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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My GTL has just shy of 15K on the clock and I installed my fourth rear tire yesterday. The original OEM tires were Bridgestone BT-021 &022's. The first rear tire was replaced at 6,800 miles and was virtually a slick from edge to edge (not a single cord showing however). It was replaced while on the road in Phoenix, AZ as it wasn't going to get me home. At 10,800 miles the second BT-021 was virtually on the wear bars with 4K+ miles usage and an up coming trip demanded I replace it. At my local BMW dealer I saw that some of the new GTL's on the showroom floor had Metzler Z8's instead of the Bridgestone's. So I replaced my tires with the more expensive Z8's to see how they performed. I noticed absolutely no performance difference between the BT-021 and the Z8 but the failure mode of the Z8 was truly scary. Below are pictures of the Z8 (rear) with 3,673 miles on it. Note that picture #4 shows that the wear bars have not begun to touch yet. Pictures 1 through 3 show that In several places the steel cords have broken up and are beginning to poke through. One is actually in the tread groove where it's never seen direct road contact. Yesterday I replace this tire with a Michelin Road Pilot 3. All three brands have the same (W75) 853# max load rating @ 42 psi. It has become obvious to me that there is no magic (long life) tire for the GTL and fast wear out is going to be a way of life. Only time will tell what the service life of the Road Pilot 3 will be but at least the Bridgestone and Michelin use non-metallic Nylon and Aramid (Kevlar) cords and not steel like the Metzler. The Z8 tire shown had not started to leak air yet but the broken protruding cords scream failure!

The Road Pilot 3 is still an unknown at this point but unless it shows me something magical, I may be returning to the cheaper Bridgestone's?

Everyone's riding style is different and wear rates and tire performance can be very subjective. I for one will advise anyone to steer clear of the Z8's based on my personal results.
 

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Old Slow Guy in A Fast Car
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6000 miles on the PR3's so far & still over 1/2 of the tread still there. The rear is a little flat on the center do to a 1800 mile trip on I10 two months ago but I'm happy with performance & tire life so far.
 

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Hey Vern, how many of those miles were pulling the Unigo ?? Might that have something to do with the rapid wear, more weight on rear tire ? Of course the way you ride that six has everything to do with rapid wear. My LT gets 8000 from the Metzlers and I think that is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Bill,

Hows the ex-Prez? I too used to get 8-9K on my LT rear tire and that was two-up with the Unigo! I swore by the Metzlers then but the GTL tire is a Radial and not a Bias Ply tire like the ME880. Your right I do demand much from my tires, but with the original Bridgstone went totally bald (edge to edge) with no cords showing and had 6,800 miles. I felt like the Z8 was a truly coming apart internally? I can live with fast tire wear, but I'm not game for a cord separation that could put my A%& on the pavement. To add insult to injury the Z8's were $60 a pair more expensive than the Bridgstones. The Michelin was a push with the Z8 price wise but I wanted to try a third option before going back to a Japanese tire. Everyone in our club with RT's seems to swear by the Road Pilot 3's so I thought I 'd take a shot. I'm posting this just as an example of what I've seen with three worn out rears. Maybe I got a bad one? But I road with a friend I met at the CCR rally in Boise last weekend and his new GTL came with Z8's. He too had to replace them at 5K with the steel cords breaking through as well. Interestingly, he had put on RP3's as well. Time will tell what the results will be?
 

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Well....you could always go to the Dark Side.
 

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My original Bridgestones lasted 6K. I probably could've squeezed another 500-1,000 miles out of them for local riding, but was leaving on a trip and knew they wouldn't go that distance.

I replaced them with the PR3's. Just took them off after 8,600 mi. Same story...maybe could've made another 1,000 locally, but was heading out on a trip and wanted to start fresh.

I was pleased with the Michelins; I just bought another set. The handling is much lighter than the 'stones. Some have found that they think the bike feels a little "nervous" on the PR3's. While I noticed the lighter touch immediately, once I adapted a bit I was very happy with the tire. Over half of my miles on that set were 2-up and fully loaded. I did start running about 40 psi in them as opposed to the OEM suggested 42, and think the bike feels a bit better at that pressure.

The Metzelers have already become (in)famous for their end-of-life mode on this bike. There are many stories on the K1600 forum about guys heading out for a day's ride on tires that looked fine, then found cords showing when they got home (if not before). You can always find someone's horror story out there about any brand of tire; but this one has come up over and over, so you have to give it some credence.
 

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Old Slow Guy in A Fast Car
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I got about 7500 out of the rear PR3 & had to put on a Z8 in Saint Louis a few days ago. The front PR3 has almost 9000 and will make it home to Austin (1350 miles) with no problem. I'll order a new set of Pr3 when i get home
 

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old1951 said:
So I replaced my tires with the more expensive Z8's to see how they performed. I noticed absolutely no performance difference between the BT-021 and the Z8 but the failure mode of the Z8 was truly scary. Below are pictures of the Z8 (rear) with 3,673 miles on it. Note that picture #4 shows that the wear bars have not begun to touch yet. Pictures 1 through 3 show that In several places the steel cords have broken up and are beginning to poke through. One is actually in the tread groove where it's never seen direct road contact.
Looks to me that the tire suffered from intrusions of sharp objects, rather then failure of the tire itself ...
 

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It seems like the K1600's are getting about 2/3 to 3/4 of the tire mileage that the K1200LT's got.

I was running Bridgestones and replaced mine at around 7,500 miles. I felt like I had another 1-2,000 miles on the rear and maybe 2-3,000 more on the front. I was planning a long ride and didn't want to chance having to replace them on the road and the weather around here has been pretty wet.

I replaced them with Road Pilot 3 and it will be interesting to see if the mileage increases. Most of my riding is solo and I rarely ride on the sides around here. Always seem to have lots of tread left on the sides.
 

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Simply put, the more ponies you throw to the rear wheel, the faster you have to replace that tire. I could barely squeeze 4k out of any rear tire on my Kaw ZX-11. Where as, I'd get 12 to 15k on my LT. I'm averaging about 6k on my '10 Concours ... which was the same for my '06 GT. The ponies simply feed on rubber... The GT/L is no exception.
 
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