Thursday, June 07, 2012


Yes, I seem to be the person responsible for keeping the European motorcycle tyre manufacturers in business! Today was the day that I finally retired my poor old Anakee rear and Scorpion front and put on some more aggressive adventure rubber.

First up, how did the old stuff do?  Well I think that the Anakee was new when I bought the DL and since then it's clocked up 10,000 odd km and surely was showing every one of those kms.  To it's credit though it still was hanging in there the other day on some wet gravel and I've only had one slide on the tar (very, very wet conditions on the Saddle one day).

Anakee 2 rear
The Anakee has done a great job keeping the bike on the road in all sorts of conditions.  It's been in deep gravel (bike tends to float around in this stuff), mud (scary BRR ride), the rocks and clay of Takapari Road and all sorts of in between.  Overall I'm very happy with how it's performed (although remember I'm an adventure noob) and very impressed with both tyres grip on wet tar - something I was worried about with adventure rubber on the road.

The front Pirelli Scorpion Trail has also been a good tyre.  It truly was a great tyre on tar - wet or dry - although I have probably been very hard on it as I really chewed out the sides (particularly the RHS).  In the picture you can see the "triangulation" of the front.  While it's nowhere near as aggressive as my new rubber (I'll just keep you in suspense a little longer) it has also surprised me off the tar and kept me out of the ditches and shiny side up for 7,800km (with probably still a couple of thousand left in it when changed).

Pirelli Scorpion Trail
All righty then, the replacements...Well I've been surfing the net and checking out the Stromtrooper Forum to try and find a tyre that is just a bit better off road and off course still ok on road (and indestructible in terms of mileage for good measure).  After a lot of mucking around I've finally gone for a set of Heindenau K60 Scouts.

K60 Front
Talk on the forums an in other articles is that these very good off the tar and also seem to last well on big adv bikes (fingers crossed).  They certainly look the biz...

K60 Rear
Anyway the guys got the tyres on pretty quick for me so I had no excuse not to go and give them a run.  The roads were a little damp as I headed out of town so I took things quietly - brand new unknown tyres in the wet so probably not a good idea to give them heaps.  Looking at the pretty abysmal looking skies I decided that the Pohangina Valley looked like the best place to head for so off I went.

Right away I noticed a bit more vibration coming from the tyres but I had expected this and really it's just a bit more vibes from the bars and the seat to add to that from the big twin pushing me along.  In town I could here a bit of noise from the front tyre too but not once out on the open road.  I also noticed that turn in (on tar) required slightly more effort but this just may be because the front tyre actually has a nice round profile whereas the worn Scorpion was missing this.

After the rain we had yesterday I was actually hoping for some mushy conditions so I could really see how the new rubber handled it but when I turned up Finnis Road it looked like the road was in pretty good nick.

Straight away I noticed the tyres felt great on the gravel.  The front was felt very planted and the rear behaved itself very well - in fact when I attempt to slide the rear under power I was more often rewarded with grip and far so good.

After the slower riding on Finnis Road and Zig Zag Road I decided that I needed to see how things went on faster gravel.  I decided that since I was there I may as well do the now pretty familiar Pohangina Valley West Road but rather than do an out and back ride I decided to do a loop by taking the tar sealed Pohangina Valley East Road first.

The tar was mostly dry so I got see how the K60's handled it and was pretty impressed.  I pushed on a little in places and had absolutely no issues - nice!  Then it was onto  Pohangina Valley West Road again.

The gravel here was in really good nick (in fact not much gravel in places) and the road is a lot more open than the previous gravel sections so I got to use all of the gears in the gearbox and really enjoyed what ended up to be a really short and sweet bit of gravel.  The tyres were great and I'm really enjoying the feel from the front.  I also noticed that I can brake a bit harder and the bike just stops rather than feels like it's going to float off the road - really nice.

So it may have only been a 90km ride but I'm happy with the K60's so far.  I now just have to find out how long they'll handle the jandle!

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