Monday, March 3, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Learn Things the Hard Way

One thing that quickly became apparent on our December 2013 tour of Baja California was the sheer inadequacy of sport-touring tires on anything less than a good hard-packed dirt surface.  So on a return trip in February trip a set of Heidenau K60 Scouts - proper butch-looking road/dirt tires - were mounted.

Now I’m not the biggest of lads and the R1200GS, while extremely competent, isn’t the lightest of bikes.  So here’s my take on things regarding larger adventure bikes, road surfaces and tires.  Your results may vary.

* Paved surfaces – It’s hard to beat a decent sport-touring tire like the Michelin Pilot Road 3  or 4.

* Mostly paved with some hard dirt road (up to 10% of use) – The best bet should be the type of tire that came with the bike i.e., Michelin Anakee or Metzeler Tourance/Next.

* Adventure touring which includes some hard or soft dirt roads (20% or more of use) – Something like the Heidenau K60 (designed for pavement & dirt) should work well.

* Mostly unpaved surfaces – Michelin T63, Continental TKC80 or equivalent (They will wear more rapidly on pavement)

In all fairness if you’re going to spend a larger portion of your riding on unpaved surfaces you may want to consider a smaller and/or lighter bike more suited to the task.  

Our experience has shown that riding with a pillion on looser dirt surfaces is not a very good idea. The healing process is almost complete.

Mike Moloney © 2014

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