Tyres

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To be useful, that's the aim of this website, the tyres are separated according to the different FJ models rims.

16" rims FJ1100 and FJ1200

There are not too much availability, less even with the obsolescence of the front AV45 Azaro ST, that could be combined with the Avon Ultra XD or with the AV46 ST rear, too disappeared from the Avon line.

PIRELLI SPORT DEMON: very popular these here in Spain because are relatively cheap and are widely available, I've riding different FJs with a couple of these fitted, last time in my summer 2017 purchased 1TX.

Excellent tyres, but in 1.986, 30 years ago, and fitted in my RD 350, with only 60 CV and 100 kg less weight.

These Pirelli are an ABSOLUTELY INADMISSIBLE FITTING, flexing the tyre wall merely giving medium throttle even having the bike straight, and amplifying each white line, longitudinal slope, irregularity and bump of the tarmac, more so the more worn the tyres are, making the riding dangerous in several moments. 

After only 3.000 km. and in spite of riding on cold weather on 2.017 summer with my just purchased 1TX, the tyres overheated on my long, fast habitual journeys, crystallizing  and transforming onto hard black rocks. Yes, like stones. If the weather would have been hot, as normal in Mainland Spain on July, I think the tyres would have disintegrated, throwing pieces of rubber all around. DANGEROUS TYRES. DONT FIT THOSE IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE

BRIDGESTONE BT45 I fitted in my CBX 750 F2, in front OE size 110/90/16 an oversize rear 140/70/18. These are superb even although are bias-ply. And with rain is with difference the best tyre that I've tested on my life. In sport riding is surefooted and flickable, much like the BT020s. RECOMMENDED!

It seems that in 2.013 Bridgestone changed the tyre construction and instead of steel belt another metal compound is used, so the heat don't dissipate all over the tyre and the wear is not consistent. Tyres suffer from odd degradation: the front have the edges near disintegrated with only 2.000 kms. and the rear get completely squared at 8.000. Very bad

In 2.017 I fitted again in my 1TX, mostly due to lack of options when I went to change FILTHY Sport Demons, because I was going to kill myself with the Pirellis.

Its a different and better world after de infamous Demons. You don't feel the irregularities, white lines, different levels or potholes, like in the Honda with this tyres fitted, due to the bigger rear wheel. The bike feels rigid in sport riding mode, with plenty of aplomb and very flickable in tight sections.

These last around 3.000 km at front and 6.000 at rear, in hard fast riding.

AVON RADIALS. AV45 front/Ultra XD rear: marginal better handling on curves and much better in very fast riding on open roads, more comfortable and sticker that the Bt45s, making the bike rigid and surefooted. The bike on these Avons feels an step away from the BT45s, without any flex when full throttle is applied in hard riding, and making the bike completely surefooted and stable at more than 210 km/h when with the BTs a lightly weave was initiated due to the marginally less rigid rear wall

Even althought the soft compound, this rear last around 12.000 km., making it THE BEST TYRE AVAILABLE TO 16" REAR RIM without discussion.

Yes, the front tyre is not available. But there is Avon RoadRider for the front tyre. Y

Update may 2.021: far better the Dunlop Streetsmart combo with the Ultra than the Roadrider: it is not so rigid and dont give the same precision and feeling on the front tyre

DUNLOP STREETSMART these are byass-ply constructed. I fit this front tyre in combo with my rear Avon Ultra due to the non existence of radial tyres on 120/80/16 measures.. Its much better than BT45 front, lasting more due to a rigid and modern carcass and the wear is more uniform and consistent for the tyre life. Give more confidence and rigidity in sport riding, and it last around 4.000-5.000 km. the front tyre in fast riding, excellent in the abrasive and hot Tenerife tarmac. STRONGLY RECOMENDED

AVON ROADRIDER front: I thought that in combination with the Avon Ultra or Spirit, being from the same brand, they would go right. Well nope: it is much less rigid than the previous Dunlop, the handling of the bike is not precise, "float",  and the forks feels soft on damping. The one in the photo is wearing one of those at the front, from my friend Ricardo .

