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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just pulled over the 5K miles mark on my 5 month old Sportster Iron and I gotta tell you, these tires suck monkey balls on wet surfaces.

I mean I don't expect them not to skid or slide on every opportunity they see but come on, give me something. I have almost 0 trust in my rear wheel in case of an emergency during rain. In dry weather, on asphalt I have no problems - though they again suck at high speeds. An hour ride to Delaware Water Gap on the highway cruising ~80mph makes my fingers go numb because of vibration. Since this is my first Sportster and my first Michelins I got nothing to compare the experience to. Is this normal, is this what everybody else is putting up with?

I commute with my bike, every single day, rain or shine - in New York City. I live in Brooklyn, take Manhattan bridge into the city and local roads, or FDR to midtown depending on how I feel.

The gist of it is; the bike is not heavy enough and the rear wheel is big enough to cause trouble on slick surfaces; I get it. But does it have to wobble that much and slide like crazy, even when I am straight - no lean, no turn, just straight riding, nothing but wind hitting me from the side on the upper level of Manhattan bridge during rain. when I hit those metal connectors on the road, the bike literally shifts a foot or two to the side. I almost feel like the rubber is too hard for proper wet surface traction. Just like the stock rear shocks (which I presume used 4x4 instead of coils and I had to change them after 4 days of city riding) the tires are made for California, not New York.

This past summer, I got caught in a flash flood in Dumont, New Jersey and I had to ride back home. I was (not kidding here) riding in higher than ankle deep water for an hour and the bike was hydoplaning the entire time (I have a lot of experience in riding on slick surfaces and that's the only reason why I am still alive) Low gear, low torque, low speed || high gear, low torque, low speed I tried every trick in the book; alas the tires were of no help. the only help I got was from the bike and its weight distribution; and that's a top heavy bike!

I want to change the tires, but I get conflicting information from almost all my friends. Lastly the mech at the Harley service center said "dude, don't waste your money, it is what it is, it won't get better than this; just suck it up"

but I refuse to suck it up! I need to know :) is this al there is to it? I am willing to change tires just for winter and go back to Michelin Schorchers for the rest of the year. I hate these tires!
 

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Addicted Since 2010
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Omg no!!!!

Dude, same experience I had with my rear dunlop

I don't think it is so much the tire style as it is a bad batch

Mine was garbage yet other dunlops I have ridden on are way better. Replace the tires with commanders, avons, metzlers or something and save yourself!! A bike shouldn't be that bad in water.

Make sure you are running correct air pressure too. As far as I am concerned, the bike should almost never be squirlie going in a straight line even in the wet. At least mine isn't

Good luck
 

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3,690 Posts
I don't know a thing about the Michilin Scorchers, but I sure do love the Commander II tires, ESPECIALLY in the wet.
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks XL. it's not that bad on a straight line, pending there is no wind. Just had the service make sure there is no alignment problems on the tire. they say it's good.

Let me give you an example on how the real wheel behaves:

Those white lines, the lane dividers on the road. They are a bit embossed, and they have a different surface texture than the asphalt. if I ride straight on that white line (slow speed, like 15mph) my front will stay on the line, but my rear wheel will tend to go in and out of the line skidding all along. and I am NOT talking about wetness right now. This is every day behavior. If the road is wet, I slalom to avoid: pot holes, manhole covers, white lines, lane dividers, little puddles. This is nuts by my measures :))
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
so far, from what I gather from the posts in these forums, Commander II seems to be the common denominator. that is a good lead for me. thank you LilJo
 

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so far, from what I gather from the posts in these forums, Commander II seems to be the common denominator. that is a good lead for me. thank you LilJo
No problem, man. I do hope you get tires that work for your bike REAL quick. Like you, I'm a daily commuter. I'm on a much older Sportster than you, a '93, and these MC2s are the best tires I've ever run on my bike. I've gone through truckloads of Dunlops, and tried Avons a time or two and Metzlers from time to time. For my bike, there is no comparison.

Whatever you do, I'm hoping you find something that works--and QUICK. Stay safe, man.
 

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Poser
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4,426 Posts
Op,,,
New Sportster,
Has very BAD suspension,
AT BOTH ENDS,

My stock Lops also sucked in the wet, but got better as I made my suspension faster,
AT BOTH ENDS.

Stock suspension,,any braking or even a throttle shut gives you a sudden forward weight shift, even If only an Inch of nose dive.
The problem Is the sudden drop due to shitty damping and rebound control
AT BOTH ENDS.

Ricor Intimidators up front with 5 wt oil and proper preload,
Works performance street trackers out back, 2 springs on each shock,
black of course...

MC II's Is the new tec rubber.. Love em

Also you must learn to use ONLY your foot muscles on the rear brake, less power, more control..
 

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802 Posts
Icy; based on the fact that you commute everyday to the city, you must know your stuff.

I have put over 9k on Scorchers (FXDC) and they seem to grip pretty good.

But once coming out of the Whitestone tolls in the wet the back came round on easy roll on. Did my best flat track trick and kept it straight.

Curious to know real life wet handling characteristics of other tires.
 

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Wow. Awesome first set of postings. I suggest giving an intro in the new section, take a deep breath, read a little and get to know the place. You have done the equivalent of walking into a stranger's house during a party and loudly complain about your tires. Reel it in a little. Relax.
 

