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chuckles

170/60 Rear Tire Initial Impressions

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chuckles
I know swapping to a 170/60 tire has been talked about in other threads but since it appears that I am the first to try it, I figured I would make a separate thread sharing my results. The main reason I am trying the 170/60 tire instead of the 180/55 stock tire is I have noticed what I will call a "dead spot" when at higher lean angles as in it requires a lot more counter steer once you are at a certain angle to get the bike over more. Now I am relatively new to riding (2 years in ~12k miles) but from what I have researched, multiple sources are stating that the 180/55 tire is oversized for our FZs and that it contributes to the harder turn in. The preferred tire size would have been a 160/60(like the SV650) but since we have a 5.5" rim the best we could do without a wheel swap is the 170/60. So I decided to try it. 
 
I picked up a Road Pilot 4 trail (the 170/60 is not available in the standard) and received it this afternoon from Revzilla. The unmounted bead to bead dimension is around 4" and the profile looks ridiculously sharp. I decided to cut a doll rod into a few chunks and stick them in the tire to get the dimension to 5.5" for a better idea of the mounted shape. It is definitely sharper than the 180/55 but appears to be reasonable and should help with the "dead spot". I have roughly 1500 miles left on the stock tire so I wont mount it for a couple weeks but I wanted to share my first impressions along with some pictures. I will provide mounted pictures and a preliminary ride report once it is mounted up and scrubbed in. (Pardon the flat spot I live in N. IL)
 
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AlbatrossCafe
I had a fat flat spot from commuting on my pilot road 3's as well. Then I swapped it out for the Pilot Road 4 like you except that I kept the stock tire size.
 
When I first swapped I basically kept falling over because that thing was so round. It was great, especially compared to my flat-spotted worn tire. Now that I have about 1k miles on the new Road 4's and it has last some of that "roundness" feeling.
 
I'm curious to see if the smaller tire helps keep this maneuverability, and if you get better MPG as well.
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cybmx
Too bad, I can't find any good tires in this size... Would love to try it

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thomascrown
That 180 tire is one of the best features of the bike, and the flat spot will be there regardless, especially if you do a lot of commuting. PR4s are just the wrong tire for this application, the wonky damping of the front forks will cup the front tires well before they expire, and you'll have to live with a flat spot on the rear for 5 or 6k miles before those expire. These touring tires just mean that you will go longer with a sub-optimal setup when they wear. Better to use a sport tire and replace it more often so that you don't have to suffer the negative effects of tire wear for extended periods of time. At least that was the conclusion I arrived to.
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chuckles
I know the flat spot is inevitable, I just figured I would try a 170 to see how it feels. I'm sure it will seem like I am falling over like Albotross at first but we will see how it wears.
 
When it gets consistently below 30° I will be doing the forks by Matt upgrade and grabbing a new rear shock to fix the suspension issues. This bike loves to spend my money.
 
What tires are you running Thomas?

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pgeldz
If for some reason you end up not liking the 170/60, try a 180/60. Raises the rear up a little (which this bike really needs), profile is sharper and leads to better turn in, and the tires that are available in that size are good (Pirelli SuperCorsa SP's)
 
:)
 
- Paulie
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twotone
I know the flat spot is inevitable, I just figured I would try a 170 to see how it feels. I'm sure it will seem like I am falling over like Albotross at first but we will see how it wears.  
When it gets consistently below 30° I will be doing the forks by Matt upgrade and grabbing a new rear shock to fix the suspension issues. This bike loves to spend my money.
 
What tires are you running Thomas?
 
You'll be fine with 170 tyre, this bike is light and limited power output, just keep your tyre pressure up to 38lbs in the rear for best wear and grip balance. I don't agree with buying sports tyres in your bike use, as the PR has better wear in the centre.
 

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thomascrown
I run Bridgestone S21s, wilbers rear shock with 1 inch increase in rear ride height and traxxion emulator kit up front. The s21 lasts around 6k in the back, vs. 9 for the PR4. Way more grip, way more linear turn in, and 70 dollars cheaper per rear tire makes it worthwhile for me.
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chuckles
You'll be fine with 170 tyre, this bike is light and limited power output, just keep your tyre pressure up to 38lbs in the rear for best wear and grip balance. I don't agree with buying sports tyres in your bike use, as the PR has better wear in the centre.
Why so high on the pressure? I normally run 33psi(cold) with the stock rear.

