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.)