Our beloved 2011 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide, nicknamed Betty, was treated to a new rear tire yesterday over at Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA). The original Metzler 880 185-55ZR18 was good for about 9,000 miles before the center was nearly slick. However, it’s worthwhile to point out that about 6,000 of those miles were collected while riding two-up with Debbie and our luggage riding to and from Florida and Tennessee a few times as well as a trip to Key West from Miami which was really hard on that soft compound 880 tire. But, on the bright side, the tire never cupped! The replacement was the new Metzler 888 which is supposed to be a longer-wearing tire
While chatting with HDA’s service advisors and friends, Kelly & Ray, we talked about our 2013 Harley-Davidson Road King “Blue II’s” tires needing to be replaced at 9,000 miles not due to tread wearing thing, but the aforementioned cupping. It happened on the original “Blue” at 7,200 and 18,000 miles as well. Even the front tire cupped-out at 9,000 miles. Blue II has the same Dunlop D407s and they’re demonstrating the same wear issues.
I’m guessing it’s my hard launches and breaking that causes it, but even still: it’s not unique to us. Up and until recently the only rear tires that had the load rating needed for the 18″ CVO touring bike rear tires was that Dunlop D407; however, it looks like the Metzler 888 is now offered in the heretofore illusive 180/55B18 size with the very high 80H load rating. Probably need to do a little more homework to find out if anyone’s been riding the Metzlers on their CVOs, but I’m cautiously optimistic that they’ll work out just fine.
As a parting comment, as I was out enjoying the nice 50°F weather on Betty yesterday I was reminded why Harley cruisers are so addictive: the long rake fork, snug one-place saddle, low-to-the-ground riding position and muscle-car feel and sound of the V-Twin is just hard to match for riding comfort. It just feels right, especially with the wind in your face instead being hidden behind a windscreen. While they’re not all that great for touring and/or long 5 hour rides at highway speeds either solo or two-up, there’s just nothing better for cruising around town and short trips to the mountains.