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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Default Can we talk front tire and suspension?

Once again....good 'ol Junk needs to be schooled.

Recently this thread https://www.victoryforums.com/showthread.php?t=9395 has come to my attention. Specifically post #5.

Considering my ignorance with this technical of detail, am I missing something with a telescopic fork and 21" front tire? The article that post #5 refers to talks about "snappier" handling with a smaller tire and superior spring loads. Or, as a "learner" still...is going with a 21 tire somewhat of a good thing? I mean, if I can turn a 21 tire, shouldn't all the others be breeze? I liken this to sound engineering: if I can make it sound good on shit speakers, then it would sound great on great speakers.

I have gotten quite used to turns with my bicycle tire up front. Haven't taken too many twisties, but am looking forward to them once I start taking those long rides. I have taken long winding curves, and handle those just fine. I guess my main concern is from a safety standpoint concerning braking (referring to inverted fork) and handling (referring the the tire itself). I just have a lot of questions in this area and really don't know where to begin.

I have noticed tracking of the front tire in asphalt seams. It doesn't bother me anymore now that I now why it happens and that it's normal for a tire of this size and width. This is just a whole new world I have not been privy to. If there is too much to explain from a technical standpoint, I totally understand someone not wanting to go into a diatribe of front tire physics. So a link to a reference source would suffice. I just wouldn't even know what to google on a subject like this.

I guess the real question here: Is this enough of an issue to start looking into changing my front tire, and possibly the forks? This question comes from a purely technical aspect, not an aesthetic one. I actually like the look of the big, skinny front tire. But when it comes to visual tastes, I seem to be the minority on MANY issues.

Thanks again in advance...for the info and the patience you've all had with me.


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 05:55 PM
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Just get used to your bike the way you like it.If you like the way it handles dont worry with the technical BS.I have owned many differant styles of bike from a bagger Harley to a chopped hardtail Sportster that was 9 1/2 ft long with a springer and once you get used to them they are as safe and handle as good as anything. The factory bikes are all set up to be what they are.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 07:06 PM
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I agree if you respect it and can handle it you are as safe as anything. To help with skinny 21" tire trailing into grooves--I switched to a metezeler tire and run the rep reccommended 38-41 psi depending on your weight and have only noticed the grooves that are extremely bad!

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Great, thanks guys!

I actually like the way it handles. But then again, I love everything about the bike.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junk View Post
Considering my ignorance with this technical of detail, am I missing something with a telescopic fork and 21" front tire? The article that post #5 refers to talks about "snappier" handling with a smaller tire and superior spring loads.
All Victory forks are telescopic, some are just inverted. They do that to lower the weight on the part of the motorcycle that has to respond to bumps. The less this "unsprung" weight, the easier it is for your suspension to deal with it i.e. compress without bottoming out and dampen out oscillations.

A 21" tire provides more of a gyroscopic effect that will act to prevent transitions at speed. This effect is likely not all that great because it is offset by having less mass on the outer diameter than a wider smaller tire.

The big difference is the lack of contact patch on the skinnier tires.

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Originally Posted by junk View Post
Or, as a "learner" still...is going with a 21 tire somewhat of a good thing? I mean, if I can turn a 21 tire, shouldn't all the others be breeze? I liken this to sound engineering: if I can make it sound good on shit speakers, then it would sound great on great speakers.
Riding at legal limits, the tire won't be a problem. I rode a Vegas and wasn't crazy about the front end feel (mostly just felt a little tipsey at low speeds), but it wasn't as if it was unstable or anything. However, I would never press it hard for fear of the front end breaking loose. If you are not an aggressive rider the Vegas front end is certainly acceptable, just not optimal.

People do all kinds of things that detract from handling for show. Nothing wrong with it, but it's worth considering before you decide to try to keep up with your buddy riding a sportier model.

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I have noticed tracking of the front tire in asphalt seams. It doesn't bother me anymore now that I now why it happens and that it's normal for a tire of this size and width. This is just a whole new world I have not been privy to. If there is too much to explain from a technical standpoint, I totally understand someone not wanting to go into a diatribe of front tire physics. So a link to a reference source would suffice. I just wouldn't even know what to google on a subject like this.
Every bike I've ever ridden does that on certain surfaces to some extent. Some people claim certain tires are better than others of minimizing this effect, but I think it's just something you get used to if you ride a lot.

A simple analogy might explain why the effect may be more pronounced on a skinnier tire. Consider a person who lies on a bed of nails. By spreading a large contact patch (his whole body) across a lot of pointy irregularities, he has very little pressure at any given spot on his torso.

Now take that same guy and have him lie on a single nail. Ouch!

