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Some Questions about Tires on The Kat

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  • Some Questions about Tires on The Kat

    Guys,
    Hi, I'm Newman. I ride a 1993 Kat 600. There are 2001 Barracuda (Cheng Shin) tires on my bike and the rear is almost squared off because of high mileage. I've had the bike for a month or two and have put around 1500 miles on it and I'm very interested in getting new tires.

    I've read up about what people recommend for the Kat. I just commute to school and back and ride on some twisty roads, so I wish to go for the tires with the best traction. I think I'm going for either the Pirelli Diablos or Bridgestone BT014.

    In the 1500 miles on the Barracudas (which, I've read, are the worst tires in existence supposedly?), I've never felt very confident while leaned way over. Also, I had a crash this past week where I lost complete traction on both tires at 15-20 mph just after initiating a turn. The bike just "flopped" over instead of leaning, if you know what I mean, and low-sided. The bike and I are fine, but rashed up. I've attributed most of the fault on a slick fluid found on the ground at the crash site--there's a construction crew building a house right there and must have spilled something--but there's also that feeling in the back of my mind that these tires really suck and need to be replaced pronto and might have contributed to the crash. I haven't done any twisties riding post-crash.

    For some more background, I purchased my Kat after bringing a 1971 Honda CB450 back to life and riding 2000 miles on it. It had tires made in 1978 on it. Needless to say, I have no idea what "real tire/traction confidence" feels like while riding a motorcycle. I'd like to find out with new tires.

    As for my questions:
    1. My bike has 110/80 and 140/80 Cheng Shin Barracuda tires on it. Iím pretty sure that they are terrible, but I have never ridden any bike with good tires on it. Iím going to replace them, which I mentioned above. If I want to replace them with either the Diablos or BT014s, what sizes would you recommend? I thought I read that my pre-98 Kat has a different rim or stock tire size (or something) than post-98 Kats, so that may affect things. I didnít see any 140/80 rear tires, either, so I definitely need some advice. Another reason I ask is because I was told the profile of the tire could totally change the way the bike handles. So, what would you guys recommend?

    2. On KatanaPlanet.com forums, I posted a question a while back about ground clearance. I felt like an idiot for saying that I was disappointed in the Katís clearance (even though I did offer up the idea that I was doing something wrong) and had several people give me some good advice on body positioning while riding. I must thank them again. As a whole, the advice has worked; my boots stopped touching the ground. I now keep a ďsafety marginĒ by using body positioning, which really works. In a situation recently, though, I had a near crash again due to a problem with my boots touching the ground and being ďrippedĒ backward. The difference this time was that my body was totally leaned and it still happened. Hereís my question after considering everything: is the footpeg supposed to jut out past my boot? My boots, while resting on the peg, are a good half-inch or so past where the peg ends. Is my boot scraping instead of the peg because the peg doesnít jut out enough? Could I have aftermarket pegs, perhaps? Or is this just normal and I should stop leaning so much? This instance I am referring to was in a 25 mph tight turn, but I really didnít mean to touch down. It seems to me that I would scrape pegs instead of my boot if it jutted out more. Iíd rather be able to just lean the bike over and not touch anything down and complete the turn, though, but would rather scrape peg than have my boot keep hitting the ground and trying to jerk me off the bike. I read that rearset pegs that were a bit higher up might afford me more clearance. Would this be safer or stupid given my particular situation?

    Really, Iím open to advice, explanations, chastising, whatever. Thanks for the help.

    Newman

    P.S. Thanks also for taking the time to read all of this. I donít have anyone to ask these questions in person (who I trust), so I let everything build up and then just ask everything online. I hope you donít mind.

  • #2
    weeeeell, I'd say get rid of those tires and reask the question...
    I've gotten to LOVE the Diablo's!

    Comment


    • #3
      the pegs should hit before your boots...position the balls of your feet on the peg. It should stick out a little past your boot unless your Ronald McDonald.
      @ 25 mph you really shouldn't be leaning over that far, unless its at Deals Gap on one of the 100 switchbacks.

