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I always go by recommended. The front tire I always check as its a narrow tire.

The bike does feel more nimble at higher pressure.
 

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For me, the handling was transformed when I raised tyre pressures. I obviously kept within the max pressures on the sidewall.

I have the classic so very diferent at the front, but 36 in the back stopped the vagueness I felt at the back. Less affected by poor roads too.
 

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WB....r u sure u don't have the pressures backwards? I've had 6 bikes in the last 8yrs (a Yam 500, 1200 Sportster, ZG1000 Concours, Super Glide, Electra Glide and Nomad 1600), and everyone of them calls for higher pressure in the rear, usually like 32/36, 34/40, etc, with a recommended increase if carrying a psgr. Best to go with what the owner's manual sez.
 

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Hi Wild Bill, I agree with Vulcan John, a little higher than book transformed my classic on original tyres, but always checked cold. The rear lost its vagueness and the front inspired confidence more. Better mpg too.

Have you ever set your tyre pressures when cold, as recommended, and then checked them when hot, such as you might at a gas station?

There may be a big diference.

By experimenting I have found good pressures for me, a few pounds higher than the book, but if I reset them when hot, they will end up too low again when cold.

I admit I have an obsession with tyres and pressures, ever since I bought my classic with 12 lb front and 14 lb rear and found out just how bad a bike can handle at the first bend I came to. Quite exciting, but not in a good way....
That experience taught me a lesson. I now carry a pen type guage all the time and use it before every ride when tyres are cold.
On very low mileage bikes, there are probably some whose tyres are too old for safety. Some use the max load pressure on the sidewall as a "normal" pressure.

I read an interesting article about a tyre company that weighed front and rears fully loaded as bikers arrived at a meeting. Some with trailers, luggage, healthy appetites and two up were so over the tyre load limit as to be farcical, and dangerous.
I will now put my obsession with tyres back in its box :)
 

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the tire pressure recommendations in the manual reflect Kawasaki's thoughts for overall balance on tire life, ride smoothness and a balance with the suspension. I run the tire sidewall recommendation ... tire life / mileage increases but the ride is firmer , but more to my liking. I have a mustang seat for comfort. Considering I pull a trailer a lot of the time, i am very impressed with the wear rate that I am getting out of my Michelins, but then again, the rear of my bike is not overloaded and the tongue weight does not exceed 25lbs.

Bikes that are loaded up with gear, and 600lbs of rider and pillion may exceed the recommended tire limits.
 

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I run mine higher as well. The ride is firmer, as whiting said. And the handling is different. I prefer it though; the handling is a little 'lighter' if that makes sense. Less road feel, which could be good or bad depending on who you talk to!
 

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I too run mine a little tighter. The slightly quicker handling feels good to me. And at 900 pounds, it handles more like 600+ pounds. Makes turn initiation much easier and quicker. And over 1500 miles have not noticed any unusual tire wear.
 

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Reps from both Dunlop and Metzeler have told me that they recommend running the pressures printed on the tires' sidewalls. The reason give was that a softer inflated tire has more sidewall flex, which translates out to greater heat buildup and a greater chance of what they refer to as "catastrophic tire failure." I call that a blowout. They both also told me that running at the higher pressure increases tire tread life as well as improves overall handling of the motorcycle. I run 40 psi front and rear. I don't mind the firmer ride and I like the better handling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the feedback. Lots of different opinion on this subject. I am going back to maximum Kawi recomended pressure 40 front 32 rear - 900 custom.

Several folks have said you should use the pressure noted on the tire, however Michelin at least does not recomend that.

NB: The maximum pressure indicated on the tire is never to be considered for road use. This is the pressure corresponding to the tire’s load index.

http://motorcycle.michelinman.com/advice/faq/about-tire-pressures

I figure the bike and tire mfg know what goes into the materials and design of their products so their recommendations should be valid.

At 40 psi on the rear I had premature center wear on the tire. Reduced to 32 PSI and have not noticed any significant difference in handling. Will go to max kawi recomended pressure on new Michelin commander 2s
 
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