Tire Pressure (Endless Debate?) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 2:07 pm Thread Starter
 
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Tire Pressure (Endless Debate?)

Howdy All;

I see that the conventional wisdom on these boards calls for higher tire pressure on my 2005 K1200 LT than what the factory recommends.

The owner's manual lists recommended tire pressures of:
36psi (Front) and 42psi (Rear).
This site recommends: 42psi (Front) and 48psi (Rear).

The tire pressures recommended by this site are the MAXIMUM tire pressures posted on the tires themselves. It doesn't seem rational to me to turn the tires at their maximum pressures. Maximum tire pressures, based on everything I've ever heard or read, are never recommended due to reduced traction, harsh ride, etc.

I've seen numerous posts that say BMW has revised the recommended tire pressures on the LT, but I can't find a single post that includes a link or published info from BMW that proves that to be true.

Is the "updated" tire pressure info available somewhere? If not, where are you all getting your info from, other than from this forum??

Thanks in advance,
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post #2 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 2:17 pm
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Hi,

Are your tires Radial ( R ) or Bias ( B ) ?.

In theory they should be B with an M loading.
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post #3 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 2:41 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDragon
42/48 is the tried & true pressures settings from extensive experiance.
Is that 1 or 2 up pressures?
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post #4 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 2:53 pm Thread Starter
 
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Tire Pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
Hi,

Are your tires Radial ( R ) or Bias ( B ) ?.

In theory they should be B with an M loading.
I'm running bias ply tires. Currently, they are inflated to 39 front and 45 rear (splitting the difference between BMW specs and the specs listed on this forum.)
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post #5 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 3:06 pm
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Friend purchased 880's in Daytona a couple of years ago ( buy one and get one free ) at the Metzler tent. Metzler rep told my friend to run 51 in his rear tire - don't remember what he said he was told about the front. My friend and I both thought that was a bit much based on the information on this site so he decided to stick with the 42/48.

I run the same on my radials and I can assure you I can tell if the rear tire is below 48 by the way the bike handles (wallows) when I start off.

Just my opinion.

Lee Nowell
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post #6 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 3:10 pm
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36 42 does it for me.

Two up and fully loaded - may up rear to 46.

I like to keep to manufacturers recommendations. Rides and handles fine with these.

In the uk following a serious accident the police may thoroughly examine your vehicle. If your pressures were wildly outside the of the recommended range I suspect you would stand accused of contributory negligence and you may have difficulty with insurance claims.

BMW's research and development facilities are better than mine. I think I'll stick with their advice.

BDC
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post #7 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 3:13 pm
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When I bought my bike used it had Metzlers on it. I ran 42/48 as mentioned here. I have since replace the rear with a OEM battlax 020 radial and on the side of the tire it states Maximun pressure is 42 PSI so that is what I am running it at.

Manny
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post #8 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 3:23 pm
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It is an endless debate; just last week the maintenance chief at my dealer told me to run the Metz tires on my 06 at 42/42 one up and 42/46 two up.

2006 LT
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post #9 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 3:34 pm
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Air pressure is a trade off. The higher the pressure the longer the tires will last. They will also give less traction and a harsher ride. It is just up to the rider which they prefer. I air my 880's to max pressure and don't worry about adding more air until they are down at least 4 lbs. I have found Metzler tires seem to hold their air for a long time that way on the LT and the ST's. The ride is noticeably harsher than the original tires at BMW specified pressures but it is something I can live with. I have had no traction issues with any of the tires on the LT so far so I don't give it much thought but it could matter to a more aggressive rider.
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post #10 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 4:38 pm
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"BMW's research and development facilities are better than mine".

I sometimes wonder.

There is a debate on the Spain LT site about this very question.

LTīs made on or after 2005 come with Bias tires as standard, but a lot of LT owners have had tires replaced at their dealers with Radials (when worn ).

This should be against company policy, but most dealers havenīt heard about it.

And, according to Bridgestone, Radials require different pressures than Bias.

The general consensus, up to now, is that the dreaded front end shake seems to disappear if Bias tires have the 42/48 pressures in them.

