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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

People who tried Pirelli motorcycle tires once become the brand’s lifetime fans, and there are many good reasons for that. The instantly recognizable name is one thing, and more than 150 years of manufacturing traditions and innovations is a completely different reason. Pirelli has been constantly working on updating existing designs, finding newer and better rubber compounds, changing tire geometry and tread pattern, and always testing and testing to provide the best possible tire for any given application.

Here you see just a few examples of some of the latest sport bike tire designs that take the market by storm by offering improved grip and traction in different road scenarios. They provide excellent riding comfort and reduced tire noise on imperfect road surfaces, instant response to rider inputs, and enhanced control while cornering. Pick your size in Product Options.

PIRELLI TIRES® - DIABLO ROSSO IV

Features:
Superb grip while braking, thrust boost in extreme lean angles and brilliant traction exiting the corner
Lightening handlebar response to rider inputs and smooth feedback while cornering
WSBK-derived structures and contours
Silica-enriched multi-compound for both front and rear tires
Best performance on road use, on both wet and dry roads

Sizes:
120/70ZR17 58W | 160/60ZR17 69W | 180/55ZR17 73W | 190/55ZR17 75W | 200/55ZR17 78W | 200/60ZR17 80W

PIRELLI TIRES® - DIABLO ROSSO CORSA II

Features:
Bicompound solution for the front tire — applying the two compounds in three different zones
Triple compound on the rear distributed in five zones
New tread pattern with slick shoulders

Sizes:
120/70ZR17 58W | 160/60ZR17 69W | 180/55ZR17 73W | 180/60ZR17 75W | 190/50ZR17 73W | 190/55ZR17 75W | 200/55ZR17 78W | 200/60R17 80W

PIRELLI TIRES® - DIABLO SUPERCORSA SP V3

Features:
Expertly crafted from the highest grade materials
Set the standard for excellence in the tire industry
Unique, dependable, and functional

Sizes:
120/70ZR17 58W | 180/55ZR17 73W | 180/60ZR17 75W | 190/55ZR17 75W | 200/55ZR17 78W | 200/60ZR17 80W

Click on the image to enter the product page at MOTORCYCLEiD.com.
To browse the full catalog of Pirelli tires, use the link below:

Give our sales team a call at 888.903.4344 (Toll-Free) or 1.732.867.9995 (International) and we'll answer all your questions.​
 

· Sonya's a pretty kitty!
Joined
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3,688 Posts
Hey Goofyfoot53,

Better handling because:

1. Sharper final steering head angle due to dropping the front axle centreline 1/2 inch closer to the ground. Not sure exactly how much, could be half a degree or a whole degree sharper c/w the stock 18" front wheel, but you feel the difference immediately. More agility, rolls over in corners more easily, & lane changes almost become intuitive.

2. Almost any aftermarket 17" front rim for the XR will be lighter than the stock 18" cast wheel. Exactly how much lighter depends on brand and composition of the 17" rim, but you're going to drop at least a couple of pounds c/w the stock rim, maybe a lot more. I went with a carbon fibre 17" rim made by BST and was amazed to see it weighed 4.4 kg less than the stock 18". That is almost 10 lbs, and I weighed them both myself to be certain. 10 lb less total bike weight is great, 10 lb less unsprung weight acting on the suspension components is fantastic, but the real icing on the cake is 10 lb less rotational mass. This enhances both accelleration and sharpens braking. So the bike becomes more nippy, more sensitive to steering inputs, and because the rolling circumference of the 17" wheel at the perimeter of the tire is now about 3" shorter than the equivalent tire on an 18" rim, Pi being 3.14 X the diameter of a circle, the existing braking power is increased. Simple arithmetic suggests 1/18th or 6 - 7% more. Exactly how much I can't say but you definitely feel it.

3. Lastly, steering becomes more neutral. By which I mean, the bike's front wheel self centers when exiting a slow corner better, instead of needing a corrective shove on the bars back to straight ahead. For me, this was a big improvement in itself as I dislike having to steer twice to get around one corner.

So if you go 17" you'll get some or most or all of these benefits, depending on replacement wheel brand & composition/weight.

Yes, you'll lose a little ground clearance in theory, but in practice you're never going to notice that in 99% of street riding. On track days, maybe, but shorter aftermarket pegs would fix that. I put Sato riders pegs on mine and I still have never scraped a peg in 11 years of XR ownership. And that does include a bit of spirited riding up in the hills now and again.

Stability? Yes, you'll lose a certain percentage of straight line stabilty, although I prefer to just call that "slow steering". I dealt with that by fitting a good quality adjustable steering damper to assist tracking. But then, the streets and roads of my home city (Melbourne, Australia) are pretty bumpy and rutted, plus we have tramlines to consider.

OK, hope this helps. Going 17" in front is an expensive mod but an amazingly effective one with a wealth of benefits. Just a pity Harley didn't do it in the first place. Note that Indian have with the second iteration of the FTR 1200. I would dearly love to buy a cf rear wheel now for even more weight/mass benefits as above, but I just can't justify the $3 - 4K AUD cost of purchase and freight. I guess at some point my modding mania has to stop. Doesn't it?