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twotone
You'll be fine with 170 tyre, this bike is light and limited power output, just keep your tyre pressure up to 38lbs in the rear for best wear and grip balance. I don't agree with buying sports tyres in your bike use, as the PR has better wear in the centre.
Why so high on the pressure? I normally run 33psi(cold) with the stock rear.
 
Aha.. There's your premature wear problem.... Low air pressure. If you do track days and give you're tyres hell you can lower your pressure to suit, as it will heat up real good, but by your description of intended use, you are wasting your tyre with low pressure. Go up and save your tyres?
 
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chuckles
Why so high on the pressure? I normally run 33psi(cold) with the stock rear.
Aha.. There's your premature wear problem.... Low air pressure. If you do track days and give you're tyres hell you can lower your pressure to suit, as it will heat up real good, but by your description of intended use, you are wasting your tyre with low pressure. Go up and save your tyres?
Won't going above the specified max load pressure (36psi) cause over inflation wear? My daily commute is about 30 miles, most of my miles have been weekend trips to the twisties roughly 300-500 miles round trip with a few 1000 mile trips mixed in. I am currently at 8500 miles and expect to get 10k out the the stock PR3. 
 
Thomas,
 
How do you like the 1" ride height increase? Has is caused any high speed instability from the lighter front end?
 
Paulie,
 
Thanks for the suggestion, after i see how this 170/60 runs I may try the 180/60.

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pgeldz
Aha.. There's your premature wear problem.... Low air pressure. If you do track days and give you're tyres hell you can lower your pressure to suit, as it will heat up real good, but by your description of intended use, you are wasting your tyre with low pressure. Go up and save your tyres?
Won't going above the specified max load pressure (36psi) cause over inflation wear? My daily commute is about 30 miles, most of my miles have been weekend trips to the twisties roughly 300-500 miles round trip with a few 1000 mile trips mixed in. I am currently at 8500 miles and expect to get 10k out the the stock PR3. 
 
Thomas,
 
How do you like the 1" ride height increase? Has is caused any high speed instability from the lighter front end?
 
Paulie,
 
Thanks for the suggestion, after i see how this 170/60 runs I may try the 180/60.
 
 
No worries. I think you'll like the height increase...either from a taller rear tire, extended rear shock, or AP MotoArts suspension link - or any combination.
 
The front end shouldn't be lighter, because there would be more weight over the front end since the rear is taller.
 
I've tested the extended rear shock on the track, and the handling was great. I then added the 180/60 series tire and the handling got even better...even more stable at speed and transitions. I've just added the suspension link, so I'll be testing that this weekend.
 
:)
 
- Paulie
 
 
 
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AlbatrossCafe
As soon as I got my new Pilot Road 4's I have been running them at 40PSI. I am ~250lbs with all my gear. Rides completely fine, and I expect slightly better mileage & longer wear out of it. I will say I only really commute, but I take just about any open turn I can pretty hard.
 

Won't going above the specified max load pressure (36psi) cause over inflation wear? My daily commute is about 30 miles, most of my miles have been weekend trips to the twisties roughly 300-500 miles round trip with a few 1000 mile trips mixed in. I am currently at 8500 miles and expect to get 10k out the the stock PR3.
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twotone
Aha.. There's your premature wear problem.... Low air pressure. If you do track days and give you're tyres hell you can lower your pressure to suit, as it will heat up real good, but by your description of intended use, you are wasting your tyre with low pressure. Go up and save your tyres?
Won't going above the specified max load pressure (36psi) cause over inflation wear? My daily commute is about 30 miles, most of my miles have been weekend trips to the twisties roughly 300-500 miles round trip with a few 1000 mile trips mixed in. I am currently at 8500 miles and expect to get 10k out the the stock PR3. 
 

 
No. 36 lbs is a median pressure you can go up and down from there, according to needs, as albetroscafe stated his application is better with 40lbs, and that's understandable given additional weight.
 
