Tyre Sizes

There were two basic tyre size configurations fitted as factory standard.  Early bikes had 120/70 front and 170/60 rear, later (presumably aftre comments from Alan Cathcart and others regarding the supposed tendency of that tyre combination to 'fall' too quickly  into corners) this was changed to 120/60 front and 160/60 rear.  It is more a matter of individual choice what tyre sizes you fit, but some people have reported that some makes of 170/60 rear tyres do lead to very tight chain to tyre clearances, potentially a problem with chain gunk getting too close to the tyre surface and even possibly the chain itself touching the tyre.  I only have personal experience of the later tyre size combinations.  See also the discussion of the side stand for an interesting consequence of the change in tyre sizes.

Tyre Wear

In my own experience, I have found that the originally fitted tyres, the Pirelli MTR01/MTR02 Dragons, gave excellent handling, but at the expense of longevity.  The rear tyre lasted a mere 4,000 kms before it needed replacement, although the front did last considerably better.  This may say more about my riding style than the tyre, as I expect others spend more time on the front brake than I do.  I fitted the GTS MTR24 rear tyre next and got good handling and grip, coupled with 8,000 kms traveled before replacement.  Based on the sort of riding I do, a mix of twisties and more 'cruising' riding, this sort of compound makes a good overall choice. 

Currently my yellow bike is wearing a set of Bridgestone tyres, a BT57 sport compound on front and a BT56 Sport/Touring rear.  So far I've put around 5,500 kms on them and they are wearing well.

Laverda list both Pirelli and Bridgestone tyres as choices in the 750S parts manual I have, so either seems a good choice.  Like anything, though, there are many factors that influence tyre choice, so my selections may not suit others.  Here in New Zealand we have road surfaces that are very hard on tyres, mostly coarse stone chip on a tar base.  This is very tough on tyres so has a great influence on mileage.  I also don't ride extremely hard, so maximum adhesion is not the top priority.  As always, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

Dunlop Tyres

From Martin Damsma in the Netherlands come the following comments on Dunlop tyres:-

"Often I go for a drive with Marnix.  Sometimes we take the 'oldies' (for me that is the 3CL, Marnix has of course more to chose from), but it's always good fun when we both take the 650.  Any now and then we change bike for a couple of kms. 

"And then its so surprising every time again how totally different these bikes feel!  As both the 650's are pretty standard, this difference clearly come from the tyres.  Marnix running on Metzelers (drive comparable to the factory-standard Pirelli's), and mine running on D207 Dunlops.  (the reason for that being that my mechanic has lived for all his long live on Castrol and Dunlop only.  Haven't dared to hurt him yet with the question for something else....).

"Where the Metzelers feel like needing to be pushed into the corner, the Dunlops sort of make
your bike fall before you even thought of it.  I think it's a matter of taste, but I like the nervous feeling of the Dunlops.  Still consider to stress my (by the way very skilled) mechanic to try something else as these expensive black stuff is completely worn out again."


© Steve Carr, 2001-2007

Site created February, 2000.  Last modified Friday, May 15, 2009

Return to 668 Tech start page

Last updated
30 May 2005