Similarly, if you have a small contact patch and it gets disturbed by some road irregularity, like a seam, there is less available contact patch to maintain grip with the surrounding road surface, making it feel like it's sliding around more.

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I guess the real question here: Is this enough of an issue to start looking into changing my front tire, and possibly the forks?
All depends on how much *you* value your bike's handling.

In addition to addressing the issues at hand, I keep posting the Evil 8 articles in hopes that someone at Victory is lurking and gets the hint. Them providing such a sporty model stock is much more economical than having to buy a fancier bike and throw away all those pretty parts to make way for more useful ones, but I'm awfully glad the guys at motorcycle.com did...




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlebag View Post
I rode a Vegas and wasn't crazy about the front end feel (mostly just felt a little tipsey at low speeds), but it wasn't as if it was unstable or anything. However, I would never press it hard for fear of the front end breaking loose. If you are not an aggressive rider the Vegas front end is certainly acceptable, just not optimal.
I've noticed this too. But in all reality, I believe it is making me a better rider. It's really made me concentrate on low speed control, and I can definitely say that aspect of my riding has improved.
Could you elaborate on the "breaking loose" comment? More specifically...how does it happen, and what I should do to look for and/or prevent this.




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Originally Posted by saddlebag View Post
Every bike I've ever ridden does that on certain surfaces to some extent. Some people claim certain tires are better than others of minimizing this effect, but I think it's just something you get used to if you ride a lot.
I've been riding a lot, and I've pretty much gotten used to it. Or at least used to avoiding the seams. Either way, it's not an issue since I know what's going on now. At first I was "shit, what's going on?!". But now I know.


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Similarly, if you have a small contact patch and it gets disturbed by some road irregularity, like a seam, there is less available contact patch to maintain grip with the surrounding road surface, making it feel like it's sliding around more.
OK...so are there wider 21" tires?? As previously stated though, people have been building bikes for years with all sorts of tire sizes, both front and back. IMO, I don't believe a manufacturer would release or manufacture an "unsafe" bike. To me, it's just a matter of adjusting your riding style per the bike. If you can do that, then you're golden.



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All depends on how much *you* value your bike's handling.
I only value the handling to the point of safety. I have not at any point and time felt unsafe on this bike, at least from a handling issue. My own lack of experience is a totally different story. It feels good to me, could just be lack of knowledge and experience. I mean, I've learned to ride on this bike and this bike alone. So really, this is all I know. Had I rode a Hammer, I might be singing a different tune. I do like the work they did on Evil 8, but my jury is still out on whether or not I like the smaller tire on the Vegas. In the end though, looks don't really matter as I can't even see the tire while riding. Kinda like getting a tattoo on your back. Just sitting back and looking though...I think the 21 gives you more of a cruiser look. I like this better than the sporty, roadster look of the 18, at least for the Vegas. I think a 21 would look strange on something like a Hammer.

Great comments Saddle, and thank you for taking the time to explain this. I definitely need to hang out with you more hahaha.

Thanks again man !

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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It's not really the 21 inch tire that causes the handling issues but the narrow width of the tire. If you put a 90 width 16 inch tire on the front it would still basically exhibit the same issues. I don't like narrow front tires because of the reduced contact patch and instability at very high speeds (100 + mph). Also, skinny front tires are usually combined with big fat rear tires and that causes more issues. Because of the massive radius difference between the two tires when leaned over they don't track on the same path which leads to tracking and stability issues (that's why sportbikes have very similar width front and rear tires).

In the other post that you linked Saddlebag posted pictures of a Yamaha Raider versus a Vegas showing the difference between a 120 width 21 inch tire and the 90 width 21 inch tire. My last bike was a Raider and IMHO Yamaha absolutely made a great decision to go with a fatter 120 width 21 inch tire on the front and combine it with a relatively small 210 width tire on the back (they could have easily went with a 240). Yamaha specifically did that on purpose because they didn't want to sacrifice the handling of the bike for the asthetics of the fat rear tire and skinny front tire. And IMHO the Raider is by far the best handling "factory chopper" style motorcycle out there.

In short, a skinner front tire does negatively contribute to the handling characteristics of the motorcycle. I don't like them because I like to ride really hard in the mountain corners. I'm not sure the skinnier front tire is ever going to "break loose" but they sure don't feel as stable as a wider tire. And if I owned a Vegas one of the first things that I would look at doing would be trying to fit that 120 width front tire off of the Raider on the Vegas but that's because of the way that I ride my bike.

