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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my 2012 Vegas failed inspection due to rear tire when, so I thought no big deal, I'll hop online, order a new set be ready to go in no time. Two days later I think I'm going to have an aneurism from looking for a tire that will work. I'm trying to avoid the stock D417 as the consensus is that they offer some of the worst performance (though they do have the benefit of being astronomically over priced as they only seem to be available from dealers), but every other tire I've looked at that seems to fit the dimensions (180/55 18)isted in the manual keep coming up as "doesn't for your bike". Upon further inspection, the only differences I noticed were either the load limit (most are higher than OEM) and radial instead of bias ply. My question is two part, first, as long as the size dimensions are correct, and the load/speed ratings equal or higher, I should be able to have the tire mounted, correct? And second, am I better off going with a bias ply with a higher load limit (and if so, should I not exceed a certain limit? For instance I'm looking at set of Shinko's but the load limit is 1100lbs vs the recommended 850lbs) or a radial?
 

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Doesn't matter if you go with bias ply or radial. I prefer radial, some guys prefer bias ply, bias ply is said to be a harder compound (stiffer on the sides?). It's ok to go higher with speed and load ratings, but try not to go lower if possible. What it really comes down to is what you want in a tire and how much you want to spend. Don't worry about the "doesn't fit your bike". You have the proper tire size from reading the sidewall of the one on there, go with that size. Most shops will mount any size motorcycle tire on a rim for you and if you take the wheel in sans bike, they have no clue what bike or size it's supposed to have anyway so they won't care, it's your problem if it's wrong. The load limit is the maximum load the tire can handle at the maximum speed (speed rating) of the tire.
 

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I much prefer the radial on the rear of my Vegas. My first was a Metzler 888, it was good for a while but seamed to lose grip overtime. Then I put an Avon Cobra on the rear, grip is by far better, wet traction is still above par @10k on my XC. The tracking of the radial is better than the 417.
 

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I hear a lot of good stuff about the Avons... Going to try a set this coming spring.
If I has a Vegas, I'd run these…
Pirelli Night Dragon GT 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Pirelli Night Dragon 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Why? They're a matched set, they handle and stick well, and they look really good. The radial version of these on my bike are this [_] close to as good at the Bridgestones I run, but are significantly more expensive... but let me say again, they look really cool on the bike and the rear looks fatter.

My opinion only:
Metzelers are terrible. I hate them. But they make rain an adventure!
Avons feel great when you put them on. As they wear, not so much.

This is a set I have not tried, but I would like to. These have been damned nice on other bikes in other sizes, so I am optimistic...
Michelin Commander II 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Michelin Commander II 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Like the Night Dragons they are a matched set... The H speed rating will be plenty for most people's use, and the rear is 80 load rated.
 

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I've had great luck out of the Night Dragons on my 09 Vegas. They don't last quite as long as Avon venoms, but they stick much better, especially in the rain. They're the only tires I run on the Vegas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Funny you guys mentioned the night dragons, I actually took a look what tires were on the bike and they are in fact night dragons! So after all my stressing about whether putting a non OEM spec radial on the rear will cause the bike to fail and have me die a horrible death, turns out I've riding with one whole time without a problem. So I've narrowed it down to either dragons, or Avon Cobra Chromes, are there any particular advantages to the Cobras, like longevity, handling etc? I don't consider myself an overly aggressive rider, though I have been noticing I do drag the pegs in turns every so often. I also try to avoid riding in the rain, though must admit I'm not always successful at it
 

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Funny you guys mentioned the night dragons, I actually took a look what tires were on the bike and they are in fact night dragons! So after all my stressing about whether putting a non OEM spec radial on the rear will cause the bike to fail and have me die a horrible death, turns out I've riding with one whole time without a problem. So I've narrowed it down to either dragons, or Avon Cobra Chromes, are there any particular advantages to the Cobras, like longevity, handling etc? I don't consider myself an overly aggressive rider, though I have been noticing I do drag the pegs in turns every so often. I also try to avoid riding in the rain, though must admit I'm not always successful at it
You're not paying attention...
The Night Dragons are available in a bias ply tire front and rear, so you don't have to mix a radial and a bias ply. Same with the Michellin Commander IIs. You can get either in a matched set. You will not find a 90/90-21 radial tire for the front. So you can either mix a radial rear and a bias ply front... OR... get a matched set of bias ply tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know they come in BP as well, I probably should have specified that the rear currently on the bike is a radial dragon, and the bike handles great, so the BP vs radial wasn't as big a deal as I was expecting and opens up other options. Also, I noticed that the BP dragon has a higher load limit (997 vs 827, which is the OEM spec load limit). Is there any con to using a tire that has a higher load limit than recommended? I was also looking at white wall Shinko 777's but the load limit was over 1000 lbs and I assumed that would negatively affect riding, but then again I'm no tire expert.
 

