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My local shop says that I should match the make/model of the front and rear tires on my Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. But with the Covid shut downs, I can't get a new front tire. Is there really any benefit to matching the front and rear tires?
 

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My local shop says that I should match the make/model of the front and rear tires on my Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. But with the Covid shut downs, I can't get a new front tire. Is there really any benefit to matching the front and rear tires?
you can switch out make and model if your bike will fit them ( i.e. things like knobbies or paddle tires) but you are obviously going to want to stick with the same size tire that fits your rim.

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Many think it's not a good idea to mix bias-ply tires with radials, because of the difference in handling. After that, I don't think it matters as much as dealers say.
 

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I stay with the same basic type of tyre. But otherwise will mix and match them.
For instance, if I get a flat in the rear of a matched set of Michelins, and I have a Dunlop handy, I put on the Dunlop.
I got another flat late last year and plugged it. I will check on line for a matching tyre.
Neighbour down the road plugged a tyre, the plug failed, he crashed. Damage to bike and rider.
UK
 

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I used to mix and match (within reason) until several years ago when I tried the Battleax S21's. The claimed wet surface performance of some of the higher street legal tires come from matching the tread design of the front to the rear, where the front pushes the rain away from the road surface the rear contacts and the rear thread designs then takes advantage of the rain pattern left from the front so in combination they achieve better wet traction. I was so impressed by the traction I get from the S21's I continued to run matching tires front and rear and now I using the newer S22, which are even better in the wet than the previous S21's. I'm using these on a 2006 Ninja ZX14 and 2012 Ninja ZX14r. With your Honda cruiser, there are probably more tire styles and thread designs available and matching them may not be as important to you as I, or your speeds and lean angle may not be as great, or maybe you avoid riding in the rain. Just my thoughts with keeping them matched. I also switch out the fronts when I switch out the rears. The guys at the shop love me as when I switch sets they get a half used front!
 

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The claimed wet surface performance of some of the higher street legal tires come from matching the tread design of the front to the rear, where the front pushes the rain away from the road surface the rear contacts and the rear thread designs then takes advantage of the rain pattern left from the front so in combination they achieve better wet traction.
This only works when traveling in a fairly straight line; when turning, the tires follow separate paths.
 

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I've mis-matched bias and radials, bias and car tire radials, radials and car tire runflats, specified front tires on the front and then gone to a rear tire on the front, and in all cases (note, this is with street tires), it never seemed to matter. EVERY TURN AND CURVE you make when riding is going to be different EVERY TIME YOU RIDE IT. That said, I'm not sure how a rider can really tell if there's a difference in cornering or stopping unless they are an expert and on a closed course under identical conditions. Otherwise, they're just subjectively guessing. You can tell the feeling is subjective when the words "it seemed to me" have been injected.

The thing is, we adapt to the different conditions of the roadway, temporary condition of our bike, and the condition of our physical body all the time. If you don't adapt, you'll never be able to ride city streets and country roads. Wouldn't it be boring if everything was the same every time we rode?

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This only works when traveling in a fairly straight line; when turning, the tires follow separate paths.
I was going to say that, but decided to keep quiet. Everything is generally fine in a straight line, as long as we avoid deep puddles. Steve Baker passed me on the outside of a tight corner, going sideways on a TD2B Yamaha. It was pissing rain. He did something that is impossible for mere mortals. Only about three of us went fast in the rain. Steve was faster.
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The first Yamaha R-6's were very picky about their tires.
Different types of rear tires would change the handling characteristics quite a bit, not so much with the front.

I used to use DOT approved race tires on the front and "sport" tires on the rear of all of my street/sport bikes.
Race compounds on the rear wouldn't last long enough but they would last pretty well on the front.
That combination worked well back then, but technology marches on.
In recent years DOT race tires have changed into something more than just soft compound versions of street sport tires.
Some of today's specialized sport tires are probably as "sticky" as the race tires of only a few years ago.
My current street bike is due for a front, too many choices.

S F
 

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I used to mix and match.. until .. I tried the Battleax S21's. .... I was so impressed by ... the S21's I continued to run matching tires front and rear and now I using the newer S22,
The guys at the shop love me as when I switch sets they get a half used front!
Maybe if you ride more, you'll be ready to switch out before they come out with the 23s, and you can keep your extra 1/2 tire? Ride more, save more money!
 

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I've mis-matched bias and radials, bias and car tire radials, radials and car tire runflats, specified front tires on the front and then gone to a rear tire on the front, and in all cases (note, this is with street tires), it never seemed to matter. EVERY TURN AND CURVE you make when riding is going to be different EVERY TIME YOU RIDE IT. That said, I'm not sure how a rider can really tell if there's a difference in cornering or stopping unless they are an expert and on a closed course under identical conditions. Otherwise, they're just subjectively guessing. You can tell the feeling is subjective when the words "it seemed to me" have been injected.

The thing is, we adapt to the different conditions of the roadway, temporary condition of our bike, and the condition of our physical body all the time. If you don't adapt, you'll never be able to ride city streets and country roads. Wouldn't it be boring if everything was the same every time we rode?

