Performance and Ride


I managed to get 12,000 miles out of the original Dunlops before switching to Michelins.

If I’m right about this, the OEM tires are:

Front:  130/60 R19   61H
Rear:    180/55 R17

I had a really hard time finding a replacement 130 for the front, and there was lots of favorable reviews on the Road5’s so that’s what I went with:

Rear:  Michelin Road 5  – 180/55ZR17 73W  (just over $200 at a local dealership).
Front:  Michelin Road 5 Trail  – 120/70ZR19 60W (also just over $200).

These two sites were interesting:

Size difference Calculator:

Load weight chart:

Cornering is noticeably different with the narrower front so it took some getting used to.  I’m not sure if it is strictly the width or also tire shape, but the Dunlop felt more “stable”, where the Michelin is effortless to add lean in either direction, instantly!  On the ride home (had the dealer put them on) I  remember being surprised how quickly and effortlessly I could change the lean angle, and the bike suddenly felt much more nimble in comparison!
I’ve had these on grooved pavement, tar snakes, bridge grates, and even unpaved roads and felt just as confident as the Dunlops, if not more so.

Brake Light Modulator

For additional visibility/safety I installed a brake light modulator that would flash when the brakes were applied (same unit can also be found on Amazon).  Mine is an M1 which is no longer available(?) and looks to be replaced with the M2.

This unit can be programmed for a number of different modes, I settled on 5 quick flashes before turning solid red.  If I am concerned someone is not paying attention I just hit the brakes a bunch of times to keep flashing it. 

I didn’t want to have to pull the tail apart every time I wanted to change the programming, so I attached two long wires to it and ran those into the side compartment for easy access.

Final Drive Replacement

I finally bought Henry’s Final Drive!  I’ve been toying with the idea forever and finally decided to bite the bullet and do it.

It’s pricey and a fair amount of work to install but I’m glad I did it.  I no longer (usually) search for that phantom 6th gear these bikes should have had from the factory.  It’s not that the Valk is a high revving bike, its just that when I hit the highway I feel like that 6th gear should be there.  

Actually putting the drive on was fairly quick and painless, the majority of work was getting to it.  There is so much plastic on this bike, plus removing the pipes, wheel, and back fender to get to the final drive.

Note:  changing the gearing radically changed my speedometer, so I had to install a fix for that.