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Old March 12th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #1
jameZ
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Best Tires for '08-'09 250

I want to replace my stock IRC tires on my '09 with a better quality tire. I'm looking for something that grips much better in turns and has good durability. (I want the best tires you can get for this bike, money is not an issue when it comes to what connects me to the road)


I am also thinking about going a size up from stock, 120/70-17 front and 140/70-17 rear.

What tires would you guys recommend? Any help would be appreciated
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Old March 12th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #2
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I'd check out these two threads:

Thread 1

Thread 2

I'm partial to the Sport Demons, but either the BT-45's or the GT501's would likely also be significantly stickier than your IRC's. Going to 120/140 would not provide any better traction, but could hurt steering feel and balance without suspension mods, though likely not in a very large way.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 10:59 AM   #3
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Do you plan to track the bike at all? if so, what percentage of the time?
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Old March 12th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the links Alex, I never saw those threads. I think I'm gonna go with the Pirelli Sport Demons, but I can't decide on 110/130 or 120/140. Do you guys really think going to 120/140 would hurt the bike's handling? Do you know of anyone that has done it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkim View Post
Do you plan to track the bike at all? if so, what percentage of the time?
No track for me.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #5
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For street riding, I'd recommend the Pirelli Sport Demons or the Bridgestone BT45. Both are great tires that seem to stick well.

The 120 width on the front is over the recommended size of the rim of the 250. The 140 rear is acceptable on the rim on the back.

I would go with the stock 110/130 sizes to preserve the handling characteristics of the bike. Why is it that you want to go to bigger tires?
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Old March 12th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #6
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I dunno, looks maybe. Something about the thought of having larger tires makes me feel more comfortable riding. So 120 wont work on the front? What do you think about 110/140 combo with the Sport Demons? I can't seem to wrap my head around a wider rear tire affecting the handling negatively.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 08:28 PM   #7
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I have a 140 rear tire (only because it was the smallest rear size made in the bt090 tire) and I could feel a difference in the twisties. It slows down the rear end a bit and doesn't feel as easy to flick from side to side. When the 090s wear out, I'm going back to a 110/130 combo in either the sport demons or bt45s, unless a better tire surfaces in those sizes. It's not so much about the width of the tire as it is the rubber compound used. For me, the stickier the better.

If most of your riding is done on streets and freeways, I don't think you will feel a difference. I think I've seen people use 120/150 on these bikes, but I would think that would ruin one of the best traits of the 250... it's flickability.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #8
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Cool, I'm gonna try the 110/140 combo in the Sport Demons. What pressure do you maintain in your tires on a regular basis? Is there any circumstance where you would use a different pressure?
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Old March 12th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameZ View Post
I dunno, looks maybe.
Nobody but you will notice the difference in width. 110 to 120 will not look different to an observer, and a 140 or even 150 in back still looks like a skinny tire and in no way makes the back of the bike look like a literbike with a 190 or a cruiser with a 250 or even wider.

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What do you think about 110/140 combo with the Sport Demons? I can't seem to wrap my head around a wider rear tire affecting the handling negatively.
Motorcycle tires aren't like car tires. A wider car tire puts a wider footprint on the ground, no question about it. A motorcycle tire is rounded, and the actual footprint on the ground is a very small oval that changes as the bike leans over left and right. Putting a wider tire on the same size rim can actually cause the profile to put a smaller footprint on the ground at certain lean angles, and a larger footprint at other times. The bike's geometry & suspension was designed for 110/130, and playing with that will cause changes to the handling of the bike. Much more often than not, negative changes. Only way to confirm it is to play around with different size tires and realize how they change the feel, and/or take them out to the track and run them at their limits to see how the changes affect lap times. Richard (racebikerentals) has run some very wide tires on the back of his trackbike with reasonably good results, but as Kkim said, I believe it is because the tires he put on were incredibly sticky and competent tires, that would have behaved even better if they were available in the correct sizes. In other words it was the compound that caused the greater performance, while the increased size didn't hurt as much as it would otherwise.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #10
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I wanna put a tire on the bike that's too big to fit.
Why? There is literally zero benefit and potential for negative impact on handling.
Mmm, I dunno, no legitimate reason.
Really, there's no benefit, I've got a wider back tire and will go back to stock when it is worn.
Okay, I've decided to put the bigger tire on.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #11
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I am in the hunt for tires and reading all these posts is making my head spin. Im thinking of rolling with the Pirelli Sport Demon's and I just want to see if anything sounds wrong with this set up.