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Maybe time to upgrade to a bigger bike:think
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Wow. Awesome first set of postings. I suggest giving an intro in the new section, take a deep breath, read a little and get to know the place. You have done the equivalent of walking into a stranger's house during a party and loudly complain about your tires. Reel it in a little. Relax.
Hahaha :) fair enough. I only hope that from my loud complaints you had gotten the hint that I read vigorously through the forum, checked what people said and came to certain conclusions. my post was not posted in haste, but it was done in "taste" :)

points taken: give an intro in the new section... deep breath (never leave home without one) get to know the place (wouldn't become a member if the place wasn't worth becoming one)

thank you for the warm welcome gtrman66, much appreciated.
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Maybe time to upgrade to a bigger bike:think
...always on my mind, always on my mind :) but I love the Iron. wouldn't change this bike for the world for city commuting. she can get me into and out of a lot of trouble and hold her own without any complaints. I really love this bike. a bigger bike would be my "OK, let's ride to Canada" bike; nothing can replace Ozzy :)
 

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I second that on the Michelin Commandos. I love them Dry or wet weather, and for the price compared to the Dunlap your saving almost 30%. Don"t know how long that will last when people start buying them up, Im sure the price will rise.
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Op,,,
Also you must learn to use ONLY your foot muscles on the rear brake, less power, more control..
That, Osco, is the only reason why I did not have a major accident yet (this year :)). On wet surfaces I keep steady pressure on the front, slowly increase pressure on the rear; if I feel that it will slide, I start pumping the rear all the while adjusting the pressure on the front. This is the only way I know how to stop without dying on a slick surface, if you skid, you skid, but at least you will skid slowing down.

Agreed on all the points you raised. That is why I changed the rear shocks on my 4th day of ownership :) I want to change the front as well, but only because the streets of Manhattan are not designed for comfortable motorcycling. We built these roads as defensive tranches against an enemy land assault. They are not meant to be ridden :p
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I've been looking at the Michelin Commander II tires. For the sportster, they don't come in radials, only Bias Ply. I just bought the tire on motorcycle-superstore for $135. That is an amazing price for that tire; my local guys said the best they can do on the tire was $220. Called up the superstore and talked to a sales rep and double confirmed that the tire is less than a year old in their warehouse. He says they sell like pancakes.

Michelin Tires Info Chart
150/80 16

Now I am on the "radial vs bias-ply" fight again. What's your take on this as far as Sportsters are concerned? Has anybody experienced any technical issues especially in the newer Sportsters? I know the tires are awesome and I doubt that HD did anything specific for the radial tires (suspension etc) since I already changed my rear shocks to progressives I may not care anyway. I still wanted to double check. Any technical "make sure you check this" info is much appreciated.
 

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Registered
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308 Posts
Op,,,
New Sportster,
Has very BAD suspension,
AT BOTH ENDS,

My stock Lops also sucked in the wet, but got better as I made my suspension faster,
AT BOTH ENDS.

Stock suspension,,any braking or even a throttle shut gives you a sudden forward weight shift, even If only an Inch of nose dive.
The problem Is the sudden drop due to shitty damping and rebound control
AT BOTH ENDS.

Ricor Intimidators up front with 5 wt oil and proper preload,
Works performance street trackers out back, 2 springs on each shock,
black of course...

MC II's Is the new tec rubber.. Love em

Also you must learn to use ONLY your foot muscles on the rear brake, less power, more control..
+1 Ricor Intimidators :thumbsup

+1 Commander II
 

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Padawan
Joined
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Got the tyre (hehe) installed today. It was also raining today. But that didn't stop me. Slowly I warmed them up, slowly I pushed them. Rode ~40 miles tonight (we had a wild night ride for a SoA character - sorry I don't watch the show and don't know the character but the night turned into a night of anarchy, that's for sure) in the rain, in a 14 rider group. What a difference, what a relief! Even though they were brand new, the traction, the grip is way, way better than the Scorcher. High speed - no vibration. I can't believe I suffered the entire summer on that idiotic tire. Whoever designed that rubber, should be tar'd and feather'd.

In short. Michelin Commander II is an awesome, awesome tyre! Sportster 2012 model riders: I recommend getting rid of those scorchers and replacing them with Commander IIs, ASAP.

Thank you so much for those who directed me in this tyre's direction. Probably saved my life at some point.

Wow. What a relief.
 

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Banned
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I will be replaceing the Schorchers with the Comanders II's when I wear out the Schorchers that came on the bike, I don't ride in the rain unless I can help it and if I do I ride slow enough not to cause problems with traffic.
Have aprox. 670 miles on the bike so far in 4 weeks, weather has not been good for riding and the temps keeps dropping each week.

I see no real need to replace the OEM tires until they are worn out as I dont like throwing money away.
 

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Padawan
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I will be replaceing the Schorchers with the Comanders II's when I wear out the Schorchers that came on the bike, I don't ride in the rain unless I can help it and if I do I ride slow enough not to cause problems with traffic.
Have aprox. 670 miles on the bike so far in 4 weeks, weather has not been good for riding and the temps keeps dropping each week.

I see no real need to replace the OEM tires until they are worn out as I dont like throwing money away.
Then you'll be very happy. I have 5300 miles on those tyres and virtually no wear at all. 90% urban riding at > 80 degrees (summer time in NYC) Those tyres will last a long time.
 
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