I'm flawed

Discussion in 'Riding Techniques' started by faffi, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    Talk about stating the obvious :lol:

    But - I'd like to discuss them tyres again simply because I cannot let it go since I still don't quite know what and why. Like, why do I have this insecure feel from the supposedly grippy Motard tyres on the CB400SF, not to mention the worn BT90s - with everything from real to likely imagines slips and slides - whereas the Heidenaus stick like snot to a silk shirt?

    The front on the Z650 cannot provide the stopping grip of that on the Honda, so there is no doubt the radials have more ultimate grip. It's just me who cannot get it to work.

    The Honda used to ride on Dunlop motard tyres, and the chicken strips were huge. Now it has Nankang sport touring rim protectors, and they suit me better. Still, there are probably strips nearly 25 mm wide on the front and about 15 mm on the rear, so lots and lots in reserve. Yet I simply don't dare to go there because the things feel floaty and uncertain.

    On the Z650, I now have new Heidenaus fitted, good, old and narrow. About 5-6 mm strips front and rear - despite having raised the bike, there simply isn't cornering clearance to use more. However, despite digging the centre stand tang into the asphalt hard, the tyres always stick, always feel reassuring, giving me full confidence. Even the 8 year old Cheng Shin I used momentarily, and which was used to its very edges due to a flatter profile, never even hinted at slipping.

    So, is it all in my head?
     
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  3. SCC

    SCC Old slow and forgetful

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    Are all the profiles the same? I like Michelin on the Morini better than the Pirelli, I think partly because of the shape and how they tip into corners :shrug:
     
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  4. kneedragon

    kneedragon Re-Member ... ?

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    Ultimate limits of grip, and handling response, are one thing, how it 'feels' to you is another entirely. This is what Stoner and others are on about when they say set-up data for one rider is next to useless for anyone else. The feel is largely an individual thing. A rider will try set the bike up to be quickest and best for him, and that may not work at all for anybody else. Everyone's perception of 'feel' is a little different.

    What you 'feel' is terribly important to you, as a rider, for your confidence. ... (Looking for something sensible to say)... I went with 'feel' over logic, on my old GSX11s. I used, (on the early ones, at least) Pirelli Phantom MT28s, because they had sensational feel. They had certain things they did better than any other tyre of the time, (grip, and progressive break away, when you came to the end of grip) and others they did extremely badly (like high speed stability) but most of all, they had great feel and made the bike feel very confidence inspiring. Their handling response, at low and medium speeds, was sensational. They just felt massively better than anything else I'd ever tried. I loved the Michelin Pilot Powers for the same reason, they felt really good to me, most of the time. The Pilot Pures that replaced them, were close, but not quite as good, to me. It was like Michelin analysed what was good about the Power, what people liked, and then went and exaggerated all those traits for the replacement. It... sort of worked, in some ways, but the result didn't seem to me to be any better overall.

    The problem (for me at least) with the Pures, was that they seemed to be very temperature sensitive. When they were new, you could warm them up quite easily and quickly, but when they got down to half worn or more, getting them warmed up became harder and harder, (esp at the front) and they weren't that great when they were cold. With the old Powers, I guess the same problem was there, but not to anything like the same degree. Add to that, I had a ZX14 which made very particular demands on tyres. Very big and heavy, too long, too low, very powerful, it really didn't like soft, thin, flexible tyres, which is exactly what the Pures were. The single biggest problem I had with it, early on, was that it always wanted to stand up and go straight. After much asking around, I got pointed at Metzler M5s to counteract that. It worked, the bike stayed on line, and in terms of temperature management and feel, they were good enough. Still not as good as my memory the Powers, but good enough.
     
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    #3 kneedragon, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  5. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    I agree that set-up can matter a great deal. Although I dislike the lack of comfort that comes with old fashioned suspension, I like the direct messages I get from the tyre/road interface. So that can be one reason why the XT600 tended to slide unexpectedly from time to time, despite old fashined technology. The CB400 is downright mushy. OTOH, the Sprint was very soft and compliant yet easy to understand despited radials. Well, with the Pirelli Stradas - it was hell on Dunlops D205s. As was the GSX600F, only in a different way; they offered no grip on worn tarmac. I'm not just talking sensations in my head here, but actual wheel lock when trying to stop - or spinning up trying to accelerate - that was worse than on typical gravel roads! Personally, I like tyres that act predictably from stone cold to hot and on all sorts of surface, from wet to gravel to bumpy to smooth asphalt. IMO, old style tyres tend to do this better than most modern radials. Less ultimate performance, but also far less sensitive.

