Swapping OEM tyres could be the best mod you make
If you've been lucky enough to take delivery of a shiny new bike, chances are the first mod you have in mind will be a nice decat exhaust system and some fancy carbon bits.
With margins on new bikes being thinner than ever, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to try and save money anywhere they can, with quality tyres being the first thing to get the axe.
It's important to note that factory OEM fitment tyres are not the same as the ones you buy from the shops, especially in Europe. For example, a factory Dunlop or Bridgestone tyre on a Japanese bike is often made in Thailand or the far east where the bike is assembled. The quality of rubber isn't the same as an aftermarket tyre made in Europe, even if the badge on the side of the tyre is exactly the same.
Having collected Suzuki's Katana earlier this week, I was keen to fit a set of Michelin's new Power 5 tyres to it.
The Katana comes with a 190/50 section as standard, and I always choose to jump to a 55 section rear wherever possible. This effectively makes the rear tyre slightly taller, enabling a nimbler response and faster turn in, at the expense of straight line stability (although the difference is negligible)
The Power 5 is the successor to the popular Power RS model and still retains the typical soft carcass that Michelin is known for, providing tonnes more feedback than the stock tyres.
For anyone looking to buy a new bike, it's always worth having a haggle to see if they'll swap the factory tyres for something European made and sticky. I'll see how long the Power 5 lasts with a longterm review later this year.