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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need 2 new tires, chain and sprockets. Due to my ex wife, $$$$ is tight for the next year, so I can't go big on tires. Really wanted a set of Macadam's too....:frown:

I've used Kendas in the past, and IMO they are a great budget tire. However, I can get a set of Bridgestone Spitfires for the same price "$75 front - $104 rear". I've used them on my old Maxim 650, and liked them. How would they work on a Gpz? The bike is my commute to work bike, the trip out with the boys on Thursday nights, plus a trip next year back home to Cape Breton to tour the Cabot Trail. I'm not a very agressive rider, as obsevered by the chicken strips on the rear tire, and seldom get the bike over 100m/ph.

I'd go with Kenda in a heartbeat, but to get Bridgestone for the same price..well it really is a no brainer.

Thanx everyone.
 

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This space for rent
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687 Posts
The Bridgestone Spitfire is like the Dunlop 404, a major tire manufacturer's "cheap" tire, as in "Value line", that's what you get when you can't afford anything else.
But you have to keep their limitations in mind and not ask more of them then they are capable of delivering.

And that's the exact reason I have Dunlop 404's on my 750 twin, I couldn't afford better at the time, and now I'm determined to wear them out before I install the GT501's :)
 

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Novice Tank Roller
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15,810 Posts
I've run a spitfire on my Vulcan 1500 classic before and it did just fine. For my sportier bikes, I've been running Shinko 005s. These are the sport-tour offering from them. I even ran them on my Triumph at a track day. I use them becuase the price is right.

You should be fine either way, just another option for you. :)
 

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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've run a spitfire on my Vulcan 1500 classic before and it did just fine. For my sportier bikes, I've been running Shinko 005s. These are the sport-tour offering from them. I even ran them on my Triumph at a track day. I use them becuase the price is right.

You should be fine either way, just another option for you. :)
The rear tire on the Gpz now is a Shinko 002 Canyon with Kevlar belts. It was a semi-slick design I got off ebay for $25!!! Now it's 100% slick!:-D A much better tire than the Battleaxe it replaced IMO. Only regret, not buying the other 2 the seller had as well. I looked at Shinko, but all that fits my bike is the Tourmaster, and my brothers buddy ran a set on his "83 Gpz and had nothing positive to say about them, plus, they just look funny!
 

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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe it's time to upgrade to a modern bike. :biggrin:

On my 82 v45 Sabre I used to run LaserTec's. They did fine. Hard to find cheap tires for the old sizes though, huh.
Actually, the Gpz is a downgrade from a ZX-9.:D At 41, I'm too old, dumb and careless for a modern sportbike, The Gpz gets more stares and comments anyhow..well at least from people my own age! Plus I always wanted one since back in high school, so when I found mine for sale in the shape it was in, I jumped. Possibly the best bike I've owned, and theres been a few!

I did however have a Bandit 1250 pretty much bought back in "08, but my daughter wanted a camper. Went with the camper, and glad I did.:)


It is hard to get cheap tires in old sizes. I can get Kenda's cheap, but ya have run a Challenger in the back, Cruz in the front. Its all the same rubber anyhow, just different tread patterns. I ain't going near Cheng-Shin, and am not sure on Duro bike tires, though the 918 looks pretty nice. I'm certain I'm going with the Spitfires. Checked out some reviews just now over at Bike Bandit, and they are a pretty popular choice for the budget minded, and have pretty positive feedback as well.
 

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I have a Duro on my GPZ, not a bad cheap tire. I don't get on the edge like my Sport Demons, but it works.

Next I will be checking into the Shinkos myself, although I have ran Spitfires and they worked.

I do think that Madcams will be next, but it will be a year or so from now.
 

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I've had the Bridgestone Spitfires on my '78 KZ650 since late 2004. 100 front, 130 rear.
I'm also not an aggressive rider.
They worked well for me.
Close to 30000 kms on them.

I need new tires this season and am looking at the Michelin Activ:
Sport Touring - Tires

Seems to be one of the few choices available above in the wheel sizes I will have this Spring; 18" front and back.
 

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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've had the Bridgestone Spitfires on my '78 KZ650 since late 2004. 100 front, 130 rear.
I'm also not an aggressive rider.
They worked well for me.
Close to 30000 kms on them.

I need new tires this season and am looking at the Michelin Activ:
Sport Touring - Tires

Seems to be one of the few choices available above in the wheel sizes I will have this Spring; 18" front and back.
30,000km..wow!

I've run Battleaxe's on the bike since I got it. Front now done at 14,000km. Only got 5000km each from the rears. Got 4000km from the Shinko Canyon. Bike had Macadams on it when I got it, but only ran them for a month then replaced. They were getting worn, and I wanted fresh rubber for a tour I took that summer.

The front Battleaxe causes a headshake between 80-100 clicks an hour. The rim is true, both rotors. I researched and apparantly its a common problem other users have encountered.
 

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GPz550 Nut
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78 Posts
Might want to give this place a tire on prices:
- American Motorcycle Tire
I've purchased Avons fom them, and have had great sucess, and will buy from them again, when the time comes.

There should be a 4 digit manufacture code on your tires.
Tire Tech Information - Determining the Age of a Tire
Tires will get harder with age, and if they have been sitting outside in the sun that hardens the rubber as well. Don't expect to get any tire newer than 6 months from original manufacture date.

What size tires are you running? The speedometer works off the front tire, so keep that the same size as stock. The rear can be changed to allow more choices in manufacture, compounds, and fittament.