    But back to feel. Chances are that when confidence go out the window, one tend to tense up and simply ride less well. This again probably affect grip more than we might expect. However, I have yet to be amazed about the immense grip of modern rubber. The Heidenaus have all the grip I need since they never let go, but they do not feel massively better or different to what I rode on 20-25 years ago. I would slide the Pirelli Stradas a little every now and then, for instance, just as I would slide the Metzelers of my CB1100 back in 1990, yet I am positive I cornered faster on the old Honda.

    Finally, the MT28 Pirellis. I have had it fitted to two bikes, both on the rear, both in Comp + compund. And I hated them. First, despite being fitted to 40-50 hp machines, they went almost bald within 2500-3000 km. One lost 2 mm in 500 km! And they would slide prematurely, although very controllably. Like the D205s, the lack of grip - and crazy wear - came about on worn tarmac. They worked fine on good asphalt.
     
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  6. kneedragon

    kneedragon Re-Member ... ?

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    LOL - Yeah, they did wear out pretty quick. And I'm not sure I'd put a Phantom on the back with something else on the front. They worked alright with an MT29 ribbed front, although not as good as the 28. Everything else, they were very questionable with. I wasn't the only one who thought so, either. Tyre shops would argue with you if you wanted to put a 28 on the back and something else on the front.

    Worn tarmack, not sure about that. We used to have a re-surfacing technique they used, more so in the old days, where they'd spread round river gravel over a hot wet tar, which meant the surface was slick and polished from the beginning. Grip on that was satisfactory if the road was clean and dry, but very ordinary if it rained, and very hard to feel or predict. I came from riding on dirt and grass and stuff to riding on the road, and initially, (we had a lot of that round river-gravel stuff on pretty much all the roads around my place) it didn't seem a whole lot better. I started to get a lot more enthusiastic about it when I got to ride on hotmix and new tyres. The first bike I rode that had good feel, was my GS750 on Avon Roadrunners. They used to develop a funny wear pattern, which didn't greatly impress me, so I changed them for something else (don't remember what) and hated it, changed them again for another set of Roadrunners quite quickly. (Staring into space, trying to remember. LOL - It was all so long ago! ...1979 or very early 1980.) Then I got the GSX11 and it had Mag Mopus on, Original Equipment, which I hated, and that may have been a bit premature on my part, because they were pretty bad in some ways but very good in others. High speed stability on the OEM tyres wasn't stellar, but it was quite ok. As soon as the OEMs got a bit old, I went and asked around "What's good?" and got pointed at MT28s. I knew all the production racers were using them, so that seemed to make sense. And the initial feel and handling of the bike was great! Completely transformed, much better than the OEMs. The problem came up when you ventured over 160k, and come up it did! I thought it was me, something I was doing wrong.

    Thinking about that old round gravel surface, we had a spot of that, or worn asphalt that was like it, near my old place at Runcorn. I'd go over it on my way home. I had a pretty big slide there one afternoon on the Pures. They were a bit worn, and when you slowed down in the suburbs, near home, they'd cool right off. I had a look at the tyre when I got home, and sure enough, there were very visible slide marks on it.
     
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    #5 kneedragon, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  7. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    Them slide marks - the ME550 I put on the back of my GSX600F, which must have been stored wrongly or something because it really had terribly little grip everywhere, would always slide and show these marks. The strange thing is that the marks are almost 90 degrees to that of the shoulder and hence direction of travel. With the tyre turning, I would have expected them to be at a rather shallow angle, but they're not.

    It also seems that you can have all sorts of rubber and characteristics. I had one Metz on my CB100 that would stick on black ice almost like on asphalt, but on snow there was no grip. It's pretty amazing to spin the tyre on snow only to have it stop spinning once you hit black ice - under full power! Well, power - 7 hp ain't the world, but you still wouldn't expect a churning tyre to stop its action on black ice.

    The Mag Mopus' probably were similar to the stock set fitted to my XJ750 in 1983, a bike with quite a bit more cornering clearance than the GSX1100. I still managed to scrape everything - pegs, stands and shifter - around a corner on my way to work on a cold and foggy morning before it let go. Rather suddenly and the crash wasn't pretty, but still pretty impressive seen in retrospect.

