Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

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Klaus

Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Klaus » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:54 pm

It's time to change the standard Metzlers* on my bike - at only 5,000 kms! - so can anyone help me with their experience before I buy a new set of boots?

I want to move away from the standard Metzeler Tourance's as I'm finding them rather feeble off-road, which is important to me as we use the bike on green lanes very frequently. However we also live in an area with some outstanding stretches of black stuff in the Catalan Pyrenees. But from April to October the bike is based in the city down on the Mediterranean coast, so we have to use longish stretches of dual carriageway to get out into the country, just like most folks :cool:, so there's a need to balance the choice pretty finely

Rather more positively I don't have to use the bike at all in the wet if I don't have to - although when it rains here it buckets down, making riding on any treads a difficult business! But I also plan to do some long distance touring to Galicia and Asturias on Spain's Atlantic coast, which has a climate pretty much as changeable as the west Coast of Ireland - and that's putting it politely!

So, I'm looking for good off-road performance as a priority but with at least reasonable grip on the bendy bits. Thus far I've made a shortlist of four, with a possible fifth if I understand the blurb correctly, and I'd greatly appreciate any help I can get in chosing, especially if there are any other contenders that I've overlooked. Here's the shortlist in my current order of preference with the results of a MotorCycle News survey in brackets (* my choice is also influenced by size availability: Front: 100/90 x 19, Rear: 130/80 x 17):

1) Continental TKC80 Twinduro (MCN 7) This seems to have the biggest user following, including several users who moved over from the Bridgestone Trail Wing. That's why it's first.

2) Bridgestone Trail Wing (MCN 2) I'm probabaly beig stupid but I have horrible memories of Bridgestone tyres on Japanese bikes back in the 'seventies - please tell me that's all in the past!

3) Avon Distanzia (MCN =5) The user reviews suggest that this is also good off-road, but I'm not sure about the tread pattern. I'm still rather worried about the on-road use of 'knobblies' if the truth be told.

4) Metzeler Tourance (MCN 3) This is the fall-back position in the devil-you-know principle. I also have a half-worn front tyre hanging around! It's not beyond the bounds of possibility to buy a new rear and keep them to put on for my long distance tours. The downside of this is that it's such a drag, and I also want to go green laneing whilest on holiday!

The potential fourth is the Metzeler Tourance EXP. In fact this was the one that appeared in the MCN survey. I'm not sure what the advantage of the EXP, which is more expensive, has over the 'standard' Tourance as the tread looks the same, and on my 650 it may be the high speed perforemance is less important than for all those guys with GS1200's O:)

I'd be really grateful for any help on this. Thanks guys and gals!

Klaus

Geoff Thompson

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Geoff Thompson » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:04 pm

Very few people have G bikes so you may wait a while for a really informed answer.

On my R100GS I've used Avon Distanzia and currently have Continental TKC80 Twinduro. The Avons were good road tyres with minimal off road capability whilst the Contis are OK both on and off road. Note I said OK and not good but they do cope with both surfaces if ridden conservatively. The contis have big treads and If you press on on the road they do wander a bit and I've heard of an 1150GS owner writing off a rear on one 500 mile motorway blast as he over heated it.

If you want an endorsment of Bridgestone tyres they are the F1 tyre supplier and a favourite amongst many bike racers. The trailwing is much like the Distanzia its mainly for road use.

STrider
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Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby STrider » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:00 pm

I did the BMW Offroad course on both a 650GS and 650X fitted with TKC80s and they worked very well on a real mix of terrains. We had to ride to and from the BMW centre on road...probably about 6 to 8 miles or so and once you got use to the squirmy feel, they weren't bad. As Geoff say, they will wear quickly on the road compared to the likes of Tourances and Trailwings but then that can be said of all knobbly tyres. I replaced my Trailwings on my 1200GS with Tourances and all I can say about them really is that the Trailwings wore better!
John

F800GS

Klaus

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Klaus » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:13 am

Thanks chaps, that's really helpful. Clearly I've still got lots of thinking to do!

The choice is between the Conti and the Bridgestone. It may simply come down to price and availability as here in Spain tyres, and anything else imported for that matter are incedibly expensive, so I may end up going to Andorra when it stops snowing and take pot luck. But on first glance the Conti's are so much cheaper that would compensate for the increased wear over the Bridgestones.

But I now learn that there are at least three Trail Wing types! The TW 42, TW 48 and the TW 152; the first two appear to be more off-road biased than the 152's so yet ,ore research - luckily I'm pretty much grounded until the spring.

Klaus

PS I'd like to know more about the BMW Off-road course, John - have you a link to it?

STrider
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Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby STrider » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:31 am

Hi Klaus,

Try http://www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk/world-of- ... ad-skills/ They are great fun and very tiring! But at the end of the second day I was chasing Simon Pavey uphill on a gravel firetrack at 50mph standing on the pegs and thinking blimey, I'd never thought I'd do that!

