Trip prep step 2 - Commander II tires - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Trip prep step 2 - Commander II tires

Heading out this Friday morning with a few friends on a ~700 mile 3-day weekend. Friday will be my first ever 200+ mile day, to be followed immediately by 2 more!

Trip prep step 1 was an oil and filter change last Saturday. No issues, and my bike likes the new oil (Amsoil synthetic).

Trip prep step 2 is the Michelin Commander II tires installed yesterday. With guidance from this forum I got a 170/80-15 for the rear, and a 90/90-21 for the front. As expected, there were no issues in the rear and just noticeably reduced tire-fender clearance in the front. Have only ridden about 60 miles since picking up bike last night, but am seriously impressed with the new feel. Noticed the predicted gravel-under-the-fender scrapes in the front, and may raise the fender a little bit to give some additional clearance.

The old dunlops were done (at 5400 miles). The rear was almost bald in the middle (PO ran with too-low pressure) and the front was scalloped and hard as a rock. Judging the new Commanders by comparing them with those old tires is not really useful, but I will follow up next week with a post-trip assessment.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 11:55 AM
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 02:39 PM
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Guy View Post
Heading out this Friday morning with a few friends on a ~700 mile 3-day weekend. Friday will be my first ever 200+ mile day, to be followed immediately by 2 more!

Trip prep step 1 was an oil and filter change last Saturday. No issues, and my bike likes the new oil (Amsoil synthetic).

Trip prep step 2 is the Michelin Commander II tires installed yesterday. With guidance from this forum I got a 170/80-15 for the rear, and a 90/90-21 for the front. As expected, there were no issues in the rear and just noticeably reduced tire-fender clearance in the front. Have only ridden about 60 miles since picking up bike last night, but am seriously impressed with the new feel. Noticed the predicted gravel-under-the-fender scrapes in the front, and may raise the fender a little bit to give some additional clearance.

The old dunlops were done (at 5400 miles). The rear was almost bald in the middle (PO ran with too-low pressure) and the front was scalloped and hard as a rock. Judging the new Commanders by comparing them with those old tires is not really useful, but I will follow up next week with a post-trip assessment.
Just a note: bald in the center is caused by too much air pressure not too little. Other than that have a great and safe trip.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Riding a newly purchased (1800 miles and 2 months ago) 2009 Vulcan 900 Custom SE. Is in my signature, but I should have mentioned it in the body. Next time...

Bald in the center - Flat 4 inches across, then sharp curve upwards with decent tread on sides. Seems to (newbie, ignorant) me that too-high pressure would give a narrow bald patch down center. Instead it looked like a car tire. Level all the way across with treaded shoulders. PO took several long rides loaded with gear, hardly any local/twisty stuff. Pressure was in low 20s when I bought it. I think that low pressure made a big contact patch that squirmed itself into oblivion. In any case, old ones are gone. Shop set new pressures about 3-4 pounds below max printed on sidewalls. I will tweak that to adjust ride, perhaps, but will not ignore the pressure.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 03:55 PM
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Old Guy,

I wouldn't spent too much energy trying to figure out what happened to the OEM tires. You'll never know for sure how they were treated by the PO.

However, if you keep those COMMANDER II's at about 40 psi, you should be very pleased with the outcome. My current set of COMMANDER II's have 16,877 miles on them and I expect to get another 2,000 more from the rear tire and perhaps 7,000 or 8,000 more from the front tire.

Unlike too many products, these tires have greatly exceeded my expectations and live up to the advertisement hype. Michelin deserves much praise.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Trip completed !!

Arrived home last night at 9:30 or so. A couple hundred miles of interstate, a couple hundred miles of country roads, a few miles of dirt and gravel, and some good stretches of twisties had rolled under the Commanders during the fabulous weekend.

I love these tires.

If I were to buy tires again today I would probably stay with the stock sized front tire, as I think it looks a little better and is a little easier to move around - my personal subjective opinion only - YMMV. The 90/90-21 rides and handles well, and the 170/80-15 rear seems perfect. It has corrected much of the speedo offset, and handled everything I was able to throw at it with ease. I pushed the bike, and myself, significantly past where the worn-out Dunlops began complaining.

I cannot comment on riding them in the rain, as we had nothing but clear skys for all 3 days. My confidence is building now that I have good tires. It just keeps getting better.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 03:01 AM
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 07:44 AM
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Very informative and I have been waiting for the follow up since your first post about starting off. For looks only I would stick with the spec front tire size, that and your comment, I will stick to that size. But you have helped me decide that the Commanders are going to be my choice in the Spring. Thanks for the post, update, and finale.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffjo View Post
Old Guy,

I wouldn't spent too much energy trying to figure out what happened to the OEM tires. You'll never know for sure how they were treated by the PO.

However, if you keep those COMMANDER II's at about 40 psi, you should be very pleased with the outcome. My current set of COMMANDER II's have 16,877 miles on them and I expect to get another 2,000 more from the rear tire and perhaps 7,000 or 8,000 more from the front tire.

Unlike too many products, these tires have greatly exceeded my expectations and live up to the advertisement hype. Michelin deserves much praise.
Griffjo,

Is there any advantage to having tires at 40psi? I ran my stock dunlops at 40 psi front and back. The rear is pretty mush worn out in the center at 5,500 miles. It looks like over inflation wear. The manual says 28-32 rear, 40 front. The front tire still looks pretty good with even wear unlike the rear tire that is severely worn in the center. I know the Rear tire wears more but think the wear should be more even across the middle tire section not just a fairly narrow area in the center.

I will be going with commander IIs soon, I am planning on running mfg suggested pressure (Michelin also suggests Mfg pressure) but I would like to know why you run at 40 psi, sounds like the Michelin tires are standing up for you OK at 40 psi. Maybe I just like hard acceleration too much!!

Last edited by Wild Bill; 11-07-2014 at 12:31 PM.
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