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AX41 to MotoZ GPS, and Tubed Again


jdub53

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With 4,500 miles on it, my T7's AX41 rear tire was now down to 3mm tread depth remaining and still performing in an excellent manner both on- and off-road. Other than noise at speed on pavement, I've had zero issues with this AX41 and was leaning toward buying another before their recent 20% price increase from $166 USD so they weren't such a good deal anymore. I was expecting to run this one another 500 to 1,000 miles, but when my rear rim's tubeless conversion mod began leaking for the second time I decided it was time for a change all around.  The removed tire will be hanging around my garage if ever called upon for duty as a spare.  The excellent front AX41 is wearing very evenly and still has over 5mm tread depth remaining with 4,500 miles, so it'll stay on the T7 for the foreseeable future. 

 

 

20220815_160447.jpg.d214bdc65eb009ca6aa9981df841cb47.jpg


 

I decided this time to try a rear MotoZ GPS tire mounted in the mostly off-road direction. A big factor in deciding on this tire is its high silica content and not-rock-hard natural rubber compound because I ride year round in all conditions except snow and ice, and often go out for long rain rides just to get out of the house. Unlike what I got with the rear Dunlop Mission (never again) slip & slide experiences in cold rain on my GS, I need a tire in which I have confidence and performance in wet conditions and all reports I'd read were positive for the GPS.


 

Breaking the AX41's bead was as easy as I expected, as opposed to the OEM STR rear tire which seemed glued to the rim. With the tire off, I removed the tubeless valve stem I'd installed along with the AX41s over the winter. The tape I'd installed over all of the spoke nipples after sealing them was smooth and intact, so I elected to just leave everything in place with the new tube. Although I've never had an issue using my tire irons through decades of changing tires, just for giggles I decided this time to try the zip-tie method.

 

20220815_133940.jpg.51a542fae369a2d6aeb1bf1bdcbd8e94.jpg


 

After putting some air in the tube to give it shape and dusting it with baby powder, I inserted it into the new tire and used seven 24” long zip-ties to pull both beads together with the valve stem protruding. After lubing both beads and inserting the valve stem through its hole in the rim, the tire dropped easily the rest of the way onto the rim with a little pressure. I'm now sold on this method, as this was by far the easiest tire/tube installation I've ever done. Although it's never been an issue for me when using tire irons, there is zero chance of pinching a tube with this method. The zip-ties were removed using a small screwdriver to release their locking teeth, ready to be used again when next needed. Although I'm constantly seeing references that new tires need to be heated in the sun prior to installation, I've never seen the need for that and would be out of luck anyhow as most of my tire changes seem to occur on cloudy and/or cold Pennsylvania days. This stiff-sidewalled MotoZ didn't seem to care that it hadn't gotten a suntan.


 

Because the GPS tread appeared to have a mold release agent on it, as I often do with a new tire prior to riding I scrubbed the tread with a wire brush. Only one short road ride so far on the MotoZ tire, and it is definitely much quieter than the old AX41. Looking forward to putting both road and dirt miles on it soon with numerous off-road camping trips I have planned.

 

 

20220815_141818.jpg.3d8bd73a190dc1e074b881ea650a5757.jpg

 

 

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@jdub53 First off, thank you for your service!  Great write-up and you've inspired me to try the zip-tie method next time around.   Curious as to which tubeless mod you used, ( Outex?) as I had zero luck with it and am the same as you in running it as "rim tape" not wanting to peel that mess off of my rim.

 

Let us know how you like that GPS, I might go with that for longer slab rides, but currently really like the RallZ for local rides to rock gardens.  😉

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"Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" Oliver Wendell Holmes - Mods - HDB handguards, Camel-ADV Gut guard, 1 finger clutch, The Fix pedal & Rally pipe, RR side/tail rack, RR 90nm spring & Headlight guard, Rally seat, OEM heated grips- stablemate Beta 520RS

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I now have between 3-4k miles on my GPS tires and still like them. Lots of tread left. They've gained a tiny bit of road noise but nothing bad by any means.  

 

On an unrelated note, this thread gave me an idea- Like how many us restort to trying new gear and other things while at the comfort of their home or controlled enviroment (like changing a tire trail-side, setting up a new tent for the 1st time etc) Im going to do some rain riding.  I've often wondered how me and my gear would fair in the rain.  My riding partner and I have been planing more and more, longer and longer trips and have only got caught in a short rain once!  Thanks @jdub53 for the inspiration!

