Friday, April 18, 2008

Shopping for Tires

New K75 Tire
My Dad was a tire man. It was his second job; he was the proprietor of Country Tire Rebuilders. He retreaded tires. The smell of tires always brings me back there. I can recall a sign that hung above the door, it showed some eggs and bacon and a diner, and had a message to the effect that you wouldn’t bring your food to a diner and expect them to cook it, so don’t bring your tires here and expect him to mount them. While I remember the sign, the message didn’t sink in. I tend to shop around for tire prices, and I am lucky enough to have a mechanic who is okay with mounting them. If you are not inclined to learn how to mount your own tires, finding someone to do them is the first obstacle to buying tires online.

Recently my obstacle has been finding the tire size I need. It seems the smaller size touring tire I need for the K75 has fallen out of favor. 120/90-18 Rear is not a popular size. For 10 years I’ve been running a Metzeler, ME88, ME880 come to mind. Last summer I tried to reorder a new rear tire, as my cross country trip left mine quite square. While I was able to find the tire, my orders continued to be cancelled as Out of Stock. Jim tried his resources and came up blank too. I put the square tire back and finished the season.

With spring in the air, I began my search again, this time expanding my search. I wanted to stick with brand name tires. I ran across a review from an airhead owner who switched from the Metz to the BRIDGESTONE-BATTLAX-BT45. After some looking around, I decided to try it out. I have used several online vendors over the years, they seemed more or less the same to me. This time I went with the oft recommended Southwest Moto Tires out of AZ.

My tire was at my door in just a couple of days, I was very impressed with that, I expected a week. The rear tire is super easy to take off the K75. I brought it up to Jim’s, parted with twenty more dollars, and before you know it, I’ve got a slick new sneaker on.

I took it out for a test ride, it was a glorious sunny and 55 day. Do detailed tire report here...I was more interested in enjoying the sunny spring day! I'll probably take the K75 to Niagara Falls next weekend, I'll let you know if I notice any performance difference - odds are I won't!

Hope you have a chance to get out this weekend. I'm stuck in a hotel conference room all weekend - it's the quarterly BMW MOA Board meeting. I vote no more board meetings if it's sunny at home!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too, ride a bike left behind in the sands of time 120/80 18" and even harder to find 110/90 19".

I even spent some time online and had decided to go with the Bridgestone BT45. But will it make a difference if one is rated V and the other is rated H?
Especially since I will not approach these speeds?

(Bridgestone still makes the tires that came from the factory on my motorcycle, but I have to believe a 30 year old tire is not the leading edge of performance.)

I appreciate your evaluation of them, so I can hold off the purchase, a while.