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I now have the infamous wobble on my '06 Wing after 7200 miles. I have had wobble on other bikes....just not this bad. The front D250 is cupping slightly. The radial tires on my '00 Victory SC cupped and wore quickly, but I never had any wobble. The Bias ply on my current '99 Victory (Dunlop Elite) wear like iron and handle better than the radials on my SC (which I no longer own)
Has anyone tried bias ply tires on a GL1800?
 

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What, if anything, is different about the suspension on a bike that has radials and one that has bias ply tires? I agree the radials are probably going to be a better riding tire but if the rubber compounds are identical wouldn't they both have equal traction?
 

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It isn't about the suspension, it is about the tire and the tire carcass design. And the compounds are never the same in a bias ply as they are a radial anyway so you can't compare them fairly. Radial tires for bikes are made with softer (stickier) compounds than bias ply tires. Most radial motorcycle tires are Z rated (with the GL1800 the one exception I know of). Bias ply tires are designed to be used on lower performance bikes, and hence are made of harder longer laster compounds and won't provide the grip that a radial will. The radial carcass itself also lends to lower tire temps which allows softer compounds to be used while still providing good wear. Radial tires will always outperform a bias ply in adhesion mainly because that is where all the cutting edge technology in rubber compounds and carcass design is used by the tire manufacturers. They don't spend big R&D money on bias ply tire designs like they do the radials, and tire technology flows down from the racing world - no one races bias tires. Bias ply tires are made for Harleys and cruisers with low horsepower and performance and so they just don't put sticky compounds in them, and can't anyway because they would run too hot if they did.

There are also some differences in the rim that may cause problems trying to get a bias ply tire to bead and seat properly on a rim made for a radial, and it may alter the shape of the bias ply tire when mounted on a radial rim in a way it was not intended.

Do yourself a favor. Mount the proper size and type tires on your bike that it was made to have. Cause you never know when you will need every bit of traction you can get.
 

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To answer your question.I am running a bias tire on the front of my bike at this time.I had the wobble,put the bias on and it is gone.I can't tell anydifferance in the handling.I put it on when I couldn't get a new front.I now have 2 new fronts (radials) I am going to wear the bias out before I change.Before I put it on I went to the tire institute their only recommendation was to only run the bias on front and radial on back.They also noted it may exhibit some handling problems,but like I have said,it is sticking like glue more me it is a metz bias.John
 

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Fred H. said:
I have a dead friend who used bias ply tires on a bike made for radials. He died after his rear tire lost traction in a corner.
I heard about that; very sorry.
I had the bias Metzelers on my Connie too and was always a little leary of what might happen. I never lost traction but I never rode it the same after mounting those tires.
 

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laen said:
The bike is designed for radials
Please explain. What is different about a bike that is designed for radials and one that is not? Is it a difference in the suspension? What? A link that I could go to and read would be nice.
 
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First off keep in mind that the engineers don't place a pair of radial tires on the floor and the "design" a bike around them. The motorcycle is built and all parts tires, wheels and even backward fans are spec'd and let out on bids. Lowest bidder wins. It's like saying the old ramblers were designed for ford engines and chevy transmissions.
Most (99%) motorcycles in the world run bias ply tires and the rubber compounds are just as sticky and consistant. Saying a friend was killed due to bias ply tires is a sad thing but how can you say it was the tire? Did he try the corner at the same speed with radials first? I'm surprised Fred, the statement is a wild guess and certainly unscientific.
To say bias plys tires are dangerous is to say 99% of all motorcyclist should not take corners. Pehaps corners are not designed for motorcycles.
I have been running only bias plys for the last two years and while I don't drag the pegs on every corner I have at times and find the bias plys have the traction to do the job. Also what is so safe about tires that must be run over infated so they don't delaminate? Tread life is the same with bias ply's as radials (the ones that make it without falling apart) So the compounds are very much the same.
I think the biggest misconception about radials is that they are of the same construction as automotive radials - actually automotive radials are more comparable to MC bias plys than to MC radials. The automotive radials are steel belted while the MC tires are kevlar or nylon. Auto tires are constructed with thin sidwalls which give the tires that riding on air feel and flat footedness. Except for the direction of the cord wrap the bias ply tires are simalar as they have lighter sidewalls, can be run low on air for extenced periods without overheating and will not normally delaminate or fall apart. Try running your MC radials at 20 lbs or even at recommended 38lbs and the tire life will be short. The 1500's run bias plys - simalar wieght simalar horse power, and yes simalar wobble.

To get back to the original question - no bias ply tires will not solve your wobble situation only replacing the head bearings will. Tire tread design will add to the wobble effect - watch for tires that have a zig zag patter which crosses the centerline or diamond patters as these tend to wobble even with the head bearing change.
 

