Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 3:03 pm Thread Starter
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Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I was out mountain riding on a cool but sunny day about 6 weeks ago. The temperature was a bit less than 50. I was heading back and noticed that one of the turns was wet due to some run-off. I slowed appropriately to < 25 miles per hour for the turn. The instant I hit the wet road, the back end slid out. It felt as if I was wet glass.

I fell hard. Got terrible road rash and a lot of bruising that took nearly 6 weeks to heal.

Bottom line, I won't be riding these Metzeler tires anymore (ME880). They are too hard and frankly dangerous in Colorado weather where things can get cool and wet in a hurry - especially in the mountains.

Unfortunately, tire options are a real problem with this bike. I would love to go with the Michelin Pilot Road 4, but size and load rating are an issue.

If I have to go outside of the recommended tire size and load rating, so be it.

I know that everyone says that a 79 load rating is required. I can't find this in the manual anywhere and frankly it seems excessive.

I don't care about longevity. What I don't want is antiquated tire technology that is going to get me killed. Also, the damage to a motorcycle when it goes down will far outweigh the cost of a set of tires. If it lasts 4K miles, I am O.K. with that.

I can get a bit more load capacity by increasing to a 180 55 17 in the rear, but I am concerned about fit. Another option is a 160 60 17 for the rear but it does have a lower load rating. I am also always 1 up and never 2. I weight about 185. The bike is rated to carry 600 pounds. That's a 400 pound difference, 250 of which would be over the rear. I should be fine all the way down to a 63 load rating.

Thoughts on sizes that might work?
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post #2 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 3:30 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Your ME880 must be very old as they stopped making them a few years back. They only make an 888 rated for the LT now. I ran through 10 ME 880s on my LT before I switched to the Bridgestone BT-020. I have now run through two of those and while I never had an issue in wet and cold on the 880 the BT-020 has a way better feel in those conditions. It is the proper size and rating for the LT and it is usually cheaper than the ME series. I do love the Michelin PR4GT on my K1300GT wish they would make one for the LT.

John
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2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
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But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #3 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 4:01 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

They are not old and you can still buy the ME880 today. Amazon, Ebay, etc.

I will check the date code to make sure, but it isn't as if they are showing any sign of degradation. No tire rot and rubber is pliable. The Bike is garaged. The tires have at least 65% tread.

They are also a 73 Load Rating and not a 79 as I keep finding on threads as being the requirement for an LT (something I can't seem to verify in any of the user manuals).
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post #4 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 5:29 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by samgm2 View Post
They are not old and you can still buy the ME880 today. Amazon, Ebay, etc.

I will check the date code to make sure
Sure they may be available on Ebay etc but you will not find a fresh set sized and rated for the LT. I see them there but I would be leery about the date code.

Yes please check the date code that is the only way to be sure.

Here is the page from the BMW factory service manual.
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John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #5 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 8:42 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Any unused ME 880 79V tire you find for sale is a NOS (new-old stock). They were not made after early 2014. I love em though! I run them on my LT and on my 2013 GSW (rear only , 73V). I have not heard many instances like your unfortunate spill. I hope you and the bike heal up well. BTW the Avon tire rated for the LT is considered the "stickiest".
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post #6 of 68 Old Feb 27th, 2016, 8:50 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

You are apparently using the non-79V rated version of the 880, which I ran when I first bought my LT in '12 (I think the motorcycle tire dealer was just trying to unload existing inventory on me). After that, I moved to a 79V-rated 880, but have since switched to the Bridgestone, like John uses. There is another Chinese 79V-rated tire available for the LT, and if you have an early model, you could run a 79V-rated radial. I now wouldn't consider running a non-79V rated tire on the rear of an LT, even if you are squirrel weight (although you might be ok if you're a flying squirrel.... )

Dave Beck
'16 K1600GTLE
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post #7 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 2:48 am
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I just bought the new Metz 888 Marathon Ultra. It is made for our bike in 79. And of course it is a real new ... feel great for the moment.
The front is a Michelin Pilot road 4. Nice too.
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post #8 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 10:43 am
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Avon makes a tire for the LT? Reinforced sidewall, etc.? Please -- what is it?
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post #9 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 11:11 am
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Storm 3DX, rated 79V, $179.

Radial tire - what year are you putting it on?

Avon Storm 3D X-M Tire - RevZilla

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post #10 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 3:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

My bike is a 2002 K1200LTC.

Thanks to all that replied. I appreciate the comments. I have no doubt that many on this list have a problem with "New Old Stock." I personally do not. I am Chemical Engineer and would need a valid scientific basis for why a tire would degrade sitting in a climate controlled environment (ie a warehouse) and there isn't one. I have no problem saving a few bucks on a tire that sat on a shelf for a couple of years. That is not why my tire failed.

Rubber does cross-link over time, but this process is both slow and follows the Arrhenius equation for its reaction kinetics (temperature dependent). Cross-linking increases the crystallinity of the polymer making the rubber harder and more brittle. Running the numbers, it just isn't something that would take place measurably in 20 years, in an 80 degree or less warehouse, let alone in 2 or 3. Cross-linking can also be triggered by UV. Inside, where my bike lives, that isn't an issue.

In my opinion, the compound in the ME880 is just to hard for Colorado mountain riding. It's a great tire for longevity. I've seen the temperature in Denver and Colorado Springs be in the 90's while a few miles away, atop Pike's Peak, it is a raging blizzard in the middle of August. I almost always ride in the Mountains and it is what I enjoy most.

I've only ridden about 35,000 miles in 25 years. So mileage is not that important to me. This was my first fall, I thought I was being very careful and it happen very quickly. It felt like I was on ice once it slipped. When I finally got up, I actually looked for ice that I was convinced had to be there and there wasn't any; just a lot of my blood on the pavement.