Cheers anyhow,

J.
 

· Registered
2009 HD XR1200
Joined
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85 Posts
Given that virtually all sportbikes currently made have 17" wheels, had the XR been introduced now or was still being made, it probably would have a 17" front wheel stock. Even though now would be the logical time to do it, since I need a new front tire, I don't know if I can afford it. I'm guessing it runs $300-500+ and $150-250 for the tire, and $100+ to mount and balance the tire. I don't have to worry about modding the fender since I don't have one. At 69, I don't push nearly hard as I did in my teens/20s and thought I was invulnerable. I feel blessed that I survived those years when many did not. I don't push over about 7/10ths now, so I won't miss the lean angle loss. I only ride the XR in the local canyon roads and on the surface streets necessary to get there. I never ride the freeways here, which are virtually always stop and go anyway, so I probably wouldn't notice any loss of straight-line stability. Although I have actually found about 8 good tires in 18", I will look into whether I can find an affordable way to do this.
 

· Sonya's a pretty kitty!
Joined
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3,688 Posts
All good points but just be aware, no fender mod is necessary when going 17" front. The existing fender to tire gap just opens up a little more, that's all. Looks a little odd but as you have no front fender, it's no issue for you.

J.
 

· Registered
2009 HD XR1200
Joined
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85 Posts
I think the fender on the early bikes looks too high already. I don't like the Stortz fender so I'll probably end up buying one of those racing fenders from Europe, and then I can drill it to my taste. Any recommendations on reasonably priced 17" front wheels?
 

· Sonya's a pretty kitty!
Joined
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3,688 Posts
Not BST, very costly. I think other makers although in aluminium or similar alloy are PVM, Dymag and Marchesini. But they are sought after and used examples are usually snapped up quickly when they appear in the classifieds here.

J.
 

· Thanks to all Servicemen & Women that keep us safe
Joined
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92 Posts
Hey Goofyfoot53,

Better handling because:

1. Sharper final steering head angle due to dropping the front axle centreline 1/2 inch closer to the ground. Not sure exactly how much, could be half a degree or a whole degree sharper c/w the stock 18" front wheel, but you feel the difference immediately. More agility, rolls over in corners more easily, & lane changes almost become intuitive.

2. Almost any 17" front rim for the XR will be lighter than the stock 18" cast wheel. Exactly how much lighter depends on brand and composition of the 17" rim, but you're going to drop at least a couple of pounds c/w the stock rim, maybe a lot more. I went with a carbon fibre 17" rim made by BST and was amazed to see it weighed 4.4 kg less than the stock 18". That is almost 10 lbs, and I weighed them both myself to be certain. 10 lb less total bike weight is great, 10 lb less unsprung weight acting on the suspension components is fantastic, but the real icing on the cake is 10 lb less rotational mass. This enhances both accelleration and sharpens braking. So the bike becomes more nippy, more sensitive to steering inputs, and because the rolling circumference of the 17" wheel at the perimeter of the tire is now about 3" shorter than the equivalent tire on an 18" rim, Pi being 3.14 X the diameter of a circle, the existing braking power is increased. Simple arithmetic suggests 1/18th or 6 - 7% more. Exactly how much I can't say but you definitely feel it.

3. Lastly, steering becomes more neutral. By which I mean, the bike's front wheel self centers when exiting a slow corner better, instead of needing a corrective shove on the bars back to straight ahead. For me, this was a big improvement in itself as I dislike having to steer twice to get around one corner.

So if you go 17" you'll get some or most or all of these benefits, depending on replacement wheel brand & composition/weight.

Yes, you'll lose a little ground clearance in theory, but in practice you're never going to notice that in 99% of street riding. On track days, maybe, but shorter aftermarket pegs would fix that. I put Sato riders pegs on mine and I still have never scraped a peg in 11 years of XR ownership. And that does include a bit of spirited riding up in the hills now and again.

Stability? Yes, you'll lose a certain percentage of straight line stabilty, although I prefer to just call that "slow steering". I dealt with that by fitting a good quality adjustable steering damper to assist tracking. But then, the streets and roads of my home city (Melbourne, Australia) are pretty bumpy and rutted, plus we have tramlines to consider.

OK, hope this helps. Going 17" in front is an expensive mod but an amazingly effective one with a wealth of benefits. Just a pity Harley didn't do it in the first place. Note that Indian have with the second iteration of the FTR 1200. I would dearly love to buy a cf rear wheel now for even more weight/mass benefits as above, but I just can't justify the $3 - 4K AUD cost of purchase and freight. I guess at some point my modding mania has to stop. Doesn't it?

