New Rubber

Discussion in 'Bonneville' started by tim scott, Mar 9, 2022.

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  1. tim scott

    tim scott Well-Known Member
    Subscriber

    Aug 30, 2021
    54
    68
    Kent
    Afternoon All
    Like some of you I've been pondering the bike a lot over the winter (instead of riding it, brrrr) working out where (& if according to Mrs S) mods are necessary. During my indoor wintery wonderings I've concluded that on my 6.5k bike new rubber is the first priority. Then front springs, then rear shocks.

    I confirmed this with a late February ride out where the original Pirelli Phantoms seemed very skittery & nervous on some of the less well maintained byways of rural Kent, a feature which I've read about but not experienced until now. Now those that know me know that I'm no knee down hero I like to potter around but i know what feels good underneath and this ride confirmed that the ageing original Pirelli.lis were going the way of the Dodo.

    Mind made up my research led me initially to the forum, where I found initially overwhelming disdain for the OEM budget Pirellis, but i also found opinion, brand loyalty, clearance issues ,more opinion, yet more opinion. That said there was a lot of love in the house for Avon Sprint ST's and these were the way to go. That said no single thread gave me all the information i needed. What size front & rear, for example, or why - having dug her out from her insulating layers of varying covers to locate said dimensions, the wheels were different sizes ? However I am persistent if not that bright so eventually arrived at the magic formula of
    :
    Front Wheel 100/90ZR 18 58W
    Rear Wheel 150/70/ZR 17 69W

    I then turned to the internet to find the best deal, but that again was anything but straightforward. For my old SV i used to be able to buy matched sets from t'internet and have them delivered. Not so with the Bonnie, or I wasn't looking in the right place. In the end I located individual front & rear tyres from a company called TyreTec who promptly took my order and even more promptly delivered them within 5 days. Top Marks to them.

    Of course I still had to overcome the final hurdle of finding someone trustworthy to fit them. My local dealer Robinsons in Canterbury, who i have used for many years had a huge backlog of work with some thirty bikes outside awaiting attention, but Dave was sweet talked and he squeezed me in. This afternoon I nervously trundled down to the dealers hoping that the tyres were the right size, that I hadn't bought the wrong things, that i hadn't made a laughing stock of myself or that the bike would be rideable home (I am a mass of pessimism and self doubt as most 50 somethings are - i wish I had the confidence I had when I was 18 oh my) but the ST's were fitted, tubes replaced & ten days from initial purchase to fitting, I was good to go. Pretty decent all things considered.

    First impressions are promisingly good (although i must confess I have only managed about 2 miles on them, as they were fitted during an extended lunch break - ahem) and I managed to find some blemished tarmac to test for skitterishess on the way back (although more and more the trick seems to be finding some unblemished un-potholed tarmac). After a limited test I can confirm even on brand new rubber, that's travelled less than 2 miles the confidence levels are much higher than before. The original Pirellis as has been noted on other posts seem to get tangled up with ruts and grooves in the surface & it can be quite intimidating to hop out of such, where the bike is giving the impression of wobbling about like a 16 year old trying to learn clutch control. The also get quite nervous when in contact with paint, but first impressions (albeit extremely limited first impressions) are promising, the bike felt planted and immovable and not at all guided by the damaged road surface.
    Naturally I will report back on the longer term application, once they are run in but for now I hope that this is helpful to any new sheep like me looking for a change of boots, when it warms up of course!

    Now wheels that link to progressive fork springs.......

    Stay safe all TS
     
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  2. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    2,199
    800
    Yorkshire
    As you're probably aware it will take around 100 miles to fully bed in new road tyres. You can get a feel for straight line stability and white lining almost straight away but grip levels will improve substantially with the the first few runs. Your new tyres are rated way in excess of any performance your Bonnie can deliver so they should last a good while. IMO, tyres are probably the most important choice to be made on a bike and once I've lost confidence in a tyre, getting it back is virtually impossible so it has to go. Enjoy your new bike and tyres!:grinning:.


    Edit......I also fitted progressive fork springs to my new Street Scrambler for a big improvement.
     
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  3. tim scott

    tim scott Well-Known Member
    Subscriber

    Aug 30, 2021
    54
    68
    Kent
    #3 tim scott, Mar 9, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2022
    Thanks @Pegscraper - I’ve had plenty of new sets of tyres and am always extremely cautious with them for the first hundred or so miles, I’ve even taken sandpaper to them in the past - but not this time ! more to follow when I’ve got a few miles under my belt. As a matter of interest did you go Hagon or Tec for your progressives ?
     
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  4. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    2,199
    800
    Yorkshire
    I fitted the TEC fork springs. My Street Scrambler is the later model with cartridge forks so I didn't need the fork emulators.
     
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  5. tim scott

    tim scott Well-Known Member
    Subscriber

    Aug 30, 2021
    54
    68
    Kent
    So I’ve had the new boots for a couple of weeks and the spring sunshine has beckoned. I’ve now put a couple of hundred miles on the sprints and can confirm that they are the right tool for the job in every sense. They eat up sweeping bends, inspiring much faster corner entry and exit speeds without the usual buttock clenching “ohshitohshitohshit” moments - you know the kind where you instinctively grab for the brakes and complicate your situation in a whole mess of new ways, particularly on blind sweepers. These tyres just don’t get unsettled by poor tarmac - which is just as well given the state of Kent’s roads these days. And skittishness from the bike is now completely the purview of the suspension which I can easily feel now because it’s either only coming from the front or back springs as I know the rubber is sorted. For anyone considering changing their tyres this is The Right Choice - at least for this 53 year old nutritional overachiever. :)
     
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  6. David Reynolds

    Jun 26, 2020
    44
    18
    Browns Valley CA
    Agree 100% with everything that's been said on this forum about the deficiencies of the Pirelli Phantoms and I look forward to changing them out (most likely for Avons) in the relatively near future. One thing I will say for the benefit of others who may be suffering with the Pirellis is it seems to enhance their performance quite a bit if you over inflate them a tad.
     
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  7. tim scott

    tim scott Well-Known Member
    Subscriber

    Aug 30, 2021
    54
    68
    Kent
    Completely agree thanks @David Reynolds - was running my phantoms at 36F38F as recommended by an earlier post, made a small but noticeable difference but still tracked like a pig hunting truffles in rutted tarmac
     
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  8. Dave49

    Dave49 Elite Member

    Dec 30, 2019
    1,261
    800
    SW Scotland
    Avon Spirits certainly seem to be well-regarded replacements for the Phantoms. I have fitted Conti Road Attack 3s which I am very pleased with, and are also well worth considering.
     
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