The Avon sounds like a possible compromise but in head to head comparison, the Road 4 beats it and at least for the time being, I want the best wet tire performance I can find. So, I am opting for the Road 4 and was hoping a few people would chime in about other size alternatives that work. For me, load rating will take back seat to we performance. As I said, I am not particularly heavy and I ride one up. In the unlikely scenario that my wife ever rides with me (never happened), she is a whopping 120 pounds.

I was thinking of just going down to the local performance motorcycle shop and getting a couple of old tires to try out for fit.

I can increase load rating with a wider tire (180 55 17 - load rating of 73 in a Road 4) or a (170 60 17 load rating of 72 in a Road 4).

I am confident that the 170 60 17 would fit just fine, the 180 might not. Both are higher than the load rating of 69 for the 160 16 and both are slightly larger diameter as well (a bit smaller than stock).

If you have tried one of the above size, it would save me a bit of time but I may just go with the 170 to be safe and avoid the extra work to try the 180.

Thanks again,
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post #11 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 4:19 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Any tire wider than 160 will rub on the swing arm.
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post #12 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 4:20 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Lots of folks have had the ME 888 160/70 rub their swingarm
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post #13 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 4:58 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Radials are notorious for rubbing the swing arm. So much so that Bridgestone quit making a radial rated for the LT. When was that, 10 years ago??

I ran a Bridgestone radial BT-023GT (I think) on the 2000 LT I had. It was sticky. Picked up every piece of trash on the road, but always felt loose on the interstate.

Many of us on this site run a combination Metzeler ME880 front and a Bridgestone BT-020R 79V reinforced rear. I was riding behind Dave, Saddleman on the forum, one day. He found out later, the tire had 0, yes, zero pounds of air in it and I could not tell it. Reinforced is the only way to go on the LT.
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post #14 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 5:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I measured it and there is about 0.45 inches between the swing arm and the tire on the ME880. The 180 55 17 isn't going to end up being 180 because it will be going on a narrower wheel (5"). Bottom line is that I won't know if it will fit until it goes on. That's why I am going to try a couple of used / bad tires first.

A 20 mm (180 -160) difference would be 0.4 inches. But again, it isn't going to be that wide because it is going on a narrower wheel (5" wheel) - which is going to pull the sides in by 6.5 mm on each side. The actual section width should fall to no wider than 168 mm (assuming it was 180 to begin with on a 5.5 - 6" inch wheel). It profile of the section will also get rounder.

Sam
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post #15 of 68 Old Feb 28th, 2016, 7:25 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

[quote=samgm2;1499257]My bike is a 2002 K1200LTC.




{The Avon sounds like a possible compromise but in head to head comparison, the Road 4 beats it and at least for the time being, I want the best wet tire performance I can find.

I was thinking of just going down to the local performance motorcycle shop and getting a couple of old tires to try out for fit.}

So let me get this straight, you went down hard in the twisties and you want to "experiment" with old tires ?! Maybe one that came off a crotch rocket or a Harley....... not me, my friend. I respect your engineering analysis, but why risk another mishap? Go with the correct BMW engineered and tested tire size and rating.


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Originally Posted by fatbob307 View Post
BTW the Avon tire rated for the LT is considered the "stickiest".
I agree 100%

{Many of us on this site run a combination Metzeler ME880 front and a Bridgestone BT-020R 79V reinforced rear. }

I have the Avon on rear and B'stone on front. More concerned about handling than mileage. sorry some of the quotes didnt get credited
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post #16 of 68 Old Feb 29th, 2016, 11:32 am
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

My choice are the Avon 3DXM radials. Gotta be 79v rated for the back. Very sticky tire.quick warm up. Jake Wilson has them.

2004 K1200LT. Big Mama
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post #17 of 68 Old Mar 1st, 2016, 10:48 am
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Sorry to here you fell on our awesome roads here. :-(

Are you sure there wasn't some sand or possibly ice, to lubricate you slip?? Be interested to know where your fall occurred so I can avoid it!

I ride with my LT here all the time (ME 888), and occasionally feel a bit of "tire slip" due to sand or "tar snakes". Portions of CO 14 are really bad for "tar snakes".
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post #18 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 4:30 am
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Very interesting topic. Last month, I have to replace a new rear tire for my '99 LT (replacement for the BT-020).

In advance we discussed the options, which are unfortunately very limited for the LT. He indicated that the Metzeler is a tire for choppers and also designed. The Battlax BT-020 is becoming an outdated design. Ultimately, the advice was to mount a Dunlop Sportmax RoadSmart II 160/70 ZR17 73W TL R M / C, indeed with load index 73W but also reinforced and with jointless belt and a speedindex of >270km/h. The mechanic gave the assurance that he had replaced on several LTs this tire and all were very satisfied with the tire. At most, the band would show some more cupping. Based on these experiences, I drive now also around with a 73W Dunlop tire. Because of the winter I didn't drive enough to judge the tire, but it's a lot better then a flat BT-020.
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post #19 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 4:24 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I switched from Metzler to Avons and would not go back. It is like a different bike. The Avons are radial tires and are suitable 1999-04 models. The 05-09 models changed the rake angle and for some reason radials are not recommended for them even though a lot of folks do use them on 05 and later models. Good luck with your decision. For info, I now have about 7500 miles on my Avons and they still look and perform great.
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post #20 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 4:43 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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I switched from Metzler to Avons and would not go back. It is like a different bike.
Leon
I concur with Notahog. After I changed from Metzlers to the Avons, my LT rode much nicer and felt a lot more sure footed in the rain. I have 14,000 miles of straight and level Florida roads on my Avons; however, they will be replaced very soon.