Not so with Radials.
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post #11 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 5:30 pm
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GPSmjs51

We have an '05 K1200LT with about 14.8K on it. The tires are OEM Metzler
Marathon 880's bias & rated for the heavy weight. I too ran the owner's manual recommended pressures & got severe cupping on the front tire. I gradually increased pressures until the cupping stopped at 38.5 lbs. in the front. Along with that I run 43 in the rear for solo/light riding. For two-up, it's 39/45 and for two-up and loaded it's 39.5/46.5 lbs. No cupping, the handling seems to be quite solid. I expect the rear tire to go first, probably
around 15-16K. Hope this helps.
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post #12 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 6:05 pm
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Well two weeks ago I put a new Metzler on my Road Glide from all the debate on Harley boards I got it from the horses mouth, Metzler. 38-40 front, 48-50 rear. I understand this to be tire construction related. On the Metz the side walls need more support so more air, just that simple. If you under inflate you will weaken the side wall and also loose handling, over heat the tire and shorten the life of the tire.

Just repeating what I was told. I got 13,000 out of my rear and always had it at 48-50, the front looked new and I kept it 38-40. These were Metz 880's on a Harley, 16", 140 rear, 90 front.

As aside a lot of guys wanted to run the 150 but it did not have the load rating of a 140 and some got into trouble.

My brief experience on the LT is not only look for load rating but SPEED rating seems to be in order also.

Metz had a tire Brochure on their site that will in fact show you thees inflation rates in print.
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post #13 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 9:32 pm
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Hey All;

I have another post after I talked to Avon tire rep.(Tires)
Use the 10% over method and the tire will work great.
And all the others are right it seems to always come to 42/48.

Zeke

45 years riding and still more places to see.
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post #14 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 9:51 pm
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Cool Tire presssure- More information

I recently purchased a replacement ME 880 while at the MOA rally in West Bend, had to go the Milwaukee BMW Dealer as Metzler only had a trailer with no techs set up or working however at the rally itself, ( poor planning as the Michilin guys worked their butts off mounting tires the first few days). The metzler rep was there at the dealer and told me what a few have repeated here, that was to run the tires at the maximum air pressure( cold). He claims it will handle better ,perform better and that for every 1-2 lbs psi less you will loose the performance and mileage the tire is designed to give.

Rick

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post #15 of 22 Old Jul 19th, 2007, 10:06 pm
 
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I always use 880's, and run 38/46. Changed my last set at 12,500 front, and 16,000 rear, just because I was going on a long trip. Just returned from a 6K trip to Nova Scotia, and rode in the rain 8 of 12 days, some very heavy. Have never had the 880's at these pressures slip except for obvious road problems, ie tar snakes, oil etc.
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post #16 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 6:42 am
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Experience at a variance to 42/48

I wouldn't call it a debate, I would simply say that the question comes up a lot. The almost universal consensus is 42/48 for Bridgestone Radials and I have seen nothing different for the 020 bias-ply tires.

With 103k miles done on a 2000 with BT-020 Radials (except of the first two sets which were Excedras and Dunlops), I did for a long time use 42/48 consistently, checking tire pressures daily on long rides with a good guage I carry. I ride a steady 10 over on freeways, and ride it hard when we start getting bends anywhere, 95% 1-up. With 42/48 I got 6,000 - 9,000 miles on a front (12,000 once from memory), feathering starting after 500 miles, the tire usually being replaced because the feathering had got so bad.

So I went back to 36/42 and....got 6,000 - 12,000 miles on a front, feathering starting after 500 miles, the tire usually being replaced because the feathering had got so bad. The only difference being that the feathering pattern is different when severely affected (I had a picture on a previous thread from CCR Jackson Hole a couple of years ago). So now what I do is use 42/48 if I am riding multidays on a freeway (e.g. I am riding across to SF in a week from Philly) just because it "seems" like that would give me better mileage, else I use 36/42 (most of the time) just because it "seems" like it would give me better grip which is what it is all about really.

