Tires! Cant Decide! - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 05-24-2013, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Tires! Cant Decide!

Im looking for some tires that will get me from Kansas City to Steamboat Springs, CO. From there nothing but trail to south colorado with softsand and probably little bit of everything else. Then back to KC on pavement.

I was thinking Dunlop606 but not sure if knobs will hold up for the long ride from and to KC.
I would like to be somewhat comfortable at 75 80 mph on pavement.

Also looking at IRC GP-1

The TKC 80 knobs dont seem like it they would hold up well through all that pavement based on reviews. Also pricey.

My Dilemma is Im stuck on whether I should opt for 50/50 tire or shoot for something aggressive and suffer the cons on pavement. I dont ride crazy but I would like to bust through Kansas as fast as I can. I dont have much experience offroad so I need all the help I can getting through the mountains.

Anyone with Dunlop606 know if the noise is so loud from them that it would cut through my in ear monitors and ruin my my road trip playlist? Cuz I cant be havin that!
Whats your top speed with those tires on pavement?


edit: heres a link to the trail im riding if anyone is interested. theres a vid which would give you better idea of what Im looking at.
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post #2 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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My guess is you really won't be able to decide once you get the opinions flying on here......

Considering the nature of your trip, if I were in your shoes I would choose more of a 50/50-type tire, but then again I'd also make that trip on a set of Shinko 244's.

If you're more concerned with the off-road aspects, any reputable tire with more aggressive knobbies, installed new not long before your departure, will not wear that much over the course of that 600-mile pavement trip to Colorado. I'm guessing they would still look pretty much like new when you got there and ventured off-road. 600-700 miles isn't that far.

Sure, some tires are louder than others, but I can't imagine any knobbed tire being so loud it would overcome the wind noise and helmet enough on the highway to disrupt your tunes.

I would also recommend, if you don't have one already, to get a compressor so you can make changes to your tire pressures depending on what kind of surface you're riding on. It might help a lot in certain situations, maybe even more than the selection of a particular tire tread design.

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post #3 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 10:22 AM
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I've run the Dunlop 606 on pavement and wasn't bothered by the noise. But then I was on my bike heading to the mountains - nothing much bothers me then.

Have you looked at the Heidenau K60 Scout??


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post #4 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 11:32 AM
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I won't run anything less than a knobbie in sand. I have used the Pirelli MT21 front and rear on my 2011. They work much better in sand than the stock Dunlops (SUCKED) or the Mefo Explorers I tried. On pavement the rear wore about 1/8 inch in 1000 miles and the front barely wore at all.
If you are going to be driving at high speed on slab I really recommend balancing the tires. I think a lot of the bad rap knobbies get about vibration on pavement is actually caused by the tires being out of balance.


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post #5 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 12:21 PM
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I'd run a rear shinko 244 and a little more aggressive front. Front MT21 is great.

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post #6 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replys, you guys are super helpful and this forum rocks.

Sounds like I could get by with a 50/50 tire adjusting the pressure,but without knowing what to expect on the trails I am leaning towards aggresive knobby and just taking it easy on my way out and back.

The ride to my starting point on the trail,steamboat springs is a little under 1000 miles. Im taking a scenic route recommended from motorcycle through kansas. Then around 4-500 miles of trail to Silverton, CO where I will hook up with the guys for 2013 RMAR rendevous. That rally is calling for a 90/10 tire if possible. May end up skipping the rally, not sure if I am trying to pack to much in for 2 weeks on my first real motorcycle trip...

Im going to have the local motorcycle shop put the tires on and balance them.

"Have you looked at the Heidenau K60 Scout??"
Yes, they look like they would be great for pavement but can they get me through soft sand and rocks? One of the things I noticed from the reviews of 606's is that they stand up to puncturing from rocks better than other knobbies, pretty sure Im going to roll over a few rocks. Riding solo so the thought of a damaged tire in the mountains makes me a tad nervous.

"I've run the Dunlop 606 on pavement and wasn't bothered by the noise."
Thats good to hear, how about in the rain?

I am probably over thinking it here but inexperience and trying to make the trip epic as possible are the reasons behind that.

Maybe if I could go off a majority vote from experienced riders, would you run with a 50/50 or full knobbie in my situation?

