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Old 08-31-2009, 01:26 PM   #1
internationalballer
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Default The Dark Side / Car tire on a bike

I know that some people, greyboyfan for example, run car tires for a rear wheel on their bike. What is the advantage to running a car tire on a motorcycle?
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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Two advantages I can think of right away are cost of the tire and durability. Car tires generally are a lot cheaper and will last much longer.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by internationalballer View Post
I know that some people, greyboyfan for example, run car tires for a rear wheel on their bike. What is the advantage to running a car tire on a motorcycle?
Hey Man, funny you would ask this, as I was talking to a dude the other day who put a car tire on his Honda..

According to him:

Pros: Cost; car tires last WAY longer; rear braking is more responsive (although it makes me wonder if you lock-up easier)

Con: requires more pressure on the bars during a counter-steer, since the car tire has much less of a profile, and the bikes seems to want to stand up
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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I think that car tires belong to cars, and motorcycle tires belong to motorcycles... If there were any substantial improvement, that makes a positive difference, somebody would have already advertised it, and commercialized a line of bikes. If you don't see a lot of them on the road it's because they are not that great.

Of course if you live in a place where turning is not a necessity and you like the style go for it...
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Prodigy View Post
Of course if you live in a place where turning is not a necessity and you like the style go for it...
Its not something I have considered doing, just something I'm curious about. I dont really see it being a lot cheaper considering if you shop around you can get a decent tire for your bike for about 150. I think thats about the same I spent per tire last time I put new tred on my truck. I well aware of the fact that you can get cheaper car tires than what are on my truck but at the same time I sure you can also find cheaper bike tires. Still trying to grasp this concept and how it can be a good thing. I can see the durability aspeck of it, just wondering if there is anymore pro's to "the dark side", I guess maybe if you play your cards right you don't have to put your feet down at a red light, IDK.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigy View Post
IIf there were any substantial improvement, that makes a positive difference, somebody would have already advertised it, and commercialized a line of bikes.
Not when the profit on motorcycle tires is so huge.

Car tires really only work well on BIG cruisers. These bike's aren't designed for hitting the twisties anyway, so the effect on turning is less important.

After all the reading I've done on it, if I bought a big cruiser the first time I changed the rear tire it would be for a car tire.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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If you don't plan on leaning I know a lot of bikes with car tires on them BUT, it's because they're set-up as a trike or have a side car attached and you want a flat tread in those applications for better stability and control. If your on two wheels, my advice is stick to the obvious, use a tire designed for a motorcycle on two wheels that has a rounded tread designed for that purpose or your askin for trouble.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:26 PM   #8
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Theres another thread about this somewhere and someone was woundering if you where running a car tire, could that void your insurance. Just 1 more thing to think about. I kinda doubt it would, but you know insurance companies are always looking for a reason not to pay.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:22 PM   #9
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With the possible exception of some hardcore offroad tires, car tires are not designed for riding on the sidewalls. Car tires, simplified, are flat bottomed "U"s; bike tires are round bottomed "U"s. If yu lean a bike with a car tire at certain angles, that contact patch is going to be very small, just riding on the ridge between the tread and the sidewall. Also, the rubber is softer on a bike tire (one reason they wear more quickly) to improve grip to compensate for the much smaller contact patch. IMO, the only practical application for car tires on a bike is on drag bikes. People can and do all sorts of things, but they are not necessarily good things. Bike tires are engineered for their task and car tires are engineered for an entirely different task.

Cheers,

Mike
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:41 PM   #10
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If I had a cruiser I'd put a car tire on it. I've heard all the arguments for and against, I'm convinced that for the needs of a cruiser the car tire has some advantages that outweigh the negatives. I could put a car tire on my concours but I'm not going to.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWRider View Post
With the possible exception of some hardcore offroad tires, car tires are not designed for riding on the sidewalls. Car tires, simplified, are flat bottomed "U"s; bike tires are round bottomed "U"s. If yu lean a bike with a car tire at certain angles, that contact patch is going to be very small, just riding on the ridge between the tread and the sidewall. Also, the rubber is softer on a bike tire (one reason they wear more quickly) to improve grip to compensate for the much smaller contact patch. IMO, the only practical application for car tires on a bike is on drag bikes. People can and do all sorts of things, but they are not necessarily good things. Bike tires are engineered for their task and car tires are engineered for an entirely different task.