Overall, from my direct experience, there is no significant difference between 36/42 and 42/48 with BT-020 Radials on a pre-2005 bike.

With the rake/trail having changed on the 05+ bikes this would, I imagine, produce a platform that would potentially be not the same viz tire wear characteristics so I can't be certain there, though I would say that the similar mileage that people are getting with these tires (and bias as well) on 42/48 05+ bikes would induce one to believe the story is the same there.

Ralph
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post #17 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 8:37 am
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Ralph,

Interesting and informative post.

I suppose there are two questions here. Do we go for longivety or grip ?.

Personally, I am more concerned about the grip. If a tire last longer or less does not concern me, as long as it is in normal parameters.

As an owner of 2005 LT I am also concerned about the front end shake which appears at a certain mph.

It seems that the problem could be caused by two things:

Using Radials instead of Bias tires.
Too low a tire pressure.

At the moment I have radials and use 42/46 and still have the shake.
Will fit Bias next time, as recommended by BMW, and then experiment with pressures.

Simon
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post #18 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 10:54 am
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Simon

I am interested in grip....I have the lower fairing scraped thru both side, the pegs and the both stands heavily ground..and I have taken the front tire all the way to the edge...so grip it is - hence the 020's over the harder, longer wearing 880's. I will say that the reason I went back to lower pressures was to maximize grip, though I had had no experience where the higher pressures weren't up to the task.

I have been quite interested in the problems with the front end shake. As someone who can be a bit objective (since my bike like others <05 doesn't routinely suffer from it) it would appear to me that the geometry changes made on the 05+ bikes (done to improve low speed handling, which it did) have made the bike more sensitive i.e. there is less leeway for out-of-spec items. There seem to be a range of things which seem to have "fixed" the shake (bearings, steering damper, wheel out-of-round, rear tire etc), though by far the commonest is the front tire. Seems to me that the trade-off that was made for better slow handling was a bike that is more demanding to be completely within spec and one that reacts sooner if something goes a bit out.

Without rechecking a lot of posts, I don't have the impression that the shake was solved with higher pressures...it may have, but I bet that the change in pressure usually went with a new tire and we do know anecdotally that a new tire is one of the ways to fix the shake (not always permanently).

Also, my impression with the arrival of the bias 020's is that this is something that BMW/Bridgestone cooked up between themselves because the feathering on the radials is so viscious....its virtually universal and in my own case was detectable after the first 500 miles on every front tire. I think its arrival about the time the shake problem became more public was serendipity.

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Last edited by rmg08057; Jul 20th, 2007 at 11:06 am.
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post #19 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 1:15 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmg08057
Also, my impression with the arrival of the bias 020's is that this is something that BMW/Bridgestone cooked up between themselves because the feathering on the radials is so viscious....its virtually universal and in my own case was detectable after the first 500 miles on every front tire.
Hey Ralph, you'll be glad to know that the GT with Bridgestones on them feather in the front. Fortunately, there's lots of tires that will work with that bike. I always thought it was the weight of the LT that did it, no more. It's the tire. I liked the front Avon, rear Bridgestone set up on the LT.



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post #20 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 3:06 pm
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...this proving that Bridgestone themselves know f-all about why its happening else they wouldn't let it be recommended....or they get enough sales from no-hopers like me who like their products in spite of their shortcomings.......

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post #21 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 3:44 pm
 
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With Metzler 880's, I run 45 in the front and 52 in the rear. Made ALL the difference. No cupping at all in 10K miles so far. Handles perfectly wet or dry. I use to hate Metzler's and would run the Avon/Bridgestone combo, or just Bridgestones. Now I'm completely happy with the Metzlers and get more mileage out of the tire and also more mpg as compared to the Bridgestone tires.

These days I don't put too many miles on my K1200LT with the new Concours 14 in the stable. Love that bike!

Nate
'00 K1200LT
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post #22 of 22 Old Jul 20th, 2007, 4:55 pm
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Bridgestones lasted me about 4K no matter what the pressure was.
Metzlers at 42/48 is the way to go.. A little more is ok with 2 up.

Do what you want.
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