Regular readers may recall that back on July 2nd I had the rear Dunlop D407 tire on Blue replaced due to excessive cupping at just around 7,200 miles. The folks at Hellbender Harley-Davidson were nice enough to step in and replace it under the Dunlop tire warranty, as that’s apparently a short tire-life for cruiser tires. Being a sport bike guy, I’m used to getting maybe 5,000 miles out of a rear tire… if I’m lucky. Regardless, the cupping was pretty awful and it seemed like a crime to have to chuck a tire with so much meat left on the casing.
I almost had the front tire replaced at the same time but decided to see if just replacing the rear would solve the noise and handling issues that I was having before heading to US129 and The Tail of the Dragon with all of its twists and turns. Just having the rear replaced provided a massive improvement in performance so I went to sleep on the front tire. Well, I got a big-time wake up call on the this past weekend’s 500 mile trip up to the Maggie Valley, Gatlinburg and Maryville: tire noise, vibration and handling issues returned with a vengeance!
It seems as though the 1,000 or so miles that I put on after July 1st really took a quick toll on the front tire, which is now pretty much shot… as best as I can tell. For a little sampling of what I got to feel and hear during Sunday & Monday’s 500 mile ride, here’s a short video clip taken from a camera mounted up on the windscreen and facing back towards us. The audio is simply ambient noise from the tire making its way to the GoPro’s microphone inside the plastic case: there’s no external mic in use.
Notice how the tire noise was more pronounced during cornering? The handling and noise were bad enough to make me skip the Tail of the Dragon on the return trip today. It would have been a nice ride up over the Parkway to US129 and then on down through the Hellbender to Route 74 into Murphy. However, there was no way I wanted to push through all of those corners with whatever-the-heck was going on with the front wheel/tire on Blue.
So, guess I’ll be calling around looking for a good deal on a front tire / installation and check of the headset bearings tomorrow. No way will I be making the trips to Panama City Beach and Daytona in October without getting the handling/noise/vibration fixed.
Sure wish there was another tire option other than Dunlops D407/408s: I’m not impressed!