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post #21 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 5:24 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Went to a tire seminar last summer at the Billings rally. Michelin sent two engineers from France and 3 US reps to talk about tires and their products. They had information that conflicts with the OP's thoughts on tire age. Just saying.....

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post #22 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:19 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Beech:
What were the conflicts in the info?
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post #23 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:24 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Went to a tire seminar last summer at the Billings rally. Michelin sent two engineers from France and 3 US reps to talk about tires and their products. They had information that conflicts with the OP's thoughts on tire age. Just saying.....

As does this article Safe Wheels? States Launch Crackdown on Sale of Aged Tires - ABC News , and a plethora of others on the net, but what do i know? I only work with a bunch of chemical engineers, and my opinion is that a degree is not a substitute for intelligence, although it can give insecure individuals a false sense of self importance.
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post #24 of 68 Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:37 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by samgm2 View Post
I know that everyone says that a 79 load rating is required. I can't find this in the manual anywhere and frankly it seems excessive.
samgm2, open your seat and look at the packard underneath. This is where you will find the information on why a 79V tire is specified.

According to the plackard on my LT, the GWAR of the front tire is 450lb and the rear is 886LB.

GAWR is the maximum distributed weight that may be supported by an axle. ( see wikipedia )

If at full load, you can expect the tires to be under a 450lb front and 886 LB rear distributed load then a lesser rated 73V tire which many have wanted to try and use is only rated at 805lb and is under rated for that type of service.

The math for this is front GAWR plus rear GAWR 450 + 886 = 1336LB Permitted weight is 1321LB Max permitted weight is 15 LB under the sum of the front and rear GAWR.

It is best to find something properly rated for the distributed weight of the bike.
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post #25 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 12:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I installed a Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT (170 60 17) yesterday. It fit perfectly! (120 70 17 in the Front).

There is a solid 1/4" between the side arm and the tire. The Load Rating is 72. The bike is handling incredibly. The bike feels like it is on rails. I am looking forward to reporting on wet performance.

That load rating of the Pilot Road 4 GT is more than enough for *MY* use. A load rating of 72 is spec'd for 783 pounds. A load rating of 79 is spec'd for 963 pounds. A difference of 180 pounds.

I am not particularly heavy (180 pounds). I never ride two up and I don't carry luggage. The bike is spec'd for 600 pounds of load. It will be carrying less than 200.

Given MY circumstances, I am perfectly comfortable and confident with the choice to go to the Pilot Road 4 GT.

In my opinion, the safety provided by this later technology tire compound in wet and cold conditions far exceeds that of load rating that I won't use.

It is important to keep in mind that I FELL on the Metzler ME880 (with a 2012 (37th week) date code). It took weeks for most of my wounds to close up. A couple were down to bone or cartilage. A couple of them are still coming along and I will have some scarring.

Weight isn't the issue for me; safety is. If a higher load rating was available, I would buy it. I did go with the GT version of the ROAD 4 (for heavy bikes).

I am not going to handicap myself by going to older technology known for not doing well in cold, wet conditions just to meet load rating. I'd rather keep my bike lighter.

Here in Colorado mountain riding, cold, wet conditions can happen in the middle of Summer. As I said earlier, during a day when it was more than 95 degree in Denver, it was a raging blizzard atop Pikes Peak (during the Pikes Peak Hill Climb event some years ago).

Different strokes for different folks. I am an Engineer, I understand the stresses on a tire and I've made an informed and calculated decision for myself.
Hopefully, Michelin will release a higher load rated Pilot 4. If not, I will continue to not load my bike up in order to remain within the rated specifications. For now, this will be a good reason to stay fit and keep my weight low. :-)

As far as tires aging just sitting inside on a shelf at 70 or 80 degrees, using everything I know about polymers as a Chemical Engineer, it just can't happen to any measurable degree - even after 10 years.

PERSONALLY, it wouldn't bother me in the least to purchase "New Old Stock" of a tire that has been sitting on a shelf for several years as long as it was climate controlled and not sitting in sunlight. Aging is a function of TEMPERATURE with respect to TIME.

As I stated before, cross-linking (polymer crystallization) will follow the Arrhenius Equation. Meaning that TEMPERATURE is the predominant driver for accelerated aging.

A tire sitting in the Sun can hit temperatures of 200F. THAT is what ages tires. I have an RV that has been sitting for 3 or 4 years and the Sunlight hits only 1 side of the RV. On that side, the tires sidewalls are cracking and DESTROYED having been driven less than 1000 miles. On the other side, they are fine and look brand new.

Heat accelerates aging exponentially. A tire kept at 70 or 80 F will last a VERY long time. Take those temperatures up, not so much.

Again, this is my opinion based on Science. If you have another you feel comfortable with, by all means follow it. It means good deals on two and three year old tires for the rest of us.
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post #26 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 12:35 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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I installed a Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT (170 60 17) yesterday. It fit perfectly! (120 70 17 in the Front).

There is a solid 1/4" between the side arm and the tire. The Load Rating is 72. The bike is handling incredibly. The bike feels like it is on rails. I am looking forward to reporting on wet performance.

That load rating of the Pilot Road 4 GT is more than enough for *MY* use. A load rating of 72 is spec'd for 783 pounds. A load rating of 79 is spec'd for 963 pounds. A difference of 180 pounds.

I am not particularly heavy (180 pounds). I never ride two up and I don't carry luggage. The bike is spec'd for 600 pounds of load. It will be carrying less than 200.

Given MY circumstances, I am perfectly comfortable and confident with the choice to go to the Pilot Road 4 GT.

In my opinion, the safety provided by this later technology tire compound in wet and cold conditions far exceeds that of load rating that I won't use.

It is important to keep in mind that I FELL on the Metzler ME880 (with a 2012 (37th week) date code). It took weeks for most of my wounds to close up. A couple were down to bone or cartilage. A couple of them are still coming along and I will have some scarring.

