GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by Sadanorakman »

I've been a little alarmed at what I've read in these forums about rear tires de-laminating and/or blowing out on 1500's, and I have three questions below which I would value your advice/opinions please.

I'm 230 lbs in my birthday suit, and my good lady is around 175 lbs; like the GL1500, we're both built more for comfort than for speed! I read here that Honda state the max load of the 1500 as 408 lbs including riders and luggage, yet we will total more than that once in riding gear without any luggage taken into account. I'm also aware that a lot of that weight will be biased towards the rear wheel/tire (Even more so when I add a trailer in the future).

I also read that the 1500 was originally specified for bias-ply tires because radials did not exist then in suitable specification for this bike, and that some member's rear tires run incredibly hot (too hot to touch) when in hot climate/tarmac.

  • Is the GL1500 SO heavy, that the rear tire is either close to, or over it's maximum load rating when riding two-up and with luggage? If so, are there any eXtra-Load (XL) rated tires I should look at (other than going to the Darkside)? -In the UK/Europe, it is quite common for Diesel engine cars to be specified with 'XL' rated tires due to the vehicle's extra weight.
  • Have any of you found a difference in the load rating of a tire for the rear of a 1500 when comparing between a manufacturer's radial and bias-ply tires? (I appreciate the radial would likely be a slightly different size/profile) Which was rated at the higher load?
  • Radials traditionally generate less internal heat than bias/cross-ply tires when running, yet I've not read of anyone else raising this argument within your threads. Logic tells me that this can only be a good thing to keep pressures from rocketing when riding at speed in high ambient temperatures, and therefore help preventing catastrophic failure (e.g. blow-out at speed). Has anyone here specifically chosen radials for this very reason, or noted a difference in the actual operating temperature between bias ply and radials on their Goldwing?
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my ramblings; I'd really value your input.

Kindest regards, Craig.

Was speaking with my 19yr old son today: he has no idea what 'vertical hold' refers to.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by Viking »

Honda continued to use bias ply tires well after radials were available for motorcycles. I was using radial tires in the 1980s. I also replaced bias ply with radials back then on the bikes that I was riding with absolutely no adverse effect, and in fact, handling characteristics improved with radials. I continually hear that if manufacturers put bias ply on, then you have to continue in that vein, however, I disagree. I also disagree with those who say if synthetic oil was made to be used in an engine, then God would have made it.

On to your other question on overloading. Pretty much any of us who ride two up, at most times, are overloading the specs of the bikes, and adding a trailer increases that probability. The tires can take it, but you lose your warranty if you have a problem and admit to the tire manufacturer that you were overloaded, so you just weren't, right? As far as possible problems, these almost always happen with tires that are not fresh and are not the correct tire for the motorcycle. Use tires that have the best load ratings, and buy fresh tires. You will not likely ever have a problem. Keep an eye on your tires and when they get worn, replace them. This will also ensure that you will not likely ever have a problem. In over 800,000 miles (about 1,300,000 Kms) of riding motorcycles, I have only had two tire problems. One was my fault for riding on a worn out tire and not checking it, the second was a manufacturers defect in the tire, and these incidences happened about 20 years apart. Just saying.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by wilmo »

Things have changed since then in the tire world. What you need to look for is the load index rating of the tire. I'm in the same boat. Look for a LI rating of 80, this is overspec for the rear tire and that will help with the loading. The bike is spec'd for a 74 LI, I run 80 LI at 43psi. And pump up the shock and you'll be fine. Tires with the 80 LI include the Dunlop E4, Bridgestone 702 and Avon. In the past I have not liked Dunlop but the E4 is changing my mind. The 1500 itself does not care if they are bias or radial, I wouldn't pay extra for that. This link ... atings.pdf, will take you to an index of what the LI rating means. An 80 LI is rated at 992 lbs while a 74 LI is 827 lbs. That's an extra 165 lbs. Of course you could darkside and not worry about it but you now know what to look for.
The delaminating issue you mentioned is only common on Metzeler tires. For some reason those have issues and their rating is only 74, that may be why they come apart, not really meant for a Goldwing.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by harvey01 »

Most of the tire manufacturers have their own website where they list the tires by the bike they fit and then there are spec sheets that give info about the tires. If there is something in a spec sheet you don't understand, the answer can usually be solved by contacting the manufacturer or look it up through a site such as Google.

Go to the source for this information. You might also check sites such as this for info on which tires have failed by brand. Unfortunately you see more reports of the failures than the reports where the tire does well. Of course the teller of the story usually does not mention the last time the air pressure was checked, whether the bike was overloaded and how badly overloaded or the age of the tire. I would not trust any tire over 5 years old whether it has be used or sat warehouse.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Congrats on your bike, and welcome. A couple of issues that can assist in your dilemma. As themainviking mentions, there is not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the GVW of the bike, regardless of the make. Nothing you do to the bike will change the manufacturers GVW rating, however, what you do do can enhance your riding enjoyment and personal safety.

There are a few things you can do to assist in making your riding and touring a great experience. Your bike is going on 19 years old. Suspension gets weak and wears out, nothing lasts forever. Renewing or doing an upgrade is a great way to bring your bike back to an almost new condition. It is also one of the key elements in ensuring longevity and good tire performance, but more importantly, ride quality and bike performance. Keeping the tire pressures at 40 PSI or so will also give better tire life. Make sure you do the front and rear, and hopefully at the same time.

