in that original front tire and, well, so far, it has not let me down, not "slid out" or, caused me any real headaches of any type.
In other words, that original front tire, even though it's actually 12 years old, seems to be pretty sure footed in any and all operational conditions that I've thrown at it, up to this point. I have kept in mind, the warnings of how it can fail you at any given time, based on the terrain you're traversing at the time. But, so far, no issues. I think I'll eventually get some new tires simply because of their age.
Scott
When it slides out you will know how the name came to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
A friend of some guy's girlfriend I know, is new to motorcycles and is still riding around on his stock tire. So, from purely a safety standpoint, should this person change it? I hear there is particular brand that comes in a 4.0 x 18 size, is best? I believe those that have logged 1000's of miles on many different types of tires and motorcycles, in all types of conditions may or may not know something about what may or may not be true?

Truth or fiction?
In my honest opinion, I think the new owner should play with front tire air pressure before just switching to a new tire. I personally would run as low as 12-psi on the Trail Wing. I am currently running the Skinko 241 also down to low pressure (while in the dirt). I purchased the the Shinko 241 large in part to see if it was truly a big difference, but I feel that running the lower air pressure is the biggest part. Also, the rear tire plays a part in all this as it is so large and wants to stand the bike back up. But too, I don't think these bike are meant to be laid over as far as say a traditional tired moto... It's as though you ride the TW200 the same as you would a KTM 950ADV, you keep it stood up in the corners and modulating the throttle. Even on the 450-550cc dual sport bikes, finding the perfect tire is hard. The Dunlop 606 is OK... it's DOT approved and knobbied, but it's still a compromise. What is your priority? Dirt or street? FOr the larger dual sport bikes, they have great choices on both ends for the spectrum and some decent middle-ground choices. For us TDUBBERS, we do not have a lot of rubber choices, so we have to adapt and work on riding skill, which is not a bad thing. I would say too, there is a big difference between sitting down while riding in dirt vs standing up while riding in the dirt and that is the #1 skill set to work on, if you are attempting to ride the TW200 like a larger dual sport bike. If you are casually riding in dirt and sitting down, it's fine, but speed does not change the laws of physics as your butt (weight) on the seat is higher than your feet (weight of your whole body) on the foot pegs.

In the end, if he learns to ride on the factory tire in the dirt and becomes comfortable with it, then moving to a new tire later, he will actually "feel" the difference. I would still highly recommend lower tire pressures for the dirt!
 

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The nickname isn't exclusive to the Tdub's models of Trail Wing tires... Forums for other bikes (like the DRZ400S) call the TW41/42 versions they came with "Death Wings" as well because they were just not aggressive enough for good off road use and man you could wash out on those very easy in comparison to the 31's. The only Trail Wings I've seen I would consider good 50/50 tires were the TW301/302 that come on the WR250X's. I was thinking of switching the front to the new Tusk dual sport tire, or a Continental Twin-Duro. I don't think the TW31 is really all that bad, but a little more aggressive tread would be nice at times and I know the Twin Duro's do great on and off road from personal experience. I wish we had some more choices for a rear tire that was DOT, but the stock one isn't bad at all imo.
 

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Well Gang,
Just wondering, there's been mention of low tire pressure for better off roading. Well, we've been running low tire pressure in Jeeps now, ever since Christ was a pup. My tire pressure bleeders are set to 10 psi for the Jeep. Just screw them on the valve stems and, when they quit flowing, you're at 10 psi. In 35-40 years of Moab, Colorado, Ouray, Arizona, CA and more, not once have I ever popped a bead for too low of tire pressure. Now, on the T-dub, one has mentioned around 12 psi. I'd whole heartedly agree. But, one thing that so far, in all the tire threads I've read on here, even if lower tire pressure is mentioned, that I have not seen mention of is, a "bead lock".
I know years and years ago, some dirt and dual sport bikes came with this little wazoo, 1/2 u-shaped (actually looked like a horse saddle) gizmo that had a stem on it that looked almost like a valve stem. But, as you mounted a tire, you'd position this mechanism so that it took a bite on each bead of the tire, opposite sides of course, and then tighten the stem down and that *clamp* type mechanism, held that tire in a give position on the wheel and would not let it spin. I've not seen any mention of those. Are they still in use? Has anyone added them to a TW, front or back wheel/tire? Just wondering.
Scott
 
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