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Discussion Starter #1
Not being funny guys - but this thing handles like an Ostrich with a poker up its butt – there’s no other way to describe it.

Stock rear (knobbly) tyre, good tread – brand newTW203 (road tyre) on the front (still scrubbing it in). Rear shock looks standard, forks at about the right level in the yokes. Tyre pressure (rider is 6ft / 180lbs) set at 18psi on both wheels.

Runs wide on street intersections, and “wanders” a bit at straight line speed (50mph).

I’m figuring this is largely down to the new tyre on the front. I’m reluctant to “muscle” it into 90 degree corners yet, as the front tyre still has the moulding nubs sticking out of it (it’s that new). Weather is still cold over here, which probably doesn’t help matters. The rear tyre feels fine, the bike takes pot-holes like a pro, (both wheels just take them in their stride).

So – I’m thinking – either continue to scrub in the front (how long does that take on such a light bike ?) – maybe reduce pressure on the front for a while (what can you go down to on paved surfaces ?).

Maybe it’s the combination – switch out the front for a knobbly ?

Right now, it feels like it needs a steering wheel rather than handlebars ………….
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Cheers Mike – figured it was going to go that way – wanted a second opinion as these bikes can be a little bit “odd” (in so many respects).

These are some of the roads I’ll be headed for – so I might as well put a knobbly on the front.

Roads.jpg

Figuring to go for the Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara. Seems like a good all-rounder. The fronts are a bit weak, but as the size dictates that I’ll be going for a rear on the front (reverse the rotation), it should be a lot tougher.

Standard size for the front is 130 80 18 - nearest size I can get for the Metzeler is 140 80 18 - is this going to be OK ?

Thanks for your help – it’s appreciated ………
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cheers for the input Werloc – the original front “death wing” was about knackered, so I had it replaced before delivery. I had asked them to put a knobbly on it, but it turned up with the 203.

Mixed blessing really – it could have turned up with another death wing on it ……..

Am I going to be OK with the 140 80 18 ?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmmm – I appreciate your thoughts, but the problem with that solution is the grass in the middle of the roads – from what I’ve read on here, the 203 “doesn’t do grass”.

Plus, I’m reluctant to commit to a “pair” of road tyres, because some of my riding will be on sand – wet sand – think “beaches” and you’ll be in the right direction ………

I was hoping to get away with it on just the road front tyre, coupled with the knobbly rear – but having that knobbly rear is essential. That’s the one that is going to get me out of trouble when I need it the most.

I’m a hunter, by rod and line, (this isn’t gun country – unfortunately), and some of the places the TW can get me into tend to fill up with salt water pretty quickly.

Just to give you some idea ……..

Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!

That one’s (going to be) about 5 miles away – and there are many like it within reach. Now – if you had a TW in that area, and you liked sea fishing – road tyres, or knobbly ?

Given that I’ve chosen the TW to give me access to that lot – keeping the rear knobbly is essential ………..
 

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The size isn't much of an issue as the tread pattern is. Rule of Thumb is, you "should" match the same "tread type" of tire front and rear for best feel and handling, on and off road.

Now, the stock rear TW34 tire is rated as 80% on-road, 20% offroad dual sport tire. My opinion, this is wrong. Looks closer to a 50%-50%, or 60%-40% to "me".

The TW203 is also rated as 80% on-road 20% offroad dual sport tire as well. So, according to them, they are rated as same use. But, looking at them, it sure doesn't look that way to me. Looks like that front tire will grip way better on road, than the rear tire will, which is why I think the rear tire rating is incorrect.

