1969 Commando fastback

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Jul 1, 2004

looks like an excellent site, just joined...
thanks for your eye time.
have had the above for 27 yrs., she's sitting
in my bike room in my house, main reason i'm
hidin' instead of ridin'; tires are needed.
Any advice (read:affordable).
she's not my only ride, but would love to get
her in the wind once again.
appreciate your time and suggestions in advance.

ride safe
Welcome 69fb!

What tires to buy depends a lot on your riding style. If you still have the 19" rims front and rear you are somewhat limited. In addition, your '69 will have the narrow chrome front fender. The stock rubber was either Avon Roadrunner or Dunlop K81 in 4.10H-19 rear and 3.60H-19 front. Later Commandos with the wide chrome or stainless fenders had 4.10H-19 front or rear. The smaller front tire actually helps it turn in faster.
The good news is these tires are still available. The 4.10H-19 size is available from most Dunlop or Avon dealers. The 3.60H-19 is not generally available in the U.S. , but some Norton parts dealers are able to get them. I find Walridge Motors in Canada a good source, but I'm sure other dealers can get them also. Don't try to put the 4.10H-19 on the front with the small fender. It will rub. If you insist then find a wide chrome fender or a stainless. You will have to change the fender stays also.
Alternatively, you can use a 100/90V-19 Avon Venom or Super Venom or Dunlop GT501 bias ply front tire on front and rear for a modern design. You might need to find a 90/90V-19 to clear your front fender, depending on tire design. (reverse rotation for the rear). Do not mix Roadrunners and K-81's with modern design tires.
Personally, I use K81 Dunlops on any bike I am trying to keep "spiritually" original and have laced up an 18 inch rear rim with modern rubber for my hotrod cafe racer. Note - a 120/90-18 is about as wide as you can go with a stock swingarm. I have ridden on K81's for thirty years and am comfortable with their handling characteristics.
JC Whitney has Cheng Shin K-81 knock off's for 30.00 each in the 3.25x 19 size. There on page 68 of the summer mortorcycle catolog# 115J-05. The style number 11. They also have two ribbed tires style 30 and 31 at simular prices. These will keep the look going and seem to work well unless your a racer. norbsa
K81 wiggle?

Do you guys notice any wiggling at highway speeds with the K81's? My bike has them and it wiggles in rain grooves. I'm told the K81's can contribute to that. Was planning to get Avons when I buy new tires because of that...


I have found that rain grooves cause wiggles on all sorts of bikes shod with various brand tires. Some tires seem more susceptible to "wiggling" than others, but none are completely immune when it comes to riding on rain grooves.


I have heard that complaint on K81's before. I have a variety of different bikes ranging from a bevelhead 900 Ducati with bias ply soft Avons (AM22/23), Nortons with K81's, one with a set of K591's, Belthead 900 Ducati with Dunlop D208 radials, to a BMW with Metzler M4 radials. I can't say that any one of them is worse or better with rain grooves.

I shod my Combat with SuperVenoms (19" F / 18" R) when I finished restoring it. While the front one is still wearing quite well, the rear was worn square after only 2500 miles. I blame it on the straight roads that we have in my area and an 850 mile freeway run to a rally one weekend. As a result, after talking to a few friends, I switched the rear to a Bridgestone BT45 Batlax. It has dual rubber compounds, with a harder center and softer cheeks. So far so good, it's wearing very well, sticks just as well as the SuperVenom in the corners and, best of all, it was half the price of the Avon!!
The only down side of the Bridgestone is that they do not make a 19" rear pattern tire, so conversion to the 18" wheel is mandatory. To me, if you are going to ride the bike reguarly and your not a stickler for originality, it's money well spent. The 18" looks more at home on the Commando and the money saved in tires will more than pay for the rim and spokes.
My $0.02,
Tire mileage on a Commando (rear) is nothing to brag about in the best of cases. You can keep a close eye on tire pressure and keep the Iso's adjusted so everything stays in line, but I have found 3500 miles is about average for me. The fronts will dry rot before you wear it out. The biggest advantage to running the 4.10H-19's front and rear is you can put the new one on the front and the front on the rear.
'69 Fastback tires

Hi all,

Wow! thank You for all of the great replies and suggestions,
and all the time that was put into it. Hard to find better people
than motorcycle people.
Believe it or not, having owned the bike for 27 years, neither
wheel has been off of the bike since it's been in my 'care'.
Am guessing seals etc. will be complete candidates for replacement.
Enjoy our holiday, ride safe.
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