Rear = 140/70H-17
Front = Keeping stock tire on. Still looks good...

Or should I replace both at the same time to be safe? Also im having a hard time finding the front tire in the 120 size in the Pirelli Sport Demon's???

I can find the Battlax in 140/70/17 rear and also the front in 120/70/17 though.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #12
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try 120/60/17 rear 150/60/17
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Old March 20th, 2009, 10:55 AM   #13
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That seems a little wide. isnt it?
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Old March 20th, 2009, 12:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkim View Post
I have a 140 rear tire (only because it was the smallest rear size made in the bt090 tire) and I could feel a difference in the twisties. It slows down the rear end a bit and doesn't feel as easy to flick from side to side. When the 090s wear out, I'm going back to a 110/130 combo in either the sport demons or bt45s, unless a better tire surfaces in those sizes. It's not so much about the width of the tire as it is the rubber compound used. For me, the stickier the better.

If most of your riding is done on streets and freeways, I don't think you will feel a difference. I think I've seen people use 120/150 on these bikes, but I would think that would ruin one of the best traits of the 250... it's flickability.
You know kelly, if you wanna go back to the bt45s, you could sell my your 090s as takeoffs before you wear them out. I could use them.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex View Post
Nobody but you will notice the difference in width. 110 to 120 will not look different to an observer, and a 140 or even 150 in back still looks like a skinny tire and in no way makes the back of the bike look like a literbike with a 190 or a cruiser with a 250 or even wider.



Motorcycle tires aren't like car tires. A wider car tire puts a wider footprint on the ground, no question about it. A motorcycle tire is rounded, and the actual footprint on the ground is a very small oval that changes as the bike leans over left and right. Putting a wider tire on the same size rim can actually cause the profile to put a smaller footprint on the ground at certain lean angles, and a larger footprint at other times. The bike's geometry & suspension was designed for 110/130, and playing with that will cause changes to the handling of the bike. Much more often than not, negative changes. Only way to confirm it is to play around with different size tires and realize how they change the feel, and/or take them out to the track and run them at their limits to see how the changes affect lap times. Richard (racebikerentals) has run some very wide tires on the back of his trackbike with reasonably good results, but as Kkim said, I believe it is because the tires he put on were incredibly sticky and competent tires, that would have behaved even better if they were available in the correct sizes. In other words it was the compound that caused the greater performance, while the increased size didn't hurt as much as it would otherwise.
Alex has a good point, but there is even more to this conversation then just compounds.

Motorcycle brands come in different profiles as well as compounds. Pirelli is notorious for its very triangular profile. Meaning the center is very high and the sides fall away sharply, making the bike tend to fall into the corners quickly. Continental on the other hand tends to have a very flat, rounded profile. This makes the bike lazy to corner but stable all the way round. Michilin Pilots tend to be similar to the Pirellis, but Michilin's sport touring tires are half way between the Conti's and the Pirelli's. Bridgestone also has a varied profile depending on the use of the tires. Rounded for touring/sport touring or just high mileage tires, then going to the triangular profile as they get closer to their track day/race day tires.

So if you take a 120/70/17 Pirelli, with its very triangular profile and squeeze it onto an undersized rim, you could end up with a very tall tire that is very twitchy as you have made the fall on the sides sharper and more pronounced.

