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Hello everybody. I will try to fit a narrow rear tire.
Do you think Pirelli MT60 with dimensions 160/60 R17 will fit?
Is this ok for the standard rear wheel?
Thank you.
 

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According to most tire companies, the 5.5" rim width minimum tire size is 170, which is what I went with. I'd prefer a narrower set of tires, but rims are the stopper. It would take a narrower rim to run a 140 to 160 tire. In looking I think there are some higher profile 160 tires that may work on the 5.5" rim, but you would have to verify it with the manufacturer in their specs or by contacting them.

I'd love to do a 5.00 or 4.50 rim to run a 140 or 150 tire. Seems the original 2019 Indian FTR1200 ran a 150/80. If that is fairly adequate for the FTR horsepower I'd think it could work with the XSR700's 68 hp. Wouldn't be the perfect track tire size, but not on a track and not riding that hard on public roads.

If you want to be certain, contact the tire manufacturer of the tire you want to use. Higher profile will fit narrower rims so you need to check with them.
 

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Just out of curiosity, why are you both choosing to run a narrower tire than the OEM size? There are some options for dual sport tires in the stock size, but I also understand and have no issue with alternate sizes to make more options available.
 

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This will tell you more than you may want to know... just giving the best complete answer I can.

I prefer the narrower and sometimes lower size profile tire for a couple reasons.
  • The facts are that a 190 hp R1 uses a 190, a 117 hp MT-09 uses a 180, and a 120 hp FTR 1200 started with a 150 when using the 18" rear wheel and flat track look, so I'm thinking a 180 on a 68 hp bike is overkill. Realistically a 150 would be totally capable of working with the 68 hp. Why spend more money on something you don't really need?
  • The significantly bigger tires are heavier, taking more horsepower to rotate them and make unsprung weight higher forcing suspension to work harder.
  • The wider profile creates slower handling, which will quicken with a size narrower tire, it is the distance from the centerline of the tire to the outer contact patch point that relates to leverage. I made the mistake of going bigger on my Moto Guzzi years ago, going up one size - the bike handled like a dump truck.
  • If the tire is smaller in diameter it will also quicken handling. I've done this before with a couple of my bikes, including going from an 80 profile to a 70 profile on the same 110 width tire on a Zephyr 550, made it turn in much quicker and was still predictable.
  • The narrower rear tire will still have nearly the same amount of center tread contact with the road as the wider tire, so mileage will be roughly the same with the narrower tire.
  • The narrower tires are up to 25% less expensive when replacement is needed.
  • I don't care for the fat tire look on a standard motorcycle that makes the bike look like it should be used to roll asphalt driveways. No problem with more sporting design and super sports. I like the lighter look along with the lighter feeling ride.
I have done different size tires on a number of bikes over the years, starting with putting a narrower knobby on my 1973 Suzuki TM125 when doing hare scrambles racing and trail riding. I did it because when I looked at the faster riders' bikes they had 3.75 or 4.00 tires at the widest, even on the 250s (two strokes).

I used to be into doing big tires, but after the aforementioned Moto Guzzi experience. When it was sold the first thing the new owner did was put the correct size tires on it. When it was sold the first thing the new owner did was put the correct size tires on it. I learned from the experience and did the opposite on my GL1100 naked Gold Wing, dropping width and profile front and back to quicken the handling for the riding I did.

Then there was the front tire on the Zephyr, going from a 110/80 to a 110/70 made the bike steer quicker without much sacrifice in stability. It gained the quicker steering I wanted, more like my 650 dual sport or a sport bike.

A friend bought the first R1 out back in 1998. When he replaced the rear tire he put on a 200 if I remember right. I asked him how it worked. He said it slowed the handling a bit and was a bit harder to turn in, but he liked the fat back tire look.

Then most recently I went down on size with my KLX250, going from a 120/80-18 to a 4.10-18 which is about an inch narrower and a bit lower in profile. That was done to deal with sand and mud. With the narrower tire I can pretty much let the clutch out and work the spin to get through sand and mud without clutch abuse. The smaller tire will take less of the 20 hp the bike makes and is less unsprung weight. It looks lighter, you don't see MX bikes with big fat tires for the same reasons. Then there is the fact that the 4.10 is around $20 lower cost than the 120/80 and wears at about the same rate.

Over the past roughly 50 years I learned a bit about tires and how I could work them to my advantage, both functionally and aesthetically. One can ignore my aesthetic preferences for the light look, but the actual performance facts remain. I didn't make them up, they are following the laws of physics... well, all but the cost. That's following the laws of income.

In conclusion I don't say anyone wanting to run fat tires is wrong, they are not. I just know that there are performance differences and I play them for what I want, others can play them for what they want. If I can do it I will have as close to optimum tire size for handling as I can and if I can have the bike look better to my eye - bonus! I'll do it.
 

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I don't disagree with much of what you're saying, but a lot is simple geometry to take handling in the direction you want, (no issue with that at all), and other changes more oriented to off pavement riding.

In regards to the XSR700 specifically, the 180/55-17 is a common sport-touring sizing, so a wide variety of tire options, not always cheaper to go smaller, it depends on what you want, sales, etc. I wouldn't hesitate to use an alternate size appropriate for the rim width, (and have many times before), if the tire design I want isn't offered in the exact oem size.

And again, while I don't disagree with what you're describing in handling terms, for street riding, the difference isn't that perceptible to most riders. It may be to you, but a lot of riders just don't ride the miles or ride the bike in a manner where they will notice the changes.

