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I replaced the stock Dunlop’s with Metzeler ME880 90/90-21 front and 200/70-15 rear. I was pleasantly surprised with the transformation. The stock tires were somewhat nervous or not very positive over rough pavement and especially over grooved pavement or open grated bridges. I understand that the front tires aren’t that wide, even with the new one, and you can only expect so much from their contact patch. The more I rode on the Dunlop's; the more I felt they just weren’t that good. And there were times the bike would surprise me with a little wiggle or something on the Dunlop’s, squirrelly I’d best describe it. So I bit the bullet and had it shod with the Metzeler’s this morning. Within the first few miles I immediately felt a difference. The front end felt more planted, more positive and the overall ride felt much smoother. Gone was that slight buzz at speed in the handgrips and it seemed to track straighter over the undulations in the pavement. Now I do want to clarify that the tires didn’t give the bike razor sharp sport bike handling, and it is a V-Twin so it will never be as smooth as an inline 4 or Honda/BMW boxer powerplant. I’m not delusional. But I will say it is a noticeable improvement over the stock tires in ride and handling for this type of bike with such a skinny front tire. And they look better, too. The front fills the fender nicely now and the rear just looks great. No modifications to anything were required. I can’t wait to put some more miles on them solo and 2-up. I’ll update the post as I put more time on them. I hope I see an improvement in wet handling, too, but that can wait. So now I have a spare set of Dunlop's with less than 3k on them. That's not such a bad thing come to think of it.:D
 

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I replaced the stock Dunlop’s with Metzeler ME880 90/90-21 front and 200/70-15 rear. I was pleasantly surprised with the transformation. The stock tires were somewhat nervous or not very positive over rough pavement and especially over grooved pavement or open grated bridges. I understand that the front tires aren’t that wide, even with the new one, and you can only expect so much from their contact patch. The more I rode on the Dunlop's; the more I felt they just weren’t that good. And there were times the bike would surprise me with a little wiggle or something on the Dunlop’s, squirrelly I’d best describe it. So I bit the bullet and had it shod with the Metzeler’s this morning. Within the first few miles I immediately felt a difference. The front end felt more planted, more positive and the overall ride felt much smoother. Gone was that slight buzz at speed in the handgrips and it seemed to track straighter over the undulations in the pavement. Now I do want to clarify that the tires didn’t give the bike razor sharp sport bike handling, and it is a V-Twin so it will never be as smooth as an inline 4 or Honda/BMW boxer powerplant. I’m not delusional. But I will say it is a noticeable improvement over the stock tires in ride and handling for this type of bike with such a skinny front tire. And they look better, too. The front fills the fender nicely now and the rear just looks great. No modifications to anything were required. I can’t wait to put some more miles on them solo and 2-up. I’ll update the post as I put more time on them. I hope I see an improvement in wet handling, too, but that can wait. So now I have a spare set of Dunlop's with less than 3k on them. That's not such a bad thing come to think of it.:D
Great writeup, thanks. Been wanting to go that way myself as I'm running Metz's on my other cruiser. Take a look at Metzeler's website concerning new tire break-in. They suggest giving the new skins 200 miles before feeling truly confident with the handling.
 

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I replaced the stock Dunlop’s with Metzeler ME880 90/90-21 front and 200/70-15 rear. I was pleasantly surprised with the transformation. The stock tires were somewhat nervous or not very positive over rough pavement and especially over grooved pavement or open grated bridges. I understand that the front tires aren’t that wide, even with the new one, and you can only expect so much from their contact patch. The more I rode on the Dunlop's; the more I felt they just weren’t that good. And there were times the bike would surprise me with a little wiggle or something on the Dunlop’s, squirrelly I’d best describe it. So I bit the bullet and had it shod with the Metzeler’s this morning. Within the first few miles I immediately felt a difference. The front end felt more planted, more positive and the overall ride felt much smoother. Gone was that slight buzz at speed in the handgrips and it seemed to track straighter over the undulations in the pavement. Now I do want to clarify that the tires didn’t give the bike razor sharp sport bike handling, and it is a V-Twin so it will never be as smooth as an inline 4 or Honda/BMW boxer powerplant. I’m not delusional. But I will say it is a noticeable improvement over the stock tires in ride and handling for this type of bike with such a skinny front tire. And they look better, too. The front fills the fender nicely now and the rear just looks great. No modifications to anything were required. I can’t wait to put some more miles on them solo and 2-up. I’ll update the post as I put more time on them. I hope I see an improvement in wet handling, too, but that can wait. So now I have a spare set of Dunlop's with less than 3k on them. That's not such a bad thing come to think of it.:D
Is the front tire mounted with the correct rotation according to the directional arrows on the sidewall?
 

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Yup, they both are correct. First, you follow the rotation arrow. Second, if the tread is made that way, it should make a V and the top of the V should point up into the fender when viewing it from in front or behind the bike. So I guess that make it a ^. Both of the tires pictured above do that.
So you noticed, Metzler was better AND wider is nicer. Now you know why us Classic folks went with the bike we did. Wait till that narrow little tire gets up to about 130. Nice easy cruising.

Those narrow little tires on the Customs look cool though.
 

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Yup, they both are correct. First, you follow the rotation arrow. Second, if the tread is made that way, it should make a V and the top of the V should point up into the fender when viewing it from in front or behind the bike. So I guess that make it a ^. Both of the tires pictured above do that.
So you noticed, Metzler was better AND wider is nicer. Now you know why us Classic folks went with the bike we did. Wait till that narrow little tire gets up to about 130. Nice easy cruising.

Those narrow little tires on the Customs look cool though.
I'm sure you're right- it just looks odd, though. If you look at the rear tire, as it rotates, the point of the V-grove gets to the pavement first, and any water on the pavement would be channeled away to the outside of the tread. On the front, however, the open end of the V tread would seem to channel water into the center portion of the tread inducing hydroplaning. Just doesn't look right.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The tires are mounted in the correct direction; these do look a little weird with the tread pattern. I am aware of the 200 mile run-in period. The local M/C garage gave me, ...gasp..., an actual Metzeler brochure and the mechanic made it a point to tell me of the run-in. One of the benefits of dealing locally. And he was just $35-$40 more than if I got them online and had him install them. Fortunately for me I can handle the extra cost without thinking about it much. So if there is an issue with the tires he could take care of things since he has a relationship with the wholesaler. I hope it doesn't come to that and just what taking care of things is I've yet to see. But I bet I do get better "warranty" service if needed. I went for looks over function when I bought the bike. I just don't like floorboards or spokes. You just don't pick up everything on a test ride but I doubt much would have changed my mind about which model to buy. I have a 10 mile commute to work and take relaxing rides on weekends 2-up. I wouldn't think to ride this cross country, but 3 or 4 hours at a clip is very doable on the Custom.
 

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Great Write-up and review!
I'll probably club up to a Metz the next time I FOD out one of my OEMs. Since street sweepers are an endangered species in my area, that could be any day now...:(

I've used 880's before, and was very happy with the handling and wear. The only good thing I can say about Dunlops is that they make nice, pretty smoke if you're into the burn-out thing...which I'm not...:D
 
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