    The high speed stability issue with the Phantom I can relate to as my CX500 went from pretty bad to downright dangerous in high speed cornering with the Pirelli on the rear. But it looked butch due to it's massive width (4.25/85 :roll: ). Things have changed :lol:

    Perhaps modern tyres are better when put under stress; hard braking, early and hard acceleration when leaned over etc. But when one is just totling along at a moderate pace on a cold piece of asphalt and then every 10 minutes swoops the bike down on its side, perhaps the older, more primitive tyres can have an advantage?
     
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  8. kneedragon

    kneedragon Re-Member ... ?

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    [Big belly laugh] Old school Metzlers? Improper storage? No, that's not what does it. They have (had) 'Metzler' on the side, that's what does it. I tried a ME66 (I think? 'Marathon' anyway) on the GSX11 rear and took it back off the next day. Oh, it had stability and composure, but it had no freeking grip at all, and the break-away was just as sudden and unpredictable as the Mag Mopuses. It was HORRIBLE! ... ...admittedly, that particular tyre had probably been sitting on the shelf for a while, which I was too young and silly to know about. A couple of years later I dropped the Magnum on the test ride, because the tyres he'd put on it had been sitting on the shelf for bloody years. I had a few run-ins with old tyres, but I was well into my 30s before the penny dropped. People told me, but I couldn't see the pieces myself, the penny didn't drop.

    What else did I not like? Early Michelin road tyres... tried to find pics of them but can't. I think they were called A48 / M48 pairs? I got to ride several examples, and bought a bike that had them on, and hated every one. Too hard, too cold, no feel. All of them, I think, were well along in terms of calendar age, which I was too young and silly to know about. The first Michelins I liked, although not that much, were Pilot Sports, which I replaced with Powers, which I furken LOVED! Best tyre ever. I also tried a set of Pilot Race on that Aprillia, and they were, ... even better but only when they were properly warm, which you couldn't always do. Cold, they were a bit frightening.

    [edit]
    Went looking for pictures of those old road Michelins, no show. Did we know there's now a Michelin Pilot Power 3 out? News to me. I did (obviously) know about the Pures, but they seem to have been replaced by these. Hmmm. Not that I have a bike to put them on and try them...
     
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    #7 kneedragon, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  9. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    My brother also hated the Michelins with a vengeance. I liked them a lot, but I used the A49 front, never the A48, together with the M48 in the rear. I actually scraped the pegs in the wet on my GS550 and XS500 with that combination in total confidence, and on the CB1100 I had an A49 front together with a Metz ME99A at the back, and they gripped well, the rear sliding predictably. The ME550, though, should be a far more evolved design than the ME99, but it was crap. It actually slid with more then 10 mm chicken strips!

    However, as different as my brother and I were feeling of the Michelins, we both hate the BT45s, mostly because we cannot read them at all. Yet they win test after test after test. So it's pretty obvious that personal preferences matter greatly and that confidence is very important in how a tyre will work for us.
     
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  10. faffi

    faffi A.S.A.N.

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    The Michelins you love to hate :lol:

    A49
    [​IMG]

    M48
    [​IMG]

    My Heidenaus

    Front K34
    [​IMG]

    Rear K36
    [​IMG]

    The amazing thing is that with the current setup, the bike is dead stable also on gravel roads, even when there is a depp layer of loose gravel on top of the hardpack. No other bike or tyre combination have offered this, and with the Cheng Shin rear the was some slight movement. But now it's like riding on asphalt. Not that I push it, but it just track dead straight. Very impressed :up:
     
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  11. kneedragon

    kneedragon Re-Member ... ?

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    LOL, thanks, that's made my night. I haven't seen those for many years, and a cold chill goes up my spine just looking at them. :rolleyes: .. Actually, the Metzler I didn't like, The Marathon, it looked a lot like the last one there, the K36, except it didn't have sipes on the treadblocks, but the shape of the blocks, and I think the profile of the tyre, was very much like that.

    Yeah A48 / M48, that was the nasty combination. I have sure seen plenty of A49 (and Metzler Lazars which look similar) but I don't think I've ever tried one. I had a pretty good opinion of Michelin car tyres, but up until the Pilot Sports (which was good but not great) every one of their bike tyres I tried was terrible. The Pures, well, they didn't suit the ZX14 and it didn't suit them. But the 14 came with BT-014s on it, and they didn't much suit it, either.
     
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    #10 kneedragon, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013

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