Have you ever heard of the darkside setup for motorcycles? The picture on the left here sort of explains it all, except for the why and I’ll handle that. Basically it’s an automobile tire on the rear of a motorcycle. On the surface it looks pretty stupid to do but Darksiders are adamant that their setup is the best. Why would it be the best?
A rear tire for my motorcycle runs pretty close to 300 dollars retail although it can be had for about 220 bucks at discount houses. A car tire with the same rating would be around a hundred bucks or a bit more. So that’s a savings right off. The motorcycle tire for my bike (it’s a big heavy one) wears out at about 6000-7000 miles. The car tire is going to last 3 or 4 times as long I’ve been told.
So how do they handle? My bike is a Kawasaki Vulcan VN2000 or it’s also know as the V2K. It’s the largest production V-twin made. About 500cc’s larger t.an the “big” Harley. It’s a cruiser and cruisers aren’t known for their ability to carve turns but since I’ve been riding bikes since the early 60’s and I’ve never stopped riding so I’m fairly experienced and I can get my V2K to carve pretty good, for a cruiser. The Darksiders insist that their bike’s handling is not negatively affected. Some go so far as to insist that their bike handles even better with a car tire back there. Now on a kawi forum when someone logs on and says their bike isn’t handling better they talk about which car tire would have worked better OR what pressure the tire should be run at.
So a buddy of mine has the same exact bike as I do. He went darkside and of course having drunk the kool-aid of darkside mania he’s convinced his bike handles much better than it used to handle and of course much better than my bike. So I suggested we switch bikes for a few turns so I can get an idea of what it’s all about.
So off I go up Highway 140 in Oregon out of White City towards Klamath Falls. I get into my first sweeper and honestly it was ok. I was pretty certain that once I rolled over towards the sidewalls that I’d be heading for a guardrail. That wasn’t the case. OK, let’s see what this baby can do so I upped the pace and took it into a highspeed sweeper at about 85mph.
That baby went into a wobble that pretty much scared me to death. I rolled off slowly and the wobble went away. Well there were some switchbacks ahead, let’s see what happens there. The transitions were horrible. Both left to right and right to left were anything but smooth. So up towards the top of the hill is where we were turning off to head back towards Butte Falls down Fish Lake Road. I pulled off and shut her down as did my buddy on my bike.
I gave him my opinion which was I did not like how it handled and that at speed it seemed pretty dangerous. Now I know he doesn’t ride at the same pace I usually do when I’m alone but his first excuse was that I was riding too fast. He said if I chilled I would notice the transitions. That there wouldn’t be a wobble. OK so in other words if I rode as though I was afraid to crash all would be ok. I can’t argue that and so we switched back to our own bikes and went for a leisurely ride down Fish Lake Road.
So when I get home I log onto the forum and post my opinion. Now trust me talking to Darksiders in a way that isn’t giving them a verbal blowjob only brings out the worst in them. The excuses at first piled up. Wrong tire pressure, wrong tire, worn out headset, worn out suspension. It’s a new fucking bike for crying out loud. Trying to reason with a darksider is like trying to reason with a religious fanatic or even worse with a liberal who’s lips are dripping with Obama juice. I told them that an experienced rider would not enjoy the darkside unless they were slow. That anyone who rode the bike close to it’s limits would notice the poor handling.
Naw, they blasted me and blasted me to the extent that the forum moderators had to delete the entire thread. The forum is run by a Kawasaki dealer so I get why they’d delete the thread. I don’t understand why they allow these morons to continue to push a modification that Kawasaki itself is against. As a matter of fact every manufacturer of motorcycles AND tires are against this mod. So far the darksiders have only their “word” to take for it. No magazine will even do a road test to demonstrate the difference and even if that were done and it proved that darkside hurt handling and that decreased safetly were a result they’d argue the point. There hasn’t even been a tire or motorcycle engineer support their silly claims.
So why do they push for this modification?
Money and the need to justify being a cheapskate.