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The Massive Pr1ck
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2,633 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like we have and entire new crew owning Rs and as such the wide tire discussion is upon us, so thought I'd revive what it does to the R and why.

The R was HD's attempt to produce a bike actually capable of going around corners and they did a pretty good job of it. The tire size they chose was probably the best size in their common tire lineup to take on the task at hand. They also raised the bike quite a bit to gain much needed ground clearance so that it could actually lean enough for a reasonable pace in the corners.

Two common mods done on the R are lowering and wide tire. Both will essentially destroy the very thing the R was designed to do.

The impact of reduced ground clearance by lowering is obvious, but the wide rear tire not so much.

A wider tire not only slows handling due to increased rotational inertia and gyroscopic effect, it actually requires the bike to physically lean more to take any corner at a given speed. The wider profile means that the contact patch moves further towards the center of the corner on a wider tire than a narrower one at lean. When cornering clearance is your issue it actually decreases ultimate cornering ability. This is why Moto GP bikes have to lean further in corners than their smaller cousins.

Last issue is that the wider tire and resulting greater offset in contact patch is how that offset impacts rake and trail at lean. The greater offset results is a greater misalignment of the steering head from effective lean angle. This results in decreased stability at full lean.

So there you have it. If you are wanting to extract the best performance from the R you are far better off keeping the 180. The wider tire has no advantage beyond complying with an expected look needed to conform to a current fad.
 

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I dont have an R but I did want 3 things in my Vrod.

Big engine, small tire, mid controls. The 08D gave me the 180 rear, 1250 motor, and mids. Ive been on 240 rears and agree with everything you stated. My bike is much more "nimble" (not that any VRSC is nimble) than others I test drove or have ridden since.

Saw a bike at a show this weekend with the 260 on it and the tread wear was atrocious. Almost bald in the middle with 3/4 tread left on the outsides.
 

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The Massive Pr1ck
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2,633 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not criticizing, but find it kind of funny to hear the 180 called small. My race bike back in 87 had a HUGE for the time 170.
 

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I worked for three days leaning my R to the max in the N.GA & N.C. mountains to get my chicken strips down to 1/8 inch or less. Still cant quite match Mikes rear tire prior pix. The R rocks, as delivered, with a 180. Like Mike said before with the right wheel a 200 maybe but really a 180 or 190 is ideal. Anything more is for looks, just a Fad, form over function, and resulting in less of what the R delivers. Just buy another V Rod with the wide tire, and save the R's for someone that actually rides.
 
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