I'm officially going to the darkside... - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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I'm officially going to the darkside...

I've made the decision this week to go to the darkside. The decision was mostly made a year ago when I put on a brand new set of Metzler 880's. The rear was a radial. After 10,000 miles it is completely worn out.

The other day I was riding down a country road from my mother-in-law's place, and heard a loud "POP". I didn't know what happened, but it reminded me of some 36 years ago when a rear tire blew out on my father's 750 BMW I was riding with my younger brother on the back. I looked at the rear tire this time, and it was not flat, nor was the bike uncontrollable. I stopped at the intersection (about 1/4 mile from the "POP"), and checked both tires. They were both holding air. I thought I'd feel over the rear tire just in case, and low and behold there was a bolt head sticking out of it. CRAP!!!

Since it was still holding air, I decided to try and get it the final 2 miles home. It finally started to go flat as I was pulling into the driveway.

The pics below will show the story. Anyway, since I live in a sparsely populated area of the U.P. I checked around to see what was available in tires, and who might be able to mount one. I found a local auto repair place that could get me any tire I wanted, and he would mount it for me.

I settled on the General Altimax HP for it's unidirectional tread design, reasonable cost, and good UTQG rating. I didn't want a tire with a super high tread wear rating, because, from my research, the higher the number the harder the material. The Altimax HP is middle of the road for the tread wear rating. I've also read some good reports of darksiders using this tire.

So, I pulled the rear-end all apart to get the tire off (looks worse than it really is to do). I'll lube the driveshaft and change oil in the final drive at the same time.

I'm also hoping to have time to install my Rostra electronic cruise control at the same time.
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2017 Indian Roadmaster (current ride)
2003 VN1600A (Traded August 2017 to #1 son for a Bushmaster AR)
2001 VN750 bought 4/19/08 w/2309 miles(Sold April 2010 with just over 12,000 miles)
VROC #33035
__________________________________________________ ________________
Just when I thought I was winning the rat race, somebody moved the finish line!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 12:47 AM
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Ok, I am really curious. What is the tire size you use when doing this. If I don't get very good mileage out of my latest rear I might have to join everyone on the dark side.

2000 VN 750
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyHillyard View Post
Ok, I am really curious. What is the tire size you use when doing this. If I don't get very good mileage out of my latest rear I might have to join everyone on the dark side.
I did a lot of research on tire sizes, and what CT's match most closely with a MT. I also ride a VN1600 Classic, which has a larger tire than the VN750. I'm going with a 205/60-16, which is not more than 1% off from original. It will slow my odometer down a little bit, which is what I want it to do. Right now, when the odo reads 60 mph, I'm actually doing about 55-56.

Anyway, for tire size, there are a lot of resources on the web - and I'm sure you can find posts in this forum that will give you the size you need for the VN750. The main thing is to understand what the numbers mean on the tire size. I.E. the first number is the tread width (usually in mm), the second number is the ratio of sidewall to tread width. It's a percentage. The third number is simply the wheel diameter. There are calculators on the web where you can put in several different sizes and compare them to original to see how far off they are. It's actually quite interesting to do.

2017 Indian Roadmaster (current ride)
2003 VN1600A (Traded August 2017 to #1 son for a Bushmaster AR)
2001 VN750 bought 4/19/08 w/2309 miles(Sold April 2010 with just over 12,000 miles)
VROC #33035
__________________________________________________ ________________
Just when I thought I was winning the rat race, somebody moved the finish line!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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BTW, I also ordered some DynaBeads for balancing the tire. Just pour in 3 oz, and away you go. No more bubble or spin balancing and putting weights on the rim.

2017 Indian Roadmaster (current ride)
2003 VN1600A (Traded August 2017 to #1 son for a Bushmaster AR)
2001 VN750 bought 4/19/08 w/2309 miles(Sold April 2010 with just over 12,000 miles)
VROC #33035
__________________________________________________ ________________
Just when I thought I was winning the rat race, somebody moved the finish line!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2011, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyHillyard View Post
Ok, I am really curious. What is the tire size you use when doing this. If I don't get very good mileage out of my latest rear I might have to join everyone on the dark side.
I used a 165/80R/16 Nexgen IIRC. Got 14,000 from the Pirelli MT66 and when it wore out went with this. Be forewarned; it takes a lot of psi to seat the bead! I lubed the bead, polished the rim, used a ratchet strap and a lot of sweat on numerous occasions and managed to get one side to seat. After more time, finally said the heck with it. It was going to seat or blow up! Not sure what pressure the compressor was set to think about 125), but had about maxed the tire out when the other side seated. Other folks have reported similar results.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 09:15 AM
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Interesting. Many Goldwing riders are going with car tires. But Goldwings are big and heavy, are often overloaded, and are rarely ridden in a "sporting" manner. Their tire tread usually wears out in the middle first.

But I am on my third rear ME880 (stock size non radial, the Vulcan 750 was not designed for radial tires) and have yet to get less than 18,000 miles out of one before I could start seeing the wear bars. Pushing it past the limit, I got nearly 20,000 miles out of one. I almost always get about 22,000 out of the fronts, so I do not replace them together, I replace them individually, as they wear out. I have about 10,000 miles on my current rear, it stills has a lot of tread left. It also has 2 plugs in it from punctures (both discovered while inspecting the tire, never went flat till I pulled the nails out) and a bottle of Ride-On in it. I fully expect to get at least 18,000 more miles out of it, unless it is seriously damaged, which can happen to any tire. I do run my tires at full inflation pressure, as stated on the sidewall. I'm not looking for a "cushy" ride on a motorcycle, and am also a bit on the heavy side.

