First Impressions gone both ways
Trying to find a radial tire to fit my old FJ1100s is becoming increasingly harder. It is the oldest bike I have seen that is "radial approved"; by Yamaha and the tire manufacturers. I have been riding on Michelin Macadams for about 4 years now and love them. After having bought what I believe are the last two front Macadams on the planet, I had to find a suitable match for the rear. I had a rear flat a while back on one of my FJs, so I swapped both wheels out with my spare set that had a matched set of an older model Avon radials. The tires were nearly new, and in great shape. However, they were horrible in every way! The Mitchelins had spoiled me so bad that I was actually thankful when the Avon's reminded me of something no rider should forget, especially one that has been riding on the street for over 33 years. I went to turn and had a front end wash out. Thankfully, the FJ and I didn't fully realize it until we were around the corner. I hadn't had a tire slip, even in the rain we get in Seattle, in almost 4 years and 55,000 miles. The rear tire wouldn't hold on WFO in 1st (past 5,500rpm) and 2nd gear (past 6,700 rpm), on dry pavement! It would just start spinning, and don't even think about trying to get out of a corner quicker by gassing it before the apex...good bye back end. Reminded me of my RM500!
So, I was very reluctant to buy this Avon. But, my brain kept telling me that they are one of THE biggest brands in the world, and sponser a majority of the races in Europe. I read a review here (maybe 2) from fellow FJ riders and they loved the tire. So, I ordered one. Everything came as, and when, promised. Of course, it's Dennis Kirk! (customer for around 30 years!)
Veteran's know that there are a lot of bikes destroyed, and riders hurt, or worse, with brand new tires on them. The release agent takes 100-200 miles (normal riding) to wear off. I wipe the tread of mine off with a cloth shop rag, that I have put a LITTLE lacquer thinner on, and wait until it is almost completely evaporated. In the other hand is a clean dry rag and I follow rightt behind it so it doesn't sit there long. You don't really want to see it get wet. I am sure there are better ways, but this works great for me. I took it for a ride and did the GP weave, starting with mild turns and getting more aggressive as you go. I felt the rear slip just a little, once or twice in the first 2 miles, then they started to change my mind aboutt Avons, from that minute on! In 2 days I put over 300 miles on it. The last 50 being not so nice to it! It let me know that there is still a lot more waiting for me. The second day, with about 20 miles on the tires I got caught in a rain storm that left standing water up to 3-4 inches in places. I was on a wide, open, straightt, non-cambered, and slightly uphill road, in 1st gear, about 4,500 rpm. That's where the old FJ made it's reputation, because it gets REAL serious about movin' out from there to the 9,200 rev limiter. I goosed the clutch, a little, but enough to really test it. It lifted the front wheel an inch or so and didn't slip at all! That is significant because the FJs were not known as wheelie machines. In fact, it is the heavy nose, keeping the front tire stuck to the ground that makes them corner so good.
This is a great tire! Don't know about the mileage, but the profile is WONDERFUL! Made the bike feel like it was a little 500, because it transitions so well! At 50 mph I could TOSS it from one side to the other, full lean to full lean! With less than 50 miles on it! I EASED inot that gradually, but was never given a reason to not push it harder.
The tread looks pretty cool too! Thanks Dennis Kirk, and Avon! Buy this tire! You will be impressed. I am going to order a full set for my other bike right now!!!