Downgrade to Upgrade : 180 vs 190 rear tire

Just fitted a new Pirelli Diablo Corsa to my 2001 R1’s back wheel.

Instead of going for the standard 190/50 I opted for the smaller 180/55 as I had heard it makes the bike more lively. And hey presto, here’s me with a brand new bike.

It went from being a precise tool to guide into the corner with mild pressure to a far more nimble (but far from nervous) corner-homing device.

Whereas I previously felt the need to hang off the side of the bike to coax it round a corner at speed I now feel more than comfortable just pointing it at the corner and let the bike do the work. The daily zigzag through traffic becomes effortless instead of a wrestle and no compromise has been made to overall stability.

Although it looks a bit skinny from behind, you don’t really notice when you’re looking at the corner in front of you, right?

Any of you have made similar or dissimilar experiences? Good or bad? Surely it depends on which bike you drive and I won’t consider putting a 120/70 on the rear but hey…

Your input is appreciated.


I noticed a big difference, but more so coupled with using a track focused tyre like the Rennsports i’m running now, and dropping the forks 5mm. I have a 200 R1 and did the same a couple of years ago after a few people told me about the benifits. But then people were telling me that everybody that races R1’s race using 190 rears?

If it works for you stick with it!

Is it the same for other makes of bikes?

Yes, That’s true! I did the same on my Gixxer 1000 and it did make a huge difference but yet I was using that bike mainly on track with supercorsas.

I changed the rear on my ZX7 to get it to turn in quicker on track, it certainly worked. You can notice less stability in a straight line at 150 plus now but its not often you get there on the tracks I have ridden so not a great problem.

I’ve hear the dame thing on the supermoto front with 150 v’s 160 rear tyres. The only problem is finding a 150 that’ll last more than a week.