Motorcycles

New OEM Bridgestone tires for the ’19 Honda Gold Wing

Rear OEM Bridgestone Exedra tire, 19,800 km, replaced with a new one
Front OEM Bridgestone Exedra tire, 19,800 km, replaced with a new one

New tires for motorcycles are controversial. There’s much debate on motorcycle forums as to which tires are ‘best.’

Years ago, Car and Driver magazine, long my enthusiast automobile ‘bible’ since I was a teenager, ran a feature story on tire technology. An unnamed engineer for one of the big tire manufacturers said the ‘best’ performance tire available was generally the newest tire on the market, because tire technology advanced so quickly and the tire industry was so competitive.

That philosophy has always guided my tire choices, for cars or motorcycles.

The OEM Bridgestone Exedras that came on my ’19 Honda Gold Wing finally wore down to the wear bars (on the rear) at an outstanding 19,800 km. I have never had a motorcycle tire last that long. (The Michelin Pilot Road 2s that came on my ’14 BMW R1200RT got replaced at about 14,000 km, which I thought was good.)

In early April, I popped over to my Honda dealer where I had bought the bike and asked for Dunlop Elite 4s, the newest tire that fits the Gold Wing’s unusual rear tire size 200/60R16. The Gold Wing forums report the Dunlop Elite 4s last longer than the OEM Bridgestone Exedras. The counterpoint is the Bridgestones are ‘stickier’ and better in the wet.

I’ve been entirely happy with the Bridgestone Exedras, and have never had a moment of concern riding in dry or wet conditions.

The parts guy looked up the Dunlop Elite 4s on the computer and reported they were backordered until mid-May. No way, I said under my breath. The good news is they had a front OEM Bridgestone in stock, and a rear one available to the store in a few days. Done deal, I said, since my bike was scheduled for service in 2 weeks. I wasn’t going to wait 4-6 weeks for new Dunlops to arrive, or in worst case scenario, not arrive as promised. Also, the Bridgestones are markedly less expensive than the Dunlop Elite 4s.

I’m happy to report the new Bridgestones are on the bike, and I’m ready to ride as soon as we get temperatures ‘warming’ up to the mid-teens again.

Bridgestone Exedra Max, front 130/70R18, street price: $174.36 (excl. GST/installation)

Bridgestone Exedra Max, rear 200/60R16, street price: $216.76 (exc. GST/installation)

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