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post #1 of 24 Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 8:33 am Thread Starter
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Yet More Tire Questions

Sorry if I'm

I am going through my "new to me" 03LT with ~13k miles and am now looking at the tires.

The rear BT020 has 2 mm tread depth left and is date stamped "DEJ5002" which I understand was built in week 50 2002. So that is the original OEM tire and obviously needs to be replaced.

The front is stamped RA0605 so that's the 2nd tire but is old enough to replace for that reason, but the treads are down to 1.3 mm left of center and 1.7 right of center so pretty much worn out anyway.

But, overall I think wear life is pretty good and wear pattern implies to me the bike wasn't riden very aggressively. Based on what I've read about available options and people's experiences I'll be replacing with BT020's again.

Both mine are radials, but now only bias ply is available. I'm confused why the switch? Also, the websites I'm shopping only show those as applying to 2005-2009 LTs. Is there a reason 1999-2004 would take anything different?

Which websites have the best prices out there? So far I've found denniskirk.com cheapest at $113 / $137 with free shipping.

Thanks, Jim

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)
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post #2 of 24 Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 10:57 am
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

SWMotoTire.com is very competitive.

I find the best prices, not the URL, and then call Dennis Kirk and they beat by $1. I do not do this because of the $2 savings, I do it because I had purchased a tire that failed within first 1k mies and their service was incredible.

YMMV

Antony (Tripod)
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post #3 of 24 Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 7:07 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

AFAIK, there are no radials available (I.e. specifically recommended by the tire manufacturer) for the LT other than the Avon Storms for the '99-'03 models.

The Storms are not universally loved, with a number of users complaining about fit (rubbing on swing arm) and other problems. When I bought the LT 18 months ago she had Metzler rear and Bridgestone front. The tires needed replacement due to age ( over 8 years old) plus the front showed some cupping.

I have been running Storms on my '99 for over a year and about 1500 miles. I like the grip, and so far have not had any problems. I am not an aggressive rider, which may affect my experiences.

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post #4 of 24 Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 8:59 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

On the topic of Storms.... It was two Avon Storm front tires, on after the other, that failed on my '05 LT and which revealed the true commitment to customer service by the folks at Dennis Kirk.

Antony (Tripod)
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post #5 of 24 Old Feb 4th, 2013, 5:25 am Thread Starter
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by r_figueroa
AFAIK, there are no radials available (I.e. specifically recommended by the tire manufacturer) for the LT other than the Avon Storms for the '99-'03 models.
The Storms are not universally loved, with a number of users complaining about fit (rubbing on swing arm) and other problems. When I bought the LT 18 months ago she had Metzler rear and Bridgestone front. The tires needed replacement due to age ( over 8 years old) plus the front showed some cupping.

I have been running Storms on my '99 for over a year and about 1500 miles. I like the grip, and so far have not had any problems. I am not an aggressive rider, which may affect my experiences.
Guys,

Thanks for the replies and positive review of Dennis Kirk. From this info and searching around the site, it looks like if I want radials it is Avon Storm 2 Ultra (79V rated) for the rear and maybe Michelin Pilot Road 2 for the front. If I go bias ply it is BT020s for both. I'm going to stay away from Metzelers due to the noise, less grippy, etc. even if they get longer life. Am I right the shift from radial to bias ply has to do with sidewall strength? That has me leaning towards the BT020s.

I come back to my question about 99-04 vs. 05-09, since above you say the Avons are OK for the early bikes and when I go on the web, the BT020s are only listed for 05-09. I don't think there is an issue but want to make sure. Any difference in rear wheel shimming / position, etc.?

Thanks for your input - the wealth of knowledge on this site is a great resource!

Jim

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)

Last edited by Jim_McG; Feb 4th, 2013 at 5:27 am. Reason: spelling
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post #6 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 5:47 am
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

The difference between the models seems to be the fork angle, not the rear wheel. It appears that BMW changed the rake & trail in order to improve the low-speed handling characteristics (other changes may have been made as well). Why this would make a difference in tire selection is unclear and I will not speculate.

There is a spacer in the rear wheel assembly, which can be installed improperly. Failure to correctly install the spacer can cause problems with the tire rubbing against the swing arm.

