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Weird front tire?

26723 Views 33 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Peacemaker
I managed to ruin my front tire today. Now, where in the world do you get a new one?

Dunlop Sportmax D254F 130/60-R19 61H

It isn't even in Dunlop's catalog!
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I wrote up a little tutorial for removing the front wheel.

I just got the service manual in the mail today so hopefully I will be able to put everything back together properly!
I talked with Honda customer relations today. There are no tires in the system anywhere. They told me to back-order one via my local dealer and have them upgrade the status to "critical". Hopefully that helps!

I went ahead and had the ruined tire removed from the wheel. Even though they tried real hard not to, the tire machine scratched up part of the rim. The black powder coating is real easy to chip.

Beautiful weather here. Sure wish I could go for a ride!
I decided to post my "tutorial" that I linked above here:

I was not able to find a tutorial on how to remove the front wheel from a GL1800 Valkyrie so I wrote this up. It is probably not the right way to do it so if you see something bogus please let me know! Also, there is a lot of dirt and bugs on my bike so please excuse my lack of cleanliness.

Yesterday I had a pretty exciting front wheel flat while riding on a rural highway. I was able to (eventually) plug the hole and air up the tire but the ride home was pretty spooky. The hole in the tire was in the exact center of the tread, where there is a very deep groove, so the plug had very little rubber to stick to. Certainly much less than a car tire.

In the process of slowing down on the highway I had to ride the bike about 20-30 seconds. When I stopped the tire was smoking hot. It might be possible to run the tire with the plug in it, but I am not going to do it. Not only is the plug sketchy, the tire certainly suffered from some heat damage. Plus, I really don't want to tempt fate by having a less-than-perfect front tire when I am riding.

The front tire on the new Valkyrie is an odd size. It is a Dunlop Sportmax D254F 130/60-R19 61H. (It is not even in Dunlop's catalog!) I think I will be able to order the OEM tire but so far I have not have had much luck in finding it at one of the online parts places.

I did not think removing the front wheel would be a problem until I remembered that the new Valkyrie does not have a center stand. I found several videos for sport bikes that had some very scary ways to work without a center stand but I am lucky in that I also have a Gold Wing. So I removed the center stand from the Gold Wing and put it on the Valkyrie. It bolts right up. You have to be very careful that the lever that you press with your foot to put the bike up on the center stand does not hit the muffler because there is no cutout on the muffler for that part to fit. I did not install the spring so the center stand just flops onto the floor.

One other problem is when the bike is on the center stand it barely lifts the rear tire in the air. If you want to lift the front of the bike up the rear tire will hit the ground and it will not work. Removing the rear tire to get more clearance is an option but to do that you have to take off the seat and the rear fender! So, I put a piece of ¾ inch plywood under the center stand to give it a bit more height. I tried to use two pieces of plywood to get more clearance but I was unable to get the bike onto the center stand. One piece of plywood worked well. I did not want the bike to roll forward off of the center stand so I took a tie-down and locked the center stand to the front engine guard.

I have an ATV lift and a PepsX stand so I initially thought it would be simple to lift up the bike and put it on the stand, but the exhaust and lower body panels hang down a bit on each side and I was not sure if they could support the weight of the entire bike. I eventually decided to lift the front end up and put jack stands under the engine guards. I think (?) the engine guards are strong enough for this. Currently the bike is very stable with the center stand and two jack stands. I had to position a piece of plywood on my ATV lift to make sure the lift only contacted the center of the engine case.

Removing the front wheel once the bike is lifted is pretty simple. The instructions are in the owner's manual. I did not bother with taping the rim. Instead I just took my time and placed each brake caliper on a small bucket/stool.

Hopefully this method of lifting the bike does not cause damage to the bike. I also hope it is as safe as possible. If not maybe you all can point me in a better direction.

I hope that anyone with a similar issue with the new Valkyrie will be able to find this thread. I doubt most people have a Gold Wing center stand laying around. If I did not I would be tempted to buy one just for maintenance purposes like this. Because the swingarm is single-sided finding a rear spool stand is, I think, impossible. As for changing the rear tire I am not sure if the bike will tolerate being put on its side like you can do with a Gold Wing. I suppose eventually I will have to pull the rear fender. The Gold Wing center stand will help with this for sure.

The threads on the right side of the center stand are reverse threaded!
There is a hole on the left side of the front axle that a 5mm allen key fits into perfectly to help pull the axle out.
When removing the center stand from the Gold Wing, put washers in between the coils of the spring before you take the bike off of the center stand and the spring will be much easier to pull off with a spring hook.

