Honda Sabre V65 (VF1100S)

(updated September 99)

Rim Stock Size
Front 2.50 x 18 110/90-18
Rear 3.00 x 17 130/90-17

Manufacturers' Recommendations

Manufacturer Front size Rear size
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Metzeler ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 ME-99A Perfect 130/90V-17
Michelin Macadam 50 110/90V18 Macadam 50 130/90V17
Pirelli MT 09 110/90V-18 MT 08 130/90V-17

Martyn's Opinion

General Comments

What we have here is a large, powerful motorcycle with a fairly narrow rear tyre.  To get the best out of the big Sabre, we need a sticky rear to deliver all that to the road.  Given the width of the rear, the front is not going to wear out anything like as rapidly -- which is good, because the front needs to be pretty decent so that the bike doesn't understeer when powering out of the turns.

Unfortunately, in 130/90-17, there are few tyres that can meet those requirements and give good mileage.  So the choice for this bike has to depend very much on your priorities and the sort of riding you do -- and how much sliding you're willing to accept when you roll on the throttle.

The Safe Bet

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88
Rear Metzeler ME-55A Metronic 130/90V-17 $124

On a motorcycle that's basically a sporting standard, it's hard to go wrong with the classic ME-33/ME-55A combination from Metzeler.  They should provide reasonable traction -- once the front ME-33 is warmed up properly -- but while the ME-55A is known as the Perfect Rear Tyre for BMW riders, it has been known to wear fairly rapidly on some high-torque shaft-drive motorcycles.  Although this combination is attractive, I think there are better ones in the selections below.

A Tight Budget, General Purpose, Sport-Touring

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Bridgestone BT45 Sports Mileage 110/90V-18 $68
Rear Bridgestone BT45 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17 $79

Now that Bridgestone's new BT45 is available in the correct sizes for this bike, and now that the price has dropped on them, they're an obvious pick.  They'll last quite well, and provide good wet and dry traction.  They're a good choice for all sorts of riding.  The remarkably low price makes them an excellent choice.  The only down-side is that the front seems quite prone to cupping and uneven wear, but it's still a very good set of tyres.

The only way to put an acceptable pair on this bike for less money would be to go for a value-priced tyre on the rear, and of the really cheap ones I'd have to suggest the IRC RS-310 Durotour; if you can afford the extra $20, though, the Bridgestone is a much superior choice.


Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88
Rear Metzeler ME-88 Marathon 130/90HB17 $101

If you want long life from the tyres, and to spend days on the Interstate, this is the classic combination.  The downside is that you'll probably be able to spin the rear with a careless throttle application, and they'll slide a good bit in the twisties.  Really this bike deserves better traction, but if touring's your thing, this is the way to go.


Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon Super Venom AM20 110/90V-18 $99
Rear Avon Super Venom AM18 130/90V-17 $110

Sacrificing tread life for traction in the twisties, I'd pick the Avon Super Venoms.  The other good choice would be the more well-known Dunlop K591, but I prefer the Avon.  They'll work well on a bike of the Sabre's characteristics, and give very good traction and handling.  The AM20 provides excellent straightline stability as well, better even than the Dunlops, and in my mind this is what to have on the bike when you need to stick to the road.

The Radial Option?

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-Z1 110/80ZR18 $98
Rear Metzeler ME-Z2 130/80ZR17 $134

If you want to experiment with radials on this bike, there is absolutely no question that this is the way to go.  The stickier Z1 on the front will complement the longer-wearing Z2 on the rear, and the better real-world traction of radials will instill more confidence to roll on the throttle earlier in the corner.  The comfort benefits of radials, though, will be compromised because they're only available in 80-series; that will also change the speedometer reading, lower the gearing, and lower the bike and reduce ground clearance.  I'm not convinced that the Sabre is a bike that can really make use of radials well, especially considering the sizing problem, but if you want to try them, this is the pair to try.

Martyn's Choice

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon Super Venom AM20 110/90V-18 $99
Rear Bridgestone BT45 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17 $79

The low price of the Bridgestone BT45 makes it an unbeatable choice, and it's a tyre that I really like.  Now I'm not too fond of the tendency to cupping and uneven wear on the front -- so I'd put something else on there.  The Avon Super Venom has excellent traction, and a profile that goes very well with the BT45 rear.  Good traction at both ends, a softer tyre on the front to balance the wear, and you have a very fine pair of tyres.

