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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently returned to motorcycling after a half century, so have a lot to re-learn. I've bought a four year old F800GT that's still on its original Michelin Pilot tyres with only 4000 miles on the clock. In the dry it's very stable and I've experienced no issues, but on damp surfaces I find it's worryingly twitchy when cornering, even at low speeds. The front wheel feels inclined to slide.

Question. Is this likely to be be my perception or could the front tyre in particular have lost its stickiness over its four year lifetime of doing not much? Or is there another possible cause?

There's still plenty of tread and no apparent irregular wear pattern. The rear tyre has some minor flattening in the centre of the tread but plenty of tread and rubber. Both tyres are dated 2018. Tyre pressures are as per the manual. The headstock and springing/damping seem OK with no apparent restrictions or biasing. It's OK in the dry. The slightest amount of moisture on the road seems to unsettle it. (And me!)
 

Pope Flook
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Welcome Mike, it sounds worryingly like you need to replace your front tyre. But before you do, do a test to check for front wheel bearing issues. With bike on either centre or side stand with front wheel on the deck. Firmly hold the top of the tyre and do the push pull effect to feel if there is any play of movement on the wheel. if there is than it may well be the bearings.

I do note you mention the rear wheel has some flattening, if the rear tyre had then the front may well be the same. Best have them checked by your local tyre specialist who would advise.

I went off Michelin tyres and went to Road Pro's great grip in wet and dry.

Do your wheel test and have your tyres checked, and take it from there.

Mike you so not say where your from, UK, USA, Europe, OZ, NZ. This helps us to determine a member near to where you live to possibly help as well.

Ride Well and Stay safe

Flook馃槑
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome Mike, it sounds worryingly like you need to replace your front tyre. But before you do, do a test to check for front wheel bearing issues. With bike on either centre or side stand with front wheel on the deck. Firmly hold the top of the tyre and do the push pull effect to feel if there is any play of movement on the wheel. if there is than it may well be the bearings.

I do note you mention the rear wheel has some flattening, if the rear tyre had then the front may well be the same. Best have them checked by your local tyre specialist who would advise.

I went off Michelin tyres and went to Road Pro's great grip in wet and dry.

Do your wheel test and have your tyres checked, and take it from there.

Mike you so not say where your from, UK, USA, Europe, OZ, NZ. This helps us to determine a member near to where you live to possibly help as well.

Ride Well and Stay safe

Flook馃槑
That's very helpful (and quick!) so thank you Flook. I'll do the test you've outlined and see how it looks.

I'm from near Salisbury in the UK.

Regards
 

Pope Flook
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Nice riding roads around your way Mike.

Hope someone else picks up your post. Have you thought of taking it to your local dealer for a quick check. Mine do a FOC for something like that. The service manager comes outside and does a check and lets you know what is what. Personally I think to have the tyres replaced to be on the safe side.

Where did you buy the GT from, a dealer or private?
 

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Most likely the tyres are past their best, a new set should rectify the feeling in the wet.

The new Michelin Road 5 or 6 are perfect.
 
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My immediate thoughts are with the tyres...but also with the roads.

We each have our favorite tyres, but the thing about OEM tyres is they are not necessarily the best rubber out there. Can you live with them till they get a bit more mileage on them? Your call.

The roads make a difference too. In the summer, I'll go flying through corners with abandon. Once it rains, I back off a lot. The tar snakes here become incredibly slick when wet. In the summer, they can kick the bike out a bit, but nothing serious...just unnerving. In the winter months, I try to avoid them as much as possible. Oil on the roads can be an issue too. Are the road maintenance people putting any sand on the roads for frost and ice? If so, even a light scattering can lead to a loss of traction. And then there's the frost and black ice you can encounter. I left the bike at home this morning, simply because I could see the frost on the road.

If you're looking for tyres, cost does not equal quality IMHO. The Michelin tyres are great, but I think they are overpriced. For years, I loved the Continental Road Attack 3 tyre. It's medium priced and has great traction. My last set of tyres are the Bridgestone T32s...and I absolutely love them.

Lastly...is the traction control off on your bike? Or on?

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My immediate thoughts are with the tyres...but also with the roads.

We each have our favorite tyres, but the thing about OEM tyres is they are not necessarily the best rubber out there. Can you live with them till they get a bit more mileage on them? Your call.