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10 hours ago, AZJW said:

@jdub53 First off, thank you for your service!  Great write-up and you've inspired me to try the zip-tie method next time around.   Curious as to which tubeless mod you used, ( Outex?) as I had zero luck with it and am the same as you in running it as "rim tape" not wanting to peel that mess off of my rim.

 

Let us know how you like that GPS, I might go with that for longer slab rides, but currently really like the RallZ for local rides to rock gardens.  😉

 

I went with a tubeless conversion method I'd read about involving Seal-All covering each inner spoke nipple, topped with Goop flexible sealant. Supposedly the gent who'd used this had done it successfully to multiple bikes, and had then put hundreds of thousands of miles on them with no issues.

 

For the first two to three thousand miles after applying the sealants, the rear tire's pressure stayed solid and I was very happy. Then one morning prior to a ride when I checked the pressure it had dropped overnight from 36 to 10 psi. After disappointedly finding no nail, etc., in the tread I instead found air leaking at several spoke nipples. Pulled the tire, resealed each nipple and also applied a wrap of wide, flexible adhesive tape whose brand I don't recall (belt and suspenders approach, I figured). That held for several more months until I again found one morning a couple weeks ago the rear pressure at 10 psi or so, and again I found leakage at several spoke nipples. No reason I could correlate with the leaks occurring, and with no more faith in the sealant and several trips in planning I decided going back to a tube was overall the most logical solution.  Guess I'll save some weight and space by not packing a tubeless repair kit anymore, right?  😁  

 

Put some more road miles on the GPS today, getting it properly scuffed in on some twisty roads. So far so good! I thought hard about both the MotoZ Adventure and the RallZ, but in pretty much a coin toss situation decided to give the GPS a try first.

Edited by jdub53
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8 hours ago, DT675 said:

I now have between 3-4k miles on my GPS tires and still like them. Lots of tread left. They've gained a tiny bit of road noise but nothing bad by any means.  

 

On an unrelated note, this thread gave me an idea- Like how many us restort to trying new gear and other things while at the comfort of their home or controlled enviroment (like changing a tire trail-side, setting up a new tent for the 1st time etc) Im going to do some rain riding.  I've often wondered how me and my gear would fair in the rain.  My riding partner and I have been planing more and more, longer and longer trips and have only got caught in a short rain once!  Thanks @jdub53 for the inspiration!

 

Rain riding has always given me yet another perspective on control and braking inputs, lane positioning,  cornering lines, traffic interaction, etc., kind of like the differences between riding on pavement and dirt. Commuting to work via motorcycle for 40+ years (most recently a 118 mile roundtrip commute for 18 years to DC prior to my retirement last December) gave me lots of rain riding practice, with much of that in early morning darkness.

 

I actually find it very relaxing when dialing things back to 75% or so of my normal pace when in the rain, and think it's pretty cool to often (actually most of the time) be the only motorcycle on the road in those conditions. Staying dry and warm is paramount of course, and better to test your rain gear closer to home than finding out what doesn't work when you're on a trip far from home. One of my pet replies when someone asks me at a stop, etc., "Aren't you wet?" is "Gore-Tex is a wonderful thing".    

 

Enjoy!  👍

Edited by jdub53
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  • 2 months later...

Thought I'd provide an update on my MotoZ GPS rear tire experience and impressions after 3,000 miles of use. The center tread was 12 mm deep when new and as shown in the pic below is now at 9 mm. I've been checking the depth regularly, and the wear rate has remained at a linear 1 mm per 1,000 miles. If that rate continues, I'm looking at a very respectable 9k to 10k miles from this tire which is what I'd expected based upon reviews prior to buying. 

 

I should add here that I replaced the front Bridgestone AX41 tire with a new AX41 700 miles ago when the first had accumulated 6,500 miles. Still decent tread left on the first AX41, but the center tread blocks were getting pretty scalloped and I didn't want to ride it on an upcoming 1,500 mile trip (which ended up not happening). I have nothing but praise for the front AX41 on my T7 in all conditions whether on- or off-road and have no plans to use any other tire in that position.  

 

I'd estimate my T7 usage at 50% pavement, which includes both many miles at 70 to 80 mph highway speeds and lots of backroad twisties, and 50% varied off-road ranging from rocks, mud and gravel to smooth forest roads. During my first trip with the MotoZ rear to WV during a three-day, 700 mile ride loaded with camping gear, while traversing some light surface mud I whacked the throttle open while in second gear at about 25 mph to see how the tire reacted. To my pleasant surprise, the bike simply shot forward with no perceived wheelspin or stepping out sideways. I repeated this several times, always with the same effect. Note that I have the GPS tire installed in the optional "Mostly Off-Road" orientation, and noise is (still) not an issue. 