Did you say you asked for a different tire type, and they gave you the TW203? Why did you take it with this tire then if it's not what you wanted? If that's the case, I wouldn't have taken or paid for it. Uless you left it up to them. If your not going to get a different tire, than continue to scuff this one in. Riding straight isn't going to scuff in the outer edges that are used in turns. Go to a back side street or empty parking lot. While going slow, like 5 to 15 mph, turn sharp, back and forth making big wide sweeping S turns, leaning the bike as much as you can to hit those edges of the tire. Continue to slowly increase your speed. Do this for a while until that shine is no longer on the tread matching the center dullness look. Using the whole tire tread, side to side, it should take about 50 to 100 miles to really scrub that tire in. Ride some nice twisty roads after a while. Your new front tire is gripping a lot more than the rear is, due to that more of a flat smooth street tread. Try airing it up some. Try going from 18 to 20 or even 21 psi in the front and try that. It will give it a little less grip. Scrub that tire in FIRST though. You can also try airing down the rear tire for more grip on the rear. (Note: Do 1 change at a time, or you won't pinpoint the issue) Go a little at a time, but no less than 14 psi to be safe for the rear. You see where I'm going here? You want to try to even out the grip of front and rear tires. Being that front has more grip than rear right now, less air increases grip, more air decreases grip. So "After" that front is scrubbed in, experiment with tire pressures. Bottom line, in my opinion, those tires are not a good match for each other. I know that tires like that TW203 are called a Dual Sport tire, and are suppose to be OK for off road. But, (I don't care what anyone thinks) They are crap for off road, period. A TW is light, and tops out at 65ish mph? A Knobbie Dual Sport tire will do just as well ON the road, as a decent Dual Sport Knobbie tire will. And, be 20 times better Off Road for a light weight, kinda slow TW type of dual sport bike. I will argue this to my death. I've had all of these types of tires on enduro bikes, worked 12 years in a motorcycle dealer that was 80% off road, 20% street bike shop. Plus, all my friends and people I hung around with, were dirt bike/enduro/dual sport riders most of the time. I've tried, owned, tested, and knew those with all types of these so called combonation use motorcycle tires. That TW203 "Style" tire is more like a street rain tire. It's a smooth street tire, with extra grooves in it. There is close to 0 (Zero bite) in dirt, sand or gravel. That is fact. I'm not sure what type of riding you do, or where, on or off road. If you want better street grip, then get a rear to match your new front. If you want better grip in the dirt, get a knobbie for the front like Shinko 244, Kenda K270 which are the same exact tread, and most popular tires of our forum members. If your like me, and want a better tire for loose dirt or sand, go with a Kenda K760 which is what I'm going to get. I have a Kenda K270 now, but ride soft deep sand most of the time. I don't care about street handling at all. I only ride the street to get to the dirt. But, this thread isn't about me....;)

Last thing. A new front tire is going to feel a "LOT" different. So what your feeling may not be, all that bad, but just taking getting use to. It's much different, so there may be nothing wrong at all. So, without me test riding it myself, and not being to best at explaining things by typing, that's the best I can tell you. This feel is all new since this new tire, correct? So, very possible, you just need to get use to this new feeling. It doesn't feel like the same bike anymore. But trying what I said above, may help it feel better for you. You can also check that your steering stem bearings aren't loose, and maybe adjust them "only" if needed. Being to tight, or stiff, will also make your front wander. That's all I got for ya at the moment, unless you find something else. I hope this helps......:)


BTW, When I mounted my new front tire. It felt VERY different. It was Very hard to turn the bike. The front tire wanted to track straight, and was hard to turn. It's still the same, but took a while to get use to it, that's all. Like I said, it just may take getting use to. Since you didn't mount the tire yourself, just check that everything is tight, like axle, etc.
 

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Wow, that's long.....LOL I didn't realize that typing on my phone. Sorry about that. Read it a few times, I guess to get it all. If ya have any questions, feel free to PM me.....;) Always willing to help, "IF" I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No worries Werloc – thanks for taking the time to write it.

I paid two grand for the bike – so when it turned up in a van with that front tyre on it, I figured to cut the dealer loose, try the tyre first, swap it out later if needed. The tyres are only 70 quid, and I can handle that – the dealer is an idiot, and me arguing with him isn’t going to change that ………. (and I checked that bike over very carefully before riding it. Always do when someone else has been working on it)

I know what you mean about tyre design – that knobbly rear is a good all-rounder – period. The 203 would be out of its depth in a puddle. How they can describe to 203 as a dual-sport God knows. Maybe the guy who writes the advertising blurb is related to a certain bike dealer over here.

