In defence of standard equipment.

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Ozjourno, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Ozjourno

    Ozjourno Ol'Timer

    A chat with a prospective Versys buyer elicited the comment, "First thing i'm gonna do, is get rid of the sh1t tyres". He'd not ridden a Versys but assured me that the tyres were "crap".

    So consider this: I have sailed for many years and attest that the boom in cruising as a yachting life style was coincidental with the development of the marine GPS. There are a lot of people sailing the oceans of the world with little real knowledge of navigation, but with a great faith in technology.

    And what, I hear you ask, has this to do with motorbicycling on the hard stuff. Fair question! Well, I contend that todays 'crap' tyres, were at the cutting edge of yesterday's technology. And, when they were developed those retro-tech hoops were more than adequate for the likes of say....Barry Sheen (and he knew a thing or two about riding fast and safe).

    I may not be a great rider, but I have been at it for 46 years and have never fallen orf...not once; and I once fitted tyres which could never wear out. They were Yokohama nylon cross ply tyres (1968 ish) and were so hard and slippery that if I was ever destined to ride something into the next world, they would have been the tyres to precipitate such a tragedy.

    Now back to my proposition. The man who originally said Versys' standard tyres are crap, said it because he wasn't good enough to hold onto his bike when he overcooked it into a bend...or something like that. Now complete the circle....If something goes wrong on the boat and the GPS clags it, the skipper can either blame Garmin or learn to navigate without the aid of the magic box.

    I have ridden 7000klms on my Versys, mostly in the mountains, often in the rain and frog. My original tyres (the rear one mostly) are almost buggered and they have let go on me twice. Once in buffalo poo, and even the best tyres can't handle a teflon turd, and once in the rain when I crossed the world's slipperiest yellow line. I ride hard but I ride safe and I think the original tyres are fine for general riding. They take a while to heat up but they are not designed for the track.

    And so to the controversy...If you want a race bike buy one, and it should be equipped with suitable rubber. But (to continue the analogy), if you can't sail without a GPS you should'na'orta be sailing on yer lonesome until ya gets better at it!
  2. Loading...

  3. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    It's not about "can't ride with the stock tires" - it's about "having more fun with better tires".

    Plenty of riders are perfectly happy with the stock Dunlops. Good on them! I thought the Bridgestone BT021 were way better, but currently experimenting with different kinds of tires so I can report that tires do make a huge difference in riding. Supercorsas were fantastic - they are so sticky that it's easy to scrape a foot peg in the corner - it feels perfectly safe because of the enormous amount of grip. Similarly, braking is much better thanks to the better grip. ABS kicking in much later, and much more braking power. Unfortunately they were worn after 4,000ks...
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    For me the two most important safety features on a vehicle are brakes and tires. Both have improved and will continue to improve over time. So yeah, while calling the stock Versys Dunlops "crap" might be a bit of an overstatement, there are certainly plenty of other tires out there that are a heck of a lot stickier than the rather hard Dunlops. Every time has it's limit. As long as you know your tires' limits and don't push them beyond, you shouldn't have any problems.
  5. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I like your thinking OzJourno,

    I also take Tonys point... Any current tyre (with a Y Tony you language mangling Yank :D ) is going to be better than a tyre from even a couple of years ago... the standard tyres are selected by the manufacturer based upon what they get the best deal on, who their preferred 'tyre supply partner' is, and their assumption of what their target market will want... and quite often there will be stickier tyres for those that ride harder, and harder tyres for those looking for longevity... tyres are quite a personal choice, so often people want to change them out... no problem there...

    to get back onto OzJourno's point tho... I think you are talking more about 'internalising' Vs 'externalising' reasons for poor outcomes when riding... 'I tried to go too hard for my tyres' Vs 'My tyres caused me to have a get off'... which is a different argument altogether...

    So IMHO feel free to mod your bike, but don't make any component of your bike the reason you get off... even mechanical breakages which usually come back to maintenance and inspection... you control the bike, not the other way around...

  6. Changnoi1

    Changnoi1 Ol'Timer

    The Dunlop stock tires/tyres on my Versys ...... I think they are not the right choice for the variation of road surface in Thailand.

    In general, consumer organisations demand a certain life-span of any product. If Kawasaki would have used "better" stock tires/tyres that would last only 4000km everybody would complain and demand free replacement of it within the warranty. Imo that is the reason for any motorbike or car producer to use long lasting stock tires/tyres.

    Now back to tires/tyres again ...... I think they are a big part of your riding comfort and changing from Dunlop's to Pirelli's made me almost feel like I was riding a different bike.

