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Umm.. in case you didn't know.. when using a car tire on the rear of your motorcycle ... the height of the sidewall holds all the secrets to what makes one tire a better choice than another.
Specifically, the higher the sidewall the better that tire will be at both keeping a wider contact patch in a lean and reducing the amount of muscle required to lean.
A 55 series tire, with it's very short sidewall, forces you to ride "up" to the corner (outer edge) of the tire, reducing the contact patch size as well as requiring more input on the bars.
A 75 series tire, with it's higher sidewall, squishes the inside sidewall down and away from the inside edge of the tire, pushing more rubber down to the ground and thus reducing the amount of handlebar input required to initiate and maintain the turn.
IMHO, experience and what I have seen from behind other darkside riders with tires of all sizes, a 165/75 tire beats the living daylights out of ANY 55 series when it comes to contact patch size in a lean. A 55 series tire has a very small contact patch in a hard lean. Less than a motorcycle tire, which has a contact patch size that doesnt change a great deal leaning or straight up. That 165/75 tire in a peg dragging lean still has about 70% of its tread on the ground. In contrast my 205/75 in the same turn has 45% of it's tread on the ground which still equates to a larger contact patch than the original M/C tire. A 205/55 tire has 10% or less.. hard to tell from behind at speed. Rode anothers VTX, same bike as mine but with a 205/55 and man! Did that ever require more muscle than mine. I didnt care for it but I loved mine.
Bear in mind that these are all cruisers with not a lot of lean angle to them. The Valk has substantially more lean available and because of that the sidewall height is going to be even more important. I have no experience darkside with a Valk... until I switch that is.
But to go darkside properly on a Valk will require switching to a 16" goldwing rim just to get a choice of tire sizes. It's doable if you have a spacer made to accomodate the GW rim. After that it's just trial and error to find the best performing tire size for the bike.



That's just my .10 cents worth.
 

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For those who have changed to a 16" GoldWing rim for more tire options, when using a 2003 - 2017 rim, are any spacers needed to get the rim properly centered?
 

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For those who have changed to a 16" GoldWing rim for more tire options, when using a 2003 - 2017 rim, are any spacers needed to get the rim properly centered?
I received confirmation that no changes are needed, it bolts right on!
 

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But to go darkside properly on a Valk will require switching to a 16" goldwing rim just to get a choice of tire sizes. It's doable if you have a spacer made to accomodate the GW rim. After that it's just trial and error to find the best performing tire size for the bike.

That's just my .10 cents worth.
Lots more than 10 cents worth of info there. :) Any idea how thick the spacer would need to be to counter any offset when using the GW rim?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLO View Post
But to go darkside properly on a Valk will require switching to a 16" goldwing rim just to get a choice of tire sizes. It's doable if you have a spacer made to accomodate the GW rim. After that it's just trial and error to find the best performing tire size for the bike.

That's just my .10 cents worth.Lots more than 10 cents worth of info there. :) Any idea how thick the spacer would need to be to counter any offset when using the GW rim?
I don't understand. :confused: SLO says he hasn't done it on a VALK, and those who HAVE done it say that no spacer is required... I hope to find out for myself this weekend. Khumo Ecsta 195/60 tire is on the 16" rim ready to go.
 

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Sorry, I should have more accurately stated that " I read of someone that had done it and had a spacer made."
So I assumed it was required.
My bad.
IIRC the spacer was 3/8" or was it 3/16". **** if I can even remember where I read that now.
I will be no help at all for this discussion it seems. LOL


I havent looked seriously into riding darkside for this bike yet. So I will be following the findings here for the day I want to switch over. Have to buy a new rear MT now since I picked up a nail recently and this tire has only 3500 gentle miles on it. ****.
If it was a car tire I would pull it and put a boot in it and be done.
 

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Was that tire size recommended by another '14-'15 valk going to the darkside? Rooting for you to have a great experience. Keep us posted.
Thanks, Sanmo. This specific tire and size was not exactly recommended by a VALK 1800 rider, but I put a lot of research and other recommendations together from this site and others to arrive at that choice. I know of one VALK 1800 owner who bought a 16” rim, powdercoated it, mounted this same tire model and size, and just hadn’t got around to putting it on the bike yet, then gave the Valk to his wife and sold the 16” wheel and tire to another member of this site who also hadn’t mounted it the last I heard. Another Valk 1800 rider, Curtis Mixon, was the first one I know of to suggest and validate the 16” wheel idea. I think Curtis is now riding a 1300 ST.