 

OE 17" front rim FJ1200 1988 on, 3CV. 3XW, 16" rear

There better choice here are the new AVON SPIRIT ST, replacement for the Ultra, available on 16" rear rim size. These are the only modern radial tyre available for the FJ. Like its written above, the radials are better than the byas-ply tyres for the radial construction that give more rigidity to the carcass of the tyre to support power and weight

There is no choice: the only radial tyres available for the 16 "rear are AVON SPIRIT ST that replace Avon Ultras. The front is available for 17" front tyre too.

In our July 2.020 meeting I had the opportunity to test these tyres extensively and for many kilometres in measures 110/70/17 and 150/80/16 in a 3CV 1990 FJ and 120/70/17 170/60/17 in a 3XW model, obviously this last one with 3.5 "front and 5.5" rear rims.

I have read tests where the same British journalists, country of origin of the Avon, conclude that these Spirits are worse than the Ultra that replace in the Avon catalogue. Well, I think the opposite: the Ultra are more rigid, triangular and therefore more sporty, but they are so rigid to they are hard and uncomfortable when used 120/180 fitment, these do not have the high wall of the 150 at the rear. These Spirit are much more comfortable, with great grip riding hard (which I did with the 2 FJs mentioned, especially trying to follow my friend Alberticu with his knee on the ground in his Bandit 1250 with Íhlins), do not go away, give confidence on the motorcycle lying down and are excellent in all of tasks, from calm ride to play race.

Maybe an Ultra at the rear is better for this 3CV with the 150/80/16 wall because it will last longer and is more sporty. With the Spirit on, the rear wheel feels a bit remote in sporty riding, as if the rear was away behind. This sensation don't exist with the Ultra which, being stiffer and harder, in this case does not take its toll of uncomfortably due on the enormous 150 rear balloon wall. In 170/180 fitment I am clear that I prefer the Spirit

In both motorcycles the rear ones were stepped because of their owner does a lot of highway. It was even more noticeable aboard on the 3XW, it may be because a 170 is an inappropriate mount for a 5.5 "rim and the tyres profile degrades earlier, but thanks to this 170 measure the bike was very agile without changes in geometry with shorted dog bones, i.e.

As a preview to the next section, deciding whether to change rims or not, the 3CV, with its more closed geometries chassis than the 3XW, and more rigid, without the "invention" of the 3XW elastic anchor of the engine, the 3CV is much much better on sport riding than the "gentrified" 3XW, you can go much faster with more peace of mind and it is more precise than its more modern sister, even when this 3XW has modern rims fitted.

Of course, as mentioned a lot of times, the 3CV is harder to ride and vibrates more. But when you screw the throttle, the truth is that I don't care of vibrations and I prefer this 3CV, even with original rims, a thousand times over the 3XW. And my hands did not feel numb or anything similar in 12 hours of continuous travel that we stuck on the last day riding the 3CV.

IMPORTANT NOTE: FJ front OE rim size is 3". 120/70/17 modern tyres are designed for 3,5" rims. Even although is physically possible fit 120 tyres in 3" rims, the tyre is forced around the rim, making the breaking unstable, the curve front feeling unsettled and the tyre wear faster and suffer from odd degradation.  The Correct 3" fitment is 110/70/17, that make the FJ 88 on more flickable and recover the fast aplomb of the bike. Tested. The only incovenience is the uncomfortable feeling on bad tarmac with the low profile

The Spirits performance is absolutely AWESOME: they have lasted 10,000 km. To date, there are no other tyres that match this figure. And if there are, not with its excellent level of grip, stability, excelent behaviour and confidence until the end of their lives.

 

IS IT AN IMPROVEMENT TO CHANGE THE RIMS?

I would like to make a though about the necessity or not changing the OE tyres to modern STD rim sizes to fit modern radial tyres. In another section of this web you have all the info to proceed, with different combination.

There is no doubt that the modern tyres resides in fact the evolution of the motorbikes, more than in chassis o powerplants. Mi 3CV is more rigid, stable, confident and comfortable in sport riding. But...

My 1TX with the BT 45 tyres fitted and their tall profile, literally "eats" everything: each irregularity and pothole of the road are absorbed without hesitation. In different roads with degraded tarmac in Mainland Spain where my 3CV jumps with the bumps and feel uncomfortable with its low wall modern tyres, my 1TX ride effortless, "flying" low, absorbing everything and giving a comfortable ride even on that bad surfaces.