 

As when using any new-to-me tire, this one had to earn my trust for any spirited riding. When both the tire and pavement are cold I've felt some slight  slippage if pushing a bit in corners, but once warm the tire has been nothing but confidence inspiring. Same light slippage once or twice with a cold tire on rainy paved corners, but no cause for concern with a moderate pace when wet. The only negative effect I've perceived from the GPS's center strip is some float over deep gravel at speed, but not a big deal and well worth any extra mileage that strip may be delivering.

 

Overall so far I'm pleased with this MotoZ GPS rear, and for my usage am glad I mounted it "Mostly Off-Road". I have no idea what the "50/50" orientation may have offered differently; perhaps even better tread life but I wouldn't take that as a trade-off for how well it does off-road now.  The AX41 I ran on the rear previously is still my favorite for performance on the T7 though, although its life was shorter. May end up flipping a coin to decide between the two when it's time to select a new rear next year (or maybe a MotoZ Adventure or RallZ?), and I still have the whole winter coming up for further GPS tire evaluation in cold conditions. Ah, first world problems...  😉

 

20221111_094553.jpg.61c0914cd7777c79a1d7086a53c16733.jpg20221111_094721.jpg.1d4c2936d3a393890ed5ff0b53be586a.jpg20220915_155700.jpg.cbc607c439cd8fc3ab909609a5c26082.jpg    

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  • 7 months later...
On 8/17/2022 at 12:55 PM, jdub53 said:

With 4,500 miles on it, my T7's AX41 rear tire was now down to 3mm tread depth remaining and still performing in an excellent manner both on- and off-road. Other than noise at speed on pavement, I've had zero issues with this AX41 and was leaning toward buying another before their recent 20% price increase from $166 USD so they weren't such a good deal anymore. I was expecting to run this one another 500 to 1,000 miles, but when my rear rim's tubeless conversion mod began leaking for the second time I decided it was time for a change all around.  The removed tire will be hanging around my garage if ever called upon for duty as a spare.  The excellent front AX41 is wearing very evenly and still has over 5mm tread depth remaining with 4,500 miles, so it'll stay on the T7 for the foreseeable future. 

 

 

20220815_160447.jpg.d214bdc65eb009ca6aa9981df841cb47.jpg


 

I decided this time to try a rear MotoZ GPS tire mounted in the mostly off-road direction. A big factor in deciding on this tire is its high silica content and not-rock-hard natural rubber compound because I ride year round in all conditions except snow and ice, and often go out for long rain rides just to get out of the house. Unlike what I got with the rear Dunlop Mission (never again) slip & slide experiences in cold rain on my GS, I need a tire in which I have confidence and performance in wet conditions and all reports I'd read were positive for the GPS.


 

Breaking the AX41's bead was as easy as I expected, as opposed to the OEM STR rear tire which seemed glued to the rim. With the tire off, I removed the tubeless valve stem I'd installed along with the AX41s over the winter. The tape I'd installed over all of the spoke nipples after sealing them was smooth and intact, so I elected to just leave everything in place with the new tube. Although I've never had an issue using my tire irons through decades of changing tires, just for giggles I decided this time to try the zip-tie method.

 

20220815_133940.jpg.51a542fae369a2d6aeb1bf1bdcbd8e94.jpg


 

After putting some air in the tube to give it shape and dusting it with baby powder, I inserted it into the new tire and used seven 24” long zip-ties to pull both beads together with the valve stem protruding. After lubing both beads and inserting the valve stem through its hole in the rim, the tire dropped easily the rest of the way onto the rim with a little pressure. I'm now sold on this method, as this was by far the easiest tire/tube installation I've ever done. Although it's never been an issue for me when using tire irons, there is zero chance of pinching a tube with this method. The zip-ties were removed using a small screwdriver to release their locking teeth, ready to be used again when next needed. Although I'm constantly seeing references that new tires need to be heated in the sun prior to installation, I've never seen the need for that and would be out of luck anyhow as most of my tire changes seem to occur on cloudy and/or cold Pennsylvania days. This stiff-sidewalled MotoZ didn't seem to care that it hadn't gotten a suntan.


 

Because the GPS tread appeared to have a mold release agent on it, as I often do with a new tire prior to riding I scrubbed the tread with a wire brush. Only one short road ride so far on the MotoZ tire, and it is definitely much quieter than the old AX41. Looking forward to putting both road and dirt miles on it soon with numerous off-road camping trips I have planned.

