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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for advice/suggestions for new tires on my '84 GL1200 Standard. When I bought the bike 10 years ago it had Metzler Marathon 880 tires. They seemed to be extra heavy duty highway tires, but not great for handling around town. Keep in mind the GL1200 handles quite a bit better than the full dress 1200s and, of course, it’s much lighter on it's feet than later models too (600 lb. dry weight).

In 2012 I installed a set of Dunlop Elite 3 tires, with late 2011 dates codes. The handling was greatly improved around town, where I could easily make a U-turn on a 2-lane road. Highway Interstate riding was not quite as stable as the Marathons. They’re now 7 years old, time to change; though they both still have good tread, since I likely only ran 5-6000 miles on them (I bought a BMW R1200R after the new tires and for a few years rode that one more).

Thinking back to my first GL1200 Standard, which I bought new, I’m remembering an older Dunlop tire, maybe model K491 with raised white letters.

I recently bought Shinko tires for a 1987 BMW K75c; front and rear, for only $105 shipped! I installed them myself. I like them a lot on that bike, but it’s a lighter bike and they’re not radials on that model. I’m thinking of Shinko tires for my GL1200. The only complaint I read online is they do not last long in mileage, but they are sticky. For me I want a solid highway tire, but with good handling and good grip, dry and wet. Long-lasting mileage is NOT important to me, as now I have 4 street bikes and they all get ridden, but not a lot. They make Shinko tires for the GL1200 in both black or white walls.

So, here are my questions for this audience:
1) Your suggestion for tire brand with the reason you like them?
2) Would you mount white wall tires on a GL1200 Standard?

White walls of course are not original, but I think they might look really good on the Standard. Thanks for your feedback. JD
 

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Personally I thought the handling on the E3s was terrible and the Metzlers even worse.

I like the handling of the Pirelli M66 tires okay. Price is certainly right on them.

Extra care must be taken to seat them as I have noted air leaks. Bring them down here when you get them on the rim and we'll coat them with the stuff I bought.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pirelli MT66

Hey Dennis, good to hear from you! I thought I would. Yes, we should finally meet in person this spring (it's cold up here on the mountain). I'm thinking again that Wickenburg, AZ would be a good meeting place for us! Glad to have my GL1200 in AZ again!

You know, I really never thought about Pirelli, since I owned an old Alfa Romeo back in the day. Actually, I removed an old dry-rotted set of Pirelli's from the K75 when I installed the Shinko's last year.

These are about $20 a set less than the Shinko WWW. I noted you did not comment on white walls! The old school in me says don't, but my son, an avid rider, says "go for it!" I will keep these in mind, and the suggestion coming from you means al lot. Also, the MT66 has 5-star review on RevZilla, with many comments about superior handling, wet or dry.

Please send me more opinions. Thanks, JD
 

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Had a set of Shinko Tour Master tires on an '85 LTD, put 7000 Kms on them before I sold the bike. Worked well in the wet and dry, pleasantly surprised because of the cost. Put these tires on because of the cost and did not intend for the bike to be a daily rider, but my second when needed - sold it instead and bought a 1500. The 1500 needs tires this year.

Looked at the Pirelli, bit more expensive than the Shinko Tour Master here in Canada, look like a good option. As with JohnnyD, never thought about these. Need a new set for my '85 LTD this year.

The Michelin Commander II tires are excellent, good in wet and dry, and last for a long time. Have 30,000 Km on a set in less than two years and not at wear bars riding solo and two up. These are at the high end for cost here. Longest trip with these tires two up was 5400 Kms (approx 3300 miles). Not having used the Pirelli and with only a $40.00 difference in cost, will probably stay with the Michelin on my '85 LTD.

From Fortnine here in Canada, set of Shinko Tour Master - $235.00 plus taxes CDN, set of Pirelli MT66 - $385.00 plus taxes CDN, and set of Michelin Commander II - $420.00 plus taxes CDN. Prices south of the border are much better, but such is life.

Cheers
 

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The Pirellis don't get the best mileage. Better than the Chinese brands but not like what Rednaxs60 is reporting for the Michelins.
 

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The Michelin tires have surprised me. Didn't expect this many Kms, but happy with the results. Kept these tires at 41 PSI front/rear and use Ride-On Tire Sealant and balancing formula for tire balance. 30,000 Kms is just shy of 20,000 miles.
 
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I like the Shinko Tourmasters on my Standard. I get about 7500 out of the rear and 12000 from the front. The lighter weight of the 1200 Standard is easier on these tires. Currently the bike is due for a new set and I recently put antique tags on it, so the new set will probably dry rot before they wear out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for commenting; Smeden, Rednaxs60 and BrianInPA,

So, I'm reading here about the Shinko 230 Tour Master, which is is a model of lesser cost than the one I was looking at, which is the Shinko 777. They obviously made this model for the Harley fans, though it may be an improved model. I'm thinking Shinko makes good tires and they're made in S Korea. I buy anywhere but China (when possible) and S Korea is an US ally.

