Clarksville, Tn — It didn’t take long for me to find out that tires would be an expensive item for my bike.
About 15,000 miles to be exact, and that took about four months.
I ride a LOT!
The first bike I bought was a Harley Street Glide Special. I put 33,000 miles on it before I traded for my Harley Ultra-Limited this year. I bought two new sets of tires on the first one, on top of the tires that came with it.
When it came time for me to replace my first set of tires, the service manager at my home dealership took a look at them and said, “I think you need new tires.” They were running thin, and to be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere NEAR needing new tires at that point. I was still thinking like a car owner and wasn’t expecting to need new tires until about 30-40,000 miles.
When I bought the Ultra-Limited, I had to replace the rear tire at 10,000 miles, and the front at 15,000.
Wow, this could get expensive!
I check my tire pressure each time I ride. I keep the pressure at the recommended settings. I’ve had other bikers give me tips on how to extend the life of my tires. I’m assuming that with the added weight on the Ultra-Limited, that could be a reason for wearing them down quicker. The bottom line for me is that I’ve only been getting about 15,000 miles per tire. Some bikers I know get 20,000 and even 25,000.
Several factors go into the wear and tear of our tires. For one, how we ride. I travel extensively over various surfaces. I’m not a REAL aggressive rider, but I’m not a “slow poke” either. I don’t do “burn outs” or take corners at 45 degrees, I just ride A LOT!
I think the weight of the bike and the weight we carry also has something to do with tire wear. When I travel, I carry about 20-25 pounds of gear. I also weigh about 265.
I’ve always put Dunlop tires on the bike because that’s what they came with and I guess I’m a little superstitious, so I’ve not been inclined to switch. The two most common brands mentioned to me are Dunlops and Michelin. I’ve heard good and bad about both. I think I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’ll be lucky to get 15,000-20,000 miles per tire. I’m like most of you when it comes to taking care of my bike. I service it regularly, I keep it spotless, and I monitor my tire pressure. I just ride A LOT!
Other brand tires I’ve heard mentioned are Pirelli and Bridgestone. For riding in the rain I hear the Michelin Rain tire is the industry best. Depending on the type of bike you’re on, and if it’s a touring model, Bridgestone Exedra Max get’s high marks.
I think the next set I get, I will try the Michelin. I’m still “dialing in” all the right combinations for me and my bike so it’s worth a try to step out of my comfort zone and see how they handle.
How do you take care of your tires? What brand do you favor? Do you have a preference? Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear from all of you. Please feel free to comment on this story and let me know.
As always, keep the shiny side up and the RUBBER side down!
Jim Mannen II
Hi Hank. I prefer the Michelin commander II. They have a hard center section for longevity and an increasing softer outer section for grip in cornering. The Metszler ME 880 is a good choice ran them for three years before trying the Michelins. IMO the Dunlop tires no matter their series did not make feel confident in my riding. I tried other brands not worth mentioning do to same feeling.