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Oct 4th 2016, 11:05 AM   #1
 motoroco's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Redmond, WA

  2015 Versys 650
Question Traction in the wet

Hey y'all.

To preface my situation, despite being a new rider, I rode to work almost every day last winter on a Suzuki Boulevard. I had a couple slips of the rear tire over the season, but the front was always fine to my surprise.

Coming into this wet season, though, I'm on a 2015 Versys 650 and the front has absolutely no grip at all. On just slightly damp pavement it'll try to slide out from under me. I do slow it down considerably in these worse conditions, but I get the same reaction from my bike at 5mph turns-from-a-stop.

On the other hand, the rear seems to be relatively okay. I've only felt it slide once or twice, which were in more "extreme" creek-over-the-road kinds of situations.

My question to you nerds, then, is what's most likely wrong with my suspension or tires? I'm stock everything still with about 5000mi on both tires and don't know enough to try the adjusters on my front forks, so they're at factory defaults, too.
Oct 4th 2016, 11:18 AM   #2
 
  Jan 2016
  Newcastle, WA

  1995 Suzuki Katana
If it's happening at 5mph it's not your suspension. Michelin PR4 is where you want to go...

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Oct 4th 2016, 11:35 AM   #3
 Squidly's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Bothell

Its kinda hard to feel any feedback from the front at 5mph as you approach losing traction. Is it possible you're imagining the front trying to slide?
Oct 4th 2016, 12:02 PM   #4
 equinity's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Puyallup

  Yamaha FZ1
If you do not feel confident with tires it's time to replace them. There are plenty options for all weather tires, but in my opinion Dunlop doesn't do water very well.

Metzeler and Michelin make really good options for the roads up here in the PNW with the edge going to Michelin. Pilot Road's are amazing tires, high silica content for great cold grip and they will last a very long time.

Some people have had great experiences with Pirelli Angels. I didn't like them, but they did a really good job at near freezing temps on several occasions. I was miserable, but they never had an issue.

Siping to the edge of the tires and the more there is the better they'll grip when wet.

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Oct 4th 2016, 12:26 PM   #5
 motoroco's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Redmond, WA

  2015 Versys 650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squidly
Its kinda hard to feel any feedback from the front at 5mph as you approach losing traction. Is it possible you're imagining the front trying to slide?
It's possible 5mph is a slight exaggeration, as the feeling is quite definite. I had some phantom slides like that on the cruiser, but nothing like it on the versys.

I'm sure the stock tires are far from the best, but before I just go and replace them, is there nothing else to look into first?

Thanks for the feedback so far.
Oct 4th 2016, 12:52 PM   #6
 HalcyonSon's Avatar
 
  Apr 2016
  Renton

Big difference in weight and weight distribution between those two styles of motorcycle. The Versys is a lot lighter - about 150 lb. The Versys also has a short wheelbase and is much more front end heavy - that is to say, more like 50/50 front/rear than the Boulevard's 30/70 front/rear. That means more of the braking and turning force is going to the front wheel. It's also a lot taller, which means every movement will feel amplified.

After all that, some tires just handle cold and wet better than others. I prefer Pirellis. Either The older Diablo sport tires, or the newer Angels.

Make Model. Suzuki Boulevard C50
Seat Height 700 mm / 27.6 in.
Ground Clearance 140 mm / 5.5 in
Wheelbase 1655 mm (65.2 in)
Curb Weight 277 kg (611 lbs.)
Fuel Capacity 15.5 Litres / 4.1 US gal

Make Model 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650
Seat height 33.1 in. (841mm)
Ground Clearance 6.7 in
Wheelbase 55.7 in. (1415mm)
Curb Weight 476.3 lb
Fuel Capacity 5.5 gal. (20.8L)
Oct 4th 2016, 02:32 PM   #7
 elSueco's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Seattle

  ZX14 Barking Spider
Quote:
Originally Posted by skjeflo
Michelin PR4 is where you want to go...
+1
Oct 4th 2016, 02:45 PM   #8
 Cougar's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Richland

  Yamaha FZ1, KTM Super Duke GT, Yamaha FJR, Yamaha XS650
Quote:
Originally Posted by motoroco
It's possible 5mph is a slight exaggeration, as the feeling is quite definite. I had some phantom slides like that on the cruiser, but nothing like it on the versys.

