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I've just bought a 98 900 SS and the rear tire is a 170 and not a 180 like it should be.

Does anyone know how this affects the handling?
 

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Probably doesn't affect it at all. If anything, (theoretically anyways) the 170 should handle better than the 180. I may turn in a tad bit faster and feel more responsive & lighter, but may never be anything you would feel on the street. Does it have a 5 1/2 wheel on it? Are you SURE the bike didn't come with a 170? I'm not sure, so just asking cause my SS has a 5 1/2 wheel on the back but comes stock with a 170. I changed to a 180 and like it better but that's another story.
 

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you'll have slightly better handling with the 170, and you don't make enough HP to need the larger cross section.

Unless you just want the "fatter tire" look, I'd stick w/ the 170
 
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