R100GS Avon AM24 Gripster Tires

Avon’s Gripster tire is old as dirt and I’d guess has been used on BMW’s GS line almost since it’s introduction. Designed from the git as a dual sport tire, the AM24 features front and rear specific tread designs that should be mounted following the directional arrows on the sidewall. Both tubeless and tube type varieties are available, though the tubless ones can be used with a tube. If you’re riding an R100GS, you’ll need a 90/90-21 for the front and a 130/80-17 out back.

The profile of the front tire is nice and round, about the same as you see pictured for the rear. This translates to a very neutral steering feel, with no tendency to flop over in a corner, or to roll over to a certain point only to resist further efforts at turning. If the front tire looks narrow, that’s because it is. Just don’t let that slimness diminish your faith in the tire’s ability to hold a line when the road really starts to twist. These things stick like glue, letting you drag your toes at will. On a GS, that means you’ll be waaaaay over and will still have some chicken strip at the edge of the tire. In my book that makes the AM24 a great street tire, as good as any so called sport tire around. If you’re dragging the crash bars with dual sport tires, how much difference can a sport tire make?

The cleats are deep, meaning you’ll get lots of wear (maybe six thousand miles) before the tread’s gone, and you’ll get pretty decent traction when the road turns to dirt. Pushing the bike around the garage you’ll feel the tires bumping from knob to knob, and on the pavement they’ll sing a little bit, but nothing loud enough to be distracting. In fact you’ll hear nothing but wind noise at speeds over forty, and you’ll be hard pressed to notice any bumpiness from the knobs at speed.

But how does the Gripster do off-road? Like any dual sport tire, the AM24 is a compromise when it comes to sliding friction. If you’re used to hammering a CR500 through the whoops and ricochetting off berms, you’re gonna be disappointed. The Gripster is as good a dirt tire as the GS is a dirt bike. In other words, a Gripster won’t turn your GS into a CR, but it will do a pretty good job of getting you to a remote campsite at the end of a rugged Jeep trail, with all your gear, and getting you out again. Running the right pressure makes a big difference, and I’ve found that 32 psi in the front and 36 in back are about right. They don’t seem to run hot on the road with those pressures, so that’s generally what I use all the time. Go higher and the front tire will bounce around and act like it has a mind of its own, especially on gravel and loose rock.

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19 inch FRONT Snowflake Wheel Recall

UPDATE:  The silver replacement wheels are no longer available (36-31-1-238-959).  Gold wheels are available and the recall will be honored.   36-31-1-238-960.

19 inch FRONT CAST ALUMINUM SNOWFLAKE wheels were recalled.  NOT 18 inch front wheels.  NOT 18 inch rear wheels.  Recall is ONLY for certain AIRHEADS 19 inch front cast aluminum snowflake wheels.

I still hear occasionally about an old recalled wheel that is still in service. There was a BMW factory recall on SOME FRONT 19″ cast snowflake wheels, & only those! Supposedly a U.S. Federal Recall Campaign never goes out of date. The RECALL is world-wide, & there are specific recall campaigns in the various countries. BMW will provide the recall service, as described in this article, for the BIKE, the bike identification is needed……..AFAIK! I have yet to hear of/from anyone who brought in a wheel to be exchanged & the wheel was not tied to a specific bike identification. You could be the first to tell me the details!

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Wheel Bearings

These procedures may seem complicated at first, but in reality it takes only minutes, once you have done it previously.  MUCH of the information will not, perhaps, apply to YOUR motorcycle, but it all does need to be read, and understood.

BMW Airhead motorcycles are relatively tolerant to abuse and poor maintenance. Our human bodies are not tolerant to being dumped on the road at speed from a motorcycle. Of all the items that are safety related, the mechanically most important are the condition of the wheels, tires (tubes if any), brakes, wheel bearings.  For non-mechanical, well, of sorts, one could add the importance of the rider’s clothing, and, in particular, the rider’s condition and competence/skill.  

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