Cheers,

Mike
Here's a good video showing a car tire on an 1100 V-star.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQtlt-HFFoo

You can clearly see that at no point (even when scraping pegs) does the tire ride on the sidewall. And even when scraping pegs, the contact patch is no smaller than a motorcycle tire's.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Aww, Here we go again.
All you guys that "think" or "imagine" or "figure" what it would, or not be like, to have a car tire on the back of a bike, need only ask me, and I'll let you ride mine down the "twisty" road and back. If you can ride yours, you can probably ride mine. I promise you won't die in a firey crash.
All you gotta do is ride the dang thing, (you can't just sit on it and go down the road).
BTW, if you're not on the darkside, then you DON'T know.
All you've read and talked to yer friends and invisioned on your own, don't mean squat.

Tires start more heated threads on bike forums than politics and the Bible put together.

You come to my town and pm me, I'll let you try it.

Now,...I'm not trying to talk anybody into anything, and I'm by no means an old long time darksider, but I do have a combined milage of 41,000 miles on my 2 Hondas. and thats been around a bunch of curves.

Another BTW,...it's not for everybody, and only if you have at least a 5" back wheel.

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Old 09-01-2009, 02:46 AM   #13
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Actually had I not just put a set of whitewall on my bobber I would stick a car tire on the rear just for looks.....I think it would look mean as hell.
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:58 AM   #14
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You should not put a car tire on a bike.... its not safe and frankly stupid...

Even these really wide rear tires that have become common on bikes are inferior by design... Theres a lot of technical crap that im not gunna go through but basically... the wider the tires the worst the bike will lean and corner...

To REALLY simplify it... if you where to draw a straight vertical line from the top to the botton on your bike (being centered laterally on the rear tire) when you lean the bike you want that line to intersect the ground as close as possible to your contact patch... Theres a reason performance bikes go the skinniest they can without sacrificing the contact patch needed.. the perfect tire would be like a pizza cutter if it where possible to get it to stick to the road.

Car tire on the back of a bike = dangerous..
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:34 AM   #15
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don't know if it's any advantage, but a buddy of mine modified his fatboy and put a f*#^@%g vette tire on the rear wheel!! Looks pretty bad azz though!!
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weebel View Post
You should not put a car tire on a bike.... its not safe and frankly stupid...
As with any claims, you gotta show some proof if you expect anyone but the most mindless forum-goer to take what you say seriously. You may "think" it's not safe, but you've never tried it, and there are THOUSANDS of riders who swear that car tires provide more grip than motorcycle tires.

Quote:
Even these really wide rear tires that have become common on bikes are inferior by design... Theres a lot of technical crap that im not gunna go through but basically... the wider the tires the worst the bike will lean and corner...

To REALLY simplify it... if you where to draw a straight vertical line from the top to the botton on your bike (being centered laterally on the rear tire) when you lean the bike you want that line to intersect the ground as close as possible to your contact patch... Theres a reason performance bikes go the skinniest they can without sacrificing the contact patch needed.. the perfect tire would be like a pizza cutter if it where possible to get it to stick to the road.
Big cruisers aren't supersport bikes. You literally can't lean a big cruiser over far enough to low side it (bad roads, etc notwithstanding). The width of the tire affects the ease with which the bike falls into the turn. This isn't a major concern for cruisers because they aren't designed for the twisties! Big cruisers have big tires because they weigh so darned much.

Quote:
Car tire on the back of a bike = dangerous..
Again, a baseless claim derived from common "wisdom" and flawed theory.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #17
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A car tire doesn't behave like many people think it would on a bike. The tread does indeed stay in contact with the ground during a turn, because the tire actually bends to some extent. Check out some close-up videos that are available on youtube to see what I mean. It would not work on a sportbike leaned over enough to drag a knee, but for most cruisers, metal parts will scrape long before the tire would ride up onto the sidewall. I have not heard of any catastrophic failures from doing this properly.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:03 AM   #18
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I watched the video, but am unconvinced. The tire's contact patch may be no smaller than a bike tire's but what bike tire? The contact patch clearly becomes smaller when the bike leans, especially so as it rides on the transition between the bottom and side. If you had a bike tire the same width as that car tire on there you would not see that patch reduced as much.

That said, I am not the tire police. Ride on whatever you feel comfortable on. I am just discussing the merits of the subject. Anyone riding on a car tire can ride with me; I've got no problem with that, I just won't be putting one on my bike (even if I had one big enough to take one).