      Get rid of those tires TOMMORROW! Anything is better

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Some Questions about Tires on The Kat

        Originally posted by Newman
        As for my questions:
        1. My bike has 110/80 and 140/80 Cheng Shin Barracuda tires on it. Iím pretty sure that they are terrible, but I have never ridden any bike with good tires on it. Iím going to replace them, which I mentioned above. If I want to replace them with either the Diablos or BT014s, what sizes would you recommend? I thought I read that my pre-98 Kat has a different rim or stock tire size (or something) than post-98 Kats, so that may affect things. I didnít see any 140/80 rear tires, either, so I definitely need some advice. Another reason I ask is because I was told the profile of the tire could totally change the way the bike handles. So, what would you guys recommend?
        I don't know where you live, which does affect the answers somewhat, but out of the two, I recommend the Diablos in a 120/70ZR17 front and a 150/70ZR17 rear. Do not go to a 160/60 in the rear. After riding the Cheng Shins, you'd be in for a real treat even on the stock Macadams & Dunlops -- and will be blown away on the Diablos (or any 'great' tire for that matter)...


        Originally posted by Newman
        Really, Iím open to advice, explanations, chastising, whatever. Thanks for the help.
        If you have the inseam length to do so and still stand flat-footed on the ground, have the dogbone (rear suspension link) shortened or find a shorter replacement. This will raise the rear end of the bike, giving you further clearance at the pegs, and increase the steering rates (to a more aggressive turn-in) as well. I'd go that route before trying to find a set of rear-sets for the older Kats (should be a cheaper mod as well).

        PS - you must have bigger kahones than I to rail on Cheng Shins!

        Cheers
        =-= The CyberPoet
        Remember The CyberPoet

        Comment


        • #5
          Contrary to what CyberPoet said, you'd probably be most happy with the 160/60 rear Diablo... Pirelli does not make a 150/70 Diablo, so if you wanted a 150, you'd have to use a 150/60. I fear the sidewall will simply be too short and it will lower the rear too much...
          -Steve

          Comment


          • #6
            I totally agree witth stevnmd about the short side wall on the 150/60. I'm running 120/60f front 150/60r diablos. The bike handles great but it is lower and it stands up straighter on the side stand. However a 160/60 rear wont fit on a pre98 rear rim so the 150/60 diablo is your only option unless you put a 98+ rear rim on your bike than the 160/60 will fit.
            '92 Kat restoration/mod project

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by floxera
              I totally agree witth stevnmd about the short side wall on the 150/60. I'm running 120/60f front 150/60r diablos. The bike handles great but it is lower and it stands up straighter on the side stand. However a 160/60 rear wont fit on a pre98 rear rim so the 150/60 diablo is your only option unless you put a 98+ rear rim on your bike than the 160/60 will fit.

              Comment


              • #8
                Cool, thanks!

                Cool, thanks! I think I'll be going 120/60f and 150/60r Diablos. I'm excited.

                the pegs should hit before your boots...position the balls of your feet on the peg. It should stick out a little past your boot unless your Ronald McDonald.
                Well, I took some pictures today and hope you guys can provide some insight.



                I tried wearing just tennis shoes and it looks the same. Is there something wrong, is it fine, or do I need to do something about the pegs? As you can see in those picture, my boots are getting ripped apart by touching down so many times.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stevnmd
                  Pirelli does not make a 150/70 Diablo...
                  You're right... my bad. The Diablo Stradas are available as a 150/70.

                  Originally posted by stevnmd
                  so if you wanted a 150, you'd have to use a 150/60. I fear the sidewall will simply be too short and it will lower the rear too much... Contrary to what CyberPoet said, you'd probably be most happy with the 160/60 rear Diablo...
                  As Flexora pointed out, the 160/60 is a bad fit for the pre-98's, and that's why I was recommending the 150's.

