Join Date: Jul 2014
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As much as it pains me to put HD merchandise on my bike, I ordered that bias-ply tire a few minutes ago.
I first talked with a Dunlop engineer in Akron, Ohio. He was unaware (!) of the Dunlop tire being used on the Valkyrie and was not willing to comment of running a bias-ply tire up front. He did indicate that it would take some time for the real tire to show up due to how inventory and stuff works. Apparently this tire is a joint effort with a different Dunlop area (?) and that complicates things.
I then talked with American Honda customer relations. They would not commit on the bias-ply question and have no idea when the tire might show up. They do know that there are none in the "world" inventory. They are unwilling to take a tire off of a crated Valkyrie in their warehouse to take care of a customer. I have a feeling that if I were to be a reviewer getting ready to turn in my review of the Valkyrie, they would find a tire pretty quick! I have owned at least 11 or 12 new Honda motorcycles in the last three years so I guess they figure this incident will not affect my future buying plans. (Up until this incident I have been entirely satisfied with my Honda experience, although I have also owned a Yamaha, Kawasaki and I currently have two KTMs.)
The Honda rep did suggest repairing the original tire. I thought that was pretty crazy but maybe riding around on a plugged front tire is safe. It seems stupid to me, especially since it suffered a lot of heat damage (IMO) but I am not an engineer.
I researched a bit and it appears that a radial up front and a bias-ply in the rear is a real bad idea, but there are several bikes manufactured with a radial in the rear and a bias-ply up front. The tire in question is the correct size and has the same speed rating and load rating.
I think if I drive the speed limit and monitor the tire temperature and pressure I will be fine. Maybe I will die doing this but life is full of decisions and risks. If I do die at least this story is documented here in the forum.
I asked the Honda rep if they have sent an email to all of the dealers notifying them that there are no front tires. I feel this is pretty important information for potential customers to know, and dealers too. I don't think they are telling anyone and I think they just hope this situation fixes itself.
I feel pretty stupid paying monthly payments and insurance for a motorcycle (that I love!) that is not able to be ridden.
The "local" HD dealers want around $200 for the tire but the link above was $116.57 delivered. And, I don't have to sneak into the HD dealer to pick it up.
(FWIW, I have nothing against any motorcycle manufacturer, but it is fun to play with the stereotypes!)