Different bikes respond differently to different tires, so it's impossible to make a generic recommendation. Generally I like Dunlops and Bridgestones.
Tires can be purchased mail-order at significant discounts. You can always find a dealer or shop who will change and balance your tires for about $25, if you bring in the wheel and the new tire. Generally it's more like $35 if they remove the wheel too. If you're going on the road, you can have the tires shipped to a friend or a motel, and then drop in to a local motorcycle dealer and get it done. With a little planning, you can be known and hated by Honda dealers all across the country. When these "Iron Butt" guys invent an award for the "Iron Wallet," I expect to be an early front-runner.
Good deals on tires can be found at:
|Motorcycle Accessory Warehouse
Street Front Tires
Street Rear Tires
Dirt Front Tires
Dirt Rear Tires
There's a lot of confusion about why we use such big tires. It's commonly believed that a bigger tire has a bigger contact patch. This is incorrect. An ST1300 fueled up weighs about 700 pounds; the rider is about another 200. The tires are at about40 psi. So, 900 pounds divided by 40 psi is 22 square inches. If the weight is equally distributed on the two tires, each tire has a contact patch of 11 square inches. That's it, tire width and diameter never entered into the calculation. A narrow tire will have an 11 square inch contact patch that's long and narrow; a wide tire will have an 11 square inch contact patch that's short and wide. If you drop the tire pressure to 20 psi (popular for on/off road bikes) then your contact patch doubles in size. If you find yourself in snow or rain, raising the tire pressure will shrink your contact patch and help you push through to the road.
|First, buy a compressor. Ok, this sounds pretty lame, but don't worry it will work out. Get a Campbell Hausfeld RP1200, about$10 at Wal-Mart or Harbor Freight.|
|Take off the access door and pull the air hose and electrical wire out as if you were going to use them. There are now four screws visible on the back. Take them out. There's a sticker on the bottom still holding the case together. Cut it. Now pull the case halves apart and rip out the guts! All we want is the entire pump - switch - electrical cord - air hose unit.You can trash the case now, we won't be needing it again.|
|Here's what you're left with. The pump is about 6" long, 3" tall, 2" wide.
The arrow points to the fan that keeps the pump cool when it's in the case. I used a hacksaw to cut the shaft to remove this piece. Be careful if you do this, don't bend the internal part of the shaft.
Photos by Rick Korchak.