I've been thinking about putting 150 tire in the back for some time before I've ordered Maxxis OE size. I've spoken with Kawi service people they advised me not to do 150 mainly because of rim width and curvature of tread on OE (3.5 inch) rim. There will be less contact patch with pavement in up right pos!
Were they blowing smoke in my eyes?
What is the real deal with putting 150 tires on 500R?
They are right about Less contact with the road when upright. The tire will pinch, forming an almost triangle shape, just not as extreeme of a point at the tip. The bike Will fall into the corners faster and easier, and also have more rubber in contact with the road while leaned over. Most guys who race the EX run 150/60 rears, So it can't be too bad.
I would normally NOT recommend changing factory recommended tire sizes, especially going bigger than recommended. That said, I do it on these. I've run a bunch of them and they're fine.
The radials are much better and work very well. Don't expect it to look much different than stock. It gets pinched down by the rim so really isn't much if any wider as it meets the road. Also, expect a wide "chicken strip" at the edge. It's pinched such that you'll never be able to use it all. The tread at the edge becomes near vertical.
I agree that the OEM size tires will generally give the best handling in the same class of tires which would be sport touring bias ply tires for the EX500 or GS500 bikes. However the much better handling sport touring radials and the supersport radials don't come in our sizes and it is necessary to go to the 150 size to use these tires.
I've used the 150/70 tires that fit the GS500 but not the EX500 and I don't go beyond the 150/70 sport touring tire class because of tire life, I'll probably never try the 150/60 supersport tires commonly used on both the GS and EX because of their shorter tire life. They are pinched down a bit and do have a somewhat rounder shape on our 3.5" rear rims but not as much as some think. Both the 150/70 and 150/60 tires are shaped for a 4" preferred rim width and putting them on a 3.5 rim pinches them down about 5 mm or .2 inches in width.
I'm currently using a 150/70 Conti RoadAttack sport touring radial rear and took a pic of it a while back and you can see it's nicely rounded on my 3.5 GS rim and the chicken strips are probably about as narrow as they should be for a 74 year old semi rider.
The 150/70 fits my GS500 but is said not to fit the EX500, will hit swingarm towards front. Not as much clearance on the Ninja because it started with 16" wheels before changing to 17" in 94.
I log in here to follow the tire threads since the GS and the 94 and later EX have the same size OEM tires and wheels. My next ride could be the Ninja since they have the GS's wraped in plastic now.
If I did get an EX, I'd look into putting a two link longer chain on it and shifting the wheel back 5/8" so I could run the 140/80 and 150/70 sport touring radials on it. They've been my favorite tires of the many I've tried in 120K GS miles.
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