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That, to me, is a brilliant way to put how I feel.

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I guess it depends - some people seem to have different experiences.

Personally I only tried to mix tyre models one time on a sports bike. I tried to mix a sporty compound for the front wheel and a more commuter compound for the rear (sporty-commuter, not full out commuter). Both were the same brand but different models so had different profiles and different compounds. Forum members online (another forum) said it was OK to do etc., so I did it.

My experience - it screwed up the handling and feel completely. It actually felt unstable and unsafe. I changed the front sports tyre to the same sporty-commuter tyre as the rear (so in the end both tyres were the same brand and model: sporty-commuter) and the handling was far far FAR better and even felt a lot safer. It was night and day difference.

My personal lesson from this experience - don't mix tyres if you care anything about handling or feel. In fact I would not even try to mix tyres again as I think handling feel and safety is too important on a motorbike and especially a bike like a sports bike which has a tendency to lean more in corners than other types of bike.
 

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Of course without some type of scientific test comparison our opinions are subjective, regardless we form opinions based on direct experience which also may be based on others opinions or manufacturers testing for whatever that is worth to form our confidence, or lack of confidence in a product. I speak from my experience, not anyone else so the reader can take it or leave it, I'm good with that. If we are making tight turns in a parking lot, I would agree the rear doesn't follow the front pattern enough to make a difference, but then I'm not going to be concerned about rain wash at those speeds. On the street/highways at speed, the front does disrupt and leave a pattern for the rear to follow unless one is on the track dragging a knee. The pattern during a lean will not be as uniform or centered as much in a straight, but it will disrupt to varying degrees depending on the lean, the road surface, amount of rain collected, etc.

Maybe if you ride more, you'll be ready to switch out before they come out with the 23s, and you can keep your extra 1/2 tire? Ride more, save more money!
Your assumption is far from factual, but I understand that happens a lot. I get 7-8K miles on the rear tire of S21's and S22's. Between the 2 bikes I change tires about 3 times a year. I buy tire sets that are 3-6 months old and therefor never are riding on aged rubber. I don't change my own tires and get a better deal on the tires and change cost when changing both front and rear as a combo then trying to get a few more miles out of the fronts, and the bikes are in the shop less. Works for me. I'm not stating my opinion to convince anyone that my way is better for them, only that my way has become the best for me. I'm open minded and always wanting to learn so I like reading how and why others conduct their rides. So far in this thread I haven't read anything that will change my approach, but I'm still reading and listening.
 

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Maybe because I am a conservative rider, mixing brands and models of tires has never seemed to make a difference to me. I never mix bias and radicals, but that's about it. I haven't had a flat in quite a few years, so I have been replacing both front and rear at the same time for the last few tire changes, and have stayed with matching tires (but not sure that I really needed to do so).
 

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In all of this, few have mentioned bike types. Total mass, rake/trail, and suspension tightness will probably go a long way in covering or exposing small differences. My big Valkyrie doesn't seem to care much (although it didn't like the Shinko brand tire up front), but the Suzi S50 I used to ride did feel different with different types. I suspect sport bikes are twitchy enough to really feel a difference. I've always kept matching tires on my old CB450, so don't really know; it's like riding a butterfly, so would likely show a difference in tire types.
 

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I had one bike that didn't like anything but OEM tires, with radials it was unstable at speeds over 50 mph. Tried for a hundred miles and removed them.
I haven't had a problem on any of my other bikes and have even used a Dunlop radial car tire on the rear and a Shinko bias rear tire on the front for thousands of miles with no issues.
It could depend on the bike.
 

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I forgot to mention, as others have, that the difference may well be dependent on the type of bike you are riding. In my case, it was on cruisers or tourers. Sport bikes may have a more differenciated feel depending on various tires, in addition to the types of surface they're on and the vigor with which they are ridden. o_O

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My Goldwing came with Dunflop E3s on it. Handled like a truck and howled in corners.
I changed it to a Michelin Commander II on the front and a car tire on the back.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE!
That bike handles great now!
I've been running that combination for the last 25,000 miles.
 

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I get 7-8K miles on the rear tire of S21's and S22's.
Wow! ...These days I use so called sport tires, front and rear. I only get about 3K out of a rear most of the time.
Although at this time I have a S21 on the rear with about 3K on it. It still has tread. Humm.
I hate to admit it but I don't ride nearly as much as I used to so when I went out to scuff in the then new S21 rear I got a scary push/slide from the front tire. Looking at the sidewall numbers... that front is too old and therefore hard; hence the slide.
I'll be ordering a new front today / tomorrow. (Probably the Bridgestone RS10, but I am still shopping). Then I'll finally get to test traction of that S21 rear.

When I do a road trip that will be as long as 3K or more I'll put a sport touring type tire on the rear and continue to run a sport tire up front.
I can feel the difference, sport touring rear / sport front, but it's nothing unsettling, just a little different feel.
The last two times I ran a sport touring rear I never found out how many miles It would last. Both times a nail got it so I had to pitch it at around ~ 4K. It still hand plenty of tread.

S F
 
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