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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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  #1  
Old 23 Nov 2007
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Yet another tyre thread

I know this topic has been done to death previously and I've been through most of the posts but I've been trying to buy a set of Michelin Deserts in the UK without much luck - every tyre dealer I've phoned has said they're out of stock ( inc one dealer in Gravesend who had 87 sets in his warehouse, all pre sold for the Paris Dakar).

I'm going to need to look at alternatives. The bike is a 600 single (CCM Rotax) currently running MT21's and the trip is UK - Ghana via Mali in 3 weeks time. The MT21's are ok but wear quickly and the sidewalls seem a bit fragile when run at low pressure. An alternative that gets good reviews are Conti TKC80's but I've not tried them.
I've also heard of a Dunlop (D208RR?) that might fit the bill - anyone here got practical experience of them (the previously mentioned tyre dealer said they were "like concrete") or is there something else that I ought to be shortlisting.
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Old 23 Nov 2007
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If you don't run too hard on the highways, the D606 can last well, as much as 5k miles. The TKC80 will last a bit longer, though not as agressive.

A good front tire, imo, is the 908rr. The sidewalls are very stiff. The TKC80 front will last longer - again not as aggressive.
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Old 23 Nov 2007
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I don't think the Dunlop 606 is avalable in the UK.

I run a Transalp and found the Michelin T63 Better wear rate and grip than the TKC. The T63 has a stronger side wall than the TKC.

I personly think the TKC is overrated and no longer use them, form over function.

Not used the desert on the Transalp

the 208 rr is a road tyre

These guys are quoting 3 to 5 days delivery on a Desert, check if that true. T63 prices are good. No delivery charge
Tyre : tyre selling all brands - Pneus-Online

another option in the UK are Mitas EO-9
Mitas Motorradreifen. Preisgünstige Reifen für Sieger und Hobbyfahrer

Steve
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Old 23 Nov 2007
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a tire I have no direct experience with but seems to last really well and perform well everywhere.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:46.
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  #5  
Old 23 Nov 2007
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Tkc

TKC80's are AOK. 18,000kms on the rear and still a couple of thou left in it.
Fronts started cupping but that was due to bad pressure monitoring.

Good on the black stuff, if a little skitty in the rain. Dirt, stones and hard sand was great. Would have thought ANY tyre would be shite in the soft sand given the weight of the bike, loaded - R100GS.

Thought it was a damned fine tyre all round.

If you do much over 120kph the things feel like they overheat and get a bit sloppy.

They ain't street tyres!

J
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Old 23 Nov 2007
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The TKC is extremely tough, very stiff but is poor as a off road knobby
Hi Patrick,

I can't agree with the first part of this statement. I fit my own tyres and I was surprised to see how soft and flexible the TKC tyre was. I can't se how you could describe it as "Extremely Tough". Having said that I do agree it is crap off road.
I think it gets mentioned as a duel purpose tyre because the big fitment range and some riders don't really have an option, if they want to look the part what option do they have.
Tyre milage life has so many variables. Tyres on longer straight roads, less acels and decels last longer and tyres wear quicker in cold wet conditions.

Tyre threads will never die!

Steve
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  #7  
Old 23 Nov 2007
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Thanks for all the replies. Firstly, the Dunlop reference was a typo, it should have been D908RR which Dunlop seem to be promoting as a rufty tufty Desert competitor, but without any 1st hand feedback from someone who has used it I'm a bit reluctant to believe their marketing. (However if anyone from Dunlop would like me to field test them, I'll report back here in glowing terms about how they cornered like they were on rails, lasted till the next millenium and gripped like a Rosso "helper" demanding a cadeau!)

