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So, for years I have been interested in going to the dark side with a bike. I had a GL1100, no tire options for that, a KLR650, no reason to on that one even if tires were out there. A CB500X, again no tire options, and a BMW K1200lt. The BMW had a swing arm design that would not allow the wide profile of a car tire.
So, The GL1500 is my first opportunity to give the dark side a try.
I ordered a Nokian 185/75-16 C-Line for cargo vans. It is a 6 ply tire and looks good. I wanted to have a tire that was narrow and tall. I did not want to give up any height as I am tall with long legs. The Austone would have been my first choice, but they are not making them anymore and there are only a few left to be had. I did not want to get a tire that was discontinued, seemed like a bad idea.
So, I mounted the tire on the rim, no issues there. It went on easy with just a little elbow grease and tire lube.
Getting it into the bike was another story. It took several tries to get the tire to fit in the space and not rub anything (So I thought). I had to use my heat gun and work a few things out to make room. I also had to remove the Acorn nut and bolt that holds the tool box bungee as it would have hit the tire.
Once installed everything seemed OK. At the same time I also installed a set of Progressive 416's.
So, for the test ride. I live on a gravel road and I found no issues dealing with the gravel. It seemed a little more stable and planted. I had read many accounts of dark siding that the tire seems to lift the bike as it transitions from the flat tread to the sides, and that the tire want to resist turn in and then will drop in. I found none of that at all.
I was very surprised that the tire felt like a normal Motorcycle tire. No resistance to turn in, no transition at all as I hit the corners. I have also heard of issues with tread squirm at high speeds, I also felt none of that. If you did not know the tire was for a cargo van, you would swear it was a regular MC tire.
Now, I only have about 50 miles on it and I have not adjusted the tire pressure yet, it's at about 42 right now. So far, so good, except....
Because this tire is tall, and has a slightly more square profile than the MC tire that came off, I have some rubbing. It is at the edge of the tread and not horrible, but annoying. At this point I am not sure if I am going to let it "work itself out" or go back in, remove it again and try to clearance things a bit more. I might be able to pull the fender forward and zip tie/wire it forward to give the require space. I do know that most that run the Austone have to do the same thing, so this is not a real big deal
The only other issue I have found that could be a slight negative is I have found that from a stop, if you are leaning as you take off and give it power from the stop into a lean, like from a stop sign then turn right, you get a little bit of "wiggle" out of the tread. It is kind of like the tread is flexing under the load and you feel it in the seat of your pants. It did not slip or loose traction, but I could feel the flex of the tread. I know that I will get used to it and so far the only "negative" I have found other than the rub that I need to fix.
So, all in all I am very happy with the tire and how it performs. I hope to get some more miles on this tire soon, but I have a very small coolant leak I need to track down and fix. Then I hope to do an Iron Butt ride in June and I will be doing at least 2000 miles this summer out to Montana, to Yellowstone and back. By the end of the summer I should be able to give a full report on the performance of the Nokian tire.
 

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42 psi? it must ride like a Conestoga wagon? that is the pressure for MAX LOAD on the tire ~1200#? even then? my back hurts too much to run max PSI. owners manual states 32/32 unless riding with MAX LOAD then 42 in back. ~40/60% weight distribution fr/rr on bikes.


machines ride smoother with 32, more rubber on ground to stop and turn. think cue ball vs racket ball dragged across kitchen counter, which has more grip? guy told me he had hard tail HD and ran 15 PSI in the back tire, I bet that was a nice smooth ride... til hit a pothole and the back end wanted to go over the top. that wud be exhilarating. he probably could have gone to 12. tire wouldn't last forever, ... they don't last forever anyway.


tire ppl say 5 years is pretty much max life for a tire, from the DOT stamp on sidewall. another shop (chain) said they wont work on tires over 7 years old cuz of liability. I got OLD 2003 tires on my old 4x4, I run them 26 for smoother ride... and .... 55 is plenty fast in that old thing that seldom goes out of town... cuz tires are cracking...armor all makes them look... better though ;)


My MC tire lasted 5 yrs with min mileage and the tread came separated from cord. it was rated for 1100#, current MC tire 827#. bike weighs 800#, 40/60% wt split... Max load on 1200 380#.... on 1800's 430#, on 1500's...?