Cheers,

Mike, for whom personally the whole issue is moot
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:19 AM   #19
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"You literally can't lean a big cruiser over far enough to low side it (bad roads, etc notwithstanding)."

You can't possibly be serious!
As far as what tire to run on a bike,I will only use what is designed to work and be safe on my particular bike. Saving a couple bucks on a tire doesn't justify using something not designed for that application. It may work but not on my bike.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWRider View Post
I watched the video, but am unconvinced. The tire's contact patch may be no smaller than a bike tire's but what bike tire? The contact patch clearly becomes smaller when the bike leans, especially so as it rides on the transition between the bottom and side. If you had a bike tire the same width as that car tire on there you would not see that patch reduced as much.
To be fair, it is the width of the contact patch that decreases when leaned, not the actual area of the contact patch (which is the most important part). Think of it this way: when not leaning, the shape of the contact patch is roughly rectangular. For the sake of this discussion, we'll say the contact patch is 5 inches wide (the width of the tire) and 1 in deep. That's actually probably a pretty generous contact patch, too. Now, when you lean, the contact patch becomes narrower, but it also elongates front-to-back. The total area of the contact remains roughly the same. It's important to remember that tires aren't rigid, they are dynamic.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcn View Post
"You literally can't lean a big cruiser over far enough to low side it (bad roads, etc notwithstanding)."

You can't possibly be serious!
I'm gonna stand by that opinion. Remember, we're talking about grip from the tires. I can see how a cruiser could be leaned over far enough that it scraps the pegs, and the pegs actually act as a pivot point that lifts the tire off the ground causing a low side. But I'm pretty confident that it would be **** near impossible to get a cruiser to low side when ridden like 99.999% of them are.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primalmu View Post
I'm gonna stand by that opinion. Remember, we're talking about grip from the tires. I can see how a cruiser could be leaned over far enough that it scraps the pegs, and the pegs actually act as a pivot point that lifts the tire off the ground causing a low side. But I'm pretty confident that it would be **** near impossible to get a cruiser to low side when ridden like 99.999% of them are.
Ok,if they are ridden moderately and not pushed as one might push it through tight twisties to the limits I will agree.My apologies for not understanding. But of course that would apply to all bikes. Sorry for the hijack!
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:26 AM   #23
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Been there...done that...car tire...not smart.
Remember all this justification of using one when your in court over an accident your bike was in, assuming you survived, because your insurer won't pay up or worse the the prosecution has filed a suite on you and they all know your bike was equipped with a tire not designed for your bike. forget all about how the bike might or might not handle with a car tire cause your butt could be in a real legal sling over it if the bike is involved in an accident. Just some points to consider. Besides, you think these well intended folks are the first ones to discover that a car tire might be a viable option on a bike? Trust me, this idea is about as old as bikes themselves are and in all that time, if it was such good idea, then why is it not a standard alternative by now? Bottom line, if your involved in an accident with your bike that has a car tire on it, it won't matter what you think, it will matter what your insurance company thinks, the courts and NHTSA.

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Old 09-01-2009, 11:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primalmu View Post
Now, when you lean, the contact patch becomes narrower, but it also elongates front-to-back. The total area of the contact remains roughly the same. It's important to remember that tires aren't rigid, they are dynamic.
I see what you are saying, and the fact that the tire is dynamic is one reason a radial would be the choice for this situatioon if one was going to do it. I'll agree to disagree on this one and think that a bike tire's patch will not change size or shape as much as a car tire will.

Cheers,

Mike
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Old 09-01-2009, 01:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyboyfan View Post
Aww, Here we go again.
All you guys that "think" or "imagine" or "figure" what it would, or not be like, to have a car tire on the back of a bike, need only ask me, and I'll let you ride mine down the "twisty" road and back. If you can ride yours, you can probably ride mine. I promise you won't die in a firey crash.
All you gotta do is ride the dang thing, (you can't just sit on it and go down the road).
BTW, if you're not on the darkside, then you DON'T know.
All you've read and talked to yer friends and invisioned on your own, don't mean squat.

Tires start more heated threads on bike forums than politics and the Bible put together.

You come to my town and pm me, I'll let you try it.

Now,...I'm not trying to talk anybody into anything, and I'm by no means an old long time darksider, but I do have a combined milage of 41,000 miles on my 2 Hondas. and thats been around a bunch of curves.

Another BTW,...it's not for everybody, and only if you have at least a 5" back wheel.
So if I have never been raped I can't say rape is wrong?