All that being said. I don't think you should really worry about the front tire width. It doesn't sound like it really bothers you that much. If you're not an overly agressive rider then the current tire setup should be just fine for you. I ride with alot of guys who have the 21 inch skinny tire up front and they like them just fine, though they will never try to stay with me when riding through the mountains. And I ride with some guys who had the 21 inch skinny tires and sold the bike because they didn't really like them. I think if you switched to a smaller diameter tire you would really regret it because the 21 inch tire really does look much better. If you're really curious about it maybe you should schedule a test ride on a Raider to see if you like the way it handles better (it's the only "factory chopper" style bike that I know has the 120 width, 21 inch front tire). Then if you liked the added stability of the wider front tire you could look at changing it then. But I'd guess you should just ride the bike as is and enjoy it. If you were really concerned with carving up a bunch of tight corners you probably wouldn't have bought the Vegas in the first place. It's never going to be a canyon carver no matter what you do to it. Motorcycles are all about finding whats right for you. Just because I may not like a skinny front tire doesn't mean that it's not the best setup for you. If you love your bike then ride the snot out of it. If YOU feel that the bike is lacking in some areas then you can look at making some changes then. But only if the idea comes from you and not an idea off of an internet forum.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junk View Post
I've noticed this too. But in all reality, I believe it is making me a better rider. It's really made me concentrate on low speed control, and I can definitely say that aspect of my riding has improved.
You won't find the world's top racing talent riding choppers with mismatched tires to improve their skill, but if riding around the bike's shortcomings improves your focus and throttle control, then enjoy. I tend to be a fan of goods that are the best in breed at their intended purpose. If something bugs me, I fix it or sell it.

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Could you elaborate on the "breaking loose" comment?
Watch at around the 1:45 mark:

Did you hear him wind up the engine coming out of the corner? His front tire was cold and instead of gripping the road and completing the corner, the rear pushed the front and the bike tipped over. When the front lets go it happens fast and there is usually no recovery. If the front is gripping, you can spin the rear up a little and still maintain your low insurance rates.

Now, that was a bike with a proper front end and super sticky rubber. Imagine cornering aggressively on that little flat 21" bias ply patch [shudder]. It can be done. I saw Dave Searle of MCN ride the pea pea out of an 07 Wide Glide with a bicycle tire. He's a braver man than I.

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OK...so are there wider 21" tires??
There are, but they require a wider 21" rim than the stock Vegas rim. See the Yami Raider.

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Originally Posted by junk View Post
As previously stated though, people have been building bikes for years with all sorts of tire sizes, both front and back. IMO, I don't believe a manufacturer would release or manufacture an "unsafe" bike. To me, it's just a matter of adjusting your riding style per the bike. If you can do that, then you're golden.
I think that's a proper assessment.


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I only value the handling to the point of safety. I have not at any point and time felt unsafe on this bike, at least from a handling issue. My own lack of experience is a totally different story. It feels good to me, could just be lack of knowledge and experience. I mean, I've learned to ride on this bike and this bike alone. So really, this is all I know. Had I rode a Hammer, I might be singing a different tune.
I think the Hammer handles worse. Humongous rear tires are at least as bad as scrawny front tires from a handling perspective. That's why the Evil 8 is the cat's meow. It's got the best looking rear end (Vegas) with a proper sized tire, coupled with the most functional front end from the Hammer. Why Victory couldn't see fit to marry the two is a mystery to me.

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I do like the work they did on Evil 8, but my jury is still out on whether or not I like the smaller tire on the Vegas. In the end though, looks don't really matter as I can't even see the tire while riding.
Perzactly, that's why I prefer function to form. Don't get me wrong, I like the look of a bike as much the next guy. All this big wheel, little wheel stuff is new school styling however. Except for a few Harley models, there weren't a lot of either offered on stock motorcycles until recently.

Mechanical attributes like beefy inverted forks with dual front radial brakes running braided brake lines and a front tire wearing a modern radial design are things that ring my bell. I see that and I think, "there is a manufacturer willing to put high end (read: expensive) components that appeal to people who take riding seriously."

When I see Harleys with crap single piston front brakes, ridiculous rake angles, anorexic front wheels and toothpick forks, I think, "there is a manufacturer making a fortune selling crap to people who don't know any better." It doesn't make me all that happy to see Victory emulate that business model, but from a financial standpoint it makes perfect sense. FWIW, both new Harleys and Vics low end parts are loads better than stuff Harley has sold in the past, though the new parts still have that terrifying look.

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Great comments Saddle, and thank you for taking the time to explain this. I definitely need to hang out with you more hahaha.
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Last edited by saddlebag; 01-17-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 08:42 PM
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Could you elaborate on the "breaking loose" comment? More specifically...how does it happen, and what I should do to look for and/or prevent this.
I was reading about this product in this month's MCN. It was given the magazine's "Innovation of the Month" award. As it turns out, they are made for Victory models with damping rod forks i.e. the Vegas, Jackpot and others with the non-inverted forks.

http://www.intiminators.com/victory-...timinators.php

This is one way to improve the front suspension. Race Tech is the 800 lb gorilla in that arena however.

