After the laborious process we went through deciding what bikes we were going to use for this project, you'd have thought getting all the bits to kit them out would be easy, but that hasn't been the case. The desire to do everything once and do it properly has meant we've spent perhaps too much time researching options for accessories. The extra time we've had to prepare while Stephen's bones heal after his little crash have only made it worse, because now there is no rush.
Choosing luggage was hard, and the crash bar issue hasn't gone away yet either.
But choosing rubber proved surprisingly difficult. The only thing that was clear was that the standard Dunlops had to go in the bin, because they are utter crap. They are prone to puncturing tubes without even being penetrated by an object (pinch flats are common) and their grip levels in the dirt are as bad as you'd expect from a road oriented tyre, but sadly they're garbage on the tar too. I've managed to break the rear of my bike loose under power with ease on dry tarmac, and I've had a couple of small front end slides too without doing anything remotely silly. Not good enough. That's obviously not a criticism of all Dunlop tyres (I run Dunlops on my race bike and love them), just the shitty ones that come with the Honda. They are built to a price, clearly.
But finding a suitable tyre combo to suit the Africa Twin's wheel sizes isn't always easy. Part of the problem with getting the latest bike on the block is sometimes its hard to get bits for them until all the accessories manufacturers get their hands on one and start building stuff, and since the wheel sizes on the AT aren't that common among the current crop of big adventure bikes, getting rubber wasn't as simple as you'd think. We wanted something that will perform reasonably well on the tar, as we will be spending a fair chunk of time on that surface, but we still wanted some aggressive dirt performance, so a 50/50 (or thereabouts) tyre was the best option. So we were looking at Pirellis, Metzelers, and Continental tyres that have a more aggressive tread pattern for the dirt but still with acceptable tar performance. Not everything we were interested in is available in the 90/90x21 and 150/70x18 sizes required for the Africa Twins though, so availability can be a problem.
We had our hearts set on a couple of sets of Motoz Tractionator Adventure tyres, but they were proving difficult to get as well, mainly because every time a shipment lands they sell out very quickly. These tyres were designed by some Aussie guys for our conditions, and are reported to give a great mix of grip on the road, grip in the dirt, and long life, so when Craig at Adventure Bike Specialists (find them on Facebook) posted up that he had some, we were straight on the blower. Cash was exchanged and Craig sent us two sets along with Heavy Duty tubes, and now we just have to fit them. Looks like another day in the shed with plenty of rum. And tyre levers. And a compressor. Oh dear.
We'll be sure to let you know what we think of them.