The Dunlop D407 200/55 x 17 rear will soon need replacing on my 2008 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy after 6000 miles and the front D408F 140/75 x 17 is almost as worn. Should I replace with the same or is there now something better? Do I need to do both at the same time?
Tony Cook, email
First of all, as with all bikes it’s best to fit matching pairs. However, if you are thinking about switching brands, with what we’re about to say below, fitting a rear first and then following with a new front a few miles down the line might be forced on you.
Just bear in mind that when fitting a new rear tyre with an existing worn front, even when it’s a matching front tyre, the bike rarely feels as stable as when it was on the worn pair. The new rear tyre seems to highlight just how bad the front is and this feeling is worse the more the front tyre is worn and worse again with mixed brands.
The Dunlop D407/D408 is the OE pairing and they’re really quite good tyres. They have the bonus of both being available too. The only other pair of tyres available for the Fat Boy at this moment is Pirelli’s Night Dragon.
Of the other brands Avon’s excellent Cobra and Metzeler’s equally good ME 880 Marathon are being developed for the Fat Boy. In fact rears are in stock. But the fronts aren’t available yet and all that both manufacturers could tell Cambrian Tyres, a big wholesaler, is that they should be available by the end of January.
Michelin has a brand new cruiser tyre, the Commander II and rears are in stock for the Fat Boy. But the story is the same for the front – some time in January. So it really depends on how worn your front tyre is and how much you want to try another type of tyre.