    Chang Noi
  7. Ozjourno

    Ozjourno Ol'Timer

    Just to clarify my point, there are better tyres than the Dunlops. However, repeating the oft quoted mantra that 'Versys tyres are crap' is an easy way out for poor riding form. "Not suitable for my purpose" is what I would expect to hear from a seasoned rider. In my case, my tyres warm quickly because they work hard in the mountains around Pai and they are as sticky as I need them to be.
    Cheers all.
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    If sport touring is your thing then the stock Dunlops are adequate for the task. But if you enjoy dragging your pegs and the occasional track day, then the stock Dunlops are a poor choice indeed.

    I like the MT60's for light off road-


    And Supercorsa Pro's rock at the track.


    And Scorpion Trails are pretty good for everything in between.


    Different tools for different tasks.

    Arguing about tires is as pointless as arguing about oil. There simply is no right answer.
  9. Cloughy

    Cloughy Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony,

    As you have tried numerous sets of rubber on you're Versys I would like your opinion on how suitable the Scorpion trail's are for the roads up here around the north of Thailand.
    Knowing that you recently did some riding up here I would appreciate your thoughts.
    Currently I'm using stock Dunlop and don't have a problem with them but the difference in price for these from CM Kawasaki and the price a friend can get me the Scorpion Trails for is not much.
    This isn't about saving a few Baht here and there it's more along the lines of do you think these would be a good choice.

  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    The Pirelli Scorpion Trails are a rather revolutionary tire IMO. A big step forward in tire technology.

    They are one of the first "dual sport" tires that feature dual compound construction.

    They were designed specifically for the Ducati Multistrada and are the evolution of the Metzler Tourance EXP (Pirelli owns Metzler and the tires all come from the same factory).

    Folks like me who come from a road riding background appreciate the sporty profile of the Scorpion Trails- they share the same basic profile as the Pirelli Diablo sport tires.

    They are dual compound with a hard wearing compound in the center and softer, stickier compound along the edges.

    Pirelli claims that the tread pattern is optimum for off-road and supersport riding, which sounds rather contradictory IMO.

    Yet somehow it works! I've seen guys RIP at BIRA on stock Scorpion Trail tires, yet on the recent tour up north I found the Versys was happy carving fast roads yet still very sure footed on compact dirt/gravel.

    This fellow is on stock Scorpion Trails at BIRA!


    Pirelli claims the Scorpion Trails have an on-pavement/off-pavement bias of about 90/10, so if you like to get off the pavement more then I reckon a more off-road focused tire is probably called for.

    But for the kind of 90/10 touring I mostly do I think these tires are PERFECT!

    Happy Trails!


  11. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    Thanks for that review Tony, I might try these out next time.

    What's the difference between these and sports touring tires like Pirelli Angels or Bridgestone Battlax BT023 (which seem to be hard to get here, at least in CM)?
  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Main difference is that the Angels and BT023's are road tires and were not designed at all for any kind of dirt or gravel. That said, road tires certainly can be taken off pavement, you just have to be aware of their limitations. I did the Kawasaki off-road course on the BT021's and was quite pleasantly surprised how much traction I had-


    I'm quite keen to try the new Bridgestone BT023 that has replaced the BT021. It's received rave reviews and I was always quite happy with the BT021's so expect good things out of the BT023's. I had Kawasaki replace the stock Dunlops "Ditchmakers" on my Versys with BT021's prior to taking delivery. I've never tried the Angels, but most folks I know who have have not been very impressed with them. I think they are fine as a touring tire, but guys who have taken them to the track complain that they slide no matter how hot you get them...
    Ride On!
  13. KZ25

    KZ25 Ol'Timer

    I don't know about the Versys and its stock tires, but when it comes to blaming an accident or near-accident on tires there may be something to it. I've replaced the stock tires (Bridgestones) of my VTR250 with what I thought was a superior tire, the Dunlop GT 501, and regretted it soon. They slipped on hot pavement, under braking, in turns, at low speeds. I never went down but I rode the bike like a Honda Wave to stay upright.
    It may have something to do with the fact that the little VTR250 has the same tire size as the 400 Four and it's too light; the tire is designed for more weight and acceleration. After 8,000 km it looked like new, almost no wear.
    So if you replace your stock tires be sure you make the right choice. Of course with Pirellis you can't go wrong but they're not available in small sizes.
  14. Cloughy

    Cloughy Ol'Timer

    Thanks for this information Tony. I think these will be on order very soon!
  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Pirelli makes every size imaginable. From tiny little 10" scooter tires


    All the way up to the massive 240 section custom Diablo Rosso II rear tire on the new Ducati Diavel.


    For your VTR 250 I'd recommend Pirelli Sport Demons.


    Ride On!

  16. KZ25

    KZ25 Ol'Timer

    Sorry for spreading false information, for some reason I couldn't find matching front and rear tires for the VTR250 a few years ago. Many brands had a 140 rear but no matching 110 front. Or the guy couldn't get them, I had to order them through the local village big bike repairshop. I tried the Bridgestone car tire dealer who is everywhere but no MC tires.
    Great that Pirellis are available for that size!

Share This Page