Tire Traction - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-22-2015, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Yellowknife, NWT
Posts: 20
Tire Traction

Hi folks! Enjoying my KLR 650 pretty much everyday now since I passed my road-test! The last couple mornings it's been slightly below freezing (zero C or 32 F) and frost is always on my mind. I'm pretty nervous when it comes to sliding down the road and am wondering what would be the best tire for those conditions (similar question for rain slick roads I guess?)?


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post #2 of 7 Old 09-23-2015, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,621
Two wheels and frosty/icy roads really don't mix well.

But if you must, Goggle "Broken Tooth Project" and see what he used. Screw-in carbide tipped studs. He still fell down a lot.

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-24-2015, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,398
Yep, there is no tire that will keep you upright on frosty/icy roads......you can use studded ice tires on ice but even those don't work on frosty or icy pavement. Rain slick roads are completely different and wet pavement still has a relatively high coefficient of friction with rubber.

I simply don't ride when it's below freezing....been there, done that, have the scars to prove it.

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post #4 of 7 Old 09-24-2015, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 326
I once tried my KLR the morning after we got about 4" of snow. After all, it was equipped with knobblie tires, right? What difficulty could I possibly have?

Right! Bike went about 5 feet out of my garage, then just started spinning. thought I'd NEVER get the darn thing back into the garage...and it was ONLY 5 feet. Lesson learned: when slick, leave the bike indoors!!!

"Chet from Chattanooga"
2009 KLR, blue
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-24-2015, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Yellowknife, NWT
Posts: 20
Thanks for the link and advice. Buddy from the Broken Tooth Project is a bit extreme, to say the least (I mean that's why they invented quads and snowmobiles.....right?). I know that pretty much all the taxi's and most other two-wheel drive vehicles in Yellowknife use snow and ice tires in winter (essentially Oct -April...May), and swear by them. I've read that depending on type of rubber and tread design, a good winter tire can provide ~30-40% better traction (based on stopping distance) than all-season tires on ice.

I agree though that bikes and ice don't mix, and I don't really plan on testing any tire traction threshold theories on my KLR, but I do have an old 4-stroke Suzuki that runs pretty not-too-bad, and the city plows a 10 km long ice-road across Yellowknife Bay every winter, and I do have full hockey gear.........mind you, I'm a lot closer to 60 than 50, and I think despite my enthusiasm my bones will protest!
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-24-2015, 09:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,621
Are you not familiar with the "Numb Bum 24 hour race" down in Calgary? Google it!
I've built a few Ice tires for my KX500, 10-25 years ago! I still have the bike and a set of Ice Tires. Haven't ridden ice in about 10 years. And haven't ridden KX500 in about 6 years.

Bare Ice, with ice tires is about as good as Asphalt! But it doesn't shred your gear, if you fall down. But, if you touch another riders tire, your gear gets shredded!

Riding in 6 inches of snow on top of ice (with ice tires), is about like riding in a sand gully. Set back and 'power-on'. But snow dust will FILL your air box!

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-26-2015, 06:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Colorado mountains
Posts: 76
Its been getting down to the mid 20s (F) here for my morning commute, and though its been pretty dry, there have been some frosty places. So far not a problem; I'm running MEFO sports, with good tread. Probably not the best snow tire, but then the KLR is a bit too heavy for a snow bike ;-). If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say any good, soft street tire with lots of siping would work on a little frost (not deep snow).
In my younger days a buddy & I would commute all winter on Yamaha DT400s, with sheet metal screws in the knobbies; big fun! I sold the DT and got an XT550, and soon quit riding in the winter; that bike was too quick steeering, top heavy, and just heavy.

Conrad Long
'08 KLR 650
'96 R1100RT
'94 R1100RS
'75 XS650B
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