Anyway, let me know if you have any experience with tires on the GL1200 or earlier models, Thanks, JD
 

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Got 83 1100 interstate.put shinko sr777 heavy duty tires on when I acquired in nov 3 2017.replaced them with 16460 miles in jan 2019.live in South Carolina ride daily all year.great in west and dry conditions.currenty run 40 psi in rear and 42 psi front.this is my third set of sr777's one on a kr1100 and 2 sets on my wing.
 

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The 777's can be a little tricky. As long as you get the ones rated for a heavier load, no problem... you'll get a lot of wear out of them. Make a mistake and buy the ones for a lower weight rating, and you'll be changing them quicker than you expected.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Shinko 777

Thanks Brian and 81Marine,

I'm back to thinking the Shinko 777 may be a good idea. The "Reinforced" ones are available for the stock GL1200 sizes.
 

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Personally I thought the handling on the E3s was terrible
That comment gets my vote for the Understatement of the Month. I had a set of E3's on my 1200A, and they were so gawdawful horrible that I replaced them while they still had half the tread life on them.

I've used the following:

Dunlop E3 - I'd rather be pulled over carpet tacks and dipped in alcohol than EVER use another set of E3's on a GL1200. They were so terrible that I won't even consider the new E4's until I see other people use them for years with nothing but positive reviews. Dunlop seriously screwed the pooch, in my opinion.

Michelin Commander 2 - Good tires. I got slightly under 20,000 miles from mine (I actually had them on for over 20K, but I was well past the wear limit. I'd call them done at 18K) I liked the wet performance on them - to my feel, their wet performance felt very similar to their dry performance. When I wore those out, I replaced them with...

Avon Cobra - I bought them when Avon had a 15,000-mile warranty promotion. My first front tire had some kind of manufacturing defect, because it took 4.5 oz. of lead to balance. I contacted Revzilla (where I bought them), and within a couple of hours a representative from Avon North America contacted me directly. Without me even prompting them, they arranged for Revzilla to overnight me a new tire and arranged for me to return the defective tire at their expense. I was SUPER impressed with how Avon and Revzilla handled the issue. As for the tires themselves, they were okay. Their dry performance was fine, but their wet performance wasn't as good as the Commander. It's not that they felt bad, so much as I couldn't really feel anything. I knew the tires were down there, but they felt muted to me, like they weren't giving me any sort of signals at all. I just had to trust that they were there.

Time for a new set of tires. It's either going to be back to the Michelin Commander 2, or try a set of the new model of Continental Conti Tour. The Conti's have a higher rear load rating, but I'm not sure how I feel about the rear tread pattern. They advertise it as having a "solid center tread" pattern (and it does) for increased wear, but I wonder if that will cause it to behave poorly in wet weather. I know that I liked the Commanders, so it'll be down to whether I want to go with a known quantity, or try something new.

So for my money so far, it's E3 waaaay down at the bottom, Commander at the top, and Cobras only a small bit behind the Commander.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dunlop Elite (bad)

Thanks Buddy,

Now that I am reading BAD reviews on this tire, my next set should be an improvement regardless of choice.

So far we have + votes for Pirelli, Shinko 777 HD and the Michelin Commander II.
 

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My 1500 had E3s on it when I bought it and they did great for me, bought the bike and rode 300 miles toward home on Interstate with no problems at all. I have seen bad and good, mine were on bike when I got it so I think I was lucky to get good ones. As I said mine was a 1500, not a 1200
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good to hear from you Mystic - thank you!

I've done OK with mine for 6 years; OK not great. At first it felt like tip-toeing compared to the broader footprint of the Metzler tires. I owned a '98 Valkyrie for a short (forget what tires it had) and your GL1500 is likewise about 100-150 lbs. heavier than a GL1200 Standard! If they are good on a 1500, they should be work as well or better on the GL1200. Question is; did you replace them after the first 300 miles? Thanks again. JD

My 1500 had E3s on it when I bought it and they did great for me, bought the bike and rode 300 miles toward home on Interstate with no problems at all. I have seen bad and good, mine were on bike when I got it so I think I was lucky to get good ones. As I said mine was a 1500, not a 1200
 

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my 2002 1800 had E3s on it when purchased 3 years ago.

I found, that for my riding style, the rear E3 would break loose and go sideways in a heart beat on any kind of loose soil, or damp surface.

it was so bad for me, that when I tried to pass a truck on I-44 and the wheel spray was bothering me, even though I was in 5th gear, I opened the throttle to pass him, and the rear tire broke loose and went sideways.

I bought a Michelin RF ZP the next day, and that ended the hydroplaning.
I have put about 10,000 miles on that tire, and it still looks like new.

I have since though, ordered up an E4 because of favorable comments and will be putting that on tomorrow to try it out... I have two rear wheels available.

my problem with the CT, is that I am not riding enough anymore to keep my skill set sharp... and I am finding the CT's tendency to want to set backup vertical, and climbing broken pavement, is more than I want to deal with now.... at 75, my balance has gone to crap.... because of the semi truck that T-boned me in 2008...
 

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I only had my 1500 for a year and half before I got hit and it was totalled, I only put maybe 5000 miles on it. Previous owner said it had about 3000 miles on them when I bought it, was still very good shape even after I got hit. No I never changed them, was checking out the E4 so I would be ready when I needed to
 
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