Bananachunks must be a darn good rider that’s all I can say. That, plus he picks his terrain very carefully.

Unfortunately, we can’t get the Kenda or the Shinko’s over here (UK) – hence the Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara

enduro3r-670.jpg

Does the profile look right to match the stock rear ?
 

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Doesnt look like its available in the size you need.
 

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I've heard of US tire distributors shipping internationally for a reasonable cost, I think Jake Wilson was one of them. Check out a few, you may be surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Doesnt look like its available in the size you need.
I can get the Metzeler in 140 80 18 - it's only 10mm wider across the tyre - given that it's meant for the rear, it'll probably be strong enough (on a TW anyway)

rbm - prices I've seen are almost as much to ship as to buy - but I'll keep looking .........
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hmmmm - scratch that thought - 140 80 18 is taller, likely to have the same effect that I'm trying to get away from, and screw with the geometry - bugger - back to the drawing board .......
 

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There is no one perfect tire for all conditions just as there is no one perfect motorcycle for all conditions. One must find the best compromise and live with it.

Having two different style tires on a motorcycle is asking for trouble.
 

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My TW has a 140-80-14 trials tread pattern on the front and I am very pleased with it. I had raised my front fender previously so the additional height was not an issue. I ride 90%+ off road, mostly dry dirt and rocks, but street handling is very good. I recently borrowed a friend's bike with a Metzler knobby on the front and was scared by how squirrelly it initially felt.
 

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I have been running "mismatched" tires on one of my Tw's for some time not seeing any huge difference
in the handling compared to my one with matched tires.. Not really a great idea but forced by budget restraints. I would suggest you look close at your steering head
bearings and swing arm bushings. Steering head bearings will cause a whole host of odd handling scenes. A super upgrade on TW's
is to chuck the stock bearings and replace with tapered rollers available thru "All Ball's" Great write up on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The bearings are all fine – checked them all when I got the bike – first thing I did …….

The bike is tight – pulls like a tractor – just doesn’t like corners. Gonna have to lose that front tyre (I’ve always had reservations about the “mix” anyway).

Come to think of it, the last bike I had with that combination was a Suzuki GT550 two stroke triple. Salisbury Plain, early morning, and one of the barriers used to close the road had come loose – the road went round a tight bend, me and the bike went in a straight line. Took me about 5 minutes to find it in the surrounding bushes, there was just this tail light sticking out about 4ft off the ground.

Anyway – figure I’ll go for this one.

Heidenau K60 130/80*-18 TT 72 T RF tyre ?

Half-decent all-round tyre – matches the front – and it’s available in the UK. Beyond that, as spd2918 says, it’s up to me to make it work ……….
 

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The bearings are all fine – checked them all when I got the bike – first thing I did …….

The bike is tight – pulls like a tractor – just doesn’t like corners. Gonna have to lose that front tyre (I’ve always had reservations about the “mix” anyway).

Come to think of it, the last bike I had with that combination was a Suzuki GT550 two stroke triple. Salisbury Plain, early morning, and one of the barriers used to close the road had come loose – the road went round a tight bend, me and the bike went in a straight line. Took me about 5 minutes to find it in the surrounding bushes, there was just this tail light sticking out about 4ft off the ground.

Anyway – figure I’ll go for this one.

Heidenau K60 130/80*-18 TT 72 T RF tyre ?

Half-decent all-round tyre – matches the front – and it’s available in the UK. Beyond that, as spd2918 says, it’s up to me to make it work ……….
The link states that it is a tubeless tire.......


Tom
 

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I don't think there is any issue with installing a tube in a tubeless tire but I'm not a bike mechanic. Maybe pm WERLOCK he is the real thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
TT means "Tubed Type" - even if they've got it wrong, you can always stick a tube in a tube-less tyre - it's when you go the other way round you get problems ......
 

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TT means "Tubed Type" - even if they've got it wrong, you can always stick a tube in a tube-less tyre - it's when you go the other way round you get problems ......
I did not know that. I would have thought the bead on the tire would be formed differently. I will count this as my something new for today:D



Tom
 
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