                  Originally posted by Newman
                  I tried wearing just tennis shoes and it looks the same. Is there something wrong, is it fine, or do I need to do something about the pegs? As you can see in those picture, my boots are getting ripped apart by touching down so many times.
                  The new tires will probably help, but as I suggested, raise the rear to increase the clearance if feasible to your inseam length. You might also want to go see a cobbler (someone who repairs shoes, boots) and have him both resole the boot and add a set of metal taps or caps to the areas that are grinding down. Finally, consider proper riding boots with wear-away pads in that area that are bolted on (as verses to velcro or sticky-backed adhesive wear pads at that spot).

                  Good Luck!
                  =-= The CyberPoet
                  Remember The CyberPoet

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My bad... It was first thing in the morning and I didn't realize he had a pre-'98...

                    DO NOT RUN A 160 ON A PRE-98 KATANA... I've seen them mounted and the tire profile is WAY too distorted. You couldn't PAY me to go rail a bike with a 160 on a 3.5" rim after seeing it in person...

                    150/60 is really your only choice if you want to run Diablos. Definitely use a 120/60 front and possibly even drop the front end (raise the forks in the triples) about 5mm...

                    Problem is, you'll be dragging hard parts even easier then...
                    -Steve

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Cool, thanks!

                      Originally posted by Newman
                      Cool, thanks! I think I'll be going 120/60f and 150/60r Diablos. I'm excited

                      I tried wearing just tennis shoes and it looks the same. Is there something wrong, is it fine, or do I need to do something about the pegs? As you can see in those picture, my boots are getting ripped apart by touching down so many times.
                      Diablos =D> your gonna love them, no doubt. Its hard to tell from the angle of the pics where your foot is positioned on the peg. If I'm riding aggressive I position the front of the balls(almost my toes) of my feet on the pegs. Its one thing to take a picture of your foot position while standing still and quite another thing to determine your foot position while pushing through a corner. Maybe you could have a friend take a picture of you riding through a corner. That would show your true foot position and give you real feed back. Keep in mind a Kat was designed to be a sport-tourer not a super-sport.
                      I can't say that I recommend raising the rear more than a 1/4 inch. It will increase the turn in speed significantly which is nice but height than a 1/2 inch start to impact the overall handling(stability) of the bike. I would get the diablos and reevaluate your riding position. If your still touching boots first then its time to consider raising the rear end.
                      '92 Kat restoration/mod project

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The CyberPoet
                        As Flexora pointed out, ......
                        Who's Flexora? phylloxera....===>floxera
                        '92 Kat restoration/mod project

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hrm

                          Well, I guess my parents want me to wait on the tires until next year. They don't see the point of me putting on new rubber if it'll just be sitting in the garage.

                          Personally, I'd rather just ride through the winter and only stop when it's icy or snowing, but they're cancelling insurance in December until March.

                          Oh well. I'm seventeen and riding a sport(touring)bike while everyone else is stuck in a car. It's all good.

                          Come springtime, I will be purchasing some sweet tires thanks to everyone's advice. Thanks again!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hewhoa!

                            Hey guys,
                            I just wanted to say "thanks" again for all the recommendations. It was getting kind of scary to ride on those Barracudas so I spent $205 (including shipping) and got some Diablos. I bought them through www.dmtaonline.com and they came relatively quickly.

                            I'm really excited to see how sticky they are. You know the whole new pencil eraser compared to old pencil eraser analogy? That's what it's like when I push my finger on them compared to the Barracudas. Plus, they smell so good!

                            I'll be sure to take it easy for the first hundred miles. After that, though...watch out, world!

                            Thanks again!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Rubbing them down with sand will help and won't damage the rubber (unlike spraying them down with carb cleaner, brake cleaner, brake fluid, etc). The reason you have to take it easy for the first 50 to 100 miles is that the tires are coated with silicone used as a release agent for the tire presses. The stuff on the outside comes off fairly quickly while riding (5 to 10 miles), but more of it will migrate outwards from the tread grooves over time, so there's still a risk.

                              Enjoy

                              Cheers
                              =-= The CyberPoet
                              Remember The CyberPoet

                              Comment

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