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Discussion Starter #1
I have read all the reports. But the truth is people who sit behind desks and write reports just don't really get much of the truth. So for the moment we are going to ignore them.

So here it is those of you who are riding the Darkside please tell me your Likes, Dislikes any problems you have had and which car tire you like the best and why.

This thread isn't for people to beat up on Darksiders we already know you don't like or trust them. Now what I want to know is how they feel and if they have changed your riding style and why they did so.

I am seriously thinking of going to the Darkside and I want the opinions and expertise of the people I trust not to steer me wrong. So tell me about why you love them so much...
 

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I'm not at all so sure that I would have ever gone Dark on my 1500(it already is the best riding Wing),but after picking up the 1800 last year and experiencing the choppy/stiff ride of these bikes I decided to try it.I changed mostly for the ride and after approx. 750 klm's in the last couple of weekends I'm glad I did.The CT soaks up a lot of smaller bumps and after a couple of tanks I really don't notice a difference in handling other than the bike gets pushed around a bit(the MT did this too) during slow speeds and very uneven pavement.Tires possibly being cheaper and longer lasting is a bonus,but a secondary issue to me.Like I said I went Dark for the better/smoother ride.The Wife loves it.
 

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I'm sure you saw this thread already, so no need to repeat all what I said about mine there or re-post the pics.
http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/2-goldwing-technical-forum/507593-austone-wear-pics-18-000-miles.html

I only have experience with the Austone CT and E3 MT's on my 1500's so can't/won't say about other CT other than not all tires are created equal, and that goes for Motorcycle Tires also!
To just group all tires into 1 category like MT or CT is silly at the least.
A Shinko is not the same as an E3 or Avon even though all a MT!
A $50 2 pyl at Wally World is NOT the same as a $200 tire at Goodyear, even though both a CT!

I do my own tires! I have removed 3 E3's and the Austone, I can certainly say it was as hard or harder to break the bead on the Austone from the bike wheel as it is an E3!
I do it by hand with a manual HF changer so I know how much effort is required for me to break those beads manually!
I have no fear of the Austone coming off the rim if I ruin it somehow anymore than I would fear the E3 MT coming off the rim! The bead holds tight!
That is not to say it can't happen, but a MT will come off a rim also and that is a proven FACT!

Comparing the 3 E3's I have ran now on 3 different 1500's I can say I prefer the Austone in every way over an E3! All 3 E3's handled the same, and I did not/ do not like those so well. Still have E3 on the 99SE for now.
On the roads around home, and on trips also, the Austone does not track and wander in the road groves or ruts for me nearly as much as E3's.
Tar snakes I hardly notice etc... and ruts from heavy logging trucks no issue and often don't even notice them with the Austone.

There is no issue for me with twisties or wet roads or fast take offs on wet roads.
In all cases the Austone has out performed the E3's for me.
I have slipped an E3 on wet road starting out a bit hard, I really goosed it on a wet road making a left turn to avoid being hit by a car on a parking lot and the Austone held tight! I honestly think an E3 would have slide out from under me that time!

I do not stop for rain or thunder storms! I much prefer the Austone in bad storms! Knowing how the E3 has slipped on wet road taking off it just does not feel as safe in really hard rain and I am sure the braking power is not there as it should be! I run slower on the E3 in storms than I would on the Austone because I know how tight the Austone has held wet road from a dead stop and hard start!
Still any tire will Hydroplane in the right conditions so ride with sense! Not like me. LOL

I have ridden the same roads around home many times and the same 300+ mile round trips for tools or breakfast more than I can count. For tools it's almost all 4 lane and 65mph, there are areas of that road that the E3 does not handle as well as the Austone. E3 is ok, but Austone is better!
Going to Branson, MO for Breakfast is 2 lane 55mph with a decent amount of twisties. Not great road all the way but nice good ok road! Various odd repairs/patches, tar snakes, ruts, etc.. anywhere anytime. I get a better ride on the Austone when making that trip and many of the odd spots in the road I do not even notice unless I look at them! I can FEEL every odd spot when on the E3's.

On some curves on that Branson trip, and also the rural road I ride to the court house to get my titles done, check my P/O box etc.. the E3 can feel a bit spooky in some turns. The Austone does not! Taking some of the turns I will get a wiggle or almost slide feeling with the E3 as if it may slide out, the Austone does not do that!
I take those turns faster and smoother on the Austone than I ever do with the E3!

There is allot of loose sand/dirt/gravel at times in various places like drive ways, intersections with dirt roads, parking lots, etc... and when I hit that I can feel it far more with the E3 than the Austone! When it's in a curve or turn it can feel rather spooky with the E3 even riding slower!
I have a yield right turn intersection between the shop and home where there is always loose gravel from a uphill parking lot at a store. Can see for near a mile to the left so not allot of reason to slow too slow, but I have to slow more on the E3's than I slow on the Austone in that turn and I ride it often!

