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WARNING: Metzeler Stage 1 Tire Upgrade
  Author: Gary L Mace (Venturous)
  Views: 10371     Votes: 8

While at the Honda Hoot, I decided my rear tire wouldn't be good enough to get me home. Especially since I will be pulling a trailer back. So, I went over early yesterday morning to the Metzeler tent in the vendor area to get a new one.

The salemen suggested that I use their 'Stage 1' upgrade ME880. I said I never heard of this. The Stage 1 upgrade is a bigger tire that he claimed would give me a much better ride. The stock size is 150/90B15. The so called stage 1 upgrade is a 170/80B15. I told the saleman I thought it best to stick to the recommended size. But he showed me in the Metzeler tire fitment guide where this stage 1 tire fits without any modification to the bike and said he had put them on several Ventures and the customers were very pleased. He had both sizes in stock. I said, OK, if it fits, I'll try it.

So they put the tire on. Before they put the saddlebags back on, I went and looked. There was only about an 1/8 clearance between the tire and the driveshaft. I questioned the mechanic whether that was enough. He assured me it was plenty, but guess he could tell I wasn't buying it. He called over a second mechanic and asked him. He said, sure thats plenty. Before I paid for the tires, I mentioned it to the salesman. He said it was plenty. I guess HE could tell I was too sure about this and called the Metzeler factory rep over who crawled under and looked. He assured me it was fine. At this point I had 4 people who should know more about this crap than me tell me it was OK. So off I go.

I go back to the motel, pick up the wife and hook up with friends and we head off on a ride. I mentioned tomy friend about the tire and my concern. Anyway, about 40 miles into the ride, he signals me to pull over. When I did he said he could smell rubber. I looked and sure enough the sidewall was melting from rubbing against the driveshaft. At this point, saying my blood was boiling was an understandment. So I called the dealership number that was running the Metzeler tent and told them what happened and that I was on my way back and they better have a right tire and lift waiting on me.

Get back to the Metzeler tent and it was obvious I guess that I was mad. The saleman and shop manager started to tell me over and over that they had done this tire upgrade on RSV's before and kept refering to the fact that the tire guide lists it as a 'bolt-on' upgrade. I told them that I wasn't mad about the reason they talked me into trying this tire, but was mad because 4 people who should have known better discounted my concerns that 1/8" wasn't enough clearance. I basically suggested they stop talking to me about it and get the tire changed. I was afraid things could quickly spiral out of control. I was hot!

Anyway, if a dealer tries to talk you into the 'Metzeler Stage 1 upgrade, tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine and stick with the stock size tire!

Also, after getting home and looking into this further, I come to find out that this so called upgrade tire actually has a lower weight rating than the stock tire size they sell. Not sure how that qualifies as an upgrade on a heavy touring bike like ours!

Last update: 08:07 PM Thursday, February 22, 2007

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