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due to the age, style and considerations of the 81 model xs, the tires that fit it are not, shall we say, widely produced..
it uses 3.5" tire in the front, a 4.5" in the back. well today, there is one company that makes this size, and the 130/90's are supposed to be 120/90's.
Kenda.

So tell me about the difference between 2015 street rubber, and 1981 treads...

I would really like to get some decent street tread, the Kendas are Chinese, even though they are probably the best rubber available on the market today, Bridgestone is supposed to make the tires for this machine.
 

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MC tires used to be a 100% profile, but it is hard to find modern tires like that, anymore. Avon makes them to fit my CB450, but not for yours.

Just FYI, a 3.5" tire is 89mm, so one with an equal total diameter should be a 100/90, and a 4.5" tire is 114mm, so the equivalent diameter tire would be 127/90 - nearest standard would be 130/90. The main consideration, though, is the rim width, measured where the tire bead seats into it, not the outside. Once you have that measurement, you can look at the recommended rim sizes posted by the tire makers. The total diameter is often listed, too, and varies between tires of the same size, as does the curve of the profile (which used to be round, of course).

Tread patterns have evolved, much for the better, IMO. If you don't care about vintage looks, I'd go with a tread that fits your riding style. I'm comfortable with treads that resemble those that come on sport bikes (I like curvy roads), but others like the more conventional tread patterns, because they like the feel on longer highway rides. Some tires have reviews, and may help with your choice of ride.

I'm really happy with the ride and feel of the Avons I have on my CB and my '05 Boulevard; Roadrider series on the CB and Venom/Cobra on the Suzi. Good on damp roads, and very smooth through the curves. They replaced Dunlops, which were fine, but I think the Avons perform better. Of course, both these bikes weigh less than 500lbs, and larger bikes ride better with other brands. Kenda tires have a good rep on the 1400 and 1500 Suzi, based on reports on the boards.
 

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Winter covered alot in his post and I agree with what he says.
A softer compound tire will grip better but not last as long. (Sport)
A harder compound will last longer, but wont have the superior grip. (Touring)
You can change tire size almost as much as you wont as long as you don't rub. As already stated, obviously, if you have 16 rear and 18 front, those have to stay the same.
A tire size looks like 130-90-16.
The last number being rim size, That's your constant, you're not forced to stay 130-90.
 

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True, but if you stray too far from the suggested rim size limits, you compromise any tire, because a too-wide tire will be bent into the wrong shape to work properly by a narrower than suggested rim.
 

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Tyres

There should be several brands that will fit.
Problem is, both front and rear are limited in width, forks up front, drive shaft at rear. I have Bridgestone on mine. They work, but I am not crazy about them. Next new front will have a tread better suited for the side car.

Unkle Crusty*
 
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