Tire choice - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 14 Old 05-16-2008, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Tire choice

My 98 KLR is needing some new tires. I use this bike about 75% on pavement, so longevity is a major decision factor. The rub is that the other 25% includes forest single track, desert back country which has slick rocks, deep sand, and if it rains there is the ever popular quicksand holes that have a way of showing up on what was the trail before the rain started.

Tires on my short list are:

Avon Distanzia

Avon Gripster

Pirelli Scorpion AT

Kenda K761

All of these are more inclined for the pavement duty, and the only one I have prior experience with is the Kenda. It performed well except for deep sand and mud. Could not expect better in rocks or loamy dirt, or pavement from one tire.

I am looking for input and feedback from KLR riders that have used the other tires. Are they worth the higher price than the Kenda? What are the good and bad points of each? How many miles did they go before giving up, and were they mild or harsh miles?

Thanks in advance for the help in spending my hard earned money.

Ed

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post #2 of 14 Old 05-17-2008, 08:17 AM
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The only tire I have had other than the nasty OEM tires is the Gripster. Albeit, most of my ride time is 95/5. I love the Gripster for highway grip and did awesome in rain. We ride hard and aggresive on road and only do gravel and a few dirt roads, never single track or trail blazing. My rear gave me an honest 6000 miles and I could have really rode it longer, but the center had wore down flat and I was dying to try out the new Scorpion S/T. I honestly think if you are wanting to be able to do a bit more hard core ride style off road, you may have to stay with the Kenda's. The gripster sucks in mud, it sucks in sand, but would venture to guess it would be good on slick rock. This is an ever talked about passion of what is the "BEST" tire. Unfortunately there is not one, just simply the one 'you' can live with having the most pro's versus con's for your style. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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post #3 of 14 Old 05-18-2008, 09:56 AM
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I just put Metzler Enduro 3 Saharas on my 05 KLR at 5000 miles.
I ride mostly back country roads and gravel, real happy with the 500 I have put on these so far.

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post #4 of 14 Old 06-13-2008, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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I went with the Gripsters. Mounted them yesterday afternoon using the tools I carry on the trail. I figure that is good practice in case of a flat while in the sticks. Did not want to wait until I was actually in the middle of nowhere to get acquainted with them.

Removing the old rear tire was a pain. The bead simply did not want to break loose from the rim. Twenty minutes of nibbling away with the tire spoons finally got it loose.

Seating the bead on both the front and the rear took several attempts. The new Avons kept seating just off center, with one portion of one side, and sometimes both sides just hanging below the rim. Lots of soapy water, fiddling with the tire with only a few pounds of air in it, then extra pressure combined to center and seat the tires at last.

I am pleased with the initial ride. Rough static balancing has them close enough that there is no vibration all the way to 80 mph, and the grip difference over the old rock hard 270s is tremendous. I have shied away from racking up miles on this bike since I bought it due to the poor ride and traction of the old skins. Now I can ride the KLR without fear of sliding out at every turn. Will check back in a thousand or so miles (couple of weeks) with another update.

Ed

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-13-2008, 03:12 PM
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Glad you like the Gripsters Ed, they have been and still are my favorites. They hold GREAT in the curves and twisties.

Excellent idea to use your trail tools when changing tires so you know what works and what doesn't. We had the same issue with the side walls taking a couple of times to center up on the rim.

As for breaking the bead, yep, they're a pain. I have found just using my weight and foot right against the rim and pushing down is good for me. Everyone is different, and well 300+ weight helps to push that tire down. LOL

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-13-2008, 04:43 PM
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Most if not all of my riding is on the street. I have been running Kenda 761's. I had good luck out of the rear tire. Belive it or not but I got 15'000 miles out of the rear tire. Most people have told me thats not possible. The front tire didn't do very good. I only got about 7,200 miles out of it. The Kenda's do great in the rain. I'm running a Perilli on the front now. No tire is perfect. It all depents on how and where you ride.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-13-2008, 05:07 PM
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Just got a new set of Michelin Anakee's, so far I have ridden in snow, rain and gravel fire roads they have performed excellent in all conditions that have been put in front of them.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-13-2008, 05:37 PM
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Just got a new set of Michelin Anakee's, so far I have ridden in snow, rain and gravel fire roads they have performed excellent in all conditions that have been put in front of them.

And they'll continue to do so for a long, long time!!

Excellent all around tire, as long as all around isn't too crazy!!
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-14-2008, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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I ran a set of 761s on my XR and had good results from them. When I checked into getting a set for this bike I could find none in North America. Apparently those tires come into the country in batches, and the last batch has been consumed.

Another tip for breaking stubborn beads.... the kickstand of another bike makes a pretty good bead breaker. Concentrated pressure!

Ed

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-14-2008, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed29 View Post
I ran a set of 761s on my XR and had good results from them. When I checked into getting a set for this bike I could find none in North America. Apparently those tires come into the country in batches, and the last batch has been consumed.

Another tip for breaking stubborn beads.... the kickstand of another bike makes a pretty good bead breaker. Concentrated pressure!
Thats a good idea. I use a large clamp or two if needed to break the beads myself, but that wouldn't work out in the field though.
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