A couple VERY tight curves between home and shop also. I often grind the pegs when on the Austone, but I don't take them as hard on the E3's because the way they handle the road in those turns!
I have probably hit those turns 1500 times at least on both E3's and Austone being I was riding back and forth to the shop 2-3 times a day for a long time!

I have rode the 88 and 95SE on both E3's and Austone, and currently riding the 95SE on Austone near wear bars and the 99SE on a good E3. I prefer the ride of the 95SE with the Austone!
I may run into town in the morning on one 1500 and in the afternoon on the other 1500, so I can compare them close pretty close really!


I live 3/4 mile on rocky, clay, tossed out loose gravel, etc... dirt road. I can really tell the difference how much better the Austone handles this road compared to the E3 also when going in and out.

In the yard, I have a rough dirt drive and also park in grass allot, small to large rocks everywhere! The E3 slips in wet grass allot easier so 99 normally gets parked in the drive beside the wifes car. The Austone handles the wet grass much better so the 95 gets parked next to the shop trailer most often. It can be a bit spooky with either when they try to fall over when moving very slow and hit a rock turning, like backing up the little hill to turn around. Much worse with the E3. I actually dropped the 88 once with the E3 on it when it hit a patch of wet grass backing and rear tire slipped!

I have been almost coast to coast now on both E3 and Austone! I myself have never found any type riding or roads where I would consider an E3 to be any better than an Austone. Though an E3 is not a bad tire and I'll run them when the 1500's come with them, I think the Austone is a far better choice for me in every way!

I have only ridden my 3 1500's on E3's and Austone, so that is all I can honestly compare from REAL experience with my own riding of near 50K miles. That would be 50K miles of riding 1500's, does not count all the other miles, bikes, and other tires I have had over many many years.

Also, I only ride solo, but I do pack and load the bike down as if riding double! LOL
 

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With the sidecar my GL1500 had quite a thud when hitting the least bump, and if it were a large bump you'd think the whole rear was coming apart or out.
My CT eliminated about 60% of that, there are bumps on my street like a reverse speed bump and I would literally crawl across them. Not now
As for running the rear tire on the front, turned around backwards, I'm not so sure about that yet, roughly 3k miles and it already is showing some cupping. I think I'll turn it back around and run proper direction.
Fuel mileage increased app 1½-2mpg from the MC tire. That we have documented, like John(AZgl1500) we are documenting every pennies worth of fuel and tires/oil, etc
 

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The Austone is my only experience. Other than a bit of rubbing which does not really hurt anything, very happy with it.
It handles/rides VERY much like a MC tire, is quieter than a MC tire, as well as smoother on the road. I do not feel the need to slow down in the rain and have never felt unstable.
The only handling trait (which may have been there with a MC tire, I do not remember) is if I go on the painted lines the bike feels them, but it is like they are noticed and followed a bit? Hard to describe. But, it has never been uncomfortable
Cornering, even though it is slightly taller with slightly more ground clearance, I still comfortably scrape the edges of my boots.
MUCH easier (like it was ever hard anyway) to get on the center stand. Slightly more angle of lean on level ground.
 

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I am running a Pilot Activ rear tire on front, reversed direction. It also has 18k on it now with plenty of life left. No handling quirks, even in heavy rain.
It has a little cupping, but not enough to really notice at all.
 

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Me too!
My Pilot Activ was also on the 88 when the deer hit me, then I put the whole 88 wheel on the 95SE when I changed tires, so I lost track the miles on that also, but pretty many!
It did start cupping also, I was still riding it and probably would have as it was not that bad as I recall, but when I got the wrecked 1500 in CA it had a better tire on a chrome wheel so I changed it out there.
Another Pilot Active, used so don't know how many miles on it either.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
See these are the kind of things you don't normally hear in these discussions Thanks guys this really does help. I hope there are other people out there who use different tires.
 

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Belly Pan Man
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My darkside experience is limited to the Michelin alpin run flat and the Bridgestone bt-45.

I've ran the bt-45 both directions and i don't believe it makes any difference either way.

I will be putting on my third Michelin before I head out on my 6500 mile trip on June 6th.
I actually prefer the handling with the Michelin on the bike. I'm a late apex style of rider and the Michelin loves that. Some folks don't like the way the ct wants to stand up in the corners but I like that trait about them also. See ,I like to go into a corner hot throw it over late and throttle out of the corner hard and let the ct stand the bike up. Your not going to do that as well with an E3. At least not without it sliding!