WOW 104 load index? (why cant they just put it in #'s?) The higher the tire's load index number, the greater its load carrying capacity. ... Using an LT235/75R15 104/101S Load Range C tire as an example, the load index is 104/101. 104 corresponds to 1,984 pounds, and 101 corresponds to 1,819 pounds. OH my aching back. 32 would be PLENTY of PSI. the 185 65 15 CT I got has max load of ~1200#, too bad I cldnt get it to fit on wheel.


might turn better with less PSI in the tires as the tread would stay flatter in the turn from less PSI. owners manual/tire pressure in car jamb of cars/trucks states... 26-28 psi unless fully loaded with ppl. I go with 26 on the ruff roads around here. tires are cheaper than a new front end rebuild... $2000? from ball joints/A frame bushings being beat out.


im all for it, otherwise. make it fit, pump the shocks up, let the tires down ? it is SUCH A CHORE to get that tire/wheel on/off that a person really does not want to do it very often... I don't. good to see u got tire that fit that is close to the factory tire... 160 80 16? I read tht some ppl have gotten the 195 60 15 tire in tween the swingarms, that is a pretty big jump in width... real big, with 25.4mm to an inch... = inch wider? and shorter tire= more rev's. 300 more rev's?


the 1200 is supposed to be able to fit 165 80 15 in place of the 150 90 15, close in all measurements. too bad there is just a LITTLE too much difference tween the MC wheel @ 15.080" and the Car tire/wheel size of 14.968 = .112" or .056" wud need to be removed to get CT on 1200 wheel. go with it, make it fit... or turn up the stereo and enjoy the RIDE. Happy Motoring, (Exxon's motto... #1 corp in the US, WM #2)
 

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42 psi? it must ride like a Conestoga wagon? that is the pressure for MAX LOAD on the tire ~1200#? even then? my back hurts too much to run max PSI. owners manual states 32/32 unless riding with MAX LOAD then 42 in back. ~40/60% weight distribution fr/rr on bikes.
If it's anything like my substantial experience with darkside it probably rides better than the MC tire. The first car tire I put on 11 years ago I set at 41 PSI and the first thing I noticed was the ride was very much better.
 

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I try to stay a couple pounds less than the max psi stated on the sidewall. You have air shocks. Use them to adjust the ride not the tire pressure. Firm tires seem to handle better in the turns and tend to run cooler. Over long distances like you are planning, you will get better gas mileage than if you have soft tires. Firm tires will also wear better. I have the Austone and it seems to do very well in sand and gravel. I have not experienced some of the complaints others have with car tires. I have both shocks and tires set firm and I just love the ride. I almost always ride 2 up pulling a trailer. You're gonna be lovin' you some 1500 hundred regardless of the air pressure. ;-)
 

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I try to stay a couple pounds less than the max psi stated on the sidewall. You have air shocks. Use them to adjust the ride not the tire pressure. Firm tires seem to handle better in the turns and tend to run cooler. Over long distances like you are planning, you will get better gas mileage than if you have soft tires. Firm tires will also wear better. I have the Austone and it seems to do very well in sand and gravel. I have not experienced some of the complaints others have with car tires. I have both shocks and tires set firm and I just love the ride. I almost always ride 2 up pulling a trailer. You're gonna be lovin' you some 1500 hundred regardless of the air pressure. ;-)



There is NO WAY I would go a few lbs under the max on the sidewall. Max on the sidewall is 70lbs!!!! The thing would feel like it had wooded wheels. As it is at 42(ish) the ride is very smooth. I will play with it and see what happens. I can go both up and down to see what is best.

As for the load rating, yes it is very high at over 1800#, but, I feel better about that than a tire rated for just slightly over the weight of the bike like a lot of the MC tires are.



DaveO430, you are right, it is very smooth. I still need to check it more closely, I used an inflator that is on my compressor and I don't know how accurate it really is. I knew it was in the ball park for a test ride, and that I would need to adjust anyway. Main thing I was looking for on the test ride was how it handled and if it rubbed. Handled great, got some rubbing, need to fix it.
 

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Glad you like your choice! You're the one who rides it after all.

Once I went dark (Austone) I never looked back and found no reason whatsoever to even consider it.
 
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