Weight isn't the issue for me; safety is. If a higher load rating was available, I would buy it. I did go with the GT version of the ROAD 4 (for heavy bikes).

I am not going to handicap myself by going to older technology known for not doing well in cold, wet conditions just to meet load rating. I'd rather keep my bike lighter.

Here in Colorado mountain riding, cold, wet conditions can happen in the middle of Summer. As I said earlier, during a day when it was more than 95 degree in Denver, it was a raging blizzard atop Pikes Peak (during the Pikes Peak Hill Climb event some years ago).

Different strokes for different folks. I am an Engineer, I understand the stresses on a tire and I've made an informed and calculated decision for myself.
Hopefully, Michelin will release a higher load rated Pilot 4. If not, I will continue to not load my bike up in order to remain within the rated specifications. For now, this will be a good reason to stay fit and keep my weight low. :-)

As far as tires aging just sitting inside on a shelf at 70 or 80 degrees, using everything I know about polymers as a Chemical Engineer, it just can't happen to any measurable degree - even after 10 years.

PERSONALLY, it wouldn't bother me in the least to purchase "New Old Stock" of a tire that has been sitting on a shelf for several years as long as it was climate controlled and not sitting in sunlight. Aging is a function of TEMPERATURE with respect to TIME.

As I stated before, cross-linking (polymer crystallization) will follow the Arrhenius Equation. Meaning that TEMPERATURE is the predominant driver for accelerated aging.

A tire sitting in the Sun can hit temperatures of 200F. THAT is what ages tires. I have an RV that has been sitting for 3 or 4 years and the Sunlight hits only 1 side of the RV. On that side, the tires sidewalls are cracking and DESTROYED having been driven less than 1000 miles. On the other side, they are fine and look brand new.

Heat accelerates aging exponentially. A tire kept at 70 or 80 F will last a VERY long time. Take those temperatures up, not so much.

Again, this is my opinion based on Science. If you have another you feel comfortable with, by all means follow it. It means good deals on two and three year old tires for the rest of us.
What kind of gear were you wearing when you went down at < 25 and suffered such bad road rash? I hope you were wearing some protection being so concerned about safety with your tires. Any pictures of the resulting damage to your gear.

Sorry it happened to you and I hope you do well with the tires you just mounted and that they don't suffer a blow out under acceleration and cornering load from being run too close to the max rating. Don't know how to figure the distributed load under those conditions. Most shops won't even mount a tire if it doesn't meet proper fitment.
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post #27 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 12:58 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
What kind of gear were you wearing when you went down at < 25 and suffered such bad road rash? I hope you were wearing some protection being so concerned about safety with your tires. Any pictures of the resulting damage to your gear.

Sorry it happened to you and I hope you do well with the tires you just mounted and that they don't suffer a blow out under acceleration and cornering load from being run too close to the max rating. Don't know how to figure the distributed load under those conditions. Most shops won't even mount a tire if it doesn't meet proper fitment.
I have never been one to be overly cautious about safety, but as I agree and realize I'm not invincible it becomes more and more important to me.

In 07' I wrecked a cbr at speeds ranging from 150-170mph. Back then protective gear wasn't as important to me but I immediately realized that the best gear is cheaper than weeks of hospital care, and 1st- 3rd degree burns over +50% of my body. I suffered a broken mandible in two places a broken finger, and multiple staples which were changed to stitches. I still have residual pain from ligament damage.

Nowadays I wear my kilimanjaro gear mostly, but wear a shift jacket in the hot weather.

You have a lot of time to think about safety after hitting a wall and sliding over 650 ft down the interstate.

Thank God for the helmet that one witness saw which I hadn't put on.

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post #28 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 1:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
What kind of gear were you wearing when you went down at < 25 and suffered such bad road rash? I hope you were wearing some protection being so concerned about safety with your tires. Any pictures of the resulting damage to your gear.

Sorry it happened to you and I hope you do well with the tires you just mounted and that they don't suffer a blow out under acceleration and cornering load from being run too close to the max rating. Don't know how to figure the distributed load under those conditions. Most shops won't even mount a tire if it doesn't meet proper fitment.
Actually, most shops WILL mount the tire. A BMW dealership might not, but most performance shops will and moreover, I was up front with the question to the three shops I called. None had a problem with it.

I DO (really) appreciate your concern, but with due respect. I disagree with your characterization that I am operating too close to the maximum load.

I've already stated that I ride typically with no more than 200 pounds. The 600 pounds of load the bike is intended to carry is not something I will ever do. If you are carrying the maximum load, I suggesting sticking to the required load ratings. I have chosen to de-rate my load and will NEVER carry that kind of weight and will operated withing my new limits. So for me, I will never carry more than 420 pounds including myself.

Disclaimers aside however, the type of failure you are describing with acceleration isn't what stresses a tire. You can never really apply more than 1 lateral G or about 0.5 forward acceleration on to your tire. It also assumes that the load rating has no margin for safety (which it does). The thing that REALLY stresses tires is Centripetal acceleration.

Do you know what the centripetal acceleration is at 168 MPH? It exceeds 1700 G's!

168 MPH is 75 meters per second. The radius of the outer belts on our tires is 0.33 meters. The Centripetal acceleration of a tire rotating is (V^2/R). The belts in tires (especially V and W rated tires are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY strong). Their tensile strength is beyond incredible.

At 75 meters per second, the outward acceleration is (75 * 75) / 0.33 = 17,000 Meters per second squared or more than 1700 G's!

In fact, the load rating includes running the tires at those loads at the rated speed of the tire (168 MPH!)

That's what this tire can take while carrying a load of 783 pounds!