There is a reason it's referred to as the dark side.

It's done to save money - I am worth far more than the difference in cost between a tire clearly not meant for my cruiser and one that has been engineered to ride on the sidewall and be able to flex accordingly.

So anyone that does it is worth less? (Since it's done to save money)
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryHatter View Post
So if I have never been raped I can't say rape is wrong?

There is a reason it's referred to as the dark side.

It's done to save money - I am worth far more than the difference in cost between a tire clearly not meant for my cruiser and one that has been engineered to ride on the sidewall and be able to flex accordingly.

So anyone that does it is worth less? (Since it's done to save money)
It's called the dark side because of all the attitudes you see in this very thread, not because it has been proven to be more dangerous.

BTW, the reason I've heard for using a car tire is to save money AND to improve traction, improve performance in the rain, etc. Its not simply due to money, as many people have noted the above advantages.

These threads are almost as bad as oil threads. On one side of the fence you've got people screaming and yelling that you should only use a motorcycle oil/tire. On the other side of the fence, you've got people who have proven through experience (and many, MANY miles) that an automobile oil/car tire can be just as good as the motorcycle-specific products.

I, of course, stand clearly and proudly in the second group.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:46 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primalmu View Post
It's called the dark side because of all the attitudes you see in this very thread, not because it has been proven to be more dangerous.

BTW, the reason I've heard for using a car tire is to save money AND to improve traction, improve performance in the rain, etc. Its not simply due to money, as many people have noted the above advantages.

These threads are almost as bad as oil threads. On one side of the fence you've got people screaming and yelling that you should only use a motorcycle oil/tire. On the other side of the fence, you've got people who have proven through experience (and many, MANY miles) that an automobile oil/car tire can be just as good as the motorcycle-specific products.

I, of course, stand clearly and proudly in the second group.
Never heard any reason other than inherent cheapness.
I'd laugh in someones face if they said improved traction to me.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:13 PM   #28
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Never heard any reason other than inherent cheapness.
I'd laugh in someones face if they said improved traction to me.
Go ahead and laugh. On my heavy cruiser, 109 cu.in. 800 lbs full of gas,(975 with me on it) I enjoy supurb traction,(better than you!) with an 8 1/4" wide Goodyear Eagle F1 RZ on back. Oh! It probably would break loose and smoke if I got on it, but I never will. And I stop better than you with your round bottom silly little contact patch. so,...Nah-Nah-Na Nah Nah!

See where this thread is going?
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:33 PM   #29
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Now that you mention it, that is one thing that would be an advantage of a car tire over a bike tire--the much bigger contact patch when upright. That ought to greatly increase stopping power.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:44 PM   #30
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Yep!

And the a$$ end has never tried to come around on me when I did have to grab all the breaks,...once,...Long story.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:00 PM   #31
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Greyboyfan, how many miles have you gotten out of your rear car tire?

I do find in interesting that there are so many people who say it is a bad stupid inappropriate idea, but I have yet to see anyone post up who has had a bad experience 1st hand.

Greyboy fan, if I'm ever down in your neck of the woods I may just have to check out your bike. I can look at pics and video's all day but nothing compares to seeing it with your own eyes, which I have never done
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:00 PM   #32
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My VTX /W Goodyear Eagle,has a little over 11,000 miles, and the Valkyire has 31,000. on a B.F Goodrich $69 tire all season radial. (BTW, the Goodyear was not cheap, so that savin' money argument dosen't always work) ( but I fully expect it to go 30,000 plus)
I only put 1500 on the Valk personally,so far, but the previous owner rode the peep out of it before I bought it. I probably will change it sometime later this fall. You can almost see the top of Lincoln's head.

Int. baller:
Yeah! Man, Stop by any time. We'll ride.
And anyone else, for that matter. I'm in the phone book.

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Old 09-02-2009, 09:57 AM   #33
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Just a thought. You really need to take a look at the speed rating of that car tire you're going to use, as the cheaper car tire might not handle that short burst of speed we all play around with on occasion.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:51 AM   #34
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Just a thought. You really need to take a look at the speed rating of that car tire you're going to use, as the cheaper car tire might not handle that short burst of speed we all play around with on occasion.
No one on this forum would ever speed, we're all law biding riders....
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:52 AM   #35
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Now that you mention it, that is one thing that would be an advantage of a car tire over a bike tire--the much bigger contact patch when upright. That ought to greatly increase stopping power.
And the compound is not what was designed for stopping a 500 lb bike.
Nor is that contact patch going to stay constant as it will with a tire made for riding on the sidewalls.