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storm said:
Most (99%) motorcycles in the world run bias ply tires and the rubber compounds are just as sticky and consistent.
For starters, your 99% number is not accurate. Most all new high performance bikes come with radial tires.

The compounds used in radial tires are NOT the same as what are used in bias ply tires. Ask ANY tire manufacturer if you don't believe me. Radial tires use softer compounds and will provide more grip. It is as simple as that.

Motorcycle manufactures select tires based on the way the bike will be ridden, and it is always a trade off between grip and mileage. They put bikes on test tracks and dial in the tires and suspensions so that the bike will operate good and provide grip across a wide range of conditions. When you deviate from what the manufacture has tested and proven to a tire that offers better mileage, you will ALWAYS sacrifice grip. It may not seem like a big deal till that one time you find yourself leaned over further than usual for whatever reason or you are in a situation where you need all the grip you can get and your life hangs in the balance. You may not notice a differnce in "handling" in your normal riding but if you ever push the envelope, you will find out fast just how much less grip you have.

Do what you want, and make all the rationalizations you want, but the truth is that modern motorcycle radial tires will always provide more grip than a bias ply simply because it will have rubber compound that provides more adhesion.

Not only do radial tires have grippier compounds and run cooler, but they also present a better contact patch to the road surface when leaned over due to the way the carcass can flex.

This is not to say a bias ply tire couldn't be made with a super sticky compound that would provide good grip, but the tire manufactures don't do that. They put harder compounds in the bias ply tires, since they run hotter, and are designed for cruiser type bikes.

Go call a Metzler, Dunlop, Avon, Pirelli, or Bridgestone rep and ask them if you don't believe me.

I would have no problem with someone putting a stickier softer tire on a bike than it was designed for, as then all they compromise is tire life, (as long as it is rated for the load and temp). But I DO have a problem with folks going to a harder compound or bias ply tire as then you are compromising your safety. Don't kid yourself into thinking you arent.
 

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Fred,Is the radial tire the reason my 1800 handles so much better than my 1500 did?If so,what do you think about putting radials on the 1500 to make it handle better.As far as the envelope goes,I have reached this old age by not pushing on it too much,I have nothing to gain by pushing but maybe an accident.So for myself,not judging others,I will always stay well within my limits.In other words you could give me the fastest best handling sports car made with radial tires,and I would feel safe on bias tires because I am not going to push the car to its limits.If you push you have to expect a negative effect after a while.To each,may they be happy with their own,fun meter.I will ride with anyone but they may have to wait on me some.<G>.Both of you guys have some good points.John
 
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Not only do radial tires have grippier compounds and run cooler
Sorry Fred not true - MC radials unlike automotive radials have very thick and stiff sidewalls and will run much hotter if not over inflated. Thin walled tires tend to run cooler as there is less friction when flexed this is the basis behind the automotive steel belted radials – greater wall flex for ride plus less heat build up. I know for a fact a bias ply may run long distances with as little as 15psi and not overheat and delaminate. I also know running a radial at 22psi for as little as 100 miles is a disaster.
I won't debate the stickiness or what manufactures state as I am not a rubber compound expert nor are you. But we can both read and what is in print is always truth and manufactures never embellish.
I just have a hard time believing that all those bikes out there running bias ply tires are death traps and are incapable of cornering as well as our 850lb superbikes pulling trailers.
I am not saying radial tires are not more suited to hard riding peg to peg riding as they probably are but how many riders do the peg to peg? If you believe in fast corners why not just buy a sportbike? Isn’t the GL supposed to be a touring machine? Aren’t they really designed to travel long distances fully loaded in a reliable fashion?
Do we run high performace Indy tires on our Bronco’s and Cavaliers just in case we need to do a 100 mph powerslide?
The problems with hard radials is well documented right here on this board – read through all the postings related to poor life, wobble, eliminations, cupping and on and on.
As you say it is a trade off – better ride more reliable and just perhaps a slight degradation in cornering. Normal life of a bias is 14 to 16K which are ontrack with the radials so life span is not much different however all my bias ply tires went from new to bald without falling apart. The three radials I had prior all cupped and delaminated even though I ran 42 psi. My Metz lasted exactly 300 miles and then pitched an 8” chunk of tread.
I currently run 34 front 36 rears and have normal cupping on the front and none on the rear. Cornering is stable and ride is softer. I ran the “swan ride” last year though southern Wisconsin – I set my limit at 105 mph ( 100 with Speedo error ) One bike lost it in the corner right in front of me doing 60 in a 25mph corner, she had radials and I didn’t and I will admit she was a better rider than me but hit some sand which I by chance avoided. This is not to say that bias plys will corner better than radials, it is to say in the corners sometimes traction is just a matter of luck and seat of the pants is not a good measuring tool. I no longer subscribe to driving this way, It is just plain dumb.
I have no doubts that I can mount a new tire and run its full life without worry as these Avons have proven to be reliable and consistent. I just burned though my 2nd front and 4 rear without incident.
Now I am also aware there is a thing known as “mind games” which we have all seen here where belly pans eliminate crosswinds and oil changes make shifting “dramatically better” so I tend to subdue any seat of the pants opinions related to better ride or feel due to tires, springs or oil changes.
I will instead go by simple problem / solution. So far they work for me and it is just that simple.
Anyone who firmly believes that this motorcycle is “designed around the tires” then please stick to the manufactures recommendations. Keep those fans running backwards and only use ball bearings as the bike was designed to blow forward and wobble.
For the bulk of the owner’s yes radials are for, it’s OEM and you’re probably going to be more mentally comfortable to stay that way. But what I say is there are alternative for those who are open minded and practical and choose to be a little different and daring. What the hell throw caution to the winds and wear tee shirts and tennis shoes. Sometimes fresh air feels good.
 