The wimpy driving that I do is a tiptoe through the tulips.

The W rated Road 4 GT should be FAR stronger and more durable than an H or even a V rated tire with a heavier load rating.

Given that I ride no faster than 75 MPH (usually 50) and that I will be carrying on average, 400 pounds less than the bike is rated to carry, this is a bit of a NO BRAINER. I am frankly a bit confused by the response to my "daring" to look for a better tire...

I have confidence in my choice given the superior compound and the more advanced belt technology in my tire choice.

As for what I was wearing and why I was hurt so badly, I admit that I could have chosen better protection for myself and it won't happen again. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet but as for rest...

Here in Colorado, most people don't even wear helmets (not required). I feel a bit goofy even wearing a helmet in this State while everyone else is in a T-Shirt, sunglasses and shorts.

Given how painful the fall was, I will be wearing armor from waist up and chaps from waist down from now on - irrespective of how goofy I feel.

I too was surprised at the level of my injuries. In my defense, the fall was so unexpected. I never had time to brace of it. I was enjoying myself one second and the next one I was tumbling.

The bike literally felt that it was on ice and went right out from under me. There was no painted line that I went over, just wet asphalt at a temperature of about 45 F.

So, if you are riding in wet and colder conditions, perhaps THAT might concern you more than the ability to carry a mythical 963 pounds over your rear wheel at 149 MPH (V) (something few of us will ever even think about doing).

Riding on wet, cold roads is something we will all find ourselves facing at one point or another; I prefer to address the issue most likely to cause me to fall again - cold, wet, mountain roads.
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post #29 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 2:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by superstan26 View Post
You have a lot of time to think about safety after hitting a wall and sliding over 650 ft rotten the interstate.
You are right about that! I had no problem throwing out the my low mileage ME880 to get the Pilot Road 4. The wound dressings alone cost more that the tires. Pain is a strong motivator.

I look at safety differently now. Glad to read you are still alive. I've relived my comparatively pathetic fall many times. I can't imaging how you were able to deal with yours.
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post #30 of 68 Old Mar 3rd, 2016, 3:15 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by samgm2 View Post
You are right about that! I had no problem throwing out the my low mileage ME880 to get the Pilot Road 4. The wound dressings alone cost more that the tires. Pain is a strong motivator.

I look at safety differently now. Glad to read you are still alive. I've relived my comparatively pathetic fall many times. I can't imaging how you were able to deal with yours.
Thank you for your candor. By the seriousness of your injuries in that crash, I suspected you might have been lightly dressed for the occasion but I wanted to give you the opportunity to tell that side and if you were dressed, how did the gear fail you so badly. We all like gear reviews from those unfortunate enough to have put it to the test.

Math isn't my best subject but I am going to take a stab at this to satisfy my own curiosity. Someone fix this if I do it wrong but I am trying to figure ( roughly) the load with your specifications.

K1200KT full tank is 833LB
max permitted weight 1321 LB
Front GAWR 450
Rear GAWR 886

1321/450=2.9
1321/886=1.49

you say you will never travel with more than 420 LBS of gear including yourself. Recheck this as you might have estimated high.

833+420=1253 lbs only 68 lbs below max load.

1253/2.9= 432LB front load new GAWR
1253/1.49=841LB rear load new GAWR

a 72V tire is rated at 783Lbs so at your stated load you would be over the tires rated load by 58 lbs.

Not sure I am figuring the ratio of the listed GAWR to what you have stated and trying to correlate what the distributed load would be given those numbers but if I did it right, it doesn't look good for a 72V tire on that bike. You may be better served by keeping the weight lower than 420Lbs load total as you stated.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI – Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT – Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #31 of 68 Old Mar 4th, 2016, 12:16 am
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Here in Colorado, most people don't even wear helmets (not required). I feel a bit goofy even wearing a helmet in this State while everyone else is in a T-Shirt, sunglasses and shorts.
Sam,

You are correct that a large number of riders here, (of certain types of motorcycles), in our wonderful state, do not wear ANY protective riding gear!

However, if you will notice, MOST BMW riders HERE, wear ATGATT!! AND for the reason you mentioned in your earlier post. ;-)

"There are old riders, and there are bold riders, but there are no OLD bold riders"!! (Apologies to my pilot friends for using and modifying your saying)

Just saying!!
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post #32 of 68 Old Mar 4th, 2016, 3:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
Math isn't my best subject but I am going to take a stab at this to satisfy my own curiosity. Someone fix this if I do it wrong but I am trying to figure ( roughly) the load with your specifications.

K1200KT full tank is 833LB
max permitted weight 1321 LB
Front GAWR 450
Rear GAWR 886

1321/450=2.9
1321/886=1.49

you say you will never travel with more than 420 LBS of gear including yourself. Recheck this as you might have estimated high.

833+420=1253 lbs only 68 lbs below max load.

1253/2.9= 432LB front load new GAWR
1253/1.49=841LB rear load new GAWR

a 72V tire is rated at 783Lbs so at your stated load you would be over the tires rated load by 58 lbs.
An interesting method for approximation of weight, but it assumes that all weight is located between the center of both wheels, which is not true.

I will improve your significant figures just a bit so that we aren't dealing with loss of resolution:

K1200KT full tank is 833LB
max permitted weight 1321 LB
Front GAWR 450
Rear GAWR 886

1321/450=2.935555
1321/886=1.49099

If we now assume we aren't going to put anything on the motorcycle, your formula should still work.

The weight of the empty bike with a full tank of gas is (833).

So:

833/2.9355 = 283.767
833/1.49099 = 558.689

Adding the two numbers, we get: 842 pounds.

As you can see, the calculation is off by 11 pounds.

The reason for this is that weight behind the rear wheel is cantilevering the front wheel up and placing more on the rear.

