Monday, July 20, 2015

The Avon TrailRiders: the first 5,000 km review

To put the wear figures in perspective... this is the sort of asphalt we
have been riding on... this stuff eats rubber and still
the wear figures are good!
Ok, I know 5,000 km is not exactly a lot for a bike tyre, although there are people who wear them out before that... But these are new tyres, with an industry first triple compound, sipes and a host of other technical innovations. So we thought you would like to know how they perform in real life, how they are wearing and what, if any, problems we've had. So we've put together this post and added some photos of the conditions we used them in.

On the Bonneville they were simply a matter of fit them, get used to the very welcome lighter steering and enjoy them. Because enjoy them is what I do. I can throw them into corners like I did with the Avon Distanzia and slam on the brakes without needing to wish for ABS. The lighter steering makes it easier to correct halfway through a corner and yet they are stable at higher speeds too. These tyres are good. Very good.

Mike, on the XT660R, also found grip to be very good and steering a little lighter. But the bike seemed slightly more nervous somehow. He had never any doubts about the grip. He couldn't have had as he rode them right up to the edge of the tread... even in the rain! Yet the rear of the bike didn't seem as stable as with the Distanzia... strange. We couldn't quite put our finger on what the issue was or what caused it. When we told Ashley, who designed the TrailRider, how the Yamaha behaved, he knew exactly what the problem was. It wasn't the rear, but the pressure in the front! The TrailRider front tyre, in the size as fitted to the XT, is made for larger Adventure machines as well. They put more weight on the front tyre than the XT does. As a result the footprint on the XT was a bit smaller than ideal. 'Drop the pressure in the front by 4 psi', Ashley said, and he was spot on! 

Ashley explained: 'While the TrailRider has been developed for larger Adventure machines, we have enough flexibility built-in so that we can alter the pressure to improve handling and stability on lighter machines too.' So, the TrailRider is not just for larger bikes, it works very well on lighter ones like the XT as well.

I've been keeping an eye on them for wear and any irregularities which may arise. So far so good! The've been in some seriously hot weather, over molten asphalt, rocky paths and torrential rains. They provided us with the all important grip and should last even longer than our previously fitted Avon Distanzia. So far, after 5,000 km, we've used almost 2 mm of tread depth on a mixture of tarmac and gravel. Due to their round shape, bike tyres wear the fastest in the beginning so if they keep wearing like this then we should see some amazing mileage!

Want to know how we feel about them after 10,000km? Read our interim review here