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storm said:
I have been running only bias plys for the last two years and while I don't drag the pegs on every corner I have at times and find the bias plys have the traction to do the job.
The 1500's run bias plys - simalar wieght simalar horse power, and yes simalar wobble.
To get back to the original question - no bias ply tires will not solve your wobble situation only replacing the head bearings will.
Who makes a bias ply tire that fits the rear of a GL1800?
My 1500 didn't wobble or cup... ...I always kept the suspension maxxed.
My 1800 doesn't wobble and I have standard head bearings... ...Traxxion springs though.

I never ran radials on my GL1500 but I did run bias on my Concours. The Connie behaved pretty well with bias tires but certainly traded some grip for the increased tire longevity.
 
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Bulldog said:
The GL 1800 is not designed to use Bias belt tires!

Caution!

Bulldog
I rode with bias ply tires and got over 100,000 miles. Who are you to tell me what is right and wrong?








But it was on my 10 speed Schwinn.
 

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jfrazsr said:
Fred,Is the radial tire the reason my 1800 handles so much better than my 1500 did?If so,what do you think about putting radials on the 1500 to make it handle better.As far as the envelope goes,I have reached this old age by not pushing on it too much,I have nothing to gain by pushing but maybe an accident.So for myself,not judging others,I will always stay well within my limits.In other words you could give me the fastest best handling sports car made with radial tires,and I would feel safe on bias tires because I am not going to push the car to its limits.If you push you have to expect a negative effect after a while.To each,may they be happy with their own,fun meter.I will ride with anyone but they may have to wait on me some.<G>.Both of you guys have some good points.John
The three big reasons the GL1800 handles as well as it does are the aluminum frame, the steering geometry, and the tires.

The stiff aluminum frame provides increased rigidity and response.
The front end angles provide quick turn in response and feel
The tires provide the stick and make the bike feel glued to the road.

I suspect radial tires would improve the grip on the GL1500, but there are other challenges, as those rims are not made for radials. The bead seating width and depth are different on radial rims.

As for pushing the limits, you have to remember it is all about safety margins. While you may not normally ride in a way that pushes your traction limits, what happens when you are riding in the rain and a car pulls out in front of you and you need to stop NOW? You will need every single ounce of traction you can get, and bias ply tires are going to compromise your safety margin. Or what happens when you misjudge a corner and accidentally go in too fast and need all the lean angle and traction you can get? Or you need to use your brakes in a turn to scrub off some speed or suddenly avoid an obstacle in your path? Why in the world would you want to put a tire on that would compromise your grip? To save a few bucks????? Just doesn't make sense to me.

Talk to Fuzzy about how he feels about highway pegs mounted so they compromise your lean angle. He never thought it would be a big deal till that one time he needed to lean the bike over hard to make a turn and the highway peg lifted the front end.

Just cause you don't ride aggressively does not mean you don't need every bit of traction you can get. Cause you never know when Cell Phone Suzy is gonna pull out in front of you or some other emergency arises.
 

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Hal @ Honda Direct Line said:
Bulldog said:
The GL 1800 is not designed to use Bias belt tires!

Caution!

Bulldog
I rode with bias ply tires and got over 100,000 miles. Who are you to tell me what is right and wrong?








But it was on my 10 speed Schwinn.
100K on a Schwinn? :shock: I'm surprised you don't have a trimmer physique with that sort of riding under your belt.
 

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But, did that Schwin have a head shake? Were the tires approved by Schwin? What was the air pressure? And what color were the spokes?

Only reason they ran so long was you only had 10 speeds. With 5 speeds, you only get half the tire life. And Schwin only recognizes ChenShen tires.

You would have got more miles out of a Kenworth tire - filled with helium.
 
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