I came away well impressed with the abilities of the 650 GS single which I used for most of the two days, also rode the G650 X Challenge which was very impressive apart from the seat height...that airshock certainly jacks it up when you are halfway dismounting! Not easy when they dont allow you to use side stands whilst mounting and dismounting!
John

F800GS

Klaus

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Klaus » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:22 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for this. The training weekend certainly looks brilliant. It's a bit beyond my budget, however, especially as I'd have to travel all the way from Catalonia to Wales to attend! Thanks to your advice I've at least made the decision to go for the more knobby end of the tyre market!

Regs

Simon

Bill

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Bill » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:16 pm

A very late addition to this thread as I'm a new boy here. No need to reply though as its more of a rethorical question: do you deflate your tyres when riding off road? I've used Tourance, Sirac, Trailwing etc all with great success on anything from 650 to 1200cc trailbikes off-road. As soon as I leave the tar I deflate to 1.5bar and have even gone as low as 1.2 bar in very hot weather. This is for dry conditions including sand.

Klaus

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Klaus » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:52 pm

Hi Bill, et al,

No worries about your late reply - I'm about a month overdue myself in thanking everyone for their advice!

Firstly, I've had the Continental TKC 80's fitted for over a month now and I'm delighted with them - they've transformed the bike!

All the revues I'd read about the G650's lamented their off-road performance with the standard Metzeler Tourance, but highligted the bikes' nifty, agile performance and low-end grunt. The first time I took my re-booted X-Country out on a local dry reservoir was a revelation - sure, certain handling on all kinds of surfaces from slime to gravel to boulders to shelving rock - it tested my meagre abilties to the full - and I should emphasise that the above observation should be seen in the context of this! But I can't help but wonder whether if these bikes had been fitted with the Conti's in the first place their sales might have taken off - from what I see on BMW's UK Motorrad site they seem to have been discontinued, a pity!

Back to the decision making: my main concern was that the knobblies may seriously affect the perfomance on the black stuff - the X-Country has fantastic road handling - I can't understand why they don't make a sportster version with clip-ons and rear-sets, maybe it's my age! But there are no worries at all with the change - apart from being somewhat noisy they are sure and straight, keeping excellent traction whilst braking into some serious curvature - uphill, downhill, off-camber, the lot (I live in the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees and have some sublime roads to play with!). If there is any uncertainty it would be about their performance in the wet and I have to admit I've not tried this. But as the revues said, "All tyres are fairly useless in the wet!" OK, so I'm lucky, I don't have to ride when I don't want to and I live in dry climate (but when it does rain . . . [-X ).

Later this year I'll be off camping to the cold wet north and I may have to face up to wet weather (in fact I'm certain to as I plan to visit the Basque Country!) but in fact this is all part of the challenge - I have a pet theory that if you ride up to the 'edge' it doesn't matter in absolute terms what that is, as long as one's subjective feeling, and thus enjoyment, is that this is where you are, i.e., close to the limit of your's and your machine's maximum abilty. How frustrating it must be to have a bike that can do everything performance-wise, say taking sweeping curves at 130 mph, but never to have the chance to try it out unless you rent Brands Hatch for the afternoon! Not to mention that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach and the growing certainty that one simply isn't up to it! That's one reason why I bought this 'little' bike!

On to your advice, Bill, about the low pressure - I know the trick, in theory at least, but I've always thought you needed wheel bolts (I'm sure that's not the right term, what I mean are plates that clamp the tyres to the rim - as fitted to a Triumph Trident that I once owned, probably a gimmick in that case!) and in any event my problem then would be how to re-inflate the tyres once I get back on the asphalt, usually somewhere in the Pyrenees at least 40 kilometres from the nearest filling station!

Meanwhile, a couple of snappies on my happy days on the X-Country!

Cheers and thanks to all

Simon

PS I was jolly glad I'd remembered to disable the ABS when I arrived at the second location!
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johnnyboxer

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby johnnyboxer » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:20 pm

To improve the bike further...............I would recommend Pirelli MT21's..................ok on the road and at the knobbly end of the spectrum

Image

or the Dunlop D908RR

Image



Either should be available in a 19/17" combination

Klaus

Re: Best hybrid tyres for G650 X-Country

Postby Klaus » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:52 am

Hi Johnny, et al,

Thanks for this further tip. My back tyre is just about finished after 5,000 kms and as I'm of to Androrra in a couple of weeks I'll check these boots out too; especially as it's best to go there with an open mind - and a strict spending limit!

Meanwhile, in the Famous Last Words department; "I don't have to ride when I don't want to and I live in dry climate" - well in the event I did have to ride in the wet, a long haul along the southern flanks of the Pyrenees in a torrential downpour! The tyres were just fine as far as I can see. In that kind of weather the main problem was visibilty so I prefer to ride with the visor up and that limits the speed to around 90-100 km/h - which just happens to be the speed limit anyway :lol: The only problem was on long, fast, downhill, off-camber bends covered with standing water, when I didn't feel that I had any traction at all - somewhat alarming! - but I'm not so sure that this wouln't be the case with any tyre!

Cheers to all

Regs

Simon


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