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Motorcycle Safety & Driveability/Car tire on a motorcycle


ironwing wrote at 2008-05-18 14:20:13
I ride a VTX 1800 C and just cannot comprehend how my ride would function with a darkside modification - esp given that I am an avowed peg and heel scraper...and a twistie opens up the side of motorcycling that I love.

After a big run I check the farthest angle I reached and it's usually about a half inch (1cm) from the leading edge. I just don't see how a ct would cope with this style of riding.  

The stresses on the bike in hard cornering are significant and I can only assume that the edge  on a ct would soon wear dangerously thin - in fact it would almost become a rounded tyre.

The tyres pro-riders use are extreme to say the least - rounded grooveless sticky throw 'em away after one race. I'm no Casey Stoner - but I doubt he would ride a darksider on a racetrack.  

stu wrote at 2008-12-11 21:35:42
Yes if you use a car tire on a motorcycle any motorcycle you are a complete idiot and should have your head examined. If you care not for your safety how about those around you when you CRASH AND BURN in the twisties because you cannot lean properly in a turn with a CT mounted on a bike. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE,I KNOW. NO MOTORCYCLE Manufature provides CTs on there bikes for this reaseon. Buy proper tires you cheapass.

Jack wrote at 2009-02-21 07:32:28
About the car tires on a motorcycle. I'm a 59 yr.old da,but I laugh and remember my dad and uncles talking and doing the same thing. But they didn't have loads of money to throw at their bikes. They didn't even pay traffic tickets when they got them. They rode motorcycles when they couldn't afford them. I wonder what the first guy to get on a motorcycle thought. Was it like the first guy to eat an oyster? Have fun!

John wrote at 2009-06-20 08:14:00
I have a 98 Valkyrie with a 205-65-16 car tire on it. It's been on for 2 years now and still looks brand new. I do not feel any change in the feel or handeling of the bike. I've had friends ride it who thought it would feel strange and all of them were amazed that it did not. It also looks great.

Kit Carson wrote at 2010-02-12 18:27:41
The use of a Car Tire on the GoldWing is no longer in the Test pilot era.  I and a great many other riders consider this to be a great alternative to a standard motorcycle tire.  

We do not run them for tire tread life, that is just an added benefit. But it is mostly on the safety side.

A regular motorcycle tire on a big heavy bike has its problems, most rider caused for sure with under inflation of the tires, just the same tire tread separation , cracking of the tread, and the occasional blowout simply does not happen with the use of the modern ROF Car tires used today on the Wings. There are a great many advantages to their use especially on these heavy bikes, two up, pulling trailers and all that.

We have by use proven we have better traction, even on the edge the footprint is longer and has more tread on the road than a regular tire, straight up much more and this is where the wing spends most of its time, straight up.  Better traction in the wet, simply due to the extra siping on a CT, and naturally better braking.

The handling is different, at first, but one does get used to that in about the first half a day one rides on a CT. Some tires work better than others, and some are just almost as good handling as a regular tire, not quite, but almost.

We are long past, if it will work, is it safe , and will it cause problems.  We are at this point mainly and constantly trying different tires in the search for the best one, which finally boils down to you and how you perceive things as what is best for you.

This is just a quick summary, there is a great deal to learn about this whole situation, and the best way to learn is to go get involved, do not listen to hearsay, do your research, and you might find a great and safe alternative to the standard application of motorcycle tires on large heavy bikes.  


Darksider #763 wrote at 2010-09-24 03:46:11
I currently have a car tire on my 03 wing. I'm loving it. It rides smoother, quieter, and there is not a notable difference in cornering.  Slow speed manuvers are a lot steadier.  I've riden in the twisties of the moutains, and fast sweepers of freeway interchanges. The tire sticks all the way down to riding 2 up and scrapping pegs.  There is a minor down side.  When at a stop on an uneven surface the bike wants to lean toward the low side, however its easy to compensate by leaning more the other way. I'm using a Kumho Escta PST run flat 195/55R16 which is a ultra hiperformance tire, and its $20 cheeper than the best price I could get the stock dunlop.  The size is almost identical to the stock dunlop so clerance is not an issue.  I have dyna beads in the front and rear tire.  

Neomy wrote at 2013-01-28 08:32:02
That's a totally bad idea. Might seem okay and the tires will work but you are at a very high risk. The performance will be lowered and the motorcycle will not perform efficiently. There will be resistance created especially if one of the tires will be a car tire and the other a motorcycle tire. In addition to this, even if both are uniform car tires, they might put you at risk of an accident. It might be worth trying to see the outcome, but know that you will be risking.

RoadStar Rider wrote at 2014-05-16 19:00:39
I have done a fair amount of research on this subject, as a friend has gone to the "Dark Side" with his Star Stratoliner.  Some of the other Club members have safety concerns, and I seem to have become the Club researcher.  This is what I have found: Bike "experts" (those who write for magazines) generally agree that a car tire on a bike is a bad idea.  "Dark Siders" claim they have millions of miles of safe riding to prove otherwise.  Here is the only difference I can find to date: The "experts" use engineers and science to make their argument, where as the "Dark Siders" only have anecdotal evidence.  In my profession, experience is extremely important. However, education and knowledge are necessary as well.  My point is this: Both sides can argue experience until the cows come home, but without the science and testing to support the "Dark Siders", all they have is anecdotes.  To me, their argument is like saying they don't need to wear a helmet because they had an accident one time and didn't hit their head.  Back it up with science and then you'll have a plausible argument.  They sell motorcycles with motorcycle tires for a reason (and I'm sorry, but I'm not cynical enough to believe it has to do with payoffs/money, or whatever).

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Pat Hahn


I can answer questions related to motorcycle safety: knowledge, skills, technical, or theoretical. I am especially familiar with the concepts of risk management, hazard awareness, crash avoidance, and traction management as they pertain to motorcycle riders. Please do not ask me to troubleshoot your mechanical/electrical problems ("Why won't my bike start?").


I'm an MSF-Certified Instructor (12 years), author of the motorcycle safety books How to Ride a Motorcycle, Ride Hard, Ride Smart, and Maximum Control; co-author of Motorcycle Track Day Handbook, and Public Information Officer for the State of Minnesota: I coordinate public information and education for the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, a project of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. I am also communications director for the State Motorcycle Safety Administrators and serve on the NHTSA team that provides motorcycle safety program technical assessments to states.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, State Motorcycle Safety Administrators
Check out my website at Of particular interest is "Safety Tips"

BA Communications/Organizational Management

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