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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the problem. I'm ready for a new front tire. I'm presently running BT020 radials. The rear is almost brand new. Of course, you can't get the BT020 radials any more. I've heard of folks who put radials on the front with a bias ply on the rear with no problem. However, does it work the other way as well?

A proverbial "penny for your thoughts".

Thanks,
-joel
 

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020

I recently got a set of the "old" 020s from
http://www.tiresunlimited.com/ALL TIRES/Bridgestone/Bridgestone MC/bridgestone_battlax_bt020.htm

You might try them.

I had a bias/radial mix once like you describe by accident. Mounted by a dealer and I didn't check.

Seemed okay but one day I found myself on a Florida highway with a funny narrow grooved road surface. The LT got real squirmy, scary squirmy.

I stopped to check tire pressure, final drive, etc. Everything was okay. I think that the radial/bias mix may seem like it is okay, but under certain conditions it is very bad.

I recommend against it in spite of testimonials that it is "no problem". The tire companys recommend against it; I think they know what they are talking about.
 

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The profiles of today's bias-ply and radials are almost identical. I highly doubt that you'll notice one bit of diference. Go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
CharlieVT said:
Thanks, Charlie. I just called them. They're presently out but said they could order one. They said they're not showing as being discontinued. Odd.

The other thing that occurred to me was the Avon Storm. That's a radial, and a few folks on this site have paired them with a BT020 radial rear tire with success. Blaine has them at AZ Moto. I'm kinda leaning in that direction now. I take data points like your experience seriously.

Thanks,
-joel
 

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Discussion Starter #5
messenger13 said:
The profiles of today's bias-ply and radials are almost identical. I highly doubt that you'll notice one bit of diference. Go for it.
Thanks, Joe. It's actually the flex characteristics that has me more concerned than the profiles. You're probably right, and Charlie's experience in Florida may have been caused by something else. However, like I mentioned above, I'm thinking the Avon might be the safest bet at the moment. Once this set of tires wears out, I'll probably switch to the BT020 bias ply tires. I like the rubber on those tires.

BTW, I still can't believe you went through two rear tires on your trip!

Cheers,
-joel
 

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the Mix

From
http://www.motorcycle-karttires.com/additionalinformation.aspx

Quote
Front and Rear Tire Matching

For optimum performance, it is very important to correctly match your front and rear tires. Riding your motorcycle with an improper mix of radial construction tires with bias or bias-belted construction tires is dangerous. Your motorcycle’s handling characteristics can be seriously affected. You could have an accident resulting in serious personal injury or death. Consult your owner's manual or your local dealer, for the proper tire replacement.

Mount tires marked " Front Wheel" on front positions only and tires marked "Rear Positions" on rear positions only.
Never mix Radial construction tires with bias or bias-belted construction tires.
Some motorcycles may be equipped with Radial tires. Consult the motorcycle manufacturer before equipping replacement Radial tires to insure the proper specification and combination for your motorcycle.
A new front tire equipped on a motorcycle with a worn rear tire may cause instability.
End Quote

I don't think they are just trying to sell tires, I think they know something.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well there you go, trying to confuse the issue with facts and references.


Cheers,
-joel
 

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CharlieVT said:
I don't think they are just trying to sell tires, I think they know something.

Actually, I think they are just trying to cover their ass.

I've mixed radial front and bias rear, worked great.

I've mixed bias front & radial rear; worked OK, but I did notice some "handling irregularities". Nothing too serious.

GB
 

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Discussion Starter #9
GBarnes said:
Actually, I think they are just trying to cover their ass.
From what? I mean they really drilled down into this. Clearly there's a potential failure mode there that they're not elaborating on. Otherwise, from what would they be trying to cover their asses?

Regards,
-joel
 

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My bias/radial mix worked great too, until....

GBarnes said:
Actually, I think they are just trying to cover their ass.
I've mixed radial front and bias rear, worked great.
I've mixed bias front & radial rear; worked OK, but I did notice some "handling irregularities". Nothing too serious.
GB
Anecdotes and case histories are not data, they are more like opinions and we all have them. There was a time I told people that mixing was no problem too. Not any more. "Nothing too serious" maybe, but serious can happen fast and unexpectedly when the conditions are right for things to go wrong. Sure lots of folks ride on all kinds of tires. If you're going to ride fast, and around corners, do you want to take unnecessary chances? I don't.

I rode a bias/radial mix (new tires, well balanced) from Vermont to Fla down Skyline drive and the Blueridge Parkway in November. In fog, wet roads, and leaves, they handled great; this was spirited riding in the twisties.
Got to Fla on the interstate, doing 70-80 in a straight line. The road surface changed. No problem it seemed. Then all of a sudden the bike started to squirm, pretty severely. Not a tank slapper, but a whole bike fishtail kind of motion; a relatively high frequency oscillation. The sensation was like going over a steel grate deck bridge with the old Conti-Twin tires, the kind with the straight tread pattern; some will know what I am talking about. But this squirming was at about 80 mph and was severe enough that Spiros, riding behind me noticed and radioed to ask if everything was okay. Things were not okay, I had just had the ... scared outta me. I pulled over and checked the final drive, tire pressures, etc. Nothing wrong. After I experimented with riding and noted that this unsual behavior could be repeated by going 80 mph and starting a gentle turn as in initiating a lane change. If I had had to make a sudden change in direction to avoid something before I discovered the problem I'm sure I could have lost it, the bike was very unstable. BTW Spiros was running a matched set of tires (Metzs I think) and had no problems, matching speed with me. What caused this unusual problem? I think (opinion) it was a combination of road surface, tire temp and pressure, and the bias/radial mix I was running.