The smooth ride is great, the safety that it's a runflat and the tire mileage just can't be beat.

I will never go back to a mt....
 

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I have been running an Austone on the rear of my bike for a bit over 20K miles and two years. My tire looks better than the pic that Chromo(at 18k) linked to. I've been chicken to run rear tire backwards on the front and I'm well pleased with the Bridgestone Exceda Max RADIAL that I run on the front. It's finally approaching the wear bars @20K, without cupping. I choose to run the radial to better match the Austone, although a bias front will work well also. Contrary to the desk jockeys, I didn't crash and burn, and noticed a bit better handling and ride, but a huge difference in wet performance.
 

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I went to a car tire after doing my research and decided that for my riding it was worth a try, I am a double DS rider. I'm glad I did and I will never look back. I ride 2 up quite often and pull a camper and a rather large trailer I custom built

not bashing here but I have had 2 MT fail while still new and in good condition

like so many others the benefits far out way the cons for ME
tar snakes and grooves are a non issue anymore, although I will admit you have to be careful of uneven pavement at slow speeds as it will push the bike towards it's side, but you get used to that pretty soon and learn to avoid it.
the ride is much smoother and quite
wet traction is unreal and dry is just insane
I also find riding on dirt, gravel and even mud is easier to control
 

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For me, going to a CT (Austone) was easy. Too many people have already done it, with positive results. The question of 'is it better' isn't really it. It's not better. Not worse. Just different. The sensation of turning on a CT is different, to be sure. But it is very subtle, and easily adjusted too. If the air pressure is in the 30's, there is a bit of "squirm" when turning and hitting the gas after a shift. Raise the pressure and it goes away. I settled at 42 psi. My initial impression after install, was at 35psi. And it felt rather weird. But holy cow, the ride difference was phenomenal going down the road. Quiet. Smooth. Even effortless because of the tire height. Shift points changed, and I have found myself on more than 1 occasion forgetting to hit 5th. How much of the quiet smoothness could be attributed to just having new tires is unknown to me. No matter what, I have nothing negative to say about it. I have only gone about 2000mi since install, so the tire still looks new.
 

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Another side of the story.
If you are wanting negatives as well as positives (Not CT bashing but experience report). I wanted and still want to go darkside. Just waiting for a tire that is the same size as oem.
I tried the Austone on my 93. Also went with the reversed front Pilot Activ ?? We did the same with a friend, another member here, and he experienced the exact same problems. There are others here that have reported the same. At least 6 that I know of. We did all the mods to make it fit without rubbing. Tested with at air pressures from 35 to 60 lbs.With the Austone my bike wanted to follow every crack in the road. Tracked the ridges on rain grooved roads. Buffeted terribly (scary) in head winds. Above 80 mph she felt like she was trying to lift off. (also scary). On rough roads I could smell plastic burning from the rubbing. I even put my old E3 back on the front to see if that would solve the problem. We returned the tires to the supplier for evaluation and they reported there were no defects with mine or my friends tires and returned our money. Oh! I had over 500 miles on the Austone before I removed it so I gave it a chance.
Not all is peaches and cream for everyone with the Austone. I wonder how many have said problems and are just living with it. If so please report that also.
Before any suggestions that the bike has another problem, it doesn't. Everything is serviced properly and regularly, suspension front and rear, swing arm, wheel bearings, everything. The bike has none of above symptoms with E3s or now Avon Venoms.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh yes I want both sides of the story and I was wondering if anyone uses the other types of tires.
1. Federal Formosa
2. General G MAX AS
3. Dunlop Wintersport
4. Dunlop Graspic DS3

These are ones I've seen on threads let me know if there are others...
 

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Do your research before you try it.

Be wary of those who run Darkside on a GL1800 - their experience will differ from those of us running Darkside on GL1500's.

I have a GL1500 '96 Aspencade-
I run Progressive front springs
I have the Progressive 450 IAS on the rear coupled with the OEM Air shock. I am 300# and ride solo most of the time 99.5%.
I average in excess of 15,000 miles per year usually although that has gone down recently to more like 11,000 per year for the past 2 years.
I am a sedate rider who has the ability to drag pegs (and has done so in Colorado, The Smokies, and Canada) but I prefer to ride the back highways of America - taking it easy. If I am dragging pegs I am going too fast.
I have a Unigo that I rarely trailer - I typically will load up the bags & trunk and rear seat to travel.

