New Tires

Weekend-before-last I used up the rest of my stock OEM tires, thanks to a 4-day 2000 mile solo trip through 8 states.  And I haven’t even written it up yet.  Coming soon, eventually.

The stock tires, Bridgestone Trailwings, are dual-sport tires designed for 75% on-road/25% light off-road use, and have a tendency to “square off” when used for high highway mileage.   Half way through the trip it was apparent that a new set of tires would be the first order of business, once I returned home.  Total mileage on the TrailWings is unknown, but I put 8,000 on them since April.

I opted for Bridgestone’s other dualsport tire, the Battle Wing. It claims to be a 90/10% on/off road tire.  Not the only or my first choice – I wanted an all-road high mileage tire, but 19″ front tires are very hard to find in anything but dualsport.  Bridgestones are also fairly inexpensive, compared to other brands.  At a budget point of $100/wheel, instead of $130-$150+ for other  popular brands, the Bridgestones practically pay for themselves.

The thing that inspired this post, however, is the feel of the new tire on the bike.  I often hear descriptions of how different tires affect the feel of the bike, but had never experienced it.  Probably due to not having ridden for 10 years, and then only every few weekends.  With the Trail Wings, when leaned over in a sweeping turn, the steering feels loose and ‘tippy’, like you are teetering, continuously  micro-adjusting your balance to stay on the chosen line.  Not uncomfortably so – you get used to the feel and compensate, it it becomes your ‘normal’.    The BattleWings surprised me by tipping in to the corner much quicker.  I’ll have to get used to that.  But once leaned over, it holds whatever lean angle you choose, with no effort or further input.  This might have have something to do with gyroscopic effect, or traction, or tire carcass flex or profile.  Most likely it’s the difference between a full-size contact patch, versus riding up on the corner of the squared off rear tire.  It’s an amazing feeling.  I cant WAIT to take it up to the mountains.

Still in the “scrubbing in” period.

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