Why not put .45 into your .38?
See where this is going?

Unless you are automotive engineer, your OPINION is just that.
So, ask one and they'll tell you what a silly idea a car tire on a bike is.

Ever see a LEO with one?
Crotch rocket?
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:16 PM   #36
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Unless you are automotive engineer, your OPINION is just that.
So, ask one and they'll tell you what a silly idea a car tire on a bike is.
That argument can go both ways. Unless you've carried out research (scientific research, that is) about using car tires on a motorcycle then your opinion is just that as well.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:13 PM   #37
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That argument can go both ways. Unless you've carried out research (scientific research, that is) about using car tires on a motorcycle then your opinion is just that as well.
I spoke with an automotive engineer that runs NHRA as a hobby.
Is his opinion valid?

Oh yeah, he rides as well.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:40 PM   #38
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Do whatever floats your boat.
In the video with the barge riding a car tire, I never once saw any kind of realistic lean angle that I encounter all of the time.
So, if you ride like you are driving a Cage, go for it.
I like to have FUN when I ride a scooter.
We rode a Rally with some guys that were way past retirement age last weekend and they were NOT riding like Grandpa!!!
One even had a Goldwing!
(see Mt. Shasta Rally thread in the Snapshots section of this forum.)

Eric

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Old 09-02-2009, 05:01 PM   #39
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I spoke with an automotive engineer that runs NHRA as a hobby.
Is his opinion valid?

Oh yeah, he rides as well.
Has he specifically tested car tires on motorcycles? If not, then his opinion isn't valid because he does not have any experience to base his opinion off of.
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:04 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by AngryHatter View Post
And the compound is not what was designed for stopping a 500 lb bike.
Nor is that contact patch going to stay constant as it will with a tire made for riding on the sidewalls.

Why not put .45 into your .38?
See where this is going?

Unless you are automotive engineer, your OPINION is just that.
So, ask one and they'll tell you what a silly idea a car tire on a bike is.

Ever see a LEO with one?
Crotch rocket?
I wont get TOO involved in this discussion as I don't ride a cruiser, but I WILL say this much:

That 500lb cruiser is no big deal for a tire that has to support 1/4 of a 2900 lb (+) car. Honestly, the car puts far more weight on the tire than that bike ever will. Load ratings are on the side of every tire and I can assure you, that bike is NOT exceeding it...

As for the "never seen it on a crotch rocket have you?" statement, I actually have. It requires considerable modification to the swingarm and usually suspension, chain, etc to make one fit though. Most people likely just dont do it because of the cost involved. Not to mention you have to buy a new rim and then you have to make sure your sprocket will fit, etc. Its a hassle. Easier done on a cruiser from what I have heard.

As for the contact patch argument: The contact patch on a car tire is huge compared to a regular motorcycle tire, and yes, it will lengthen (front to back) during a turn and take on a sort of triangular shape. No, the compound isn't as sticky as a regular motorcycle tire, but the size of the contact patch more than makes up for that, I'd think. Its not lacking THAT much stick, guys. And let me just say this about sidewalls, sidewall flex, etc: I drive my sports car rather hard. And I have never once had a sidewall failure. Potholes? Sidewall flex. Speed bumps? Sidewall flex. Railroad tracks? Sidewall flex. Slinging my 2900 lb car around a traffic circle or cloverleaf at 20 over the posted limit? Sidewall flex. Modern tires can easily handle the flexing of all these conditions under the load of a 3,000 pound car and you think going around a lazy turn on a 600 lb cruiser is going to magically blow out the sidewall?? Let me just say: "Psh". I HIGHLY doubt it. I've seen plenty of vids where the guy has a camera pointed right at his "car-tire rear wheel" and the sidewall never actually makes contact with the road. The amount of flex is insignificant if you keep the tire aired up properly. If you want to do it, I say go for it. Just make sure to keep it aired up to spec and be sure the tire doesn't rub anywhere if/when your suspension bottoms out and you're good.

Oh, and even if you ARE an automotive engineer, your opinion is STILL just that.
You could talk to 12 different doctors and get 12 different opinions on whether or not its safe for a pregnant mom to have caffeine. Even the most highly trained professionals have their own opinions.
Just my 2 cents.
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