 

 

20220815_141818.jpg.3d8bd73a190dc1e074b881ea650a5757.jpg

 

 

 

 

Hiya mate. Am looking at changing my oem STRs to the Trailmax Missions, which are stiff, and notoriously difficult to install. Am gonna attempt installing by myself to start with and really like the Ziptie method. Am only wondering why not many people use the Ziptie method! makes mounting tubed tyres a breeze. Anyways, really hope it works well for me. 

Not looking forward to a puncture on the trails though, will probably limp to the closest workshop/recovery. 

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  • 4 months later...
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@jdub53 Any updates on the mileage results for this setup?  Both my son & I are running the AX-41 up front and a RallZ out back, but might try the GPS rear if the mileage in the offroad direction is better than the 6,500 or so I'm currently getting out of the RallZ.

My AX-41 @  1,721 miles is down to 9/32" and the RallZ is at 11/32" from a start of 16/32". I didn't get my depth gauge on the AX-41 when new, but maybe you have that figure so I can figure my wear rate.

Thanks for any input.

JW

 

"Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" Oliver Wendell Holmes - Mods - HDB handguards, Camel-ADV Gut guard, 1 finger clutch, The Fix pedal & Rally pipe, RR side/tail rack, RR 90nm spring & Headlight guard, Rally seat, OEM heated grips- stablemate Beta 520RS

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10 hours ago, AZJW said:

@jdub53 Any updates on the mileage results for this setup?  Both my son & I are running the AX-41 up front and a RallZ out back, but might try the GPS rear if the mileage in the offroad direction is better than the 6,500 or so I'm currently getting out of the RallZ.

My AX-41 @  1,721 miles is down to 9/32" and the RallZ is at 11/32" from a start of 16/32". I didn't get my depth gauge on the AX-41 when new, but maybe you have that figure so I can figure my wear rate.

Thanks for any input.

JW

 

Hey @AZJW, I hadn't taken any measurements in a while but just visited my garage with the depth gauge and here are the current stats on my T7's front AX41 and rear MotoZ GPS:

 

- AX41 had 9mm center tread depth when new 5,130 miles ago and is now just a hair under 6mm. Unlike the previous AX41 front which I'd replaced with 6,500 miles on it, I'm pleased to note this one has virtually no tread cupping and is wearing much better (I reread my notes above, and the first AX41 front was at 5mm tread remaining with 4,500 miles on it). No idea why this one is doing better as my riding/usage hasn't really changed (approximate 50/50 mix of spirited paved backroads and highway / off-road on forest roads and 4x4 trails), but I like it.

 

20231119_062115.jpg.b6b8b7516b328f967c59ad72f66b8c62.jpg20231119_061805.jpg.565384c9095741363fd350f854743fd9.jpg20231119_061752.jpg.681012dfb0a42773df61b67fb7413388.jpg

 

- The rear GPS tire I've been running in the Mostly Off-Road orientation since new 6,930 miles ago when it had 12mm center tread depth now has exactly 6mm of tread remaining as close to center as I could measure it at several points. The previously steady 1mm per 1,000 mile wear rate has slowed a tiny bit, and I'm still pleased with this tire's all-around performance. I was in a moderate rainstorm (mid-40s F temps) a week ago and felt it slip just a bit when braking over some painted lines on the road but was OK otherwise while riding at a sedate pace, so no surprises. A good chance this tire will see the 10,000 mile mark before it gets pulled next year with probably 3mm tread remaining. I'm considering trying a rear RallZ myself just for giggles, or might go back to another AX41 just for something different. The only thing I can really fault on the GPS is some float over gravel due to that center strip, but that's a compromise for its great mileage.  

 

20231119_061606.jpg.921411ee6be58d079c99f5249931397c.jpg 

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@jdub53 Thanks for the update and sounds like that's a pretty solid 10,000 mile combo.  I, like you, am sold on the AX-41 for a front and my solid rear choice is the RallZ,  but might try the GPS just to switch it up a bit. 

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"Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" Oliver Wendell Holmes - Mods - HDB handguards, Camel-ADV Gut guard, 1 finger clutch, The Fix pedal & Rally pipe, RR side/tail rack, RR 90nm spring & Headlight guard, Rally seat, OEM heated grips- stablemate Beta 520RS

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I forgot to add to my earlier post that I always maintain my T7's tire pressures at the OEM recommended 32 F / 36 R no matter the tire or conditions. Rocks are common where I ride, and although the front rim has already sustained one ding I want to keep potential damage from low pressures to a minimum.   

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