Current:
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2010 BMW R1200RT
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1999 BMW K1200LT
2007 Yamaha FZ6
1986 Suzuki GS550L
1985 Suzuki GS650L
1977 Kawasaki KZ650
1975 Kawasaki F7
1973 Honda CB175
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post #7 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 8:02 am
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_McG
....I come back to my question about 99-04 vs. 05-09, since above you say the Avons are OK for the early bikes and when I go on the web, the BT020s are only listed for 05-09. I don't think there is an issue but want to make sure. Any difference in rear wheel shimming / position, etc.?
My knowledge is a bit dated, but some time ago I did in depth research on tire fitment for the K1200LT. I even got email replies from tire representatives at Avon and Bridgestone. My purpose in researching at the time was to determine what tire manufacturers had matched sets of tires that they recommended as proper fitment for the BMW K1200LT. I was not interested in personal anecdotes regarding what people liked, or thought worked well, nor was I interested in mixing and matching tires that were properly weight rated for the K1200LT.

Tire manufacturers have liability concerns and are very conservative with their "proper fitment" recommendations. I realize that there are many combinations that will work, some safer than others, and some combinations will serve some riders' particular desires better that any tire manufacturer's specific recommendations. However, to keep it simple, I stuck to researching manufacturer's matched sets specifically listed as proper fitment for the K1200LT.

Here's what I learned at that time: Shortly after the time of BMW changing the K1200LT steering geometry with the 2005 model Avon stopped listing their radial tires as proper fitment for post 2005 K1200LTs. The Avon representative said they were considering making a tire for the post 2005 K1200LTs but I have never heard of one coming to market. The Avon rep said that the Avon radial was not recommended for the post 2005 models because of "stability issues". Just as others have posted regarding this, I have no idea why radial tires, when mounted on the 2005 and later bikes, might have stability issues. But I'm willing to take the manufacturer's word for it.

Early Bridgestone tires for the K1200LT were radial tires. My 2000 K1200LT came with Bridgestone radials as original fitment. Eventually those Bridgestone radials disappeared and the only Bridgestone tires that are available for the K1200LT are bias ply tires. Again, the issue was reported to be that radial tires could cause "stability issues" when mounted on the post 2005 model K1200LTs.

I have never heard that bias ply tires should not be used on the earlier 99-2004 bikes. It is only that radial bias ply tires are NOT recommended for 2005 and later bikes.

Here's the 2008 thread: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...97451#poststop

The shim: My 2000 has the shim between the rear wheel and the final drive hub. I suspect that once BWM had the K1200LT manufactured and the got a batch of tires in for the bike, they realized that some of the tires were rubbing on the swing arm. Solution?, slap a spacer in between the wheel and the hub. There really isn't a way to put the shim in "wrong" as far as I can tell (and I'm pretty good at figuring out the wrong way to do things. ), it is just that if you leave the shim out and you have a slightly wider profile tire, its going to rub on the swing arm. Not a good thing. If your tire is going to rub on the swing arm put in the shim. After many sets of tires, I've always just installed the shim and never worried about it. If your bike didn't come with a shim, and you're using an tire listed as proper fitment for the K1200LT I imagine you won't have a problem.

Addendum: I went through several sets of the Bridgestone radials and a couple sets of the Avon radials. They wore out fast. For a while, I was routinely mounting a new set of tires every 6000 miles along with the scheduled oil change. Even then, sometimes the front tire would be badly feathered and overdue for replacement. I found those radial tires to be very secure when aggressively cranking the mountian twisties. The Bridgestone bias ply tires aren't bad, but in my opinion don't give the same "glued to the road" sensation that the radials did. (another reason why I think the pre-2005 bikes have some advantages.)
HTH
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post #8 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 8:29 am
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Red face Re: Yet More Tire Questions

I've had my 99 for 5 years and 43000 miles on it. When I replaced the original tires, I went with the Avon's and haven't looked back. Check your pressures regularly and I go recommended +4 front and rear. This gives reasonable wear but changes the way the bike handles incredibly. As far as mileage goes, that isn't one of my criteria. I usually put a set on every other year. I did have a problem on one new front, warranty wasn't an issue at all. I buy from my local dealer and he has taken care of me. The problem evidenced itself immediately after a new install with a handlebar shake on deceleration about 40 mph. Changed the tire and that took care of the problem. Avon's are my choice, YMMV

Stan
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2006 R1200GS
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post #9 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:11 am Thread Starter
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

All,

Thanks again for your inputs. Since I only have 700 miles seat time on this bike so far, I am relying on your all's experiences, likes / dislikes, etc. realizing personal "bias" comes into play. I appreciate all the research others have done which benefits me greatly.

