However in these days of bolt-on 240 series rear end kits and beyond (up to over 300...), the stock 180 tire looks positively anorexic on a bike of this size. As with men's perennial preference in women's backsides, the full, rounded rear end look is still very much "in". Up until only recently, the 200mm tire kit was basically the J-Lo of the bike scene. Then Suzuki introduced the Boulevard M109R, a beast of a cruiser which featured a 240mm rear wheel. In stock configuration! It was the Eva Mendes, nay... the Beyoncé Knowles of cruisers and had the curves to match.
Nowadays, rear end kits are available for bikes in any size up to 320mm. (We're talking Kim Kardashian territory here, fellas...)
The major benefit in going a little wider with the rear tire, is simply that it gives the rider more of a 'contact patch' with the road. Sure, it is esthetically more pleasing to the eye as well, but it also enhances the stability and 'planted' feel of the bike. Personally, I couldn't see going any wider than a 240, as I feel there are literally no benefits to be gained from anything wider, unless all you're after is bragging rights. True, there are several conversion kits available for my VTX and other uber-cruiser models, in the 240mm range. These however retail for large amounts of dollars, require structural changes to the rear of the frame (read: chopping off of parts) and also necessitate changing out the rear fender, struts and the saddle. The total cost can top $7,000.00 and that's not counting paint... But holy mother of God do they look sassy...
The crux is being able to justify the expense, whether to yourself or your "not-so-understanding" significant other. Unless of course you're one of these poor unfortunates who has entirely too much disposable cash on hand, at any given moment. What would hold me back from such a project, is the fact that there are no 2-up seats made at the moment, for any of these custom fenders which are required to do the conversion. For as much as my better half's interest in riding may very well be waning since my accident, I would be hesitant to convert my ride into a solo cruiser just yet, though that day is no doubt coming.
But I've gone off on a tangent here... (so what's new, right?) I am excited about the prospect of getting this new rubber for Baby. There is nothing finer than a new set of tires. Particularily when your present front tire's contour when looking at it from above, resembles not a smooth arc, but rather a 3-angled valve job. Any tread remaining is now concentrated on the very outer edges of the sidewalls. This signals time to change it out with something a little more, shall we say, utilitarian. This way I won't have to dread the coming of rain, should I be out riding when this occurs.
New tires impart a totally different feel to a bike. It's like when she was brand new again. You'd never get to notice such a difference in a car. With fresh tires, the bike requires no more than a thought to lean into a corner. Steering is a joy. Effortless. It is as though the bike is able to anticipate your movements. The least little contraction of a muscle, the slightest shift of pressure on the grips, will send you sailing off in your intended direction. When cornering, the feeling is solid, safe as you track along the curve's line of travel. Whether the road is dry or wet. The Avons give me this feeling of confidence, of absolute control. They are, in my humble opinion, so much better than the stock Dunlops that come with just about every single bike made in the universe. The Dunnies are shite. You're lucky to get 12,000kms out of a set, regardless of how anal you are in maintaining your tire pressure.
So yes, it is with high anticipation that I await confirmation of my order. I will go down to Ogdensburg, NY to my favorite little UPS Store to pick them up when they arrive. Since motorcycles have only 2 tires keeping them off the road, one learns to pay attention to these. It also seems that the motorcycle industry has reasoned that since we only have 2 wheels, we really oughtta make tires as expensive as possible. After all, it's not like riders are gonna buy 4 tires at a time, so we gotta make our money somehow...
I'll be paying $230.00 (US) for the rear tire and $177.96 (US) for the front one. Yeah, I can hear you cagers (automobile drivers...) out there gasping in horror as you read this. Just think of how expensive they would be if I bought them from a dealer here in Canada!! I'd pay close to $400.00 for the rear tire and over $300.00 for the front one. Then add 14% GST on top of that... Screw them. If you want business from Canadian consumers guys, stop leaning us over your counters and raping us when we try to do business with you. It's really as simple as that... Still, I am very happy about the new tires and the smokin' deal I got on them. God love online shopping and free shipping across all 48 continental States!!