If you took a 120/70/17 from Continental and squeezed it onto an undersized rim, you could end up with a very mushroom top looking tire. Making it very slow to respond to input.

The other thing is a 120/70/17 was made for a heavier bike. Its stiffer carcass would need a different tire pressure to work with our lighter bikes. An SV650 for instance weighs 375lbs dry and ours weighs in the neighborhood of 333lbs. That 40lbs makes a difference. Or take my old Buell for example, 460lbs wet, running a 120/70/17...the same tire your thinking of using on a 333+lb bike...Running a tire pressure that is not right for the bike your riding is going to make that tire wear in very bad ways. In this gambit you can not go by what Kawasaki states for tire pressures, and if you call up the tire manufacturer, they will tell you not to run it since the tire was not designed for the rim size.

Doing this with the rear is a little less drastic. There are tires in larger sizes which do match the rear rim, so the profile of the tire is not affected as much.

I have made these mistakes in the past, I did it for the spread of tire types available at other sizes, and I can say that I have seen tires that should have lasted 3000-5000 miles tore to hell, and cupped so bad you had headshake just riding around normal in less then 1000 miles. On the flip side, I have taken touring tires and put them on a light weight bike and found they tended to slip and slide all the time, even running up and down through and back some canyons in the HOT Arizona desert, not a greasy feeling, but a hard, lack of traction feeling. They just never built enough heat in them to get traction because the carcass was made and designed for a bike that weighed 2-300 pounds more.

Just some food for thought.

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Old May 13th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #16
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Wouldn't having a radial 140 tire be better than 130 bias?
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Old May 13th, 2009, 09:58 PM   #17
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I dunno. My 08 came with Bridgestone BT-45s, and I find they are pretty decent - I have never felt that they didn't stick well and give me good traction in all conditions. My understanding is that some 250r's come with IRCs or Dunlops and those don't stick as well as the Bridgestones....
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #18
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in the NA market the 08s came w/ Bridgestones or Dunlops. In 09, they all come with IRCs.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 05:43 AM   #19
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guess it's just me, but I don't have any problem with the stock IRCs. I'm able to do full leans at 130-140kmph with no problem....bike always feels like it's stuck to the road. I am thinking of going with the Pirelli Sport Demons just to see the difference when the time comes.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.Sallee View Post
I wanna put a tire on the bike that's too big to fit.
Why? There is literally zero benefit and potential for negative impact on handling.
Mmm, I dunno, no legitimate reason.
Really, there's no benefit, I've got a wider back tire and will go back to stock when it is worn.
Okay, I've decided to put the bigger tire on.
lol way to sum up the conversation so far

At how many miles do you usually need to replace your tires with no track time?
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Old May 14th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmogamez View Post
guess it's just me, but I don't have any problem with the stock IRCs. I'm able to do full leans at 130-140kmph with no problem....bike always feels like it's stuck to the road. I am thinking of going with the Pirelli Sport Demons just to see the difference when the time comes.
I still got about a cm of "chicken" strip on the front and a couple millimeters here and there (not really a full strip) on the back. Doesn't feel sound then again i think i got the rear preload wrong.

Anybody know or have a link to the preload setting for the 08-09s?

I got mine on 3 being 160lbs without gear. I'm thinking it's too high a setting.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 02:49 PM   #22
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At how many miles do you usually need to replace your tires with no track time?
My Dunlop GT501 front had to be replaced at about 12500kms. I have now got a Sport Demon and it feels much nicer.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #23
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I still got about a cm of "chicken" strip on the front and a couple millimeters here and there (not really a full strip) on the back. Doesn't feel sound then again i think i got the rear preload wrong.

Anybody know or have a link to the preload setting for the 08-09s?

