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Old 09-20-2013, 09:11 AM   #61
will work for tires
JRod152's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: KC, KS... flat&boringville
Oddometer: 339
More mileage & thoughts


I now have about 1800 miles on this Karoo 3 140/80-18 rear mounted on my 950SE w/ stock rear rim (2.5"). I have not tried a 150, nor have I tried mounting a 140 to a ADV rim.

The tire has basically only seen the road. I put on about 1000 commuting miles with some light off road and gravel mixed in around KC. Then, I used the tire to slab home from Gunnison, CO to KC, KS after a 2 week off-road stint in Colorado (on knobbies, of course).

The twisty mountain roads that I encountered on the way home before hitting flat land were unfortunately wet, so I couldn't really push it too hard. Then, once I hit Pueblo, the straight and boring hit, and the tire fell into the utilitarian use of highway duty @ 80mph. It wasnt too noisy by my account (like some complain of), but certainly not as smooth as a more street oriented tire.

Additionally, I rode with a new great friend on the trip, & he mounted a Karoo 3 front on his Adventure for the trip. I have not tried the front Karoo 3 and was interested in his feedback. He was putting twice the slab miles on as me and needed something that was gonna last. He didn't like it: it wouldn't hold a line in a rut, rather just fall to the bottom, not good in sand, no bite in mud & grease... the opposite of my experience w/ knobbies. Funny... we had several conversations about how we love that Pirelli Rally front. :)

After having done 1500 HARD miles on & off road on knbbies, with very predictable and favorable results, I like these "compromise" tires even less. The Pirelli Rally front & rear railed through hard pack, rocks, sand @ the Great Sand dunes, mud, greese, and twisty pavement (Cottonwood Pass was such a blast!) Then, when mostly worn, I rode some (gnarly for a big bike) goat trail single track and 2 track (Tomichi, Hancock, Tincup, Snowblind, Canyon Creek) and it did amazingly well! Frankly, I was amazed.

I can't see the Karoo 3 doing near as favorable in those (mostly offroad) conditions. Granted... the knobbies were toast in 1500 miles, but I was trying pretty hard to be rough on them. $180 & 3 days later MSS had another set at my door ready for thrashing.


The Karoo 3, after having about the easiest life possible, is now squared off and worn to the point where I would not leave for an offroad trip with it mounted. It will do great for street duty for another 1500 miles, I would guess. I still like it way better than the K60's or Mefo's, on all accounts except tire wear.

So the dilemma in my head is this...
Screw mounting and remounting knobbies and "compromise" tires. I need to buy a second set of rims for street duty. It seems wrong to do this for an SE, but it makes sense for getting true life out of tires that will be mostly used for street duty with light offroad and gravel occasionally during my commuting and road trips. I hope to take a fall trip to Arkansas to ride Ozark mountain roads, and Continental TA's are in order for that trip. I just wish they had a 140 for my narrow rim. Any suggestions on a rear 140 mostly street tire (besides MT90's)?

BTW... this was not intended to be a knobbie review, but felt the comparison was good for reference. If you didnt know my feelings on those Rally's yet, you now do. They suck... don't buy them.

Anyone have a set of 19/17 rims they need to part with? :) Feel free to flame me or offer your thoughts. I'm no expert... just an enthusiast looking for motorcyling euphoria. I told my wife I didnt find it on this trip. "I felt like I was pretty close, honey, but there's gotta be more out there."

Where to now?
"Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have"
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