Pirelli Nigh Dragon GT Tires
Big Joe Of Snap Fabrications Puts The Rubber To The Road
Article By: Joe Mielke
Originally Published In The April 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
I recently received a pair of Pirelli Night Dragon tires to test out on my 91 FXR. I had requested a 100/90-19 front tire and a 130/90-16 rear which were stock sizes on the FXR. Currently there is not a 130/90-16 rear tire available in the Night Dragon tire line. In order to put a little more meat under the rear fender o I opted to go with a MU85 which is a 140 rear tire. I enlisted the services of the Power Sports program at Mitchell Technical Institute to swap out my old skins for the new Pirellis. Do what you love! Love what you do! My motorcycle is an early 90s model so there wasn’t much extra room for extra rubber in the rear. I was a little concerned about my drive belt to tire spacing. In the worst case scenario I would have to do some creative wheel and pulley spacing if I didn’t have any clearance. Fortunately there was just enough space for the new I wider 140 rear tire to fit with the stock pulley, drive belt and wheel spacers. I live in Mitchell South Dakota and try to ride as much as possible. When the weather is real nasty and I want to ride during ice and snow conditions I run my FXR with a set of Pirelli Scorpion XC tires with Gold Screws. Now I know that’s a bit extreme and not for everyone. However around here it’s not uncommon to see motorcycles on the road in the middle of winter when the skies are clear and the temps push toward 40 degrees. We’re just thick skinned around here, so having a set of tires that grip in cold and wet conditions is a must.
It’s my opinion that all tires better perform flawlessly when the weather conditions are ideal. Otherwise the tires are not worth the powder to blow them up. It’s when weather conditions are questionable that you need your tires to be there for you so I think it’s perfect that my tire review comes during a South Dakota winter. When I first got my tires installed there was snow on the roads so I needed to wait for the roads to clear. We hit a warm spell that cleared away nearly all of our snow. If you are from the Midwest you know that this is quite possibly the worst time to ride because the ice and snow leaves behind a great deal of salt and sand from winter road maintenance. Not to mention the roads are still slick because they are cold and there are the occasional icy spots. I took advantage of these conditions to test out my new tires. I rolled out of my garage on fresh tires and rode right onto the dirty winter roads. If you’ve ridden enough you know it’s no fun to ride if you’re not confident in your tires. Whether they technically needed it or not I gave the tires a bit of scrub riding a few miles on country asphalt roads and on a couple of asphalt to gravel road transitions. The tires handled the cold conditions very well. There was no slipping around corners at speed once the tires were warm. Of course when your tires are cold you can make any tire push through a corner on cold asphalt but with the new Pirelli Night Dragons it was never an issue.
You’ll also find that when you are cold weather riding in the Midwest and riding conditions (out) on the highway and county roads are fair that the riding conditions in town and other populated areas can be far from fair. The heat of the city, the wind break of the buildings and trees, the curbs and gutters all help to keep road conditions at their worst even when conditions out of town can be good during a thaw. So a winter tire test wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t get a little sloppy. As I road through town there were several wet and icy spots but nothing that ever compromised my faith in these tires. The only time I ever had a pucker moment was when I was crossing an elevated bridge crossing a train yard. Like the signs say “Bridge Ices Before Road”. True, true. Overall the new Pirelli Night Dragons preformed great and I’m looking forward to many miles of trusted service after this break in. If you’re curious which Pirelli tires might be best for you be sure to visit www.pirelli.com. Their website does offer a wealth of info on all of their tire lines and gives clean info and illustrations on technical data if needed. Then get out and ride!