The database on the Darkside forum “ROLL'N DARKSIDE” https://www.facebook.com/groups/rollindarkside/?multi_permalinks=3488101561243533 has records from 789 implementations, and 54 of them were Khumo, 8 of those were in this size, and one of them was on a Valk 1500, and 34 on GoldWings, and there were plenty of positive comments.

The main reason I chose this one, is size, 190/60R16 is the tallest that I was only reasonably confident would fit, and I only found this one and the Yokohama AVID Ascend (also popular and highly recommended) in that exact size that was almost twice as expensive and had a lower speed rating, so
I figured I’d try the popular less expensive one until I at least confirm it fits that I’m not highly dissatisfied with the handling. Size considerations – the most important was that I wanted the overall height to be taller, not short than stock so the final drive ratio would have lower rather than higher revs.

I really wanted a Bridgestone DriveGuard RunFlat, or the Federal SS595, both also highly recommended but I only found them in shorter sizes, and I need to ask more questions about the rpms on the highway for the shorter tire before considering shorter.

205/50R17 is another option but I only found 1 person (in Europe!) to say that would fit, and comments lower in this message string from Poncho and SLO convinced me that 195/60 might perform better than 205/50. SLO’s assertion that a taller sidewall would be better than say a 50 for keeping a bigger contact patch on the curves and Poncho’s point that a narrower tire would be easier to roll in and out of.
Here is a photo of James Wendell Chenault, throwing a lot of sparks while running the Yokohama Avid Ascend of 195/60R16. Looks like he’s almost found the max lean angle of that GoldWing! He reported getting 40,000 miles out of the one he just replaced, and runs 33 psi by the way. Everything I’ve read indicates that finding the psi sweet spot for your specific tire, bike, riding style and weight, is critical, and many people make the mistake of overinflating, thinking they need to be close to the max psi on the tire, but that would be for a fully loaded car, not an 750 pound bike + rider(s). Less than the max psi keeps more tread in contact, allows more flexibility for handling, better tire wear, and a smoother ride, BUT TOO low can cause mushy handling and sidewall issues. Another option is 205/55R17 but multiple reports that modifications are needed (grinding the seam on the swing arm).

Ya, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and sure hope it fits like I expect it to. More updates coming next week...
 

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A lot of options on the Discount Tire site for the 205/50R17 if that fits. Discount Tire also lists three-run flat options.

https://www.discounttire.com/fitmen...ires:runFlat-boolean:RF&sort=price-asc&page=0
Thanks for the good info, Farther. Yes, IF that fits is the big question. One VALK 1800 owner in Europe says, 'yes' and I'd love to hear from others. We do have multiple reports that a 205/55 rubs against either the battery box or the seam on the swing arm, so that raises concern in my mind about the 205/50 that is 12mm shorter and the same width.

I like the Bridgestone Driveguard (RunFlat) there, and the Yokohama Avid Ascend, and Walmart.com has the Federal SS595 in that size, but keep in mind that is 1) shorter sidewall, and 2) wider than the 195/60 and both of those factors have a negative impact on handling compared to the 195/60R16. Also, the narrower 195/60R16 is an overall 2mm taller (radius) than the 200/50R17, an advantage for those concerned about final gearing, and a disadvantage for those concerned about unadjusted speedometer accuracy.
 

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Was that tire size recommended by another '14-'15 valk going to the darkside? Rooting for you to have a great experience. Keep us posted.
Good news, the Khumo Ecsta PA31 195/60R16 fit without modification and without a spacer. It is very easy to change, no axle to mess with, just lugnuts like on a car and almost as quick.

I used the tire change method that’s been going around lately, Bartman 7 minute videol
, leaning the bike on it’s side, where I put towels in the grass and saved $100. I also used a bungee to wrap around and lock the front brake ON while setting the bike down and picking it up, and that all was much more stable than I expected. I took a few minutes to remove the Corbin bags, so the heavy bag bracket serves as a guard on one side, and allows easier access to the lugnuts on the other side. After setting her on her side, I had to put a 2.4” under the centerstand, where most of the weight is on the engine guard, so I did NOT have to remove fender or even the saddlebag bracket. The 195/60R15 just barely slipped in past the lower front portion of the fender, I thought I was going to have to do more disassemble for a minute, and then the right twist let it slide right in. Once mounted, appears to have plenty of room.

