A visit to the Dark Side and a return to the Light

(in a day)


There has been a lot of talk on the Roadiner/Stratoliner forum about the "Dark Side"; putting an automotive tire on the rear of a motorcycle.

Since my factory rear Bridgestone wore out around 6,000 miles, the replacement Bridgestone lasted a mere 3,200 miles and my most recent rear, a Dunlop, is at 6,000 and fading fast, the lure of an automotive tire that would last many thousands of miles (and look cool too) was an attractive proposition.

So, I ordered an Avon 215/50ZR17 and waited for Rick (Rick's Repair) to have a few free hours. On Saturday, July 14, 2007, We tackled the installation of the Avon automotive tire.

(click on picture for a larger picture)

Stock tire Removing the old wheel
The new Avon alongside the Dunlop Brent (owner of my former Warrior,El Cid) helps Rick squeeze the new Avon.
Airing up the Avon View from the rear without a wheel
Starting to cut Cutting continues

The width of the automotive tire (or a motorcycle tire that wide) required a section of fender to be modified. The fender has an area that bends inward toward the rear wheel to allow clearance for the belt and guard. I wasn't worried about cutting it because it is pretty obscure on the Roadliner and completely hidden by the bags on the Stratoliner.

Cutoff wheel coming through The mounted tire with pulley
First piece removed Switching to a Sawz-all with metal blade. Fast and smooth
Everything removed Looking back, we could have radiused the cut and not gone quite as far forward but it's all good
The Avon mounted and installed From the rear
Showing the cut out area Reassembling
Almost done Finished except for the bags

View of the Avon from the back

Ready for the road Rick, test pilot


After riding it several miles, Rick's recommendation was to switch back to a motorcycle tire. The bike wanted to self center all of the time, followed the crown of the road, pushing to the edge and required handlebar effort to maintain a straight line, as well as having an overall "squirrelly" feel. I asked his bottom line opinion on the tire and he said "dangerous".

Rick asked me to take it out and I told him that there was no need. He has ridden and raced all sorts of bikes since he was a kid, I respected his opinion, and I don't need more challenges to interfere with my riding. So, the automotive tire came off and the Dunlop went back on. A new Dunlop is on order.

Whether you want to try is up to you. I'm sure the discussion about the merits and dangers of using qutomotive tires will continue, but, for me, the answer is plain. A $300+ experiment that failed, but put my mind at rest about the whole question.



This page last updated: 07/16/2007 10:59