I'm sure the stock tires are far from the best, but before I just go and replace them, is there nothing else to look into first?

Thanks for the feedback so far.
I don't think so. As skjeflo and equinity mentioned, PR4's are great tires. You'll see a big difference in how they handle compared to the stock tires.
Oct 4th 2016, 02:47 PM   #9
 Josh's Avatar
 
  Jul 2016
  The Couv

Its all about the rubber.

There were a few times back in the day, I didn't think it was icy then went to get off of my bike and about fell on my ass because my bike tires traction was way better than my shoes LOL.
Oct 4th 2016, 03:58 PM   #10
 Chrishil54's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland

  V-Star 1100 Custom
Quote:
Originally Posted by skjeflo
If it's happening at 5mph it's not your suspension. Michelin PR4 is where you want to go...

Sent via SM-N900T
+1
Oct 4th 2016, 04:30 PM   #11
 Squidly's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Bothell

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoroco
I'm sure the stock tires are far from the best, but before I just go and replace them, is there nothing else to look into first?
There's always technique. You can put a decent load on any street tire in the wet, but you have to load the tire smoothly -- smoother than you think. Every control on the bike acts in unison, so if you're turning and accelerating you need to do both gradually. Accelerating while turning in is a common way to lose the front, and it happens earlier in the wet with long travel suspension.
Damon Mon Wai, skjeflo and wooden like this.
Oct 4th 2016, 09:17 PM   #12
 Lee650's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Milwaukie

  BMW S1000XR & KTM 1190 R
What tires are you running now and at what pressure?
Pilot Road 3 or 4's are great for wet conditions, maybe it time for new tires.
Oct 4th 2016, 09:24 PM   #13
 
  May 2016
  Oregon

Keep in mind tires have a "Performance Falloff" after so many miles. You can have plenty of tread remaining, but the rubber just doesn't stick anymore. This comes mainly from heat cycles, but other factors are involved too.

After 5,000 most motorcycle tires degrade in performance. Fresh rubber of any sort will feel better. Some tires are better suited for the wet than other.

Michelin PR4s are highly rated for the wet. I've run 3 sets of those and they are great for commuting in the PNW. Keep in mind they suffer the same performance falloff as any other tire, and they also have a layer of harder rubber underneath the sticky stuff, so the problem is compounded. PR4s can have lots of tread, but no stick. I never got along with leaning them over, but that's just a personal thing.

Pirelli MT60RS are another option. 60% on / 40% off road. Developed as a DOT rain race tire from what I've heard. Never tried them but I want to.

I love the Metzeler RoadTec 01. They don't clear standing water as well as PR4s, but they stick on the wet just fine, have better handling, more linear wear characteristics, and better feedback.

I'm in the same boat as you. Sliding around on my Q3s from summer, need some rain tires soon!
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Oct 4th 2016, 10:58 PM   #14
 Burphel's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Travelling around the NW

  Triumph Bonnezillah, Ninjette
It's mostly been covered already. Cruisers are ass-heavy, so the Versys as a standard is going to have a lot more action on the front than your old bike. New tires won't hurt. I'm a Michelin PR4 fanboy, and I'm not alone. If you have adjustable suspension of any sort, getting it set up properly will help keep the rubber in contact with the pavement. If it's just preload, that can be done with a buddy or two after watching Youtube videos. If you don't know what you're doing and want a really nice ride, KFG Racing/GP Suspension down in Auburn are the local pros.
Oct 5th 2016, 08:38 AM   #15
 wooden's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  PDX

  '14 St3R, '05 DR650
Another vote for the PR4s here... 8000+ miles on mine and they still feel fine in the wet (commuted on that bike today and Monday, raining both days..). I think they wear fantastically - mine are still plenty round after thousands of miles of commuting on highways and generally being more aggressive on the throttle than I really should... plus all the group rides raging around. I'm surprised I've gotten 8000 miles out of them, to be honest.
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