If I only got 10,000 miles out of an expensive motorcycle tire, I'd probably be going the car tire route too, But I get 10,000 miles out of the cheap (about $45) Cheng Shins I have on my dual sport bike, and about 70% of that is on dirt roads and trails.

There must be some reason your mileage is so low. Using a radial could be part of it, bias ply is the only way to go on a Vulcan 750. Underinflation could be another part of it, overloading it (putting more weight on the bike than the owners manual says, or loading it to capacity without making sure the tires are inflated to their "max" pressure) could be part of it. Could be a combination of things. But having gotten twice your mileage out of 2 ME880 rear tires, and halfway there on another, with plenty of tread left definitely tells me it can be done.

The Bridgestone Excedra G526 oem rear tire was the best of them all, passed 20,000 miles before you could see the wear bars. But a replacement was super expensive, so I went with the ME880s. I understand the Pirelli Route is also a good tire, and I may go with them next time.


Just saw the post about balancing. I always balance my tires by hand, with rim weights, and keep at it until they are absolutely perfect. I have often spent over an hour balancing a rear tire, but when I'm done, it is smooth as silk, with no vibration at all. I lay the axle across the cradle on 2 jackstands, with the tire in the middle between them. Do this inside the house, where it is either warm or cool, whichever you need, pop open a can/bottle of your favorite beverage, and settle in. Maybe get a magazine to read while the tire is spinning. I have seen a lot of claims, but I don't believe there is any good substitute for proper spin balancing by hand.

I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.


1997 Vulcan 750, purchased about a week ago
2006 Sportster 1200 Low
2013 Royal Enfield Bullet 500, converted to carb
2001 Yamaha XT225, heavily modified
2004 Honda Rebel 250
1979 Vespa P200E
2002 Vulcan 750 parts bike
1994 Yamaha XT225 parts bike

Last edited by VN750Rider/Jerry; 10-14-2011 at 09:26 AM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 06:46 PM
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Good info. I've always thought the goal for balancing is to get the wheel to stay where it is when it comes to a stop and not swing or pendulum to a certain position. Is this correct? I'd like to check my front wheel balance again. Should I not do that on the bike with the calipers removed?

Dave

Mods:
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-15-2011, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmnet View Post
I did a lot of research on tire sizes, and what CT's match most closely with a MT. I also ride a VN1600 Classic, which has a larger tire than the VN750. I'm going with a 205/60-16, which is not more than 1% off from original. It will slow my odometer down a little bit, which is what I want it to do. Right now, when the odo reads 60 mph, I'm actually doing about 55-56.

Anyway, for tire size, there are a lot of resources on the web - and I'm sure you can find posts in this forum that will give you the size you need for the VN750. The main thing is to understand what the numbers mean on the tire size. I.E. the first number is the tread width (usually in mm), the second number is the ratio of sidewall to tread width. It's a percentage. The third number is simply the wheel diameter. There are calculators on the web where you can put in several different sizes and compare them to original to see how far off they are. It's actually quite interesting to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flitecontrol View Post
I used a 165/80R/16 Nexgen IIRC. Got 14,000 from the Pirelli MT66 and when it wore out went with this. Be forewarned; it takes a lot of psi to seat the bead! I lubed the bead, polished the rim, used a ratchet strap and a lot of sweat on numerous occasions and managed to get one side to seat. After more time, finally said the heck with it. It was going to seat or blow up! Not sure what pressure the compressor was set to think about 125), but had about maxed the tire out when the other side seated. Other folks have reported similar results.
I notice you both said you are using a 16" tire.
How do you manage this on a 15" rim??

EDIT:
Sorry ksmnet, after re-reading your post I see the 205/60-16 is on your vn1600 not the 750.

Another question now.
Does the speedo on the 1600 Classic read off the front wheel like the 750?
If so, how does changing the rear tire change the speedo reading?

Gordon

1991 VN 750 -"Cosmic Lady" or "Bad Girl"?
Purchased May 16, 2008
Approx.19,300km (12,000 miles)

H-D windshield
Relocated R/R
MF-AGM battery
Fiamm Freeway Blaster horns
F&S luggage rack and engine guard
Kury Offset Hiway pegs
July 13, 2016, Riding on the DARKSIDE now, Classic Radial 165/80-15


TOP TEN THINGS A NEW RIDER/OWNER SHOULD DO. Click on link.
https://www.vn750.com/forum/11-vn750-general-discussion/9127-top-ten-items-you-would-suggest-new-owner-do-his-new-ride.html

Last edited by OlHossCanada; 10-15-2011 at 10:49 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-15-2011, 10:07 PM
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Geez, that 16" tire should have just jumped on the 15" rim!

Sorry OlHoss, it was dark when I went out to get the tire size and my eyesight and memory ain't what they used to be!

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-15-2011, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Another question now.
Does the speedo on the 1600 Classic read off the front wheel like the 750?
If so, how does changing the rear tire change the speedo reading?
The later model Classics 04 and up I think, have electronic speedometers that read off a sensor the trans.Speedo Healers are available and fairly easy to calibrate for these bikes ,I thought I would answer for ksmet since I just read this and my bike has the same setup.




If you see it on my bike I did it
VROC#30324
92 vn750(sold)
Current ride 05 1500 Classic FI
lovin' the new scoot



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