The stock tires on older GS500 models (Bridgestone Exedras) are widely regarded as sub-par. Upgrading to a newer tire can improve your handling considerably. There are a wide and confusing array of tires available, which this page will try to help with. The newer 2004+ GS500's use a better alround tire the Bridgestone Battalax BT-45.
Stock tire size is 110/70-17 front, 130/70-17 rear. (and they are "bias" tread, not radials, so dont freak out about using bias replacements).
It is recommended that the stock size be used for any tire that is available in that size. This will maintain the best handling. Sometimes a larger tire is used, for example on the rear, a 140/70 or 140/80, and in some cases 150. This is done because certain styles or compounds are not available in the stock sizes. It is often also done for cosmetic reasons.
Putting a 150 on the GS's 3.5 inch rear rim is a controversial topic. It's been done with success, but it can cause excessive wear and erattic handling in some cases. It also requires modifying at least the brake caliper torque arm for extra clearance. Swapping rear wheels to something wider allows for proper fitment of most 150 section tires.
Someone has claimed that putting a sliiightly higher tire on the front.. specifically size 110/80-17... is fine, and can actually improve the accuracy of the speedo.
It may also be more commonly available.
There are a number of tried-and-true and highly recommended tires for the GS500. If you are not into experimenting and want something that "just works" go with one of these. Details on each tire are below.
(Update for 2012: according to magazine review at http://www.ex-500.com/wiki/index.php/Tire_Comparison in 2012, best rated tire is
"Avon Road Rider".
US page here
The other Avon parts dont seem to be on Avon's site any more?)
- Pirelli Sport Demon
- Bridgestone BT-45
- Bridgestone BT-090
- Avon AV45/46** Michelin Pilot Active
- Bridgestone BT020
- Bridgestone BT-92
- Avon AV45/46
- Avon AM51/52
- AV45/46 radials. Highly recommended. 110/80 front, 140/80 rear. Better durability and wet performance than BT-45s. Classed "sport touring" by Avon, but users are pleased with spirited riding performance.
- AM51/AM52. Value priced. Can be under $120 for the set. Considered a "commuter" tire. Decent traction, long life, and plenty cheap.
2012 Update: seems to be only 1 choice now: Avon Road Riders. Front fitting 110/70= "54V". 110/80 would be 57V
Rear fitting, 130/70= "62V". 140/80=69V. Note that this last 140 choice is classed by Avon as a "Universal" fit, rather than a true "rear tire"
- BT-45 OEM replacement bias-ply, updated for the times with a dual compound construction. Sticky sport/street rubber. Reasonable durability. Highly recommended all-around tire. If you don't know what tire you want, you probably want this one.
- BT020 sport-touring. Good balance of handling and tire life. Less sticky than BT-45 but lasts longer. Recommended for tourers.
- BT-090 is a sports radial that offers excellent grip thanks to its silica compound. Especially good on the track. High wear rates might be an issue for regular street use. It is available in a 110/70R17 Front and a 140/70F17 Rear.
- BT-92 is a sports touring radial tire. Like the BT-45 it is a duel compound tyre with a harder compound in the center (less wear when commuting) and softer compound edges (more grip when cornering). It is available in a 110/70R17 front and a 140/60R17 or 140/70R17 rear.
- D205 radials. 110/70 front, 140/70 rear. Reported to have good handling.
- Pirelli Sport Demon. 110/70 front, 130/70 or 140/70 rear. Highly recommended for spirited riding. These tires seem to leave a lasting impression on anyone who has tried them. Stickier than BT-45, but will not last as long.
- MEZ4/Z2 sport touring radials. 110/70 front, 130/80 rear. May be discontinued?
- ME33/88. Longer tire life, good hanlding. Discontinued and replaced by ME330/880.
- ME55. Bad traction and tire life. Discontinued and replaced by ME550. _(Also bad?)_
- Metzler Marathons. Said to have bad traction. Avoid.
- Pilot Powers: Requires a wheel swap for proper fitment. 150/60 rear, 110/70 front. Amazing tires, killer performance, low mileage. The only thing stickier are DOT race tires. Bike is still flickable, smoothly rolls between left and right lean without hesitation.
- Pilot Active are available in stock front, and (stock) 130/70 and 140/70 rears. These tires are rated as offering good alround performance and being good wet weather tires.
DIY Tire Installation
Read How to Remove, Fit and Balance your own Tires
Tire Weight / Tread Width / Recommended Rim Width
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-45 110/70/17 = 9 pounds - Width 106mm - 2.75-3.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-45 130/70/17 = 14 pounds - Width 136mm - 3.00-4.00 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-45 140/70/17 = 15 pounds - Width 145mm - 3.50-4.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-92 110/70/17 = ? Pounds - Width 110mm - 2.75-3.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-92 140/60/17 = ? Pounds - Width 140mm - 3.50-4.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-92 140/70/17 = ? Pounds - Width 146mm - 3.50-4.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-090 110/70/17 = ? Pounds - Width 110mm - 2.75-3.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-090 140/70/17 = ? Pounds - Width 140mm - 3.50-4.50 Rim
- Bridgestone Battlax BT-090 150/60/17 = ? Pounds - Width 156mm - 3.50-4.50 Rim
- Michelin Pilot Activ 110/70/17 = 9 Pounds - Width ? - 3.00 Rim
- Michelin Pilot Activ 130/70/17 = 13 Pounds - Width ? - 3.50 Rim
- Michelin Pilot Activ 140/70/17 = 15 Pounds - Width ? - 3.50 Rim
- Pirelli Sport Demons 110/70/17 = 9 pounds - Width ? - 3.00 Rim
- Pirelli Sport Demons 130/70/17 = 14 pounds - Width ? - 3.50 Rim
- Pirelli Sport Demons 140/70/17 = 15 pounds - Width ? - 3.50 Rim
- Pirelli Sport Demons 140/80/17 = 15 pounds - Width ? - 3.50 Rim
DO NOT RIDE WITH A MIX OF RADIAL AND PLY TIRES!
The different handling and grip characteristics of these tires can cause major handling issues.