Tires and mounting "drive direction" - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Tires and mounting "drive direction"

Tire gurus -

Saturday I was prepping for my next trip (all paved to Agua Caliente Springs) by taking the K270s off and putting the K761s on.

When I originally installed them, I set them both up so that the "drive" arrow was rotating forward - that is, the tires were mounted identically on the front and back.

While inspecting the front tire for wear and damage, I noticed a bit of cupping, which lead to a bit of thinking on my part. Perhaps a bad thing...

My bit of thinking went along the lines of "what does the drive arrow mean for the front tire?" I came to the conclusion that the front tire's driving forces happen under braking, and so maybe the drive arrow should be pointing the other way around from the way it is on the rear tire. In other words, the tires are now mounted asymmetrically. I don't know if it will have any corrective effect on the cupping.

Do any of you have experience with this?

Tom

edit -

I took an informal poll out in the parking lot. Bikes were a Buell Lightning, Ducati 848, Vulcan, Star, and Goldwing. Each bike had the same brand and model on the front and rear. Most were labeled "Front Only" and "Rear Only". In every case, the tread patterns were identical, but the tires were mounted asymmetrically. Also, when looking at the tread pattern from above, looking forward, the front tires always had a pattern that looked like a "Y" - grooves fanning out from the center, pointing forward. The rear, of course, was exactly opposite. Some of the tires had an arrow on the rear tire that said "Drive" and some had one that said "Rotation".

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-15-2010 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Add info
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 01:19 PM
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I would have assumed like you, the arrow gave you the direction of the tire. Thats how I mount my STs tires. Direction of rotation. Im not a tire dude however...

You start with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. Hopefully you fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 02:32 PM
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The arrow should always point in the direction of forward travel. I've heard numerous accounts of running them backwards, but I don't want to be exception when something goes wrong.

"There are now two main reasons for directional arrows. The first being that some motorcycle tires now have tread patterns that are designed for a specific rotation for optimum performance, particularly on wet roads. Directional arrows indicate proper directional rotation.

Secondly, running a tire will set up a wear pattern that may cause ride disturbance if reversed. The directional arrow insures that a tire can be re-fitted in the original direction."
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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The Wanderer -

Thanks for replying, but I'm still wondering:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
The arrow should always point in the direction of forward travel.


Even if it says "Drive" by the arrow? Meaning the tire is not specific to front or rear, and could be used on the rear of a bike (if'n you could find a bike with a skinny 21" rim on the rear...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
"There are now two main reasons for directional arrows. The first being that some motorcycle tires now have tread patterns that are designed for a specific rotation for optimum performance, particularly on wet roads. Directional arrows indicate proper directional rotation.


Even if that causes them to be mounted with a tread pattern that is backward from what is typical of 100% of the observations in my informal poll?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
Secondly, running a tire will set up a wear pattern that may cause ride disturbance if reversed. The directional arrow insures that a tire can be re-fitted in the original direction."
That seems sound.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, really. I am trying to explore this beyond what is commonly accepted. Might be , but I might learn something, too.

In looking at the internet I've come up with an even sprinkling of ""it doesn't matter", "asymmetric is right", and "don't ever do that!" so there's no definitive answer out there. And yes, I'm profiling to eliminate the Web-TV, all caps, "stayed in a Holiday Inn Express" posters.


Tom

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“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-15-2010 at 02:51 PM.
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post #5 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 07:39 PM
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When my front starts to cup but not too badly, it gets reversed. This IS ONLY on my dirt oriented machines where semi-knobbies aren't going to have a water buildup issue under the contact patch. Never hadda problem (yet). On the street bikes, I have always followed the correct mounting direction. The front tread is usually designed to throw water outwards and as a bonus leave a clean track for the rear tire to follow in.

The consesus here is to follow mfrs recommendations so we may be playing with dynamite with a cig hangin' out of our mouths here........

It's been said thousands of times and I know it's true: There are riders who'been down, and those who haven't wrecked...yet.

I'm one of the "yets". In over 100,000 miles onroad never been down, so I know the big one's coming. I hope it's not due to a reversed tire during a panic stop making it completely my own fault. Offroad is a different story. Flew off my bike more times than I can ever count. lol Then again, dirt is the BEST training for street riding. Good to know how to slide a bike before getting on that 800 pound Electraglide or Goldwing.

Last edited by CheapBassTurd; 02-15-2010 at 10:48 PM.
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post #6 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheapBassTurd View Post
... The front tread is usually designed to throw water outwards and as a bonus leave a clean track for the rear tire to follow in....
I know I've taken your quote a bit out of context, but that right there would support the argument that the K761 should be mounted backwards.
Now, that tire doesn't have rain sipes, it has big grooves, so water chanelling may be no issue at all.

Hmmm.

Tom

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“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


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post #7 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 09:00 PM
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From what I have seen if the tire has an asymetrical tread pattern the front always runs the opposite direction as the rear. Both f/r are marked with a directional arrow. A dedicated front tire only like a 21" will be marked with the arrow going the opposite direction of the rear. A tire that can be mounted front or rear will have an arrow that says "drive" or "drive only" indicating direction of travel for the rear tire only.
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 09:49 PM
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Maybe a nice phone call to the tire manufacturer would help out. Seems with the paranoia about liability, they would get an apps engineer on the line to help you resolve the problem. I know Metzler reps helped me out tons back in the day roadracing. In fact, I'm watching this thread as my bike came with a new set of Pirelli off-road knobbies and I think the bike handles like "...fill in blank here" on pavement. I'm wondering if I ought to spoon off these off-road tires until I plan to spend a LOT of time on trails...

Hmmm, is right,

John

Farkled probably WAY too much, but good 20' footer for sure. '96 KLR, '06 HD VROD, (girl friend hauler), '05 HD Electra-Glide, heh it's a HD and I'm old now ;-) and I'm proud of riding a 800+ pound bike at my age :-)
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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I sent them an e-mail. If they get back to me, I'll post up.

Tom

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“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.
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post #10 of 26 Old 02-15-2010, 10:46 PM
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Yo Tom,
That one has confused me many a time too. Some of the "Vee" designs seem like they would
channel the water towards the center creating hydroplaning, not eliminating or reducing it.

In a puddle on a curve is the about the worst time to lose traction !! (or in heavy traffic, etc.)

Hmmm again.
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