The reality is that too much depends on how the Engineers at BMW placed the weight load on the motor cycle.

While your calculation is a fair approximation (+/- 50 pounds), I wouldn't trust it as gospel.

But now you have me curious. I will try to actually weigh the bike and report back.

Sam
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post #33 of 68 Old Mar 4th, 2016, 3:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Here in Colorado?

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Originally Posted by radar41 View Post
Sam,

You are correct that a large number of riders here, (of certain types of motorcycles), in our wonderful state, do not wear ANY protective riding gear!

However, if you will notice, MOST BMW riders HERE, wear ATGATT!! AND for the reason you mentioned in your earlier post. ;-)

"There are old riders, and there are bold riders, but there are no OLD bold riders"!! (Apologies to my pilot friends for using and modifying your saying)

Just saying!!
I am just a couple of miles east of Parker. I fell coming back to Sedalia from Rampart Range in Arapaho National Forest.
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post #34 of 68 Old Mar 4th, 2016, 8:23 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by samgm2 View Post
An interesting method for approximation of weight, but it assumes that all weight is located between the center of both wheels, which is not true.

I will improve your significant figures just a bit so that we aren't dealing with loss of resolution:

K1200KT full tank is 833LB
max permitted weight 1321 LB
Front GAWR 450
Rear GAWR 886

1321/450=2.935555
1321/886=1.49099

If we now assume we aren't going to put anything on the motorcycle, your formula should still work.

The weight of the empty bike with a full tank of gas is (833).

So:

833/2.9355 = 283.767
833/1.49099 = 558.689

Adding the two numbers, we get: 842 pounds.

As you can see, the calculation is off by 11 pounds.

The reason for this is that weight behind the rear wheel is cantilevering the front wheel up and placing more on the rear.

The reality is that too much depends on how the Engineers at BMW placed the weight load on the motor cycle.

While your calculation is a fair approximation (+/- 50 pounds), I wouldn't trust it as gospel.

But now you have me curious. I will try to actually weigh the bike and report back.

Sam
I knew it wouldn't be right but I based it on the GAWR distribution on the plackard and used that distribution ratio front to back substituting the bike wet weight plus your stated cargo load and set that as the max allowed weight in hopes that using that ratio I would get something close to the distributed load with new numbers. Better than a guess saying things are OK with less load and a lesser rated tire.

I don't have a scale that will hold my bike and I am not going to sacrifice mine to even try

Using the max weight and the GAWR for each front and back does not assume the weight is located between the center of both wheels or the GAWR of front and back would be equal if I get what you are saying.

I used those so that the ratio of total load and the distributed ratio of front and back would approximate what was reflected by the distribution of a max load or any load simply as a model.

I accept that load can be added anywhere across the plane of the bike front to back skewing the distribution figured but in doing so, you should still not exceed the GAWR of the axle the figure is designated for.

If you do get it weighed, let us know what you find.

PS: I do get what you are saying in the weight is centered or the GAWR values wouold be skewed in the direction of where the weight was added. Gotcha.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI – Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT – Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #35 of 68 Old Mar 5th, 2016, 2:04 am
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Re: Here in Colorado?

Rampart range is one of my favorite mountain roads. I haven't ridden it with my lt, but I did ride it on my blackbird. Beautiful scenic country back then, but that was before the recent fires. I would imagine that things are staying to rebound now, but remnants of the destruction are probably still visible.

You could always weigh the front and rear axles at a certified truck scale, but most weigh in 10-20 lb. increments and you would likely have to dismount and balance the bike via the wheel that is not scaled to get an accurate reading.

I'm not an advocate of using improperly sized/rated tires, but I did install the pilots on my 99' lt and rode thousands of miles enjoying better handling and traction characteristics with and without a passenger, and gear with no ill effects. That doesn't mean that something catastrophic couldn't have happened. My tire guy had them on his fjr 1300 and because he has an extensive racing history, is a master mechanic, and extremely knowledgeable about physics I never even thought to question him about safety concerns. Having said all of that in retrospect I realize that I was naive, and although I experienced no ill results, my safety and the safety of my passengers is ultimately my responsibility, and that responsibility should never be taken lightly.
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post #36 of 68 Old Mar 6th, 2016, 11:42 am Thread Starter
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Re: Here in Colorado?

Two (300 pound) bathroom scales with a suitable platform will work. I will try to get this done today. I believe this will be the most accurate. I will also post pictures.

The sidewalls of this tire (Pilot Road 4 GT) are significantly more robust and reinforced over the ME880.

In rating a tire, manufacturers have to consider both the speed rating as well as a the weight rating. A manufacturer may opt for a higher speed rating and a lower weight rating because most bikes are lighter. Such a rating would appeal to a larger market. PR4GT has a W speed rating (168 MPH).

I have considerable experience with tires for cars in car racing applications and remain perfectly comfortable with my choice. I agree that the handling of this tire is nothing short of unbelievable.

Sam
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post #37 of 68 Old Mar 6th, 2016, 2:59 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Sam, I agree with you for your choice of a PR4GT. I really don't think it can be beat. It is especially good in the rain, plenty of miles are available on it too.

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post #38 of 68 Old Mar 6th, 2016, 5:47 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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They are not old and you can still buy the ME880 today. Amazon, Ebay, etc.

I will check the date code to make sure, but it isn't as if they are showing any sign of degradation. No tire rot and rubber is pliable. The Bike is garaged. The tires have at least 65% tread.

They are also a 73 Load Rating and not a 79 as I keep finding on threads as being the requirement for an LT (something I can't seem to verify in any of the user manuals).
Are they the "reinforced" version?

