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tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

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trevor machine
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tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Thu 11 May 2017, 5:29 am

As we all know too well, it's not possible to buy radial tyres in the (standard) cb500 wheel size. Which means the bike's limited to some comparatively uninspiring tyre choices - my least favourite of the more renowned (and dare I say it, popular) brands are the Avon Road Riders. Although these have remarkable wear performance, they don't inspire the cornering confidence of tyres that warm up quicker and are constructed from softer compound.

To satisfy these criteria I personally think you need a tyre more like the Michelin Pilot Activ. I've just changed a pair of these after piling on twelve thousand miles - please note though that I may have replaced front and back at different times, and suspect that the front outlasted the rear (unlike BT45s, which believe it or not, seem to wear fronts faster than rears!).

Anyway - the Pilot Activ. I rate this tyre quite highly - but don't regard my figure of twelve thousand miles as representative of what this tyre will sensibly achieve. By the time I replaced them the rear had two feet by two inches (60cm x 5cm-ish) of chord showing, and the front wasn't in a much better state. I think I only got away with it for so long because the roads have been so dry up here.

I will, however, *never* take tyres so far beyond their wear limits again. After replacing them yesterday the bike has - not surprisingly - been transformed. If I were more of a psychopath I'd say those who want to learn to ride well should have a pair of knackered tyres to contend with. If you can chuck the bike around with those on, you'll feel like bloody Lorenzo once new ones are fitted.

For the last three months the bike's been shaking its head into the sweepiest of sweepers, and generally cornering in a fretful, uncertain fashion at any and every opportunity. For a while I thought it was because the bike is old, tired and wanting to be put out to pasture. MY ARSE!!! It just wanted new tyres!

Symptoms of requiring fresh rubber were felt quite a while before the legal limits of the tyres were reached - I'd guess at least two thousand miles prior to (!). This is why I wasn't quite sure whether the trembly handling of the bike was due to the state of its footwear. But upon fitting new shoes it became immediately apparent that this was the case.

Oh my! It was like riding on a magic carpet. It felt like how I imagine one o' them big special Fireblades might feel. So amazing. So comfortable. So smooth, accurate and delightful!! Never again will I leave it so long before replacement. What in fuck was I thinking. Miserly streak be damned. I was really stupid. REALLY stupid. This feels far too good to not invest in.

So - I think the useful life of the Pilot Activ tyre is probably around 7-8 thousand miles (maybe more if you don't rag it everywhere). Possibly half what you might get from a Road Rider (?). I paid £206 for the pair, including fitting to attached wheels (while I waited). What else. Not much more to say. Predictably, the front tyre wears quite unevenly - the off-side shamfering away due to repeated road cambering, I suppose. This, I assume, was the cause of the bike's head-shaking syndrome - which is now totally cured.

Damn - this bike is so pleased with itself now! It's frisky as hell on its new tyres. Just wants to play all the time. Ace.
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ceejay
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by ceejay on Thu 11 May 2017, 10:13 am

I've got 8000 on both my Pilot Actives and rear still looks like it has some life, front has loads left. Rear has squared off a little but still definitely has legal tread (hope so because MOT Tuesday!). I will also be buying these again, for me they have lasted better than BT45's which, if I remember right, squared off faster. The front won't need replacing, I wear rear way quicker than front both Pilot Actives and BT45s.

The only annoying thing, which is actually probably not to do with the tyre, is that I've had a slow on the front since it was fitted about a year ago so maybe when I get a new rear I will get front refitted also and hope that somehow solves it!

I think i paid a bit less for mine around the 180 mark but with hassle of ordering online and getting them fitted wheels off bike so yours was probably the better deal!
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trevor machine
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Thu 11 May 2017, 2:29 pm

Yes - I think my front and rear were out of sync. And now I'm wondering if I'd had two rear for one front (!). Is that possible? Could be. Anyway - regardless, I went over to Steve Sirrell's this morning for another pair! CB500 #2 is now therefore also feeling the full benefit of fresh rubber - ooh it's a better bike for it! Honestly - one of the often unsung benefits of new tyres is a comfier ride. Trogging over to Leeds on those Road Riders I felt every damn bump (and some of the roads out that way are shocking). But on the way back it was like riding a totally different route. Bordering on the plush!
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Vardypeeps
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by Vardypeeps on Mon 15 May 2017, 1:24 pm

Just finishing off a pair of these and can confirm they get lively when cold and worn close to the tread markers.
Bike likes to buck/weave on throttle mid corner at lean, I personnaly think it's hilarious but time to change.

I've liked the Michelin Activs but they seem to have worn at almost the same speed front and rear for me?
I can't say the wet grip is very good with them either, I think this is just down to the tread pattern not clearing water as well as the Pilot Road 4's I had fitted to my VTR 1000.