I currently have 26,000 miles on my Rear Vredestein Comtrac 175-75 Darkside tire. I placed it in service as a way to avoid changing tires once or more every year. I burned through 3 sets of Michelin Pilot GTs in less than 3 years , and although those were the best tire for a 1500 ever made - they are discontinued - so I wanted to try the "Darkside"

I first ran Double Dark with the BT45 front mounted running backwards. It cupped at 11K miles and I took it off at 19K . It gripped perfectly and was a good tire on the front but it got noisy. I am currently running an E3 mounted frontwards - perfectly fine but also noisy <grumpy face here>

The rear Tire is a 6 ply lite truck tire. Max PSI is 69 but I run it at 44 to 48 depending on loading. Load rating is like 1800+ lbs. A stiff radial tire.

My rear rides well - for long highway stretches or back road cruising it is excellent. Longevity, grip , quietness, - all exceptional. Longevity - ? to be determined as of now...Easily another 10-15K so nearing 40K. Handling at speed is fine. The tire WILL wander UP the crown sometimes and others push away from the crown. You get used to it and it is no big deal.

Slow speed riding with a car tire is easier except when you get into sever sloped situations, like a curb, or a pothole where the rear will want to ride 'flat' and that can cause you to steer or lean in an uncomfortable way. I HAVE had a situation where the rear tire caused me top steer into a curb on a leaning slow speed turn. I actually ground the underneath exhaust heat shield along the curbing for 10-15 feet as I regained complete control. It was my fault, I eased away from a stop sign too slow, lost momentum on an uphill leaning grade and over-steered to the road edge.

There is a LOT to like about the Darkside rear tire.

My Fear of the Darkside is this...
I have not been inside the rear end for 26,000 miles. I have had to replaced 1 final drive about 40k ago and I am good about doing the Moly 60 on the wear parts, but final drives are expensive. If this lack of maintenance on my part causes me to neglect the final drive and wear it out prematurely - shame on me - but also a false economy

You are always steering the bike into-through-and out of corners. The rear tire wants to stand up to the flat spot . No "set-it and forget it cornering like a motorcycle tire. The oversteer-understeer phenomenon is something to be aware of. The rear tire has so much grip it can feel like a 'push' sometimes (think racing terms push). It is different - just be aware.

My next set of tires will be Motorcycle specific tires. Not because the Darkside is bad or dangerous or anything. I just do not see the significant advantage for ME. My idea was to take a LONG trip on the car tire to see the southwest . Racking up many miles before coming home. That never happened and perhaps never will so this idea is being shelved for now (due to social economic conditions currently in my life).

Ask me any question - I would be happy to share my experience - I hope this helps.
 

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My CT experience is limited to the Dunlop Wintersport, which unfortunately is no longer made in the 175/60/16 size usuable on the 1500.

I have put aprox 60k miles one 3 Wintersports so far, and just mounted up another yesterday. I love, love Love this tire. I have several as spares, and also have them mounted on friend's 1500 as well. For while I was alternating weekly between both my 1500's, one with CT, the other with (Dunlop E3) mcycle tires.

I originally went to a CT due to having multiple E3's develop Cracks, which I presumed to be due to Overloading. I have not had that problem at all, with the CT.

Advantages of CT:
-Run on Flat (Can go hundreds of miles on zero air)
-Higher load rating (something like 1,400 lbs vs 800)
-Hugely better wet weather performance (ex: Cannot slide rear wheel on wet paint lines, as when accelerating from stop, at intersections)
-Smoother ride (Perhaps due to being a Radial, rather than Bias for the E3)
-Quieter
-Longer life (~20k miles vs 10-15 for E3) for Center of tire.

Disadvantages of CT:
-Can't mount my own tire (eg Need a mechanical machine, due to the heavier side wall)
-Dangerous slides possible (see figure below) when approaching small raised edges at shallow entry angle. Easy to avoid, when you know what to look for.
-Edges wear out fast, if you do a lot of curvey riding.


 

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I can honestly tell you that riding with a ct and also a mt my bike does'nt feel any different at all. My car tire is a little taller so I have to run a little more air in the rear shock so it does'nt rub going over rough railroad tracks. Strangely the extra height should have lowered the rpm enough to improve mileage but having run several tanks through the bike it gets exactly the same mileage as before. If I did'nt know it had a car tire I'd never know. My son has way less experience and he could'nt tell when he rode it.
 

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...Strangely the extra height should have lowered the rpm enough to improve mileage but having run several tanks through the bike it gets exactly the same mileage as before...
Conversely, my CT is Smaller than the stock E3, therefore making for Higher rpm's during cruise ...I also see no effect on Mileage.

I believe this goes to prove that Engine RPM is less important in terms of mpg's, than is Aerodynamic Drag ...eg You'd probably get higher mpg's using a smaller windshield (with less drag) than changing the gearing via different tire diameter; or for that matter, adding an Overdrive Gear as some have wished for.
 
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