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1995 K1100LT
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post #39 of 68 Old Mar 6th, 2016, 7:31 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by samgm2 View Post

They are also a 73 Load Rating and not a 79 as I keep finding on threads as being the requirement for an LT (something I can't seem to verify in any of the user manuals).
FYI - The Rider's Manual refers you to the following BMW site:

BMW Motorrad USA which lists two brands as recommended for my '07 LT:

Bridgestone
Battlax BT 020 F Radial M 120/70 B17 M/C 58V TL Battlax BT 020 R Radial M 160/70 B17 M/C 79V reinforced TL

Metzeler

ME 880 Marathon Front 120/70 B17 M/C 58V TL ME 880 Marathon 160/70 B17 M/C 79V reinforced TL

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post #40 of 68 Old Mar 8th, 2016, 6:37 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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So, if you are riding in wet and colder conditions ...
Cold is in fact important and seldom discussed as regards motorcycles.

For cars, tire manufacturers think you should run "winter" tires at temperatures below 45 degrees F regardless of whether the road is wet or dry. A completely different rubber compound. Nobody with any car tire knowledge believes "all-season" tires are anything but "no-season" tires. Lots of "marketing" in the equation, and one suspects tire companies know they'd never be able to sell winter motorcycle tires.

In the past in this very forum there have been reports of LTs going down in cold weather at the first turn or curve in the rider's neighborhood.

I'm an RS or RT guy with no LT experience other than monitoring this forum, but am nevertheless convinced that a motorcycle tire designed to be a high mileage is a tire to be ultra careful with in wet conditions. Maybe if cold actually hardens the rubber, then maybe in cold conditions, too. Notorious for BMW Airheads was the Dunlop 491, which could put you down on the straight and level in rain.

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post #41 of 68 Old Mar 10th, 2016, 4:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I finally had a chance to weight the bike. I used two bathroom scales with a small plank of plywood over them to distribute the weight.

I tried to keep the motorcycle as level as possible during weighing. To do this, I used a large 4x8 sheet of plywood, on top of that, I put a second small plank so that I could roll the motorcycle off the large platform and onto the scales without a height difference. This did leave me with a final height difference between the front tire and the rear tire of about 1.25 inches.

It is a very small angle but because the rider has a high center of mass, the rider weight ends up with a 24 pound discrepancy. The discrepancy for the motorcycle alone, is likely to be less than 5 pounds of actual weights for front and rear (much lower center of gravity).

Regardless, this measurement is certainly better than taking it down to the local gravel yard and getting a weight there.

Surprisingly, the bike is actually reasonably well balanced without a rider! I used my brother who weighed in at 201 pounds while I and a friend took the measurements.

The long and short of it is that even if I limit myself to the 73 load rating, I can carry more than 200 pounds either with another rider or gear.

It is my opinion however that a tire with a speed rating of a W (168 MPH) and a load rating of 73 is a stronger tire than a load rating of 79 and a speed rating of H (130 MPH).
I am of the opinion that the obsession for load rating is unwarranted and needlessly takes great options off the table for tires for this motorcycle and leaves K1200LT owners stuck with very few choices and not particularly great choices at that.

2002 K1200LTC Almost Full Tank + Road Kit and a few tools in trunk + CD changer in side

Actual Rider Weight 201
Calculated Rider Weight 177 (After all measurements - a 24 pound discrepancy)

Discrepancy 0.02378687 (due to rider high center-of-mass and 1.25" slope on motorcycle)

Left Scale Right Scale Total
Front Weight - Bike Only 200 198 398
Rear Weight - Bike Only 223 253 476
Total Motorcycle Weight 874

Front Weight - with Rider 220 220 440
Rear Weight - With Rider 286 325 611
Motorcycle Weight with rider 1051

Front Rear
Weight Distribution (MO) 45.5% 54.5%
Weight Distribution (WR) 41.9% 58.1%

"Allowable" additional payload: about 200 pounds
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post #42 of 68 Old Mar 10th, 2016, 4:52 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

How much weight are you going to add for the G force in the corners ?.
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post #43 of 68 Old Mar 10th, 2016, 5:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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How much weight are you going to add for the G force in the corners ?.
That is already accounted for by manufacturers. By limiting myself to my own weight + 200 pounds of payload, I am operating within the load rating of the tire.

To answer your question however, the maximum possible g-force in a corner is 1. During such an extreme turn, I will experience a load resulting from two vector forces. One in the Z direction of the original weight of the motorcycle and one in the Y direction; this is a force induced by the centripetal acceleration will also be exerted (1G - assuming perfect static friction by the tire).

The resulting downward (Z) force will then be the Square Root of the sum of the square of two vectors or 1.414 Gs. Essentially take each of the weights and multiply by 1.414

As an aside, the tire experience much higher stresses just turning!

In fact at 168 MPH (what the tire is rated for), the tire is experiencing an outward acceleration of more that 1000 G's!

I don't want to get too scientific, but the 1 added G in a turn is essentially the effect of a "Gnats Ass" divided in 12 pieces and then set out in the sun to dry for three days.

I think it is time to get a bit of reality. If I decide that I am good enough rider to somehow ride with a 450 pound GORILLA behind me and lead bricks weighing another 500 pound on each side, the tire will do just fine as long as I follow the speed limits on American highways.

Tires are designed to handle incredible stresses (far beyond the load ratings).

Again, rest assured the manufacturers took this into account. In ANY engineered product, the specifications are DERATED to account for operating conditions. Some products that I have designed have been derated by a factor of 10! Factors of 3 and 4 are very common - especially where safety is concerned.

However, if you are ONLY comfortable with a 79 load rated tire, I suggest you limit your choices to the two or three tires you can still get with those ratings in our size. Personally, I am far more comfortable with my choice over any of the mediocre choices available for the K1200LT. In my humble opinion, I am far safer on this tire than the Metzler in the rain (which did result in my falling during a mild turn in wet conditions).