I asked at my garage and again the BT045s were mentioned as an alternative but don't want a funky shaped front after a few thousand miles.
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trevor machine
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Mon 15 May 2017, 2:02 pm

Yes - agreed about the bucking and weaving. It is actually funny - the bike's fighting with the tyres, but it always wins. And it always feels like it's going to win too - so there's never any real trauma.
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Jameshambleton
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by Jameshambleton on Mon 15 May 2017, 2:27 pm

@Vardypeeps wrote:Just finishing off a pair of these and can confirm they get lively when cold and worn close to the tread markers.
Bike likes to buck/weave on throttle mid corner at lean, I personnaly think it's hilarious but time to change.

I asked at my garage and again the BT045s were mentioned as an alternative but don't want a funky shaped front after a few thousand miles.

How many miles have you gotten out of them and when you say the bike likes to buck/weave on throttle mid corner at lean how far banked over as you in regards of chicken strips?
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Vardypeeps
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by Vardypeeps on Mon 15 May 2017, 8:18 pm

Although I really like chicken strips to eat the ones on my tyrss get squashed into the tarmac.
I've managed 7000ish on mine and the rear has gone with 2mm or so left on the front. Saying this I've found the front brake is savage!
Bike bucks only on a cold edge and there aren't many corners in my 9 mile commute, I'd say a good 2\3rds.
A few runs of a favourite road soon brings them to temp and no worries then
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eternally_troubled
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by eternally_troubled on Wed 17 May 2017, 9:59 pm

@trevor machine wrote:. By the time I replaced them the rear had two feet by two inches (60cm x 5cm-ish) of chord showing, and the front wasn't in a much better state. I think I only got away with it for so long because the roads have been so dry up here.

Please tell me you have a picture of the state this tyre was in before you pensioned it off - sounds quite impressive!

I have certainly found similar things with previous tyre changes - the difference has been night and day. This isn't too surprising if you think about it - every time your tyre rolls around you are squashing and expanding it and there is a limit to the number of times you can do that before the rubber starts to be less resistant to the punishment, which will make the ride/handling worse. Equally if they are old similar things can happen because of UV/weather/atmosphere exposure over time.
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trevor machine
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Fri 19 May 2017, 8:29 am

No pictures were taken - it was, tbh, pretty embarrassing! Can't tell you how different the bike feels now. Telepathic cornering, plushly suspended motorcycular bliss! Summarily, quite bloody luxurious. Those Road Riders in particular were unyielding - both in terms of how they felt as part of the bike's suspension (I ran them at book psi 29 and 33), but also the walls of the tyres. I never quite managed to eradicate the strips (whereas the Activs are easy to scrub away right to the edge and a bit beyond). I don't think this is entirely down to lean angle so much as the fact that the Activs are more pliant and kind of "bend" at the their walls.
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eternally_troubled
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by eternally_troubled on Fri 19 May 2017, 9:05 pm

@trevor machine wrote:No pictures were taken - it was, tbh, pretty embarrassing!


No, having a tyre-related accident caused by it would be embarrassing ;)

In reality the difference between a tyre carcase that has worn down to the cloth and one that is the same but with a thin layer of rubber over the top - both will puncture/fail in similar ways - however if you are 'running on cloth' you'll get instant abuse when you go into the tyre shop (or bike cafe - if anyone notices).  If, on the other hand, you still have that thin layer of rubber (covering your modesty, so to speak) people will just think you are a tight-wad and need a new tyre.
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trevor machine
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Fri 19 May 2017, 9:44 pm

It's actually more disorganisation than meanness. One of the great things about buying and running a cheap bike is that you can afford to spend on stuff like tyres. ; - )
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eternally_troubled
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by eternally_troubled on Sat 20 May 2017, 5:34 pm

@trevor machine wrote:It's actually more disorganisation than meanness.

Yes, this is a problem that I can relate to - as a man who once rode around for about 6 weeks without an MOT (without knowing! honestly officer...) I can understand lack of organisation.
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trevor machine
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by trevor machine on Sat 20 May 2017, 6:48 pm

Done that. Even wrote my bike off without an MOT. Thank the good lord no other vehicle was involved. Now I write the due date on a small piece of self adhesive paper and stick it in the middle of the bars, between the clocks.
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eternally_troubled
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Re: tyres - comments on Michelin Pilot Activ

Post by eternally_troubled on Sat 20 May 2017, 7:49 pm

@trevor machine wrote:Done that. Even wrote my bike off without an MOT. Thank the good lord no other vehicle was involved. Now I write the due date on a small piece of self adhesive paper and stick it in the middle of the bars, between the clocks.

That's not a bad idea (however I might put it under the seat or in my top box, where it won't get as wet), but I would suspect that if I did this it might go a little like this:

1. Write MOT date (etc) on piece of paper and stick obviously on bike.

2. About a year later, note date written on paper and say 'I must do something about this'.

3. Fail to do anything about it for whatever reason.

4. About a week or two later I would look at it again and return to point 2.

At least I would then know that I hadn't got an MOT... :)

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