And in a typical route of mine in Mainland Spain of 700/800 km. of hard riding in secondary roads my 1TX makes the riding more rested, comfortable and less strained on the day to day more degraded surfaces of our roads.

Its true that my 1TX feels more weighted, with more inertia in sport riding, due to the not suspended weight of the rims. But it is very agile due to the 16" front rim and you can go side to side without effort.

And the combo front Dunlup StreetSmart and rear Avon Ultra is superb, with surefooted and aplomb in a different league that with BT45s.

Do you need modern rims for an ordinary use of the bike?. Forthright not. In fact, that big balloons are better to long journeys.

The problem will come if you suffer any problem with your tyres on travel, including wearing, if it is needed a change on tyres, because tyres on the OE sizes will not be available at once, and we will must wait a couple of days waiting for a new tyre. In STD sizes, whenever the problem would be, we will find tyres on STD sizes. And I know what I'm speaking about because I always change my tyres on route in my Holydays on Mainland Spain, France or Andorra.

And my 1TX brakes are near at the level of my 3CV-R1 callipers with ZZR 1100 master, metallic hoses and organic pads. So for this side, the problem do not exist.

 

MODERN RIMS

For those of us who have fitted modern STD 17" rims in our FJs (or more rare, 18" rear) the type of tyre to fit resides more on preferences, style of riding, use of the bike, climate, kind of roads... than in the quality of choice. Modern tyres are stratospherically better now that when the FJ appeared, and we have a wide variety to choose from.

Opting between 170 or 180 rear is too about personal preferences. 170 tyre makes the bike more agile. I prefer 180 because I pass the edge of the 170 tyre on sport riding. On closed track is better the 180 too.

IMPORTANT NOTE: don't fit R o Race compound tyres. The modern tyres RACE carcass are designed for lighter bikes. Bikes of the 80.90 era are weighty and don't match those light carcasses. Any sport-touring tyre is widely superior on a RACE tyre from the FJ era and these tyres are more properly fitted on our bikes, on road and on track.

Before to recommend a determinate tyre, I have to say that my case is very peculiar: with high temperature always on a very abrasive tarmac, fast riding solo on very slow, tight and curved roads, and going from 2.200 m. height to the level sea in about 30 km. abusing on brakes and on front tyres, I degrade the front tyres on the edges very fast.

So after much testing (a front tyre can last less than 2.000 km.) the best tyres for me are DUNLOP ROADSMART. these last about 6.000 km. both, front and rear. Riding on Europe, on more open roads, the Dunlops last about 10.000 km. at the front, 6.000 at the rear.

MICHELIN PILOT: I've tested various of them along the time. Overheat and get the consistence and grip like a stone. Even the BT45s are better, even not being radials

BRIDGESTONE T30S: Bridgestone new T30 tyres were tested in my FZ 750 in OE sizes 110/70/17 (correct mount to the 3" OE rim) and 140/70/18 The carcass is too hard for the FZ weight, so much that I have to reduced the rear preload. The front don't give the confidence that the MZ8s provide and the bike loose agility, needing more effort to side the bike to the last part of the lean Definitively these tyres are for more calm riding oriented bikes.

Pilot Roads, RoadSmarts or even own Bridgestone BT20/21/23 give more grip, feeling and flickability without sacrifice stability I will not recommend T30s over the MZ8s unless I get more duration. The advantage is that these Bridgestone do not suffer odd degradation as the Metzelers. Only if duration is your only goal. Even a modern byass belted tyre like BT45s or Dunlop StreetSmarts are better.

METZELER Z8 evolution from the Z6, that I don't like in my FJ because are very directional and the bike don't need more stability. Sport riding vastly improved without loose in stability or general surefooted handling. Suffer from odd degradation, sharpening the front tire and the rear flattening, making obligatory the tyres change long before tyre wear do necessary. I've used them in my Yamaha FZ 750 1990, and the life expectancy before the odd-degradation characteristic is around 6.000 kms.

In hot days and with temperature on them, slide like on an ice tarmac with the lines black stripes gravel with asphalt cracks are covered. I suffer a couple of scary moments due to this characteristic. Be careful!