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post #44 of 68 Old Mar 12th, 2016, 3:02 pm
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I'm running a rear 130/90/17 Dunlop 404 on the front. It fits but without the fender. Coming up on 20,000 miles with no issues. I had it in my garage from an old bike. I run it in reverse direction because the belts are designed for it to be on the rear. Same rule applies on the front under hard braking in reverse direction.
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post #45 of 68 Old Apr 5th, 2016, 7:43 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

I have read this string with great interest, as I am about to put the third set of tires on my 2002 LT in 15000 miles of riding. Before taking my bike to the local beemer shop, I called to ask about prices for the service which is due, and tire prices. I have put Metzlers, then Bridgestones, and was about to go with Avons, based on riders' comments. The last time I talked to the dealer, I they recommended only the Metzlers. The Metz's always felt too slippery in the cold and on tar strips, but I got real brow scowling when I put on the Bridgestones, with lots of cautionary advice. In truth, the Bridgestones did not perform discernibly better anyway, and they wore out faster. So, THIS time when I called the shop, I expected that they would recommend the new Metzler 888's. To my surprise, they suggested the Pilot Road 4 GT's! I am not capable of doing the math represented by the foregoing calculations, but I weigh about 210, and occasionally ride 2 up with probably 100 pounds of gear. I just returned from a 1000 mile ride (2up) and my rear Metzler that had about 3000 miles on it with plenty of tread at the beginning, pretty much self-destructed about 90 miles from home. It was down to the second layer of cord when I parked it in my driveway. I don't know if I should be reassured that my Beemer dealer is recommending the Pilots or not, but I was already ready for the change. I suppose I should add that I am an aggressive rider, even though I am an older guy. I am open to either the Avons or the Michelins. Since the dealer suggested the Pilots, I will probably go that route, although not as blindly after being educated by all of the contributors on here. Thank you, and I will let you know how it goes after another 1000 miles or so.


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post #46 of 68 Old Apr 6th, 2016, 8:32 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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I have read this string with great interest, as I am about to put the third set of tires on my 2002 LT in 15000 miles of riding. Before taking my bike to the local beemer shop, I called to ask about prices for the service which is due, and tire prices. I have put Metzlers, then Bridgestones, and was about to go with Avons, based on riders' comments. The last time I talked to the dealer, I they recommended only the Metzlers. The Metz's always felt too slippery in the cold and on tar strips, but I got real brow scowling when I put on the Bridgestones, with lots of cautionary advice. In truth, the Bridgestones did not perform discernibly better anyway, and they wore out faster. So, THIS time when I called the shop, I expected that they would recommend the new Metzler 888's. To my surprise, they suggested the Pilot Road 4 GT's! I am not capable of doing the math represented by the foregoing calculations, but I weigh about 210, and occasionally ride 2 up with probably 100 pounds of gear. I just returned from a 1000 mile ride (2up) and my rear Metzler that had about 3000 miles on it with plenty of tread at the beginning, pretty much self-destructed about 90 miles from home. It was down to the second layer of cord when I parked it in my driveway. I don't know if I should be reassured that my Beemer dealer is recommending the Pilots or not, but I was already ready for the change. I suppose I should add that I am an aggressive rider, even though I am an older guy. I am open to either the Avons or the Michelins. Since the dealer suggested the Pilots, I will probably go that route, although not as blindly after being educated by all of the contributors on here. Thank you, and I will let you know how it goes after another 1000 miles or so.
Thomas, as you go buy another set of tires for the light truck, keep in mind that the maximum load for the bike is 488 lbs of added gear and people. I did a quick search for the Road Pilot and I didn't see a tire of the proper size listed which is a 160/70/ZR17 and none I saw carried the specified 79V rating. The math isn't that difficult. Making the assumption that you are adding most of your weight on the rear of the bike, lets just assume that BMW assumed that in their numbers. 488 - 210 for your weight = 278 - 100 for gear = 178 left for your pillion before you hit max allowable weight for the rated tires.

Be careful placing a under rated tire on a bike where you will be running near the max weight of the bike. The thread you read above has arguments for both. I am going with a 79v when I get tires though even if it limits my selections.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI – Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT – Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #47 of 68 Old Apr 7th, 2016, 6:55 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Where can I find the date code on the Metzeler, and how do I decipher it? Thanks!

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Mark(Big Poppa) and Julie(Fireball)
'06 K1200LT Magnesium Black "Stella"
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post #48 of 68 Old Apr 7th, 2016, 8:46 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

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Originally Posted by Mark65 View Post
Where can I find the date code on the Metzeler, and how do I decipher it? Thanks!

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Mark:

The code for my new front Metzler is located on the left sidewall and says - XE OV 9667 3314

The last 4 digits are the date code, which indicates the tire was produced in the 33rd week of 2014.

Attached is a brochure on tires and reading codes FYI - see page 8 for code reading, 9 for load index ratings, and 10 for the speed index ratings.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MIC_Tire_Guide_2012V1.pdf (9.35 MB, 78 views)

Dave Beck
'16 K1600GTLE
'07 K1200LT (sold 9/24/16)
'74 Suzuki GT750L (long, long gone)


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post #49 of 68 Old Apr 7th, 2016, 8:50 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Thank you Sir!

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Mark(Big Poppa) and Julie(Fireball)
'06 K1200LT Magnesium Black "Stella"
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post #50 of 68 Old Apr 7th, 2016, 9:14 pm
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Re: Suitable alternative K1200LT Tire Sizes

Well, how about that. My front tire is 4214, and my rear tire is 3213. I guess Victory BMW has some back stock, these got changed out in a day.

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'06 K1200LT Magnesium Black "Stella"
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