Why, you might ask would one do such a thing?

Your suspension works by providing a spring between your tire and chassis. If there was only a spring, the motorcycle would pogo indefinitely after hitting each bump because a lot of energy stored by the spring stays in the spring as it compresses and extends.

To bleed that energy off in the form of heat, fork oil is used. Damping rod forks (low cost) simply have orifices that the oil flows through as the fork length changes. Over bumps that impart low speed changes to the springs, the holes offer little hydraulic resistance and the spring can retain a lot of the energy allowing it to pogo or "wallow."

Over high speed changes the hydraulic resistance of the hole increases exponentially and can cause it to virtually block the fluid due to the rate of flow change. This causes the energy that would otherwise be transmitted to the spring to be absorbed by your body (unpleasant).

These RICOR devices emulate a cartridge style of fork (as used on the Kingpin, Hammer, Cross Bikes). Cartridge forks use shim stacks to pass the oil and they allow a less progressive change to oil flow i.e. the hydraulic resistance at high speed impacts is closer to the hydraulic resistance at low speed impacts providing improved suspension control over a range of impact velocities.

In addition, the RICORS have a kewl feature that can detect whether the energy is coming from the wheels or the chassis. When coming from the wheels, the fluid is permitted to flow to dissipate the energy. In the case of chassis pitch from grabbing the front brake, the circuits remain closed preventing the bike forks from diving.

BMW has a system that prevents front end brake dive in a different manner, but it works great. Not that diving coming to a stop is any big deal, but if you are riding and want to shed speed coming into a corner, it doesn't discombobulate the chassis pitch when setting up for a corner.




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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Holy crap that's a lot of info to digest, I love it!
Hold on while I take it all in.......

Almost there.....


K, think I got it.

+1million for Saddle and Rajder !

Seriously though, a lot of great info for a new rider. Almost inclined to recommend making this thread a sticky. But it's not up to me now is it Crossroads?

I will look into the RICORs Saddle. I will also gain more experience, not only with my Vegas, but with other bikes. Hopefully I can find a Yammy dealer that will let me test ride a Raider. The handling isn't a issue yet. Regardless of tire size, I don't plan on carving any mountain scapes just yet, so I think I'm safe there.

I DO like the look of a 21 over an 18. So in the long run, I will most likely switch to a wider 21 and begin a hunt for a Vegas-type front fender that would accommodate the extra width. Cause the current one ain't gonna cut it. That along with the RICOR devices should provide a better riding experience. Ultimately though, I think I would prefer the inverted fork system, with a wider 21 if that would be possible. Kinda the best of all worlds, that include dual front discs. Those forks however are 2k+ though. Good thing I have all the money in the world hehehe . I'm kidding!

Yes I'm not an overly aggressive rider. But I have along way to go. I can see the potential in myself to be one. As of now, I know my limits and I'm riding right on the edge of them. Enough to stay safe, but not enough to stay stagnant. Point being is when/if that day comes, I want to be able to do what I want as opposed to restraining myself due to the design of my bike. To me...it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Quote:
You won't find the world's top racing talent riding choppers with mismatched tires to improve their skill, but if riding around the bike's shortcomings improves your focus and throttle control, then enjoy. I tend to be a fan of goods that are the best in breed at their intended purpose. If something bugs me, I fix it or sell it.
While I completely agree with you Saddle, and I'm sure the top riders aren't riding a more difficult bike to hone their pro skills. I do however believe that practicing anything in a more difficult environment, or maybe not as pacifying, develops a better skill level towards the intended activity. By not doing this, do they not enhance the ability to adapt to change or other extenuating circumstance that live outside of their practiced world? If a rider practices on the bike he races with, isn't the only thing he/she develops is conditioning? Not saying you're wrong and I'm right. Maybe we just look at the same coin from two different sides. Anything I've ever done in life I have always practiced in a more difficult environment to make the real activity easier and executed more efficiently. A major league baseball player in a batter's box comes to mind, weight on the bat and all.

Again, not trying to be difficult or confrontational at all. You should know by now that I value your input, willingness to teach, and ideas immensely. Just a good point of conversation I guess .

In the end though, my decision as to what to do, or not do, with my front end will be based off experience as Rajder suggested....and I need a lot more. Nothing will pave my road to excellence than real road experience.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this! Probably one of the most important aspects about motorcycles that I've learned.

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