Other than that it would seem that the other tyres mentioned form a bunch of more or less equivalent second rank choices for Sahara / Sahel use - ok, but quicker wearing and with a lighter weight construction.
That may not be a bad thing all the time though - last time I was in the Sahara with Deserts on a XR600 the bike wasn't heavy enough to spread the rear tyre when the tyre pressures were reduced because of the sidewall stiffness. It did mean I was pretty much proof against the effects of punctures which, given the total pita that taking the rear off was, I was grateful for.
I'll hit the phones in the morning and try some of the references you gave
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Old 23 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
..............I went with a Conti TKC in Baja and was dissapointed in two areas: It's dangerous as a road tire, causing bizzare handling at nearly any tire pressure.
....
I'm wondering if this is/was due to how the bike was weighted.
All the TKC80s I've run have been good past 100mph and really good on road.

Give the 908 front a try next time you want a nobby. No kidding about the stiff sidewalls.
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Old 24 Nov 2007
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tyres

have you tried David Lambeth (google him) for Michelin Deserts

I bought a few pairs off him for my Super Ten - the fronts looked like new and of the rears, a couple were a little bit battered and the others were 80% like new.

If you can wait a week or 2, I might have 2 21" fronts and 2 140/80 x 18 rears you could have - all in good nick and I'm not too far away in in Worcestershire
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Old 24 Nov 2007
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its pretty hard to "test" a tire a max out.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:46.
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Old 24 Nov 2007
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I've pared the load down now....man, what a positive difference.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:46.
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  #12  
Old 24 Nov 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick View Post
have you tried David Lambeth (google him) for Michelin Deserts

I bought a few pairs off him for my Super Ten - the fronts looked like new and of the rears, a couple were a little bit battered and the others were 80% like new.

If you can wait a week or 2, I might have 2 21" fronts and 2 140/80 x 18 rears you could have - all in good nick and I'm not too far away in in Worcestershire
Dick, I'm leaving three weeks today - 14th Dec, so if one front and one rear were available in the next couple of weeks I'd be interested. The sizes are right and I'd be taking them with me so it would just be a case of needing the time to strap them to the bike. pm me with details / price etc or email me - backofbeyond (at) hotmail.com (although I'm in France from tonight until Wednesday so it'll be a few days before I can get back to you).
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Old 27 Nov 2007
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Pm

Have PM'd and email you
have 1 front and 1 rear in good condition for you to buy if you want

(hope i've made clear these are part worns - they look 80% good to me)

Last edited by Dick; 27 Nov 2007 at 22:57.
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  #14  
Old 1 Dec 2007
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Haddenau catspaw are KAK .... (in anything wet)

Actually thats not an entirely fair title;

They are great onroad, and are aggressive enough to look like they belong on an off road bike.
On loose rocks and dry dirt they are fine. even fun and confidence inspiring cos the back end stays under control, when you power slide away its great.

But

This morning I popped out on a photo project in the Isle of Grain, and came back via some byways. Nothing even remotely challenging, 6 inch long grass and car tracks in the very thin mud, couple of little puddles.

Now I am the proud owner of bent handle bars and broken hand guard and dirt everywhere. Very sore cut n bloody knee and other leg shin scratched quite sufficentily.

The rear end was everywhere, no grip, no control, and lots of fishtailing. The front end wasnt much better and couldnt hold a line, which was very disconcerting. So Caveat Emptor, unless you live in places like the photo above.

I am deffinetly shopping for a new set of tyres that like a little bit of mud, allot of road and wont destroy themselves on rocks.


Any ideas?
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Old 1 Dec 2007
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Haddenau catspaw are KAK .... (in anything wet)

Not tried that tyre in the mud but I am not too surprised with you experience. For grip in soft wet conditions you really need a tyre with open blocks so the sink into the mud for grip. If your tyre is worn the amount of grip will be lower. Not many road legal tyres excel in the mud because the more open the blocks the less stability on hard / road surface. Like everything in motorcycling it's a compromise.

The best all-rounder I have found so far is the Michelin T63 I am going to try these next
T-644 Army Special - 4.75 -17 (120/90-17)

Steve
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