The Full List

(from MAW and manufacturer web pages)

Exact matched pairs

Brand Front size MAW Rear size MAW
Avon Roadrunner AM20 110/90H-18 $104 Roadrunner AM21 130/90H-17 $120
Super Venom AM18 110/90V-18 $107 Super Venom AM18 130/90V-17 $110
Super Venom AM20 110/90V-18 $99 Super Venom AM18 130/90V-17 $110
Bridgestone BT17 Sports Mileage 110/90V-18 $94 BT17 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17
BT45 Sports Mileage 110/90V-18 $68 BT45 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17 $79
SE11 110/90H-18 $76 SE11 130/90H-17 $92
Continental Blitz TKH-23 110/90H-18 $49 Blitz TKH-24 130/90H-17 $58
Dunlop F11 110/90H-18 $72 K627 130/90H-17 $89
K591 Sport Touring 110/90V-18 $69 K591 Sport Touring 130/90V-17 $79
IRC Durotour RS-310 110/90H-18 $48 Durotour RS-310 130/90H-17 $59
Metzeler ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88 ME-55A Metronic 130/90V-17 $124
ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $8 ME-77 130/90H-17 $93
ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88 ME-88 Marathon 130/90HB17 $101
ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88 ME-99A Perfect 130/90V-17 $99
Michelin Macadam 50 110/90V-18 $105 Macadam 50 130/90V-17 $124
Pirelli Match MT09 110/90V-18 $96 Match MT08 130/90V-17 $122

Listing by Manufacturer


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
AV27 110/80ZR18 $137 short
Azaro AV35 110/80ZR18 $134 short Azaro AV36 140/80ZR17 $142 wide
Elan II HL29 120/90HB18 $112 wide
Roadrunner AM20 110/90H-18 $104 exact Roadrunner AM21 130/90H-17 $120 exact
Super Venom AM18 110/90V-18 $107 exact
Super Venom AM20 110/90V-18 $99 exact Super Venom AM18 130/90V-17 $110 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
BT17 Sports Mileage 110/90V-18 $94 exact BT17 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17 exact
BT45 Sports Mileage 110/90V-18 $68 exact BT45 Sports Mileage 130/90V-17 $79 exact
BT53 Sports Touring 140/80VR17 wide
BT54 Sports Touring 110/80ZR18 $91 short
SE11 110/90H-18 $76 exact SE11 130/90H-17 $92 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Blitz TKH-23 110/90H-18 $49 exact Blitz TKH-24 130/90H-17 $58 exact
Sport 2000 140/80V-17 $92 wide
Tour TK-17 130/90H-17 $85 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
D205 Sport/Touring 110/80ZR18 $90 short D205 Sport/Touring 140/80ZR17 $108 wide
F11 110/90H-18 $72 exact K627 130/90H-17 $89 exact
K491 Elite II Touring MR90H-18 $83 wide K491 Elite II Touring MT90HB17 $81 exact
K505 110/80H-18 $81 short K505 130/80V-17 $89 short
K591 Sport Touring 110/90V-18 $69 exact K591 Sport Touring 130/90V-17 $79 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Durotour RS-310 110/90H-18 $48 exact Durotour RS-310 130/90H-17 $59 exact
Road Winner RW-010 130/90HX17 $74 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
K657 Sport Challenger 130/90H-17 $55 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
ME-33 Laser 110/90H-18 exact ME-55A Metronic 130/90V-17 $124 exact
ME-33 Laser 110/90V-18 $88 exact ME-88 Marathon 130/90HB17 $101 exact
ME-77 130/90H-17 $93 exact
ME-99A Perfect 130/90H-17 exact
ME-99A Perfect 130/90V-17 $99 exact
ME-Z1 110/80ZR18 $98 short
ME-Z2 110/80ZR18 $92 short ME-Z2 130/80ZR17X $134 short
ME-Z2 130/80HR17 short
ME-Z2 130/80-R17 short
ME-Z2 140/80ZR17 $109 wide
ME-Z4 110/80ZR18 $112 short


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Macadam 50 110/90V-18 $107 exact Macadam 50 130/90V-17 $124 exact
Macadam 90X 110/80ZR18 $86 short


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Dragon GT MTR03 110/80ZR18 $100 short
Dragon GTS MTR23 110/80ZR18 $105 short
MT75 110/80H-18 short MT75 130/80H-17 short
Match MT09 110/90V-18 $96 exact Match MT08 130/90V-17 $122 exact
Strada MT68E 130/90H-17 $90 exact


Exact Precisely matches original spec
Excellent Precisely matches a recommended alternate
Good An exact or alternate in a different sizing system
Short Exact or excellent width, lower profile.  Consider these both ends to lower the bike
Soft Similar diameter by using a taller profile and narrower width; used on the rear only
Tall Taller profile, stock width; similar in effect to "soft", but for the front only
Wide Same profile, wider tyre.  This MAY NOT FIT your rim.  BE CAREFUL!!!