Basic hand tools required:
22mm socket (axle), 14mm socket (center stand), 12mm socket (brake caliper bolts), 10mm socket (fender), 8mm hex socket (center stand), 8mm socket (fender), 6mm hex socket (pinch bolts) & 5mm hex socket (fender)

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A follow-up on my front tire issue:

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!)
Almost forgot:

The brake rotor bolts (10 total) and brake caliper bolts (4 total) are ALOC bolts.

If you search around you will find that a lot of people reuse these bolts, usually with some thread-locking compound.

The service manual tells you to replace the bolts.

It is a good idea to take the rotors off if you are having someone else change the tire. The rotors are easily bent and cost a lot!

Also, it is considered "a good idea" to replace the valve stem every time youi put a new tire on.
I got my OEM tire in today so I was able to reassemble everything.

More about getting the tire:

The tire was $202.99.

During the reassembly I used 10 new ALOC rotor bolts (10 × $3.99) and 4 new ALOC caliper bolts (4 × $3.99). They cost a bit more than I expected but I think replacing them is the safest thing to do. Hopefully the tires will last at least 10,000 miles!

When I went to torque the front axle the left-hand side kept spinning, because there is nothing there to stop it from spinning. You can't tighten the pinch bolts on that side yet because the axle needs to be pulled completely through first. I found I needed a 17mm hex wrench. I looked all over town and eventually found a set of huge hex sockets at Auto Zone. It was $12.99 for a 12mm, 14mm and 17mm.

With that 17mm tool on my 1/2" breaker bar tightening the axle to 44ftlb was easy. In my opinion, a tool like that should have been included with the bike. It is bad enough that other countries get complete tool kits and we get no tools at all.

Here are two pictures of the packaging that the hex sockets came in:

My brakes seemed like they were not lined up properly until I dropped the bike off of the stands and pushed the front suspension down real hard a few times to seat the axle on the fork ends. After I did that I tightened the pinch bolts on both sides.

I took the bike up and down the street and applied the front brake a few times to settle everything in. I read somewhere once that if you stop really fast and really heat the brakes up that you shouldn't leave the calipers pressed against the rotor, so I usually use the rear brake to hold the bike once it stops. I wish I could find the reference for that because I am not sure why it matters.

The grease behind the rubber seals on both sides of the wheel was a dark black mess and was not thick and sticky. I only have about 1,100 miles on the bike and I have never aimed a water hose at the bearings, so they must be greased like that from the factory. I packed the inside of each seal with Bel-Ray waterproof grease.

When I took the rotors off of the wheel I marked each rotor as to which side of the wheel it came from and whether it faced in towards the wheel or out. Hopefully this will allow the brake pads to be already bedded in to each rotor surface.

To be safe I had the shop put in a new OEM valve stem. I have had valve stem leaks on my bicycles before and I don't want that to happen with my motorcycle. The OEM stem was around $10 and has a cool chrome cover.

I put two ounces of Dyna Beads into the front tire and I took off the existing wheel weights. i haven't run it up to full speed yet so I don't know if they will work well or not, but they have worked for me in the past on other motorcycles. I have a three ounce bag ready to put in the rear wheel tomorrow.
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I dont think I would have put a Bias tire on that bike.
I would go back with a radial tire
Maybe I'm reading the sizes wrong but I don't see a 130/19 there.

Great find, thanks for the link.

BUT it is a bias ply tire!

BUT at that price I might have to mix a bias f. - radial r.. :eek:
(Has anyone done this?)
no there wasn't a front match. But I'm trying to get creative to find some options for use.
I thought I heard if you run a radial in front they run hotter and would burn up a rear bias, but a bias in front might not be an issue. I don't see how the redial would run that much hotter.
I shot an email to Dunlop this morning asking for info & availability on the OEM front tire. I don't need one now but was curious just in case something happens in the future. In their reply they said the tire was made specifically for the Valk by Dunlop in Japan. The only US outlets are the Honda dealerships. There are no other "retailers" given access to this tire.
I'm sure others have found a variety of suitable radial rear tires from other brands. Unfortunately after a solid hour of internet searching I couldn't find a single matching front size.
So for the time being we'll either have to plan on visiting Mr Honda for front tires or hope the other tire companies come up with an alternative some time soon.

I see a trend that the after-market parts/accessory folks are taking their sweet time bringing Valk items into the market place. There's so very little to choose from. For most items there's normally a fair amount of modification required to make them fit.

Do you think because there are so "few" new valk's on the road that the aftermarket guys don't see sufficient sales $$ out there to justify the R&D expense? This is the first scoot I've owned where getting parts is like looking for a needle in a hay stack.

Sorry for the rant.
Y'all ride safe.
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Here you go! Make sure you are sitting on the toilet!

Honda F6C Gold Wing Valkyrie 2014 Dunlop D254F Front Tyre (130/60 R19) 65H From the U.K.

$320.00 shipping included>:D
By the way, I found that tire on eBay. :nerd:
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