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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just returned from the first ride after fitting new tyres to my 900S2, and I honestly never expected to feel any difference from the cross-plies fitted previously, but it was obvious after only a hundred yards that something had changed.

The radials give a much smoother ride, almost like floating on air and while swinging through bends the bike feels like the tyres are sucking it down on to the Tarmac, in fact, the whole bike has a more delicate, controlled feel.

I believe that the change is due to the flex that radials have built in to them, which allows them to be able to mould themselves to the road surface.

It would have been better if I'd had wider rims fitted, which would give the correct profile, as Ducati's rims are way too narrow, squeezing up the tyres, but hey, improvements are always welcome. Although the tyres allow more flex, they are hellishly stiff to fit and even after almost 50 years experience, I struggled to get them on. Good exercise I suppose!
 

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Duccout - thanks for your review of your new Contis. Always good to hear of someone's experiences on updated stuff for these bikes. I have some brand new Contis on my Sport .... but they are 20 years old! It was "the restoration that never ended" and unfortunately one of the first things bought was the tires. I looked to see if they were radials but all I could find was "3-ply" and "4-ply rayon". They've been stored dry and in the dark with no load for the whole time. Should I toss them? I understand the life of a tire is supposedly only 6 to 8 years.
 

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... Should I toss them? I understand the life of a tire is supposedly only 6 to 8 years.
Yes, they are not roadworthy. They will separate as soon as they get warm or stressed.

In the '90's I too made the switch from bias ply to radials on bikes not designed for them, on one I had to change the wheels as well to give it the width to perform properly, but what an amazing difference in every case. Smoothness, grip, gas mileage - in every way an drastic improvement. And current radial tires are magical while the rubber compounds available on bias ply tires today are phenomenal as well.
 

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I always thought radials were stiffer in the sidewalls compared to cross-ply tyres?
Sorta, the tread area moves with the contact patch whereas bias ply really do not. Hitting a sharp edge crack in the pavement really shows the difference in sidewalls, the bias ply will compress at the point of impact and the radial spreads the bump out over such a wide area it is not easy to see. The sidewalls on radials hold their "bulge" shape and let the tread flex side to side to stay in contact with the road while cornering. There are videos of this phenomenon available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can vouch for the sidewalls being stiffer! By God they are. I thought that I would not be able to get the rear tube in, because it was impossible to pull the sidewall up enough. Next time I will try the 'professional' technique of putting the tube on the rim first.

I've done a few miles on the tyres now and can confirm that they are brilliant, the bike is so smooth on the road and steers really beautifully, just a whole lot of fun; like having a new bike.

It's funny, but I spent a year or so mulling over whether to fit them or stick with Avons because the Contis are about £50 dearer, but it's a silly arguement really - I could have saved £50 by fitting some crappy cheap tyres, but tyres are maybe the most important part of a motorcycle.
 
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