This discussion comes around time and again. And the same opinions come up. In my opinion the tire companies are "covering their asses" because they know there is a risk associated with mixing tires. The question is: do you want to cover your own ass or not, since it's your ass that is literally gonna hit the pavement if the tire companies are right and opinions to the contrary are wrong.

BTW, we rode back to the northeast from Fla and I never had a recurrence of the problem. High speeds trying to outrun a northeaster snow storm on the Garden State Parkway. Then finishing the ride in a few inches of snow as I got back to VT. The instability never recurred (the snow was a different story). I changed to a matched set of tires and have never had a similar experience since. IMO the instability the tire companies are warning about isn't something you are going to notice unless you find just the right conditions or you are an experienced professional rider, on a track, testing various combinations under varying conditions.
 

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Not worth your life to try it!!!! Change one or both tires. If it were me, I wouldn't put another BT020 on my bike .. They cup so severely and are not worth the trouble.
 

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Right on

rglassma said:
Not worth your life to try it!!!! Change one or both tires. If it were me, I wouldn't put another BT020 on my bike .. They cup so severely and are not worth the trouble.
The 020s do wear, and the cupping can get severe in less than 6K miles.
AND they stick like flypaper. I love them and hope that the new bias 020 work as well as the discontinued radials.

If I were headed cross country, or I was really concerned about frequency of tire changes, I put on Metzs.

But I change my own tires, buy them online, and change both front and rear about every 6K right along with the oil changes. A 6K the front is usually trash and the rear has enough miles left on it that I can give it away for someone else to take the rest of the tread off.

Isn't it nice that we have these choices in tires?
 

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Kdog, Go with the Avons. I am very happy with them (front and rear) but they do take a couple of thousand miles to break in, and they turn in much faster than the BT020s do.

I have 8500 mile on the current set and the front has maybe 1k left before I would not feel comfortable (read: ride in the rain) and the back maybe 3000 left.
 

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Hey Joel, I'm running a BT020 bias on the front and a BT020 radial on the rear. I'm not having any handling problems so far. The BT020 bias ply has the same profile as the radial did and the bike falls over in the corners just like the radial did. I did some high speed riding in the rain with Dave Dragon last week on the way to Tan-Tar-A and the bias hung in there like the radial did. :thumb:

Your other option is to go with one of the new Avon Storm radials on the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
BMWphreak said:
Kdog, Go with the Avons. I am very happy with them (front and rear) but they do take a couple of thousand miles to break in, and they turn in much faster than the BT020s do.

I have 8500 mile on the current set and the front has maybe 1k left before I would not feel comfortable (read: ride in the rain) and the back maybe 3000 left.
Turn in much faster than the BT020? I don't think I can handle much faster! :eek:

Mileage-wise, they sound like they fall somewhere between the Metz and the Stones. That's a good thing. How's the wet-handling?

Thanks, Gerard. I'm looking forward to trying them.

-joel
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Steve_R said:
Hey Joel, I'm running a BT020 bias on the front and a BT020 radial on the rear. I'm not having any handling problems so far. The BT020 bias ply has the same profile as the radial did and the bike falls over in the corners just like the radial did. I did some high speed riding in the rain with Dave Dragon last week on the way to Tan-Tar-A and the bias hung in there like the radial did. :thumb:
Oh, so you've tried that combination, Steve! I guess you didn't make a big fuss about it and get all paranoid about it like me. :histerica Glad to hear it's working very well for you.

Your other option is to go with one of the new Avon Storm radials on the front.
And that's what I've done. It should be here in a day or two.

Cheers,
-joel
 

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kdog said:
And that's what I've done. It should be here in a day or two.
BTW, I'll be going to the Avon Storms all around on the next set. They seem to be the only radial that is going to work.
 

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Steve_R said:
BTW, I'll be going to the Avon Storms all around on the next set. They seem to be the only radial that is going to work.
I couldn't be happier with the Storm up front and the BT020 radial in the back. I stocked up with 2 BT020R rears last week because the things just work great back there and wear like iron too.

I'm a bit nervous about the Storm in back though. I went through 2 Azaros in short order on the FJR due to puncture. The groove width is HUGE and is prone to let all manner of sharp buggers in to ruin your day. Looks like the Storm may be a bit better, but barely so. Just FYI.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Steve_R said:
BTW, I'll be going to the Avon Storms all around on the next set. They seem to be the only radial that is going to work.
Why not just stick with the Bridgies? By your own accord, the BT020 bias-ply on the front falls into the turns as good as the radial. I believe most of the falling-in effect happens from the front.

Cheers,
-joel
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sofitel505 said:
I couldn't be happier with the Storm up front and the BT020 radial in the back. I stocked up with 2 BT020R rears last week because the things just work great back there and wear like iron too.

I'm a bit nervous about the Storm in back though. I went through 2 Azaros in short order on the FJR due to puncture. The groove width is HUGE and is prone to let all manner of sharp buggers in to ruin your day. Looks like the Storm may be a bit better, but barely so. Just FYI.
Thanks for the info, Eric. I've heard good things about that combo as well.

Where'd you pick up the BT020 radials? The couple of places I checked were out. :(

Cheers,
-joel
 
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