I got mine on 3 being 160lbs without gear. I'm thinking it's too high a setting.
I'm 160-165 and mine is set at 3 as well, it does feel a little stiff but i usually ride hard so it handles better in the hard corners.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 08:18 AM   #24
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guess it's just me, but I don't have any problem with the stock IRCs. I'm able to do full leans at 130-140kmph with no problem....bike always feels like it's stuck to the road. I am thinking of going with the Pirelli Sport Demons just to see the difference when the time comes.
They're not entirely bad for grip and you can definitely drag pegs on them when they're fully warmed up. But I've had some slips when they're warming up, they're less inspiring than the pre-gen Dunlops I have and they're dreadful on grated roads/bridges and even some railroad tracks.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 03:25 AM   #25
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now i m using thec 120/60/17 and 160/60/17 Pilot Power,so far so good, the rear is OK but the front so so., yup i still like it.bit heavy for corners but i got use to it now after 1 week, just came back from a 650km journey, manage to get 185kmh.have more confidence in coners too. that is my record till today. i will be away till end of this month.take care my to all of u my friends
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Old June 16th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #26
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Wow, tires over there are getting fatter and fatter by the moment.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #27
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do it.

110/140 or 110/150/60

lost yet?
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Old June 16th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #28
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Alex and wyckedfish's posts are spot on, and raise all the points you need to considder when searching for tires to suit your machine, style of riding, and riding surfaces. You're going to want something different from a commuter than you are for a sport ride than for a track bike, and it's more than just simple rubber compound.

I pulled a set of GT501s at 4000 miles. They still have at least that much more left on them, to be sure. They are good tires, and have EXCELLENT wet weather traction, but almost impossible to get replacements for on this side of the pond. Good choice for this bike, I just wanted something different that suited my needs as an in town/out of town sometimes commuter sport ride for my bike.

I just put a set of race take off BT090s 110/70 and 140/70, and the whole character of the turn changed for me for the better, partly due to the profile of the tire and partly due to the compound. As kkim points out, it takes just a tiny bit more to get it to lay over into a turn or to flip flop on the twisties over the 130 series rear, but 100% more planted IN the turn than the 501s that I took off. Haven't tried wet weather, yet, though, but they are more responsive than the 501s in the dry.

Oh, and yes, everyone else is right in that you can feel that the bike needs just a little more ooommmpffff due to the greater mass/size of the rear tire, but not in a bad or unmanageable way (to me). It does not handle heavy or anything, hard to put my finger on it, just 'different'.

I've ridden Sport Demons on a buddy's 250, and they're good tires with really good road feel and performance. If I was doing more commuting than I am, this would be my tire of choice, and will probably be putting a set on after my BT090s and GT501s both wear out.

I've ridden the IRCs that are coming on late model bikes, too. I believe the term I used at the time was "Greased hard rubber dog s#$t on a wet slip-n-slide".

I feel that I traded just a touch of 'flickability' for a load of 'stability' where I want it most, in the turn. Never mind the perfect deal of $105 delivered! I got butt reamed on mounting/balancing, though, with most places not even wanting to work on something they didn't sell. Finally got an independant sport bike shop that works for $25/rim.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #29
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Many good points in this thread



Quote:
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Never mind the perfect deal of $105 delivered! I got butt reamed on mounting/balancing, though, with most places not even wanting to work on something they didn't sell. Finally got an independant sport bike shop that works for $25/rim.
Same same here.. I paid $35/rim (cheapest I could find in my area) to install my 016 raceoffs I paid $120 shipped for. For future changes I'll be buying locally instead now at a place that installs them for cheaper.