BRIDGESTONE BT016 are race tyres from 7 or more years ago, so the carcass si not so light like other tyres, so I decided to tested in my 3cv. WOW!. The handling is excellent, the grip is awesome and the bike feels that 50 kg. are removed from the bike. Their duration is no more than 5.000 km. in fast riding. RECOMENDED

BRIDGESTONE T31

I was a little reluctant after my bad experience with the T30 tyres, but I trust on the advice of my friends from Neumaticos Richard in Madrid, and I fitted a pair in Madrid in the beginning of my 2019 summer holydays annual travel. The main requirement was a 10.000 km minimum life, not to make a pit stop in the middle of my travel, so that I didn't repeat with the excellent and sport Dunlops RoadSmart III.

Just only to ride up on the bike, without even to start the engine, the sensation was that the rear height of the bike had been lowered respect to the previous BT16s. BAD thing!. I like agility to ride on tight curves without effort AND not disturbing the high speed aplomb, both worlds available with 16s or RoadSmarts.

After 8.500 km. I have to say that they were a success: these Bridgestones are extremely comfortable tyres, stable and even cold and damp tarmac you can go fast and confident with them, not suffering any strange behaviour  and gripping perfectly.

The bike loses a bit of agility, but in return the confidence when lying is fantastic, one of the best I've ever tested. The grip is incredible and you can lay up or down or change the trajectory while on your side, there will be no problem. Fast curves at no-brain throttle are their strongest point.

With much (A LOT, seriously) hot weather they have not overheated or crystallized or suffering degradation for excess temperature in long hours of riding. A whole 10 in this point..

The only but is that on fast and hard riding all this comfort does not give you feeling about the tarmac that you have underneath, leaving the direction a little loose and with a sensation of the whole bike is "floating" on the asphalt. This same feeling makes these tyres incredibly comfortable and absorbent on poor condition tarmac, for 95% of the situations and riders, very suitable for routes of up to 900 km on a day, 700 being the most average figure.

CONCLUSION: a great Sport-Tourism tyres. In fact, the best I've ever tried for long trips with extended solo rides at high speed, in all assortment of climates and situations, with that remarkable feature of comfort and absorption properties in all circumstances. I would only fit the RoadSmart III if I knew with certainty that my trip was going to include closed-tracks days, for the Dunlops superiority in very very sporty riding. This year I was frustrated on this possibility at the last minute, so I could not evaluate the BT31 in this environment, but already on the road they warned me that more than 80% (following an R1 mounted by my friend Miguel Angel, a crack guy!) They float too much to be confident.

But the latter is for 5% of users. For 95% of riders, 95% of the time, daily use, travelling and sport riding on road not too extreme, I have to strongly recommend them. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

Avon Ultra XD 180 rear/120 front

I've fitted a couple of these due to the excellent Avon rear tyre performance in my 1TX, with 10.000 km. on them and very good wear profile and grip until the end of the life, being a medium-soft sport tyre).

After the BT031s the Avons feel rigid, hard and uncomfortable, completely different of the sensation provided fitted on the 1TX with the rear tall balloon.

Much more sporty and rigid than the Bt031s, the grip is excellent but the adaptation and confidence is not immediate, like on BT016s or 31s, these are more like the Dunlop StreetSmart, but more rigid. In fact, I┤ve reduced front & rear rebound a bit.

These are much more angled shaped and sportier, grip right, don't slide even in brainless mode and last around 8.000 km on the demanding tarmac where I live, so it is not a nosense a life expectancy of 10-12.000 km in Mainland Spain.  RECOMMENDED

 

Bridgestone BT016 PRO

I had been told that they were better than the BT016 (without PRO) and that they lasted longer. Well, it will be a placebo effect as they are newer, but I have not noticed a difference in grip, yes, excellent, but as the wear progressed, a worsening in the handling of the motorcycle, until their complete destruction at just 4,000 km. In other words, they have lasted less than the previous BT016 (without PROones). Could it be because of a softer estructure that makes the weight of the FJ eat them? Of course, I'm not going to repeat it, there are not proper tyres for the FJ, because on lighter bikes they do last a lot longer.  NOT RECOMMENDED