The brake system is designed for the GVW. Replacing the standard rubber hoses with new OEM, or better yet, replace with SS brake lines will ensure maximum pressure is transmitted to the calipers. When the rubber brake hoses get old, they start to flex/expand under pressure, reducing the pressure going to the calipers - something like us as we age.

If you are going to tow a trailer, not recommended by any manufacturer but done by many, get the lightest one you can afford.

Similarly, a good strategy for touring is to treat it the same as if you were backpacking in the great outdoors. New technologies have reduced the weight of many items you need, and for outerwear the same warmth/functionality as what you normally wear.

Don't forget about ATGATT - all the gear all the time - road rash sucks. Lots of good riding clothing out there that works well in any condition.

Tires will always be a discussion item. Research is your best friend. MC tires of the same size but different manufacturer may lead to a better load rating. Research CT on motorcycles, remembering HD used to deliver its motorcycles with CTs installed. Not for everyone, nor for those who want to drag hard parts and put their knees on the pavement. Everything is a personal choice.

Take an advanced riding course as well. I am a firm believer that this will enhance your riding pleasure, and at the same time keep you safer on the road. There may also be courses where you and the Mrs can go together and she too can learn what happens to the bike, and how it feels as a passenger, when you have to do some fancy footwork such as a faster than normal stop, emergency avoidance and the likes. Need to have as many skill sets available as possible.

Use the on board bike communication system, or get Bluetooth units - find that Sena are about the best - at all times. Communication between you and your passenger will enhance your riding pleasure, and keep the passenger abreast of what you are doing as well.

Lots of things to consider, but not insurmountable. There are a lot of good books on motorcycling maintenance, touring and such. Even ones specifically for women.

Sort of rambled on, but tires, a very important component, are only one piece of of the equation. You will find as many opinions on tires as there are tires, and getting to a consensus on which one to use is not likely going to happen. Don't let price be a deciding factor either.

Lots to consider and decide on.

Just a few thoughts on your issue, and as always, just MHO.

Good luck and safe riding.

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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by bellboy40 »

I have the Avon Cobra on mine which has a load index of 81. That corresponds to 1019 pounds. That is one of the highest load rated motorcycle tires available for the Goldwing.
Here is a chart that shows what the load index means.

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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by Aerobeck98 »

Was curious about the ride difference after putting property rated radials on. Is there any rear wash feel or slipping feel in turns?
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by CrystalPistol »

I've seen guys with rear tires delaminating, blown out, and usually you could tell by the long section of chord showing around then tire, they just wore it till the air showed itself. I have also spotted rear tires that looked low, mentioned it to a rider to be told "I'll check it when I get home".

I've moved some good loads on a gold Wing, running 75 - 77 on a hot interstate, and no issue because I check tires often and make right.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by oldmopars »

To the OP that had asked about a car tire on the back. I am all for the car tire idea, I even tried it for a little while. I would do it again if I could get the right tire combo. So, I am not one of those that thinks the world will come to an end if you Darkside.
With that said, I tried to put a 187/75-16 Nokian C-Line on. Here in the US this was the best tire size I could find that would not lower the back of the bike. It also had a load rating of 1900lbs.
The issues I ran into were that the sidewalls were just to tall. This raised the bike and I think was part of the bad handling issue I had. There was a lot of flex in the side walls and it messed up the rake angle and the bike would fishtail wildly at high speeds (70MPH+). I was also running a bias in the front, this also did not help.
So, do a lot of research before going to the Darkside. I would suggest a lower profile tire with stiff sidewalls, radial in the front to match, and be ready to work though some quirks. I also had to do a lot of trimming to get it to fit.
Where you are from, the Austone Taxi tire may still be available, it is not here and that seems to have been the best tire for a 1500. It will provide you with the extra load capacity that you are asking for.
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Re: GL1500 Bike and Tire Load-Rating, & Radial vs Bias-Ply

Post by Sadanorakman »

oldmopars wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:36 am To the OP that had asked about a car tire on the back.
Hi OldMopars, I'm the OP (of this thread anyways). The thread has just been revived from a couple of years ago.

I originally asked three questions, and none of them were to do with running a car tire; they were about load ratings, delamination/blowouts, and running radials as opposed to cross-ply to reduce the heat generated.

It was a very 'newbie', uninformed type post, as I was alarmed by the failures I'd been reading about at the time, before learning much more.

I now appreciate that there are bike tires which far exceed the originally specified tires load-rating-wise, such as the Dunlop E4, and that I should have no problems if I look after them well.

Having said all of this, I appreciated reading about your experiences of running dark-side very much. I can't afford to heighten my bike at all, as I'm only 5' 7" these days (shrinking now), and my 91 wing is taller in the saddle than the later gl1500's. I also cannot risk running a car tire, as it would undoubtedly void my insurance here in the UK. Perhaps things are different in the US, but I feel I cannot take the risk here.

Many thanks again for your input, as with all of the other poster's advice, it is greatly appreciated.

Was speaking with my 19yr old son today: he has no idea what 'vertical hold' refers to.
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