KZ440 Tube to Tubeless Tire Conversion - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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KZ440 Tube to Tubeless Tire Conversion

Hello Friends,

My original 1983 KZ440 LTD came with mag wheels and tubes in the tires. For years I just ran them that way. Figuring the factory put tubes in there for a reason. Well this week I had a blow out in the rear tire. Picked up 1.5 inch nail.

So I decided enough with the old tubes and converted it to a tubeless tire. I bought a clamp-on valve stem from NAPA. The part number is 90-426 and cost less than $4. It fit right in the hole. No drilling required.

Next I bought a SHINKO 777 130/90-16 73H tire from American Moto Tire. Got a great price and came in two days. Can't beat that.

The SHINKO 777 130/90-16 73H HD is a heavy duty tire and should last me for a lot of miles. The tire is much stiffer than the tube tire I took off, so the ride is much firmer and I am only running 21 psi in the rear. Who knows, these tires might run fine with no air in them at all. The sidewall is really that stiff. I don't know if I like them at this point. Might take some getting used to them. I only put 8 miles on it so far, so I can't say much more. If it lasts longer than the 8,000 to 9,000 miles I used to get out of a rear tire, I will be happy.

I wish I did this years ago.

Oh, the front tire was converted to a tubeless tire by the previous owner. I never knew it until I replaced that tire with a CONTINENTAL CONTI GO! 3.25-19 54H FRONT. I like this tire a lot. Grips well, does not track in grooves and has been wearing very well. This one has been on the bike for about 3,000 miles.

When I put some more miles on the tires, I will report back.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kawasakirider View Post
Hello Friends,

Oh, the front tire was converted to a tubeless tire by the previous owner. I never knew it until I replaced that tire with a CONTINENTAL CONTI GO! 3.25-19 54H FRONT. I like this tire a lot. Grips well, does not track in grooves and has been wearing very well. This one has been on the bike for about 3,000 miles.
Correction... I have 4,300 miles on the front tire. Not 3,000. I was guessing when I wrote it, but then I checked. It still looks like new.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 08:49 AM
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Do your wheels have Tubeless cast into them? That's usually a consideration when going without tubes.
The 1983 KZ650-CSR had the same front wheel but it did not use tubes, so if yours are the stock tubeless wheels, then I wouldn't worry about ditching the tubes.

As for the stiffness of the tire, the Dunlop GT501 has a stiff bead as does the Bridgestone Battlax BT45. I'd guess most tubeless tires are pretty stiff. One exception I know of are the Dunlop 404s which have a very soft bead. Some are hard because they are high mileage tires, but don't have very good grip, especially on wet pavement. I prefer good grip over mileage. But I'd guess you already know this.

....

1981 KZ650-CSR. Competition, Sports & Road.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-19-2018, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by martin-csr View Post
Do your wheels have Tubeless cast into them? That's usually a consideration when going without tubes.
The 1983 KZ650-CSR had the same front wheel but it did not use tubes, so if yours are the stock tubeless wheels, then I wouldn't worry about ditching the tubes.

As for the stiffness of the tire, the Dunlop GT501 has a stiff bead as does the Bridgestone Battlax BT45. I'd guess most tubeless tires are pretty stiff. One exception I know of are the Dunlop 404s which have a very soft bead. Some are hard because they are high mileage tires, but don't have very good grip, especially on wet pavement. I prefer good grip over mileage. But I'd guess you already know this.

....
Hello martin-csr,

Thanks for your response!

My front wheel clearly has "TUBELESS" stamped in the wheel. So no problem there. Why Kawasaki put a tube in there from the factory, I don't know. Maybe tubed tires and a tube was cheaper than a tubeless tire.;<)

My rear wheel does NOT have "TUBELESS" stamped in the wheel. It has "J 16XMT2.50 DOT" stamped in the wheel. I was told the "MT" stands for Motorcycle Tubeless. I was also told, it would say "WM" if the wheel required tubes. So I should be good to go.

As far as the stiffness of the rear tire goes, I think I am just going to have to get adjusted to it. My old tubed tires was very soft and had a very flat profile. Almost like a car tire. But it was a motorcycle tire. 4.60x16. The new Shinko 777 HD has a very round sports like profile. And its about 6" taller than the old tire. So I sit a good 3" higher on the bike than I used to. Maybe I will grow a bit. :<)

I just think I need to put some miles on the bike and will like the setup. It just feels very strange to me right now.

I just hope all this rain stops soon so I can ride.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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I have put about 200 miles on the new tire, so its broken in now. I am liking it better and better all the time. I can lean into the turns much further than ever. I guess I was used to that old squared off tire I had before. And the biggest thing is now even though I am leaned over much further, I am not dragging my center stand like I used to. So the taller tire raised the frame 3". And my gears ratios have all changed. They are higher. Maybe my fuel economy will improve...
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