Most use the OEM Stone 709 for the front. It pairs very well with the superior grip of the CT on the rear.
If you want higher mileage out of the tire set, you can use a Stone Battleaxe BT45 on the front. It is a rear tire with more tread and will last longer. It doesn't grip quite as well as the 709 and is heavier so your steering is slightly more sluggish, but they do last a long time.
Personally...I run the 709 and appreciate the superior performance over the additional mileage.
When this subject comes up, I'm always reminded of a fellow rider who loved riding at a spirited pace in the Ozarks. He lived here for several years before moving away. But he was obsessed with finding a better tire for the front of the Goldwing that handled well and wouldn't break the bank. I can't remember the number of different tires he tried?
But I do remember when he gave the BT-45 a try. It did not last as long as the G709 and was gone very quickly. As most of you know, it has a hard center tread and a softer compound on the edges. The tire looked kind of funny when he finished with it. The edges were completely gone while the center was still in great shape.
If you don't put a lot of pressure on the sidewalls it will last for a good while.
My preference is the G709 and that is a result of where I live with quick access to the curvy roads in the Ozarks.
I still run the BT45's and do ride the Ozarks as often as I can. And what Monks says is spot on. Both myself and my wife run these tires at 40-42psi and they always wear on the outside edges long before the center is finished, but I luv the fantastic grip/feel they give me whilst riding the Ozark twisties. The wife doesn't care one way or another as long as I get hers changed out when they near the end of their wear cycle.
Thanks for all the input on the Front tire. I've decided to get the BT45. But I do want to try the G709 sometime. Have some beads and will fill it to 40psi.
We'll put it to the test this summer. We'd like to head over to Yosemite to see El Capitan. Really looking forward to this trip.
Here is something to consider: It is the shape of the tire, most front tires are more raised in the center of the tread, it helps the bike turn-in easier and balance at really slow speeds. Many rear tires have a flatter center, you may want to select the one that has a more rounded shape, more triangulated profile for steering control. Just a thought...
You can use plastic air soft BB's to balance the tires, they work as well as anything, they are cheap and don't deteriorate over time or harm the inside of the tire.
I can hear them inside the tire if I roll the wheel and stop it fast while the wheel is off the bike, you can not hear them while on the bike. (i can't)
You can not install them through the valve stem but it's easy to break the tire bead and install them at any time and really easy during a tire change.
Looks like two or three current threads running on front tires. Seems my question fit in this one best.
The original tire is a Bridgestone and at 9000 miles is showing wear and annoyingly loud. I already pulled the rear for these same reasons. (Bridgestone darkside - yeah!) Many seem satisfied with the Bridgestone front. Those that have tried them also seem satisfied with the new E4. Of course the Battleax is a well known double dark. Had one on my GL1500 and did fine for me. Is my leading candidate for the GL1800.
That said, before coming to the darkside with the GL1500 I was running Michelin Pilots front and rear. I liked these tires quite a bit and had Michelin not discontinued the size, I would have probably stayed with them and never known the power of the darkside.
I see now that Michelin has a Pilot rear tire in the right size for our front. Has anyone tried this out as a double dark alternative to the Battleax?