Our long-term evaluation of the Michelin Commander II cruiser tires as mounted on a 2007 Harley-Davidson 883R Sportster wrapped up in June 2018 with the tires showing strong long-mileage capability. The total mileage on the Michelins by the time they required replacement was 10,896 miles.
While that evaluation was still underway, we started a long-term evaluation of the Michelin Commander II tires on a 1985 Honda VF700C Magna.
We wanted to compare how the two sets of tires are affected by the power characteristics of the Sportster’s low RPM grunt V-twin and the Honda’s high-revving V-four.
With winter coming on here in Wisconsin, we thought it a good time to have a look at how the Commander IIs are doing on the VF700C. As of this writing, the tires have 8,766 miles on them and look to have a lot more miles left in them.
The tires have required nothing more than standard maintenance of correct inflation pressure, routine wear and damage inspection, no burnouts, stoppies or use in competition including no street drags or track days.
The riding has included routine state highway, county and town road riding with occasional riding at Interstate highway speeds with normal (i.e. no heavy touring loading) day-to-day loads.
Indeed, the only thing that the tires have experienced that’s a little out of the ordinary was a very hard stop with rear-wheel lock to avoid hitting a deer. It was August 2017 on a local county trunk highway when I was traveling about 50 mph when I met a four-point buck whitetail deer in full stride coming right at me in my lane.
The front double-disc brakes on the Honda VF700C have an excellent progressive feel and good power, coupled with Honda’s TRAC anti-dive front suspension. The front brake did well, but the rear brake on the bike is good ol’ mechanical—non-hydraulic—expanding drum style equipment, with no ABS. In the heat of the moment, I pressed the foot brake hard enough to lock the rear brake resulting in a rubber-laying 20+ foot-long skid.
The deer veered off to my left and crossed the road into the woods, I could let off the brakes, didn’t have to come to a complete stop and the bike stayed straight, but I thought there might be a flat spot visible after that. Turns out, there wasn’t really anything noticeable on the tire when I checked it out later.
At this point, this set of Commander IIs seems ready to go about as many miles as the set on the Sportster did, deer-evasion rear-wheel lock notwithstanding. We’ll see. Keep it tuned here for further updates.
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