The roads make a difference too. In the summer, I'll go flying through corners with abandon. Once it rains, I back off a lot. The tar snakes here become incredibly slick when wet. In the summer, they can kick the bike out a bit, but nothing serious...just unnerving. In the winter months, I try to avoid them as much as possible. Oil on the roads can be an issue too. Are the road maintenance people putting any sand on the roads for frost and ice? If so, even a light scattering can lead to a loss of traction. And then there's the frost and black ice you can encounter. I left the bike at home this morning, simply because I could see the frost on the road.

If you're looking for tyres, cost does not equal quality IMHO. The Michelin tyres are great, but I think they are overpriced. For years, I loved the Continental Road Attack 3 tyre. It's medium priced and has great traction. My last set of tyres are the Bridgestone T32s...and I absolutely love them.

Lastly...is the traction control off on your bike? Or on?

Chris
Thanks for this Chris. All very helpful.

I've decided to replace both of the tyres and will be having that done on Saturday. They will be fitting the OEM Michelin type, so that will reset the grip back to its original condition. If there are other faults that might be causing the instability I'm detecting that will allow them to be investigated.


We're not having frosts of salt and sand yet on our roads. It's just very wet. The days I rode on last week were mostly dry and after days of heavy rain, and the surface was mostly dry. It was on the sometimes damp corners that I had concerns. It may be my caution as a returner after so many years. The acid test will be the first ride in the wet after Saturday.

Traction control has been off on each occasion by the way. Perhaps I should have switched it on for the wet bits.

Regards. Mike
 

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If your bike has the traction control option, it is on by default. It's not a sophisticated system. The first time I encountered it, I was pulling out onto a road and crossed a patch of fine sand. The engine died (or so it seemed) till I crossed that sand. Does it come on more subtly at other times? I'm not sure.

It was on the sometimes damp corners that I had concerns. It may be my caution as a returner after so many years.
Another thought. Where are you looking as you're going into the corners? Are you looking 50-70 feet out from the front of the bike? Or to the exit of the corner? If you're not looking to the exit, you'll find as you go around the corner that you're having to correct your line instead of it being a smooth transition through the turn. I have found myself focusing out in front of the bike because of all the stuff on the roads around here in the winter months. Mud. Sand. Gravel. Tar snakes. Leaves.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The traction control has a normal and a rain setting. I wasn't using it on the rain setting as the roads were generally dry. It was the front wheel grip that worried me on cornering.

My cornering isn't up to scratch yet as I'm having to tell myself frequently to look into the corner. My focus could well be on what's just in front when I'm concerned about the surface and not trusting the front tyre grip to get me around the bend.

New tyres Saturday. Forecast dry weather. Rain forecast on Sunday here!
 

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My older (2014) F800GT has a simple on and off. Default is on.

Tyres can really mess up your confidence. And if you think about it, the only thing that changes from one ride to the other is your brain. The bike is the same. Your body is the same. But your mental attitude can be different.

It's like playing golf. I can go out on two different days. Play the same course with the same clubs...and have two totally different games. The mental aspect is the part that changes. Sometimes we feel great and the ball (or bike) goes right where we want it to. Other times, we aren't feeling quite with it and things feel awkward.

Chris
 

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Mike. Seems like you're going about this in the right way. Remove one thing at a time, (tyres) and continue with one thing at a time until the difficulty is solved. Lots of helpful advice so far. I feel the most telling thing is coming back after many years off. Your older and more mature, and much more likely to be cognicent of the results of crashing, hence the nervousness.One more thing. Traction control (until very recently, when they've introduce lean angle into the equation) doesn't have much effect when leaned over cornering. Generally only works when upright and in a straight line, so don't rely on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well a pair of new tyres have effected a transformation. They're the original fit type, Michelin Pilot 4. I had the perfect day to try it today after heavy overnight rain and did about 50 miles in wet and dry conditions including some gently falling rain. It didn't show the slightest inclination to break away on wet bends. I suspect the cause was 80% tyres and 20% me being nervous. Thanks to everyone for your help and advice.

The original tyres were 5 years old but the bike had been used very little in the past 2 years, with on 4k on the clock. It seems they may have dried out on the surface. No doubt the wear from a track day could have recovered some stickiness but not with me riding...
 
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