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Display Mesage #104559


Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
Written by douglasvanb on 6/14/2011 at 11:38 pm

Coasters,

Today I was treated to a ride on a PC800 equipped with a Battlax rear tire
mounted backwards on the front wheel and a BF Goodrich Radial T/A on the rear.
Bart, a local PCer, was kind enough to loan me his ride with this configuration.
I gave him my PC800 equipped with Metzeler tires front and rear. Bart's bike
has maybe 3,000 miles on the tires. Mine has about 300 miles.

My immediate thoughts on The Dark Side:
- Nice handling in the city
- GOOD rear braking
- Squirrely rear end when leaning far over
- Rock-solid if somewhat boring front tire

While riding through our small metropolis of Corvallis, Oregon, I was impressed
with the handling and stability of the Battlex and BF Goodrich tires. Unlike
the Metzelers, which feel like I'm riding on an unstable fighter jet, the Dark
Side tires feel very stable and secure. I could probably even stay upright at a
stop sign without needing to put my feet down.

Unlike with my Metzelers where the rear brake doesn't feel like it adds that
much stopping power (just recently checked my drum pads and they have plenty of
life), the BF Goodrich tire felt like it could stop the whole bike RIGHT NOW if
I needed it to. In the rain, I bet the Dark Side tires would have excellent
stopping power.

Bart and I took our bikes up and over Lewisburg Saddle, the closest set of
twisties to town. Being a young, head-strong and cocksure guy, I felt in the
direction of the limits of the Dark Side tires. The ride feels very stable
right up until a certain point when suddenly the back end starts to crawl away
from a good line. It doesn't feel dangerous or unsafe, but it is certainly
noticeable. Feels just like when I had my old Metzeler tires that had a
flattened tread profile on the rear. For those who haven't felt this phenomena
before... it feels like the rear end is walking sideways while you go forward.
Certainly the Dark Side tires wouldn't win a motorcycle race but for normal to
somewhat aggressive riding, they're fine.

During the whole ride, I hardly even noticed the front tire. With Metzelers I
do notice and am aware of what the front tire is doing. The Battlax tire is
almost boring with how much it isn't in my mind. I almost would consider
replacing my front Metzeler with a Battlax the next time I'm due for a tire
change.

All in all, for 90% of the PC800 riders out there, the Dark Side will probably
work fine. The ride felt good. I felt secure the whole time. Never once did
it feel dangerous. And hey, for the price it's something to consider. Perhaps
in another 15,000 miles when I'm due for my next set of tires, I'll seriously
consider converting to the Dark Side. For the time being, I am going to enjoy
the jet fighter handling of my new Metzelers :-)

Cheers,

Douglas

PS: It appears that my front seat has been recovered and reshaped at some point.
Bart's seat is a good inch higher which provides a much more comfortable ride.
I do believe I will finally break down soon and get a CheapSkin seat cover
(toilet seat cover in an attractive color) to try and elevate myself up to a
more proper height.

PPS: I expect Bart will chime in with his impressions of the Metzelers from a
Dark Sider perspective soon.

Message Thread for message #104559

douglasvanb
6/14/2011, 11:38 pm
Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
Coasters, Today I was treated to a ride on a PC800 equipped with a Battlax rear tire mounted backwards on the front wheel and a BF Goodrich Radial T/A on the rear. Bart, a local PCer, was kind enough to loan me his ride with this configu

    wbpc800
    6/15/2011, 04:17 am
    Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
    Douglas, Thanks for the write up! As a darksider for the past couple of years it seems about right to me. Curious about the pressure though. haven't really noticed the squirrlieness but I may not push it that far. (Waiting for the right s

      douglasvanb
      6/15/2011, 06:04 am
      Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
      Wade, I will have to let Bart chime in on tire pressure. Didn't check before the ride. You will also have to ask Bart just how far I was pushing it. Didn't take a measurement of lean angle. I know I didn't touch the pegs to the gro

        revconprince
        6/15/2011, 12:59 pm
        Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
        Progressive loss of traction is a characteristic of BF Goodrich tires anyway. I had them on a '71 Cutlass and that is the way they handled. You could have the car sliding in a corner, but yet still under full control. They never abruptly let

          eleveldb
          6/15/2011, 06:24 pm
          Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
          Ok, here's Bart's perspective of the darkside for a day ride. I should start off saying Douglas's bike is just a lot tighter in all respects than mine. I think mine was "rode hard and put away wet" by one or more of the POs (which is

            wbpc800
            6/15/2011, 08:21 pm
            Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
            Bart, I'm with you on the sight lines. Am a pretty conservative rider most of the time. Appreciated your perspective. Some day I might like the Mick O Pegs. Have to admit that Tim looked pretty comfortable on our ride last summer.

              douglasvanb
              6/15/2011, 09:12 pm
              Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
              Wade, I didn't notice any appreciable difference in ride smoothness or noise between a fresh set of Metzelers and a nearly fresh set of Dark Side tires. To be fair though, I always wear earplugs when I ride. Cheers, Douglas

              eleveldb
              6/15/2011, 09:38 pm
              Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
              Now that you mention it, Wade, I THINK I did feel a bit less kidney rattling on my second ride using my own Darksider. Offsetting that was less rattling due to Douglas's bike being tighter in suspension and bodywork. It didn't really occur to

                douglasvanb
                6/15/2011, 09:45 pm
                Dark Side for a Day: a Metzeler guy's thoughts on The Dark Side
                It's possible my bike provides a rougher ride than yours, Bart. I have custom springs similar to Progressive Springs in the front with a heavier weight of oil than most people use and there are after-market shocks in the rear. It gives it mor