I'm kind of considering going with the Sport Demons, but I may stick with what I have now as I think the 016s may last longer. I'm ok that the rears only come in 150/60 smallest as I'm pretty used to them now. I and Alex both noticed that for a 150 tire, they actually don't look oversized at all and the rear doesn't touch the chain guard chain like some have said.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #30
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Are they 150/70/17 or 150/60/17? I thought they were 70's, but a comment from Richard made me wonder.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #31
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oops typo. it's it's 150/60 Rear.. fixed post as to not confuse

front's are 110/70


on another note. I forgot to mention that on my stocker Bridgestones BT045s I was able to get about 9000 miles on them before changing them out. Miles consisted of both twisties and commuting city/hwy streets, but mostly used on twisties.
For me personally, I felt the tires were great for commuting an non aggressive riding in the twists. However as I started to get better at riding, I was not confident riding fast in the twisties as they didn't grip so well; other riders told me the rear was doing mini fish tails while going fast in the turns
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Old June 29th, 2009, 06:17 AM   #32
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Looks like sports demon is the way to go? What size do they come in?
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Old June 29th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #33
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They are available in the stock new-gen sizes (110/70/17, 130/70/17), as well as a variety of other sizes for other bikes:

Fronts:

Quote:
110/70 - 17 M/C 54H TL
120/70 - 17 M/C 58V TL
110/80 - 18 M/C 58V TL
120/80 V 16 M/C (60V) TL
100/90 - 16 M/C 54H TL
100/90 - 18 M/C 56V TL
100/90 - 19 M/C 57V TL
110/90 - 16 M/C 59V TL
110/90 - 18 M/C 61V TL
Rears:

Quote:
130/70 - 17 M/C 62H TL
130/70 - 18 M/C 63H TL
140/70 - 17 M/C 66H TL
140/70 - 18 M/C 67V TL
150/70 - 17 M/C 69V TL
120/80 - 18 M/C 62H TL
130/80 - 17 M/C 65H TL
140/80 VB 17 M/C (69V) TL
150/80 V 16 M/C (71V) TL
110/90 - 18 M/C 61H TL
120/90 - 18 M/C 65V TL
130/90 - 16 M/C 67V TL
130/90 - 17 M/C 68V TL
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Old June 29th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirana View Post
now i m using thec 120/60/17 and 160/60/17 Pilot Power,so far so good, the rear is OK but the front so so., yup i still like it.bit heavy for corners but i got use to it now after 1 week, just came back from a 650km journey, manage to get 185kmh.have more confidence in coners too. that is my record till today. i will be away till end of this month.take care my to all of u my friends
How did you get 160's to fit on the 250?
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Old June 29th, 2009, 08:52 PM   #35
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How did you get 160's to fit on the 250?
They mod the hell out of their bikes out there in Indo, so I'm betting that's the only way they were able to fit the 160.
IMO, many of their mods are a lot more for looks as oppose to practicality, but if that's your thing then go for it.. to each his own
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:15 PM   #36
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how is sport demons compared to BT-003 RS?
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #37
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I'm not sure we know all of the details yet. But I'm expecting we'll find out soon enough, and I hope the first folks with 'em post up their impressions here... Only person I know who has run the 003RS's on a ninjette so far is Richard (racebikerentals), and AFAIK he was only using them on track. He said they are great tires, but feels that they'd wear relatively quickly on the street.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 08:01 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n4t View Post
How did you get 160's to fit on the 250?
------------------------------------------

no problem at all,just nice.
but for next change,i will be using 110/70/17 and 160/60/17.

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Old July 4th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #39
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I replaced my IRC tires w/ Bridgestone Battleax BT-021s a few days ago. I put a 120/70-17 on the front and a 150/70-17 on the back. I have maybe 1.5 mm clearance on the back tire. The back tire was touching when I went to the shop to pick them up but I assured the mechanic that they would fit, so he fiddled with the alignment for a minute and got the smallest amout of clearance imaginable.

They cautioned me against keeping them on there, but I have put about 60 miles on the tires and so far I absolutely love them. I feel like there is much more solid contact w/ the road and there is no wiggle when I take turns. My confidence w/ the bike is vastly improved thanks to the new tires.

My only thing would be that if I could do it over again, I would probably go w/ a 140 in the back so that I definitely had no issues w/ rubbing, but so far so good w/ my 150s.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #40
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Aaron - welcome to the forum - glad to hear that you're happy with the new tires!
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