Regardless, your mileage isn't too shabby, it'll improve with higher pressure.
 
 
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chuckles
Thanks for all of the input guys. I will definitely try the higher pressures and now I need to look into raising the rear too. The FZ has always been a little short for me (6'1") and it would be nice to get more weight on the front end.

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Beemer
I bought a new tire recently at my dealership and asked the guys there about doing that and they were quick to tell me that's a big NO-NO, that Yamaha has spent millions in research to know what size tire "works right" for our bike and that a 170 isn't it. I don't think they would've installed one even if I had requested it. They were very adamant about the 180. Good luck!

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Beemer
Why so high on the pressure? I normally run 33psi(cold) with the stock rear.
Aha.. There's your premature wear problem.... Low air pressure. If you do track days and give you're tyres hell you can lower your pressure to suit, as it will heat up real good, but by your description of intended use, you are wasting your tyre with low pressure. Go up and save your tyres?
Agreed!

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chuckles
I bought a new tire recently at my dealership and asked the guys there about doing that and they were quick to tell me that's a big NO-NO, that Yamaha has spent millions in research to know what size tire "works right" for our bike and that a 170 isn't it. I don't think they would've installed one even if I had requested it. They were very adamant about the 180. Good luck!
 
Now that is hilarious! You gotta love the ignorance of the dealerships. That's like saying we shouldn't modify our suspensions, exhaust, intake, fuel mapping or really anything on the FZ because of Yamaha's "millions" in research (rofl) .
 
Coming from a product development background, I know first hand how marketing sets the specifications/budget and then engineering is tasked with figuring out ways to meet the marketing specs while attempting to maintain product performance.
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kojaxxx
I bought a new tire recently at my dealership and asked the guys there about doing that and they were quick to tell me that's a big NO-NO, that Yamaha has spent millions in research to know what size tire "works right" for our bike and that a 170 isn't it. I don't think they would've installed one even if I had requested it. They were very adamant about the 180. Good luck!
I heard that the original tire size Yamaha had for the bike was a 160 because it would be better for maneuverability but because everyone likes a fat tire simply for aesthetics, Yamaha went with the 180.  Take everything with a grain of sand unless you hear it coming from the dealership then you just don't listen.
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blackout
And Lee parks explains in his book that a narrow tire will require less lean angle for the same speed and radius of the turn. This has to do with the contact patch being offset farther on a wider tire.

Craig Mapstone
Upstate New York

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Beemer
I bought a new tire recently at my dealership and asked the guys there about doing that and they were quick to tell me that's a big NO-NO, that Yamaha has spent millions in research to know what size tire "works right" for our bike and that a 170 isn't it. I don't think they would've installed one even if I had requested it. They were very adamant about the 180. Good luck!
I heard that the original tire size Yamaha had for the bike was a 160 because it would be better for maneuverability but because everyone likes a fat tire simply for aesthetics, Yamaha went with the 180.  Take everything with a grain of sand unless you hear it coming from the dealership then you just don't listen.
I don't quite understand the last sentence. 
 
chuckles 
 
Who are people suppose to believe when they don't know. Everyone sounds so believable.
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Guest ChicagoAJ
I heard that the original tire size Yamaha had for the bike was a 160 because it would be better for maneuverability but because everyone likes a fat tire simply for aesthetics, Yamaha went with the 180.  Take everything with a grain of sand unless you hear it coming from the dealership then you just don't listen.
I don't quite understand the last sentence. 
 
chuckles 
 
Who are people suppose to believe when they don't know. Everyone sounds so believable.
1510974_1726806254033938_1332779619730541610_n1.jpg 
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gregjet
Glad I saw this thread. nearly missed it. I am going the same way 170/60 and PR4. I also heard the 180/55 swap was by the marketing department toi make the bike look like a bigger bike. NOTHING to do with grip. They did the same with the tiny yzf125r which has a ridiculous 130 on a bike with 13HP.
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Go forth and modify my son...go forth and modify...

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rick
Going smaller cannily help with turn-in and might just give the bike a bit more snap as a narrower tire will weigh less.
 
I'm also thinking of going to S21 'stones.

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