The change in rake angle makes a lot of sense for the change from radial to bias ply, and since mine is an 03 I can go either way. Since the original OEM radial rear tire is still on the bike, I expect to find the spacer when I take it off. Is it right to assume the bike's alignment is correct with the spacer in place?

Maybe a radial will grip the road a bit better, but I think that any new tire will grip a lot better than any old worn tire. So, I will go with BT020 bias front & rear, keep the spacer in place, keep the pressure +4 psi.

Thanks, Jim

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)
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post #10 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:51 am
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_McG
.... So, I will go with BT020 bias front & rear, keep the spacer in place, keep the pressure +4 psi.....
That's what I've been using on my 2000 for the last several sets. I like them well enough, good choice.

I find that the front tire will be worn out before the rear by several thousand miles, although I tend to feather the brakes in turns. Keeping off the front brake, especially while cornering, and keeping the pressure a little high seems to make 'em last a little longer.

Here's what they can look like after a while:
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post #11 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 1:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
Here's what they can look like after a while:
WOW - My gonads aren't large enough to run a front tire that long!

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)
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post #12 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 3:29 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_McG
WOW - My gonads aren't large enough to run a front tire that long!
Well, it really wasn't intentional to ride after the cords were worn through. I just found it that way after getting home from a longer ride.

However, I find the "bumps" a normal kind of wear on the softer tires. Both the radial Bridgestones and the Avons looked bumpy like that after a few thousand miles.
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post #13 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 3:53 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Right, my radial BT020 front shows those bumps, but not as pronounced and with 1.3 left / 1.7 mm right tread depth left at the shallowest points.

I look forward to putting new shoes on the big girl - thanks again for guidance towards the decision.

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)
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post #14 of 24 Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:25 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

So you want to see how much clearance you get on a Bridgestone Bias Ply on the rear with the shim installed - WOW thats close!!

I would say about 1/8 of an inch!! - This was on my 2002LT . . .





and if you are wondering how I got that shot!!


Dan Finazzo
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post #15 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 6:22 am Thread Starter
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Dan, After seeing your photos I went down to the garage and took a look - that vantage point is easier to see with your lift than my HF table lift but with the rear panel removed I could see from below that I have ~1/4" clearance there with the radial BT020.

So it is closer with the bias tire? In any case I wouldn't remove the spacer (assuming it's there since I haven't removed the wheel yet), which would alter the front / rear wheel alignment, right?

Thanks, Jim

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
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post #16 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinazzo
So you want to see how much clearance you get on a Bridgestone Bias Ply on the rear with the shim installed - WOW thats close!!

I would say about 1/8 of an inch!! - This was on my 2002LT . . .





and if you are wondering how I got that shot!!

No plans for tire change in near future.
Besides that's where my dealer get the big bucks. But your little demonstration gave me a very interesting perspective. I have walked under auto lifts and train lifts and seen their undersides but this is completely new. Where on the bike is that stand positioned SECURED????
ride safe
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post #17 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 5:13 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

What stand is it? Where did it come from and how much did it cost?

Current:
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2007 Yamaha FZ6
1986 Suzuki GS550L
1985 Suzuki GS650L
1977 Kawasaki KZ650
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post #18 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 6:54 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by r_figueroa
What stand is it? Where did it come from and how much did it cost?
+1.... also intrigued

Chris
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post #19 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 7:03 pm
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Cool Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Ditto on the lift. However, I would be a little concerned with its stability and what it would take to throw it off balance when doing front or rear end work...
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post #20 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 7:22 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

It is called an Easy Rizer (Lifts-and-stands.com), and goes for $685, not including adapters.

It is not clear from the web site what adapters will work for the LT.

Web bike world has a review as well.

Current:
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post #21 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 7:46 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

Looks like the 'Footpeg mount" in use in the pics above...
total cost in Oz for the lift with choice of mount ($980) and the front wheel grab ($215) puts it out of my want list.

