Tire advice - not asking specific brands :) - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

  • 1 Post By Tim
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-04-2017, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Toronto
Posts: 15
Tire advice - not asking specific brands :)

So I just bought my first KLR. 2013 with 8000 miles on it.

The PO tells me the 150/70-17 Conti TKC80 rear has about 2000 miles on it.

He supplied a new IRC front tire. Trails GP-12F.

I will be spending time on the highway to get to the fun stuff. I'm riding from Toronto to Kentucky in May and will ride to my cottage regularly which is 3-4 hours on pavement.

Question is: should I just pick up a new Conti front tire, or should I ditch the oversized rear and buy a new set altogether? I haven't seen a lot of talk about the pros/cons of the 150 sized rear.

Or should I just slap the IRC on? The current front is the original tire and is ready to be replaced.

The chain guard is off as it doesn't clear the rear tire.

I don't want to invest in a front tire matching the Conti rear if the 150 rear isn't worth keeping, and if the Contis aren't going to serve me well on the pavement.

Reading up on them suggests they are worthy tires and a popular choice. I will end up on many fire roads and trails, but I need to be safe on rain soaked interstates at 80mph as well.

Suggestions? I've ridden my 1975 BMW on plenty of gravel and dirt roads with Avon street tires but the KLR deserves some decent off-road capable rubber.

Last edited by Tim; 03-04-2017 at 05:21 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-04-2017, 05:49 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,593
You've no tire problems, IMHO; just replace the front when prudent.

TKC80 has a good rep.

BTW, I just happen to have a brand new never-mounted Continental Trail Attack set; EXCELLENT (and long-mileage) slab-biased dual-sport tire.

Guy was gonna take 'em off my hands, 'til he discovered they are TUBELESS; he ran, screaming, from the room; unable to accept the fact tubeless tires work just fine with inner tubes installed!


As to the 150 rear; I'd say . . . FEAR NOT! I run a 150 Heidenau Scout K60 on my KTM690 (trick 17" rear wheel); the 150s and 140s only in this tread have a narrow, solid center "hoop" in the tread (no void in the center), offering exceptional mileage, smooth, quiet running, without sacrificing off-road traction particularly.

All this said, I've found Kenda K270s most satisfactory (and affordable) KLR650 tires for my 50/50 riding environment and style; YMMV!

Last edited by Damocles; 03-04-2017 at 05:57 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-04-2017, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 6,232
Personally I'd continue to ride on the existing tires until you decide that their tread depth is 'shallow enough' for your comfort zone. That is as long as there are not Odd Handling issues.
Install and balance the new front tire in your possession as desired, for rainy highways.

I'll suggest that one should Always run 2 PSI Higher pressure on the skinny front tire than the fatter rear.

So 32-34-36 Front / 30-32-34 Rear is a good starting point, depending on solo / two-up / full touring gear.

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-10-2017, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Toronto
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I've ended up getting a set of Shinko 805/804's for the bike in stock sizes. The front needs a change (original w 8000 miles on it) and the rear is oversized forcing to run without the chain guard. With an upcoming 1800+ mile trip planned, I wanted stock sizes and fresh tires/tubes etc.

I've read pretty much nothing but good things about the Shinko 805's. I have their 705's on an SR500 and they've been good, so I figured for the price I'd give them a try.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-20-2017, 08:56 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Antioch Florida
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Currently running Shinko 804/805 on the KLR for normal riding, road and moderate trail. Previous normal riding tire was the TKC80s, really good all-around tire. They even did great on the Tail of the Dragon in the west Smoky Mountains! The rear TKC80 and Shinko 805 were equal performers, including in mud/sand/gravel, but the 805 was way longer lasting; including experience from use on my DR650. The Shinko 804 is okay on the road and light off-road, but inferior to the TKC80 in sand and mud. Both fronts seem to have a close wear life. Both are about the same in pavement braking, which is on the poor side due to block knobby design. When I burn out the 804, I'll be putting a TKC80 on the front and continue the 805 on the rear. Starting this year, I now have sets of D606s for both the KLR and DR for serious off-road riding. The difference between the Contis and the Dunlops on the KLR out in the forest is night and day!
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-22-2017, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate the input!
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