Cheers anyhow,

J.
Thank you Sir for an excellent reply. Very well put.
 

· Registered
Joined
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96 Posts
Given that virtually all sportbikes currently made have 17" wheels, had the XR been introduced now or was still being made, it probably would have a 17" front wheel stock. Even though now would be the logical time to do it, since I need a new front tire, I don't know if I can afford it. I'm guessing it runs $300-500+ and $150-250 for the tire, and $100+ to mount and balance the tire. I don't have to worry about modding the fender since I don't have one. At 69, I don't push nearly hard as I did in my teens/20s and thought I was invulnerable. I feel blessed that I survived those years when many did not. I don't push over about 7/10ths now, so I won't miss the lean angle loss. I only ride the XR in the local canyon roads and on the surface streets necessary to get there. I never ride the freeways here, which are virtually always stop and go anyway, so I probably wouldn't notice any loss of straight-line stability. Although I have actually found about 8 good tires in 18", I will look into whether I can find an affordable way to do this.
Hmmm interesting with those 8 good ones..fancy to list them up ????. May come handy for us 18 inchers...😁👍👍
 

· Registered
2009 HD XR1200
Joined
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85 Posts
I checked at CycleGear. They may be cheaper elsewhere, like Amazon or eBay. CycleGear works well for me because they will ship free to a store and one is located a few blocks from me. That also simplifies returns when needed. I haven't checked whether the matching rear tire in our size is in stock, but I will if I decide to order one of these.
I wanted to find the weights of these tires. I had to go to Amazon to find them so I edited this to show the weight and the lowest price I could find on Amazon. I rounded to the nearest dollar. Hope this helps.

120/70-18 tires at CycleGear as of 11/26/22:
IN STOCK: (wgt)(Amazon Price)
$107_Shinko 011 Verge (10.75#)($104)
$147_Dunlop Roadsmart 3 (9.8#)($106)
$163_Metzeler Roadtec Z8
Interact (10.41#)($148)
$166_Bridgestone Battlax
T32 (10.95#)($152)
$171_Pirelli Angel GT (10.1#)($139)
$176_Continental Road Attack 3 (11.03#)($177)
$179_Bridgestone Battlecruise
H50 (11#)($171)
$182_Dunlop Roadsmart 4 (11#)($173)
$195_Bridgestone G852 / G853
Exedra Radial (12#)($140)
$198_Pirelli Scorpion Rally
STR (13.86#)($174)
$202_Michelin Pilot Road 4
GT (11.68#)($163)
$208_Pirelli MT60RS (13.86#)($197)
$221_Michelin Road 6 (11.4#)($200)
$227_Metzeler ME888 Marathon
Ultra (10.01#)($214)
$247_Michelin Scorcher 11 (10.23)($248)

OUT OF STOCK:
$84.88_Dunlop Roadsmart 2
$114.40_Bridgestone G850 / G851 Exedra Cruiser Radial
$117.29_Bridgestone Battlax BT-021
$138.12_Bridgestone Exedra Max
$147.91_Avon Spirit ST
$148.61_Bridgestone Battlax T31
$150.26_Bridgestone T30 EVO
$155.41_Avon Storm 3D X-M
$155.55_Continental Road Attack 2
$164.60_Metzeler ME880 Marathon
$268.38_Dunlop D220 Sportmax
 

· Registered
2009 HD XR1200
Joined
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85 Posts
After looking into the 17" conversion, I see I was wildly optimistic with my $300-500+ estimate. More like $1300-2300+. The only conversion that might fall within my earlier estimate would be a Buell front wheel. However, I don't have a way to do the modifications needed and I'm not aware of any available kit. Therefore, the only viable option for me is an 18" tire. However, as I presently have no way to remove the wheel, my only option is an HD dealer. They have only two tire choices, both expensive. The original Dunlop Qualifier D209, and the Michelin Scorcher 11. Of the two, the Michelin appears to be the better choice, since it's a newer design, has a lower and rounder profile and, I've heard, a stiffer sidewall. My local HD dealer, LA Harley Davidson (in Fullerton) wants $169 for the tire change. Huntington Beach Harley (in Westminster), also wants $169 but will only charge $50 if you buy the tire from them. Their price for the Michelin is actually $7 less than LA Harley, so I made an appointment for Monday. I hope the Michelin Scorcher 11 turns out to be a good performer. The test reviews are good.
 

· Registered
2009 HD XR1200
Joined
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85 Posts
I did see some or all in my email:

"Reviews for the Scorcher over here ain't so good, due to its performance in rain. Since we get a lot of rain, it's an issue. Within the brand the Commander III is getting the best reviews."

I'm not where over there is, but here in Southern California we don't get a lot of rain, although it rains hard when a storm passes through. I tend to avoid riding in the rain, especially with no front fender. My problem is that the HD dealer only has those two tires. I was considering the Pirelli Angel GT, which seemed to be a good combination of price and performance. Until I buy a bike lift, and figure out where to store it, I'm stuck with the HD dealer. And, I'd still need to find a reasonably priced place to change the tire, unless I also buy a bead breaker and a balancer, which I don't have room for either. So, it's down to the best choice between the OEM tire and the Scorcher 11.
 
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