Keep the GPz!!!
 

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818 Posts
Need 2 new tires, chain and sprockets. Due to my ex wife, $$$$ is tight for the next year, so I can't go big on tires. Really wanted a set of Macadam's too....:frown:

I've used Kendas in the past, and IMO they are a great budget tire. However, I can get a set of Bridgestone Spitfires for the same price "$75 front - $104 rear". I've used them on my old Maxim 650, and liked them. How would they work on a Gpz? The bike is my commute to work bike, the trip out with the boys on Thursday nights, plus a trip next year back home to Cape Breton to tour the Cabot Trail. I'm not a very agressive rider, as obsevered by the chicken strips on the rear tire, and seldom get the bike over 100m/ph.

I'd go with Kenda in a heartbeat, but to get Bridgestone for the same price..well it really is a no brainer.

Thanx everyone.
I ran a Spitfire on the back of a Nighthawk S without any issues. I'd take them over about anything in the low price market. I did the Duro 918s just because I had phenomenal results with their dual sport HF903/904, but they aren't that good. I'd do the Spitfires if I got them at the price you can. I couldn't get the tires to fit the Zephyr (an evo of the GPz that I very much like in spite of having ridden and sold bikes up to 2006) in the Spitfire line otherwise I probably would have.

They were one of the first two dual compound tires Bridgestone came out with back in the mid 80s. The other set was a forerunner to the Battlax series sport tires. They are an appropriate sport tour tire for the GPz and probably as good as most riders could actually ride it on the road. When money isn't the issue either the Metzler Lazertec or the Bridgestone BT45s would be the trick. I've not seen anything good about any of the low buck tires in any reviews where riders actually push them a bit. I'd take the Bridgestone Spitfires.
 

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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Because you haven't seen to the suspension bearings.
The steering stem bearings I replaced when I got the bike. They have 13,000KM on them and were nice and greased and in perfect shape when I checked them this summer, when I did the rear bearings on the swingarm and linkgage. From day one with the front Battleaxe, even after the bearing job, it had headshake. And from what I've read, quite a few Gpz 750 owners that ran a Battleaxe up front have had the issue. They also report that it goes away if they change from a 110/90-18 tire to a 110/80-18.
 

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I'm going with an 18" rim on the front of my 650 this Winter.
Would you also recommend only a 100/90-18 front with 130/90-18 on the rear?
 

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GPz550 Nut
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78 Posts
Tire fittament depends on the rim width. I have 2.5 rear and 2.15 front widths, and am running a 130/80-18 rear and 100/90-18 front

sheldonbourgeoi,
-Did you ever replace your wheel bearings? That can cause issues as well.
-Check all the suspension bolts, and make sure they are torqued as per the manual. You'd be amazed that nuts and bolts can come loose over time.
-Check rear wheel alignment, as headshake is known to happen when the front and rear wheels are not rolling on the same line. Get a good chain alignment tool like this one:
American Motorcycle Tire

I have it and it makes chain alignment so easy, or anytime the rear wheel comes off.
-Tire Pressures. Don't go by what the manual states, go by what the tire manufacturer recommends. Believe me tires have changed int he years, and factory settings for newer tires is not the way to go.
 

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Biker Chef
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1,026 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tire fittament depends on the rim width. I have 2.5 rear and 2.15 front widths, and am running a 130/80-18 rear and 100/90-18 front

sheldonbourgeoi,
-Did you ever replace your wheel bearings? That can cause issues as well.
-Check all the suspension bolts, and make sure they are torqued as per the manual. You'd be amazed that nuts and bolts can come loose over time.
-Check rear wheel alignment, as headshake is known to happen when the front and rear wheels are not rolling on the same line. Get a good chain alignment tool like this one:
American Motorcycle Tire

I have it and it makes chain alignment so easy, or anytime the rear wheel comes off.
-Tire Pressures. Don't go by what the manual states, go by what the tire manufacturer recommends. Believe me tires have changed int he years, and factory settings for newer tires is not the way to go.
All the wheel bearings are new. With the eccentric chain adjusters, alignment is a breeeze, as long as they are alligned to beginwith "new tire installed last year-the shop had them off, ate my chain up, but I should have checked myself"

I rebuilt the swingarm and linkage back in August, so I know all is well with bearings and tourque settings!

As I have said, it only seems to be the battleaxe that cause the problems, and from what I've read, people with other bikes have had issues as well with the 110/90-18 front tire. When I got the bike it had a Metzler on it, and no headshake at all. Nothing till I put on the Battleaxe, and its only between 80-100km/h.

Tire pressure I run 34psi up front, 40psi rear.
 

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I'm going with an 18" rim on the front of my 650 this Winter.
Would you also recommend only a 100/90-18 front with 130/90-18 on the rear?
For what it's worth, the fatter/larger the front tire the slower and heavier the steering will be. I'd stay with a 100 if handling was desirable over appearance.

On the rear I'd have a tendency to stay with a 120 because the 130 will pinch up a bit on a stock rim putting less rubber on the road and wearing it faster. I saw that with guys running the fatter tires on the old Z1s.

The one trick would be to get a wider rim that is suitable to the 130. They're narrow enough that if you find them they don't cost a fortune. Get a rear rim from some guy who put 17s on his dual sport. Those should be probably a 2.5 or maybe wider. You should be able to get them cheap. Also possibly on ebay. Put alloys on your 650 if you can, just watch the spoke count.

Fat looks good, but doesn't always perform well.
 
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