For any of you in the DFW area, I endorse Texas Tire in Watauga. Their price went up to $20 for a wheel off tire mount, but I arrived at 4:47 pm on a Monday after a holiday weekend, and I was out in 9 minutes. It’s like having your own pit crew! I also had them put in 6 oz of Dynabeads, again, highly recommended by a couple of the same high annual mileage folks that recommended darkside.

Handling impressions coming soon...:)
 

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Interesting...Looks easy enough, just a few minutes. Let us know your impressions with your tire choice. Nice post.
What is the Valkyries contact points without the Corbin bag rails you mentioned. I'd hate to learn an expensive mistake the hard way or bend those Corbin bag stays and not have the bags line up with the mounting holes. I like your post, just throwing out questions. Does the front crash bar contact the ground before any plastics? I've picked my 1500 Valk up that way when it fell off the stand and it was easier than I had thought. I'm uneasy laying my new bike on it's side, I'm concerned with damage outweighing a few bucks saved. How does the dealer do it? Do they drop the left side exhaust pipe?
 

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Tire Wheel Fuel tank Automotive lighting Automotive tire


I ran a Yokahama S-Drive 205/55/17 on my VTX 1800 for years. This is an awesome performance tire. I had a modified wheel as stock was 16". When I purchased my 14 Valkyrie I removed the 205 from the VTX and did a test fit. It hit the aft portion of the battery box and the inner section of the drive shaft. It looks possible to modify to make it fit.
Right now I am happy with running a 200 MC tire.
 

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With a center stand is it necessary to lay the Goldwing over? What am I missing here?
Now that the job is done, the larger tire is not lifted off the ground by the centerstand! After 120 miles, that's the only negative, and I just put that centerstand on about a week ago! I'll try to put a piece of plywood under it, but I'm sure there wouldn't be enough room to get the tire under the left exhaust pipe without at least loosening it, and maybe having to also remove the fender, which also means, seat, passenger grab rails, and for me, the bracket for the Corbin bag, and then of course, having to put it all back on again.

Interesting...Looks easy enough, just a few minutes. Let us know your impressions with your tire choice. Nice post.
What is the Valkyries contact points without the Corbin bag rails you mentioned. I'd hate to learn an expensive mistake the hard way or bend those Corbin bag stays and not have the bags line up with the mounting holes. I like your post, just throwing out questions. Does the front crash bar contact the ground before any plastics? I've picked my 1500 Valk up that way when it fell off the stand and it was easier than I had thought. I'm uneasy laying my new bike on it's side, I'm concerned with damage outweighing a few bucks saved. How does the dealer do it? Do they drop the left side exhaust pipe?
Still a little early after only 120 miles, but I was surprised how easy the bike still rolls in and out of a lean, perhaps due to the rounded shoulders on this particular tire, and then the handlebars seem to want to steer further into the lean, feeling like it wanted me to keep counter steering pressure especially in faster turns. I'm still evaluating that at different speeds and how it behaves if I just go with it versus applying counter steering pressure. Feels MUCH smoother going straight, as expected from having twice as much rubber on the road if you’ve ever put larger tires on a car or truck, especially over any minor imperfections in the road, and was better (more stable) in tight wheel-to-lock turns in a flat parking lot. Also feels like I might have got lucky and hit the tire psi sweet spot on the first attempt at 34, as it isn't sloppy mushy, and doesn't bounce in the curves.

Without the Corbin brackets, the contact point on that side in the back would instead be the exhaust, but it's hard to say because of the deep grass and clothes, but most of the weight was definitely on the engine guard. I even left the ERGO III highway pegs on, and only had to readjust it a little when done as it spun a little but didn't bend. With the front brake locked on with a bungee and transmission left in 2nd gear and a brick in front of the front tire, it was MUCH more steady for me to very gently set it down and pick it up than the guy in the video. I'm also 200 pounds, a little younger and stronger than the guy in the video. With a 2nd person to watch the clearance, I think most people using the technique with their butt on the seat and having their legs do the work, would be able to lower it to just b4 contact and then pick it back up if the observer saw an issue. I guess that, like going darkside, a lot of the decision about trying the leaning tire change depends on how often you're changing the rear tire. Occasional riders who get a couple or more years out of a motorcycle tire, might as well have the shop do it. In this case, I wanted to see for myself exactly how this tire fit, and if not, just pop the old one back in, as it still has a couple or more thousand miles left. Now, I may not have to do it again for 40,000 miles or so, and then I might have Cliff's Mobile Tire Service do it, depending on weather, budget, etc. Replacing like for like would make it less likely for someone to think this tire won't fit after they started the job.
 

