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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


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

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 :-)



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