Our guest bike, my wife Sue’s 1992 Yamaha Seca II, was getting a little low on rubber. It had a pair of Avon HKMs on the wheels, general-purpose tires which had served us, and our guests, well, so I thought I would continue with them. I gave Avon a call, and was told that the HKM series was no longer being manufactured…but it had something even better to take its place at roughly the same price.
The 2007 RoadRider line. Tell me more.
A couple of years ago Avon was building three different general-purpose tires—that g.p. designation is both mine and Avon’s, referring to bias-ply tires which aren’t the hot-shot sports tires, but do well in the wet and the cold, as well as when it is hot and dry. And fit older bikes. Avon had the HKMs, the Roadrunners and the Supervenoms, each of which had its own sizes and tread patterns. Manufacturing and distributing three different lines is at least three times harder than one line, so Avon went to work designing a replacement. And they now make the RoadRider in 32 sizes.
It would still be a bias-ply tire, and come V-rated—not that a Seca II actually needs a 149-mph V rating. However, the intent of the design is sport touring, whether one is on a 1972 Norton Interstate or a 1992 Seca II. Most riders like the feeling of the lean, and Avon caters to this. It is designed with a tread pattern that is both water-dispersing and enhances straight-line stability. The engineers have also worked at having a large contact patch at lean angles—the more rubber that meets the road, the happier I am. Except it is not really rubber, as tires are now made mostly from petroleum—that product creates the tar that makes the road, powers the machines that use the road, and make the tires. But that is another story.
The Avon tire company has been making tires at its factory alongside England’s Avon River since 1890. I like a little bit of history; gives me confidence in the manufacturer. It began building solid rubber hoops for carriage wheels, and with the advent of the motorcycle went the pneumatic route around the turn of the last century. Nowadays Avon makes tires for everything from high-performance bikes to “classics,” and appreciates that the middle ground, middling displacement motorcycles, requires a lot of tires as well. The RoadRider 130/70-18 rear costs $96.10; the 110/89-17 front, $93.21.
I’ve put more than a thousand miles on these new RoadRiders, and they work just fine. We’ve had a dry winter, so they’ve only seen a little drizzle. I used to do track days on the Seca II, and I’m tempted to go out to my local merry-go-round, Buttonwillow, and see how they fare.
For more information see www.avonmotorcycle.com or call (800) 624-7470