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New Front Tire Options

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Solomoriah, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. Solomoriah

    Solomoriah XS650 Addict

    I've got a 1980 XS650, the one with the tubeless rims, and I'll be needing a new front tire for next year. I'm looking at a number of 100/90-19 tires; naturally I want a good deal, but I want a tire rated over 100 MPH (though I seldom go there) and I want a good balance of traction and lifespan.

    Right now, I'm looking specifically at the Kenda K673 Kruz and K657 Challenger and the Shinko 712 and 777. Does anyone have experience with these tires that they'd like to share? Which is the better option? Or is there one I should be looking at that I've missed?
    geedubya likes this.
  2. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Round black rubber tires are best. :poke:

    You’re going to find as many opinions here as there are tire brands. Since you made no mention of my personal favorites, I’ll keep it to myself, unless you ask.
    lakeview, gggGary and Mailman like this.
  3. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Id base a decision on what you are intending to keep running on the rear.
    Its usually best to run a compatable set. Whats on the 16" rear?
  4. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Addict

    I'd recommend taking a look at the shinko 230 as a possibility
  5. pjc

    pjc XS650 Enthusiast

    Dunlop 404 front & rear on my '80SG. Have no feedback as to the tires ride, grip, because they are just now going on and riding season is on hold here. Snow tomorrow.
  6. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I've run the Challengers, A grippy tire wet or dry. tar snakes and cracks in pavement no problem. Life is. Might get 5000 on the rear about 7000 on the front.
    The Shinko 712 I have on the 83. Nice tire so far. just a few thousand so far.
    I didn't like the Dunlop 404. the front cupped fairly quickly.
    The Pirelli Route are a good tire. have them on the 81.
    I have ran the Bridgestone Spit Fires. Not a bad tire got almost 10,000 on them.
    As far as tire life goes the ones on my Harley get me around 15,000 on a set. These are Dunlop D401. Never an issue wet or dry.
    jetmechmarty likes this.
  7. Solomoriah

    Solomoriah XS650 Addict

    You ask a relevant question. I got the bike with a Dunlop D401 front and a Shinko 712 rear tire on it, and the Shinko was (reputedly, and apparently) new. I forgot the rear was a 712... a 712 front would thus be a good choice, I'd think.

    Is the best match to the 3.50-19 front a 100/90-19, or a 110/90-19? I think the former, but I'm never quite clear on that.
  8. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    I prefer 100/90-19 or it's close equivalent 3.50-19
    Any larger and it starts to get real close to a possible fender fitment issue. Some guys like a huge front tire and no front fender at all however.
    I have run a "4.10-19" Dunlop TT100 K81, it fit with no issue but did not feel a benefit in that case.
    jetmechmarty likes this.
  9. Solomoriah

    Solomoriah XS650 Addict

    Alrighty then. Thank you all!
    Machine likes this.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I can't recommend the 712 front. I have one on my bike now and it's just not right. It has a rather vague feel and gives a slight head shake when passing through the 30 to 35 MPH range. It's not a horrible lock to lock wobble or anything, it's just sorta unstable feeling through that speed range. Maybe I just got a bum tire because I've not seen anyone else report this. Regardless, I won't be buying another, there's too many other choices out there.

    For many years, my go-to and favorite front tire had a "V" style block tread. Metzeler originated this tread style with their ME33 Laser, but it's very expensive. Luckily, Cheng Shin made a low cost copy .....


    Unfortunately, they stopped making them, and it's a real shame because this was a wonderful front tire. I used it in combination with many different manufacturer's rears and tread patterns. It "played nice" with all of them. Finally, another reasonably priced copy has popped up, this one from a company called Vee Rubber .....


    I bought one but haven't used it yet, but I'm hoping it will be as nice as the Cheng Shin I used to run.
  11. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Solomoriah,
    me, I'd run Bridgestone Spitfires if I was still riding solo and as solo rider
    you got it easy, you have actual choices.
    Note that all a sidecar rig's tires need is to stay inflated and still show some tread.
    Like your bike, my sidecar rig has tubeless rims all round.
    Ideal front tire is an Avon Sidecar Universal but they are tube only so I'm still running a Spitfire II
    Ideal rear tire would be a TwinTire but they quit making them ~25 years ago and the last of my stash balded out some years back.
    So my rear tire choice is whichever el-cheapo 130/90-16 tubeless I can get for a bargain and I must live with it's short lifespan.
    The sidecar tire is a 13" Vredestein car tire on a Honda Civic rim. It ain't worn at all since I've owned the sidecar.
  12. azman857

    azman857 '80 XS 650SG Rider XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Shinko 230's are way better than the 712's. I'm running a 230 on front now. There might be better tires out there but for the money, Shinko's are pretty good tires.
  13. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Here's a good example of how tires are subjective. I considered the Hi-Max the worst tire I ever had. I removed and discarded mine while still serviceable. Awful for me, great for 5twins. Go figure.
  14. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    What bike did you put it on, your bigger, heavier 1100? I've only run them on my 650, an SR500, and a BMW 750, bikes I'd classify as light (SR500) to midweights.
  15. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Your question is valid and wrecking my point. It was the XS1100 that weighs almost 600 lbs. :redface:

    My favorite was the same on the XS650 and XS1100. It was the Dunlop GT501 Arrowmax. No longer available. I still think tires are subjective, even if my point has been destroyed. :twocents:

    And, to your point, the XS650 rides on Bridgestone S11. I removed them from the XS1100 and put them on the XS650 where I like them fine.
  16. Solomoriah

    Solomoriah XS650 Addict

    I've had very good luck with their dual sport 244 on the front of my TW200, and I'm pretty happy with the 712 on the back of my XS; however, the 230 is certainly cost effective. I may go that way.
  17. Grimly

    Grimly XS650 Addict

    To add to the subjective mix - I was using Hi-Max (Maxxis in Europe) of that C-906 pattern for years without a problem on a most definitely not light or middleweight GS850 with added porkiness of fairing and luggage on it all the time. Never had the slightest trouble or uneasiness with that tyre on the front. When circumstances allowed, I tried to run the matching rear with it too.
    At the moment I'm running a Dura of some sort on the front and it seems fine also, but I've heard some don't like them either.
    I might try the V-Rubber incarnation of the Metzeler. Funnily enough I was using the original Metzeler of that pattern 30 years ago and didn't really like them all that much on the GS. Otoh, they really suited the BMW R80RT, possibly being designed with that in mind.
    jetmechmarty likes this.
  18. ThatXS650Guy

    ThatXS650Guy More Sparky than Speed Racer Top Contributor

    I swear by my Avon road riders. Really confidence inspiring. The Spitfires on the GPz are getting old so I'll be replacing them with the Avons.
    Mailman and jetmechmarty like this.
  19. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    That VEE Rubber front is very tempting. Looks as if the tread direction is opposite of the Metzeler lazer which was a very common smooth BMW Airhead front tire.
  20. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I'm stuck on Pirelli. They instill confidence, they always come round, and I believe they are very good value. (price vs. mileage)

    So, here I am, sucked into tire talk. :shootme: Wanna know about my engine oil? :poke:
    Mailman, TwoManyXS1Bs and mrtwowheel like this.

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