Thanks again.
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post #7 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 01:19 PM
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If you're going to do that rally and they're calling for 90/10 tires, there's probably a good reason for it. I'd try to get more information/recommendations from them if that's possible.

Have you ever changed your own tires? You mentioned you were going to have a local shop do it for you. If you're going to be riding solo in areas/terrain that make you nervous about tire damage, you might want to become at least somewhat proficient at dismounting/repairing/mounting your own tires and tubes and have everything with you to do so.

At a minimum, I would suggest carrying some of those large zip ties so you could zip-tie your tire to your wheel in an attempt to limp slowly back to civilization on a flat: beats the hell out of leaving the bike and walking.

As a side note in regards to rolling over sharp, Rocky Mountain igneous rocks, do you have a metal skid plate?

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post #8 of 35 Old 05-25-2013, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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I thought about changing them myself but what about balancing? The shop recommended a new chain as well which Im not sure how hard that is to replace. They said they could throw it on with tires for around $150. I was thinking I might press my luck with some fix a flat stuff and zip ties, but not decided, there would be a huge payoff if I had already changed a tube and run into trouble in the middle of nowhere.

I saw your post on balancing, but from reading it I am still not sure how you would go about it.
Can you suggest a tire change kit for the trip with jack that you mentioned in your post that I could get online?

Far as the skid plate, its still stock..This trip keeps adding up. I was looking at the happy trail combo with highway pegs. I dont have any engine/radiator protection other than stock. I never camp so I had to buy all that gear, luggage, gps, mounts, all the maintenance/mods on the bike, motorcycle apparel. I still need boots, flashlight, bear repellant, etc.. Fortunately I should be able to just hop on and go for future rides.
Oh and I haven't done the doo, Im at 4800 miles on the engine. Hoping I can just do that after this trip.

Would you just buy the skid plate and forgo the engine guards?
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post #9 of 35 Old 05-26-2013, 12:19 AM
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First of all, I admire your gumption in planning and embarking on such a trip! It sounds like it will be a blast.

I don't have all the answers, but will say a couple of things in regards to some of your questions.

Balancing tires isn't that critical on a KLR. I've never balanced any of mine. The most rudimentary method would be to just put the wheel/tire back on and spin it and see if one side tends to spin down to the bottom, which is unlikely.

No idea about the chain: how many miles are on it? 4800? Shops recommend a lot of things. Sometimes they're legit, sometimes they're just trying to make some money. I would think even a neglected stock o-ring chain would be fine at 4800 miles.

Changing tires is not that hard, but can be frustrating when you first start out. Just Google "motocross tire changing" and you'll find some good videos that will explain the process better than words ever can. I suggest "motocross tire changing" because those tires have tubes in them.

There aren't really any kits available. You have to put together your own tools. Here's a thread that discussed tool needs for tire changes:

I use the Eagle Mike Quick Jack and like it.

If you think you might encounter large rocks, I would definitely drop coin on a metal skidplate. A busted oil drain plug/cracked threads/case could have you heading to Hertz to rent a car to get back home. There have been some real horror stories on here from riders who were unfortunate enough to have some object strike their oil drain plug and bust it. The stock plastic skid plate provides very little protection for the plug.

I have the HT guards, but stand strong in my opinion that they are probably the worst choice for the KLR as opposed to other offerings like Givi or SW Motech. Some people have no problem with them, but it's been my experience that the inner support bars are too fragile, bend/shift easily and pass too close to critical components like the voltage regular and radiator.

I would think at 4800 miles your doohickey would be fine for the trip, but I would make sure it's adjusted.

When are you going? I'm not a long-range rider, but the old mantra of "don't do any serious maintenance or mods you don't have to do right before you leave" makes a lot of sense to me.

I wish you luck on your trip! We will expect photos........

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post #10 of 35 Old 05-26-2013, 08:16 AM
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Location: Pond Creek,Oklahoma USA
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I agree with everything Planalp said. I would also strongly suggest highway pegs. Priceless on a trip such as yours. Don't forget to set the sag on your shock for your load. Being a noob, my first trip to Colorado was a little frightening. With the usual strong winds on the high plains, I would get bad wobble over about 55mph. I thought it was my tires (IRC GP1s). When I got home I did some research and decided to check the sag. Anyhow, I ended up getting a heavier spring and setting my sag for the load on my next trip and the bike handled perfectly. Much more enjoyable on the road.
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