Chris
Sydney, NSW
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post #22 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 10:20 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

WOW - $980

I bought the lift at the BMWMOA Rally in Johnson City, TN in 2009 - they shipped it to me
complete with the adapter for the LT for $600. Always felt I could resell it for that much if I
did not use it . . .

I have used it on occasion about once or twice a year on the LT and on other project bikes.

This should be considered a limited K1200LT lift as you would not want to be doing major
work that requires pulling and tugging. I completed valve checks, tire replacements, wiring
jobs among other things. One of the neat things is that all the wheels are free hanging - can
not get that with a table lift. The lift is really for those with limited space. One of the down
falls is that you cannot drain your oil or transmission fluid.

Here is a pict with the special bracket for the LT - uses in the holes on the frame work and
requires you to use some towels and support lumber so the bikes elements do not get all
scratched up!!


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post #23 of 24 Old Feb 6th, 2013, 11:14 pm
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Re: Yet More Tire Questions

OK Dan I see you responded while I was away.
I read the complete article on Webbike about big blue. I was laughing and yes crying. And here's why forget the price we could get to that later but two words which I still can't get a handle on.
"IF" count how many times it was used in all facets of the stand being workable. Too many for me to remember.
"Center-point" or "Balance-point" how does anyone figure out the balance point of an LT. Has anyone done it before is it listed in the manual
We are talking balance between fore and aft right. Is there some mark common to all LT's and look how many times the word "Confused" fitted in. Hey your picture in the earlier post is still intriguing but along with that stand I would want some workshop assurance for the manufacture that they put it together and guarantee I could successfully get my LT aboard. I know Webbike have more capable techs than I am and they did not sound SECURE.
When all that is ironed out then I will worry about price. My dealer uses a table with attachments on and over the table. 850 pounds in my garage must have a stable base before I would go under it.
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post #24 of 24 Old Feb 7th, 2013, 9:09 am Thread Starter
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Lift Table

Now that we're talking about lifts, this winter I started my first tupperware removal / maintenance project working on the floor in my garage and quickly came to the realization I would like to do it in a more comfy way but couldn't justify a commercial grade table lift like Handy Lift, etc. So I got a $299 coupon from Cycle World magazine and went down to Harbor Freight and got the 1000 lb. motorcycle lift table - they had 3 in stock in the Florence KY store.

I had read the pros & cons beforehand. My impression is that it is perfectly adequate & stable for home garage use, lifts my LT without issue, and there is a locking bar to lock it in half or full lift positions. With that in place I have no qualms about getting under it although except to look up at the rear tire clearance yesterday I can't imagine why I need to be beneath it. With a scissor jack under the engine for trim balance both wheels are free so I don't see a problem removing the wheels this Saturday (My new BT020s arrive tomorrow - yay!).

One thing I like about the table is that it is on casters so in the down position I can roll the table & bike into a corner to get it out of the way for storage. But, a deficiency I found is that when lowered about 2/3 of the ~ 1150 lb. weight shifts onto the tiny swivel casters that just aren't up to the task. Solution? Back to HF to pick up two 4" swivel casters that I mounted to the underside of the top table (shimmed 1-3/4" using 2x4 blocks and washers). Now when I lower it the large casters pick up the weight, I use C clamps to secure the sub base to the table, release the locking feet & now it moves smoothly. I rolled the table & bike out of the garage into the driveway to give it a nice bath with the tupperware removed without issue.

Another thing I like about it is it gives me a 7' long work table so my tools are not scattered all over the floor.

I'm not comfortable driving the LT onto it so a friend & I on each side walked it up onto the table, but it wanted to skid forward so I had my son stand on the table while we rolled the bike onto it & that worked OK. In the future I'll brace it to hold it in place for that. I'll never be parking my bike on it except for winter storage so I'll stand it on end to get it out of the way when not in use.

Jim
2003 BMW K1200LT (my favorite 2 wheeled land yacht)
2008 Yamaha FJR1300 (recent addition)
1982 Yamaha Vision (long gone)

Last edited by Jim_McG; Feb 7th, 2013 at 9:16 am. Reason: 300 lb. table + 850 lb. LT = 1150 lbs.
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