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Discussion Starter #1
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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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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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
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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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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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.... ) :corn:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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Any tire wider than 160 will rub on the swing arm.
 

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Lots of folks have had the ME 888 160/70 rub their swingarm
 
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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??:surprise:

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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Discussion Starter #14
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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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.


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

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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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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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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.
Leon
 

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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.

Rob, 2000LT
Navarre, FL
 
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