Thanks for sharing your perspective and offering excellent observations on the types of changes you have made and what you experienced. (y)
 

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No problem. Anyone who puts bigger front tires (or smaller) will learn quickly what happens. The rear isn't quite so radical. There won't be as many sport tires available, which has been a problem for riders on the smaller sport bikes and supermotos, but with the current crop of small bore sport bikes that has changed some. There is also the trend toward some mid size bikes. The Honda CB500F has a 160/70-17.

The type of tire doesn't seem to be an issue either. Doing a search by size on Revzilla brings up a fairly wide variety of tire models in that size, like the Michelin Road 5 which is $213 where the 180 is $246. There were Bridgestone Battlax T31 Sport touring, two different Pirelli Angel models, Continental and others. The price difference seems consistent from brand to brand. The 140 and 130 aren't as common, but still can be had in a variety of models too. The catch would be finding a set that has a 110 or 100/90-19 or 18 to match the rear. But the sets are out there.

The hard part for me is it would run around $3000 to go to different size wheels, which would be spoke wheels. I'd love to do it, but that's a chunk of change. I may check into having a rear rim narrowed by an inch. Usually the rims are widened. Never know, I might do something. I'd like a 19/18, but would do a 19/17 if I could too.
 

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I'm the opposite. I've ridden 17/17 on and off pavement, up creek beds and tons of gravel and two track on heavy sport-touring bikes for hundreds of thousands of miles and just don't have an issue with that. I've also ridden ADV bikes with 19/17 and until you get into real off road riding, I don't see any real benefit to 18/21 wheel size and do NOT like 18/21 on the interstate at all. I also have big miles on wire spoke wheels and dislike them and see zero reason for a bike to have them. I'll take cast wheels, thank you very much. I've bent wire spoke wheels off road in conditions that would likely have not bothered a cast wheel at all. IMHO, all these new big trailies only have wire spoke wheels for style points.

You could look into putting a Super Tenere front wheel on your XSR if you wanted a 19 front. No idea what mods or caliper spacing is there. But, that's an expensive wheel to find too. Even after 10 years of them on the road. Woody's Wheel Works can make you just about anything. They are not too keen on serious machine work on cast wheels, but an Excel rim and a hub from almost anything and they can make it work with ABS/TCS, etc.

As a retired machinist, the issue with narrowing a cast wheel is as much about offset as it is about the quality of the welding when it's put back together. To do it right you might need to section both sides and that's a ton of work. Likely easier to find a narrower Yamaha wheel and swap bearings and spacers to fit the XSR axle. Easier on chain drive than shaft, but could still be a challenge and you're breaking new ground for this application.

Keep in mind that if you want to quicken steering, you can simply raise the fork tubes a few mm in the triple tree or add raising links to the rear for the same effect as a larger diameter rear tire or smaller diameter front tire. There is no wrong way, only what works for you.
 

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I should say I respect your comments. The reason why I continue with replies would be as a way for others to get some knowledge from riders like you and me. We've done stuff and learned. A lot of what I learned started with the guys in the shop talking - no internet in those times.

I have to say the 18/21 is on the dual sport. I ride a dual sport when on dirt/gravel and off road. I'm not overly fond of the thought of trying to ride a street bike off road, much less pull it out of mud or try to ride it through deep sand. I saw how effective scramblers were back in the early 70s, so I'm not in on that trend. I would run a spoke wheel off road, because I can relace a new rim to replace a bent one.

A set of spoke wheels can be had for around $2500 plus tax in a 19/17 combination. Already am looking into it and it is a serious consideration. They ain't cheap at around $2400 for the set.

When it comes to widening and narrowing rims I got fairly well versed over the years when being friends with some riders who did widen rims, and looking into supermoto wheels for the KLX650. Widening and narrowing wheels does take the right equipment operated by the right people. There are a couple companies doing the work in the U.S., I may find out what it costs to do so. And your thought was right, the motorcycle wheel does require having equal addition or removal to each side to keep the wheel centered properly.

I have done a number of different methods to get handling how I want it. In the 70s for a quick increase in travel on the TM the lower shock mount was moved forward on the swing arm to gain about 2 more inches of travel that allowed me to run a gear higher and faster over the trails. I also followed a short track trend of putting short shocks on my Bultaco short tracker - big mistake. It was better with the stock length shocks. I guess we were young and didn't think it out.

I put a size smaller tires on the GL1100 to get a bit quicker handling (had the Wing to ride with my wife). Put longer shocks and raised the tubes in the forks of the first SR500 I had. Did a combination on the Zephyr, going one profile smaller on the front tire and rotated the rear eccentric chain adjusters the opposite direction, which raised the rear instead of lowering it. The Zephyr would bother some riders, because it is really responsive, but it worked for me.

I did raise the fork tubes in the clamps on the 700 about 10mm and may go a bit more, it still takes more effort than I want. It doesn't steer nearly as easily as my brother's FJ-09. It's almost as if you think of turning and the FJ's doing it. The XSR takes more effort. I may try going to a 110/80 on the front if I feel like it for the next tire change.

Changing links changes leverage progression, the stiffness of the suspension is also altered. Messing with the links requires knowing how it will affect the suspension characteristics. Usually the link leverage is set to stiffen suspension as it compresses. Lowering links may allow the rear tire to hit the fender, because it does lower as implied, but possibly also because the change allows a bit more travel in the suspension as well. It will also affect the rake and trail unless the forks are raised in the clamps a roughly equal amount. It's not a simple change for some riders.

For me it's fun to work with this stuff a bit. Be nice to have a bunch of money to not have to be concerned about cost though.
 
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