Considering the Darkside
I can definitely see myself going to the darkside someday. Maybe as soon as my next rear tire change - which could be as soon as the end of this riding season.
I have to ask any and all of the darksiders here. After the recommended 500 mile "break in" period, does the bike feel any "different", particularly in the turns?
I mean, those that have gone to the darkside swear by them, but other than keeping your wallet a little heaver, do they feel different? Is there noticeable difference at the seat of your pants or at the ends of your arms - again, particularly in the turns?
I'm an engineer and at the end of the day, traction is about two things, coefficient of friction (the stickiness of the tire) and contact patch (surface area of the tire touching the road). I've seen other websites where empirical testing was done that shows CT are actually softer than MTs - allowing for better grip. As far as contact patch is concerned, even during cornering, you cannot argue that, as long as the tire pressures are low enough to allow the inner radius of the tire to flex rather than roll onto the sidewall, the contact patch of a CT is far greater than a MT.
Many naysayers say that CTs were not specifically designed to handle the loads and conditions that motorcycles would put on them - and they are absolutely correct on this point. CTs were designed to handle loads and conditions far worse than what a touring bike would put on them.
My concern is the handling in the turns. A flat-treaded CT (as opposed to a rounded tread MT), when leaned to one side will have a tendency to steer the rear end. Think of it like this: It's the difference between rolling a cardboard tube from an empty roll of toilet paper versus rolling an ice cream cone. Due to its rounded surface, the MT will always closely approximate the shape of the cardboard tube (a thin ring of it), regardless of the lean angle, allowing the rear to track neutrally through the turn. Whereas, when you lean the CT to one side, it takes on the shape of the cone (at the contact patch) causing the tire to track to the inside through the turn. This will cause what us NASCAR fans will recognize as a "tight" condition, requiring more steering input at the front wheel to compensate.
Basically, the rear wheel will be trying to steer into the turn requiring countersteer at the front wheel through the entire turn to balance the forces. Another way to look at it is that the rear wheel will be steering (as in the opposite of countersteering) in the direction that will cause the bike to right itself through the turn, so countersteer will be needed thoughout the turn to counteract what the rear wheel is doing. The two ends of the bike would be fighting each other.
When push comes to shove the front wheel will always lose that fight. My opinion on that is, a touring bike would probably already be down for other reasons before it every got to that point.
Furthermore, the differences may be negligible and this whole discussion may be moot.
So that's basically my concern. Does a CT require noticeably more input at the handlebars to track though a turn or does it feel any different in some other way?
I'm hoping to get the opinions and experiences of several darksiders.
2012 FLTRU - Ember Red Sunglo
2016 FLTRXS - Velocity Red Sunglo
>>> Apparently, I have a "thing" for redheads.