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Just completed resurrection on a 06 Hammer that had sat for 5 years. Put a set of Shinkos on it and went for a ride, at about 30 miles I took it down a road filled with a mix of curves and a few good straight stretches. Damn they're sticky tires. Have no idea about longevity I bought them cause they were cheap and the bike was going up for sale as soon as it was finished. Really pleasantly surprised with the performance. Have used every tire imaginable tire over the course of 57 years of riding.
Let your riding style dictate the tires you buy. Oh almost forgot Shinkos are made by Yokohama now so they're much better now than they used to be. Might try a set on my daily driver, 06 KP best all around bike I've ever owned.
 

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If I has a Vegas, I'd run these…
Pirelli Night Dragon GT 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Pirelli Night Dragon 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Why? They're a matched set, they handle and stick well, and they look really good. The radial version of these on my bike are this [_] close to as good at the Bridgestones I run, but are significantly more expensive... but let me say again, they look really cool on the bike and the rear looks fatter.

My opinion only:
Metzelers are terrible. I hate them. But they make rain an adventure!
Avons feel great when you put them on. As they wear, not so much.

This is a set I have not tried, but I would like to. These have been damned nice on other bikes in other sizes, so I am optimistic...
Michelin Commander II 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Michelin Commander II 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Like the Night Dragons they are a matched set... The H speed rating will be plenty for most people's use, and the rear is 80 load rated.
This is the exact combo I decided on and put on a few weeks back. I've put about 1800 miles on them and they are really good. I love their look too.
 

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I've had my 2003 Vegas since new. I run an Avon Cobra "200" at the rear with a stock-sized Avon Cobra at the front. Don't wanna have to run any other combo....
Vegas has a 5" rim... the 200mm tire you are using is designed for a 6" rim... so on your rim it is not 200mm wide and being pinched on a narrow rim can cause wonky feeling in the steering and the rear tire to have strange wear patterns.
 

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Interesting... what does "wonky" steering feel like? I have a Bridgestone Battlax BT028R 200/50R18 on the rear and just did 400 mile trip with lots of twisty roads.
Need a new back tire. Not sure if I should go with same tire or switch to what the manual says... 180/55-18.
Any idea on why the previous owner would have put the 200 on it? Seems ok to me but I have nothing to compare it to.
Thx
 

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Just put a Night Dragon GT on the rear of my Gunner. I’m going to change the front tire out way early for a Night Dragon as soon as I can afford to. Usually I’ll look for the metric size for my bike as they always seem to have a slightly higher weight rating.

Either way the Pirelli’s are fantastic tires for the way I ride my bike.
 

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If I has a Vegas, I'd run these…
Pirelli Night Dragon GT 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Pirelli Night Dragon 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Why? They're a matched set, they handle and stick well, and they look really good. The radial version of these on my bike are this [_] close to as good at the Bridgestones I run, but are significantly more expensive... but let me say again, they look really cool on the bike and the rear looks fatter.

My opinion only:
Metzelers are terrible. I hate them. But they make rain an adventure!
Avons feel great when you put them on. As they wear, not so much.

This is a set I have not tried, but I would like to. These have been damned nice on other bikes in other sizes, so I am optimistic...
Michelin Commander II 180/55B-18 80H Rear Motorcycle
Michelin Commander II 90/90-21 54H Front Motorcycle

Like the Night Dragons they are a matched set... The H speed rating will be plenty for most people's use, and the rear is 80 load rated.
I had the pirelly night draggon 90/90-21 and it was a awsome tire ...
 
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