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Buster, good to hear that the 195/60R16 works for you. I myself am leaning towards a 185/60R16 with inexpensive choices from Yokohama, Nexen, Toyo, etc. The latter size appears to more closely approximate the height, width, RPM and speedo of the stock 180/55R17. Should be easier to wrestle into place and also reduce the risk of bottoming out with a passenger on board. I don't use saddlebags so the mismatched wheels will be quite obvious. Powder coating a glossy black would be the safe choice. Hope to resist the temptation to go garish with neon red or orange. :)
My somewhat imprecise measurement indicated an offset of less than .25" with the goldwing wheel. If that is true, I do not know the implication for the ride handling. Anyway, **** the torpedoes. Full steam ahead!
 

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Buster, good to hear that the 195/60R16 works for you. I myself am leaning towards a 185/60R16 with inexpensive choices from Yokohama, Nexen, Toyo, etc. The latter size appears to more closely approximate the height, width, RPM and speedo of the stock 180/55R17. Should be easier to wrestle into place and also reduce the risk of bottoming out with a passenger on board. I don't use saddlebags so the mismatched wheels will be quite obvious. Powder coating a glossy black would be the safe choice. Hope to resist the temptation to go garish with neon red or orange. :)
My somewhat imprecise measurement indicated an offset of less than .25" with the goldwing wheel. If that is true, I do not know the implication for the ride handling. Anyway, **** the torpedoes. Full steam ahead!
Yes, I think 185/60R16 would be just .75 mm shorter radius overall compared to stock (is that what you meant by 'offset' ?), where 195/60R16 is about 5.25 mm taller, and the 185 should be easier to mount and feel more like stock. Someone else had mentioned a lateral spacer might be needed, but that didn't make sense to me unless there is a difference in thickness of the rims where the lugnuts press against it. My calibrated eyeball (LOL) couldn't see a difference and at a little over 300 miles on so far, I don't feel a lateral difference.

Today's ride felt better than the last one, and riding a little longer again tomorrow (God blessed Texas). If I'm not thinking about it at the time, I don't notice a handling difference, but definitely notice the smoothness, i.e., at a railroad crossing today, barely felt it on the rear, and a big difference from the feel when the front hits that bump.

I just found out that someone I know, has a powdercoating oven, so maybe at the next tire change, but not sure its worth even the cost of paint given how little you can see the rim behind my Corbin bags. With no bags, it would be a must for me.

Oh, if 186/60, I'd go with the Yokohama Avid Ascend, as I've seen a LOT of positive comments on that tire. I notice fewer choices in that size, but the Ascend looks like a good one! I hope you are as happy with it as I am with mine.
 

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Finally had to replace factory tires at 6000 miles. The car tire definitely handles differently. you have to muscle the bike over in a turn. hope i get used to it soon.
Bob, you may have already updated via another thread, but I was looking at your 12/2019 comment here and wondering how 2020 went. If you're experiencing resistance rolling in and out, then something isn't right - perhaps you found that either the tire profile is too square (versus one having rounded shoulders, but I don't think that would be a problem with a 175/55) or easier issue if too much air pressure (common mistake). To other high mileage riders who may be considering this, see these search results on Roll'N Darkside describing the importance of finding the critical sweet spot for psi for your bike, your weight, whatever you're loaded with, riding style and that specific tire: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1025553610831686/search/?q=sweet spot. Since it doesn't have the weight of a car on it, some are surprised at how many have found to quite low. Mine rolls in and out just like it did with the old 180/55, but with the security of having a contact patch twice as large, and 3x larger if not leaning, like in that emergency stop that I hope I never have to make again.
 
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Finally finished the transition to the darkside. Went with the Toyo 185/60R16 and initial impressions are similar to Buster's. Abbreviated riding due to weather. I suppose I will have a truer experience when I hit the twisties in the near future. Powder coating the wheel was the single most expensive but unavoidable item in the project.
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Looks good!

I'm not opposed to the dark side. But, I don't change my own tires, and the availability of a Goldwing wheel and finding a dealer to do the tire change is more than I want to take on. And then the elephant in the room is if this is such a good idea, why is it so controversial?

Those who are reporting an increase in the contact patch, how are you determining the significant increase?
 
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