Suzuki Bandit 1200

(updated September 99)

Rim Stock Size Original Tyre
Front 3.50 x 17 120/70ZR17 Bridgestone BT54
Rear 5.50 x 17 180/55ZR17 Bridgestone BT54

Manufacturers' Recommendations

Manufacturer Front size Rear size
Avon AV35 Azaro 120/70ZR17 AV36 Azaro 180/55ZR17
AV39 Azaro Sport 120/70ZR17 AV40 Azaro Sport 180/55ZR17
Bridgestone BT54 120/70ZR17 BT54 180/55ZR17
BT56 120/70ZR17 BT56 180/55ZR17
BT56SS 120/70ZR17 BT56SS 180/55ZR17
BT57 120/70ZR17 BT57 180/55ZR17
(no data)
Metzeler (U.S.)
(no data)
Metzeler (Germany) ME Z1 120/70ZR17 ME Z1 190/50ZR17
ME Z1 120/70ZR17 ME Z2 180/55ZR17
ME Z1 Racing 120/70ZR17 ME Z1 Racing 190/50ZR17
ME Z4 120/70ZR17 ME Z4 180/55ZR17
ME Z3 120/70ZR17 ME Z3 180/55ZR17
Michelin Macadam 90X 120/70ZR17 Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17
TX15 120/70ZR17 TX25 180/55ZR17
Pirelli (U.S.)
(no data)
Pirelli (Germany) MTR 01 S Corsa 120/70ZR17 MTR 02 S Corsa 180/55ZR17
MTR 01 Corsa 120/70ZR17 MTR 02 S Corsa 180/55ZR17

Martyn's Opinion

General Comments

The big Bandit is an interesting bike from the tyre point of view.  The rim and size specifications mean that all the finest modern tyre technology is available -- the suitable selections just read like a "Who's Who" of the manufacturer's flagship tyre lines.  On the other hand, while the Bandit has the power and ability to make use of them, it's not quite a sharp-edge sportbike.  The frame, the suspension, the chassis components are not quite as stiff and compact enough to get the most out of the transition handling of the profiles and rubber compounds.  With a smooth hand, though, the bike can be hustled along very nicely indeed, and certainly has the comfortable roomy ergonomics to make the ride to the twisties a breeze.  So bear in mind that although the tyres for this bike are top-of-the-line quality, they won't make it handle like a GSX-R -- it'll need a mature smooth riding style to get the most out of them.

The Safe Bet, General Purpose

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-Z1 120/70ZR17 $101
Rear Metzeler ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132

A conservative choice would be the well-known ME-Z1/ME-Z2 combination from Metzeler.  The pair has a well-deserved reputation for good handling, good wet and dry performance, and decent tread life.

A Tight Budget

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Dunlop D205 Sport/Touring 120/70ZR17 $93
Rear Dunlop D205 Sport/Touring 180/55ZR17 $112

There are no inexpensive tyres available for this bike, especially as I would definitely not use bias-ply tyres in this application -- and even then, the Continental Sport 2000's are not that much cheaper than radials.  Of the less expensive tyres, these Dunlop D205's are the best -- good sport-touring performance, good life, a very good tyre in fact.

Sport-Touring, Touring

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-Z4 120/70ZR17 $115
Rear Metzeler ME-Z4 180/55ZR17A $137

There's no real question that for Sport-Touring, the new ME-Z4's should be the tyre of choice.  Building on the earlier Z1 and Z2, the Z4's have improved traction over the Z1 while tread life is comparable with the Z2.  The totally linear profile of Metzelers inspires confidence, and will help the rider get the most out of the bike.  They're also the tyre of choice for touring -- they last well enough for the job and you won't find anything better for the highway.


Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon AV27 120/70ZR17 $131
Rear Avon Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143

Although the Michelin Hi-Sport TX15/TX25 radials are available in the right size, on a big standard such as this the Avons should provide better performance.  Without serious suspension mods, the big Bandit doesn't have as much sharpness as a full-out sportbike, and the extra conformability of the Azaros should help make up for that.  The feeling of "squatting down into the contact patch" is very noticeable when you roll on hard in a corner, and it's a lot of fun with the Bandit's smooth torque.

The choice of an AV27 on the front over the Azaro is for several reasons.  The Azaro front tends to wear unevenly and somewhat rapidly, and the AV27 avoids these drawbacks and also provides more straightline stability.  The combination works very well on this bike.

Martyn's Choice

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Metzeler ME-Z4 120/70ZR17 $115
Rear Metzeler ME-Z4 180/55ZR17 $137

This is a hard choice.  The Azaros would work so well and feel so good, but I'd like to get more miles out of a set than a sport tyre provides;  I really like the Avon AV27/Azaro combination, but these Metzelers are such a good all-around tyre that it's hard to justify not mounting them.

The Full List

(from MAW and manufacturer web pages)

Exact matched pairs

Brand Front size MAW Rear size MAW
Avon AV27 120/70ZR17 $131 Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143
Azaro AV35 120/70ZR17 $107 Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143
Bridgestone BT50 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $89 BT50 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $144
BT50 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $89 BT54 Sports Touring 180/55ZR17 $119
BT54 Sports Touring 120/70ZR17 $102 BT54 Sports Touring 180/55ZR17 $137
BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 120/70ZR17 BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 180/55ZR17
BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 120/70ZR17 $94 BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 180/55ZR17 $124
BT57 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $113 BT57 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $137
Continental Sport 2000 120/70V-17 $76 Sport 2000 180/55V-17 $122
Sport 2000 Radial 120/70ZR17 Sport 2000 Radial 180/55ZR17
Dunlop D204 Sportmax II ZR 120/70ZR17 D204 Sportmax II ZR 180/55ZR17
D205 Sport/Touring 120/70ZR17 $93 D205 Sport/Touring 180/55ZR17 $112
D207 Sportmax 120/70ZR17 $111 D207 Sportmax 180/55ZR17 $142
Metzeler ME-Z1 120/70ZR17 $101 ME-Z1 180/55ZR17 $140
ME-Z1 120/70ZR17 $101 ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132
ME-Z2 120/70ZR17 $115 ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132
ME-Z3 120/70ZR17 $118 ME-Z3 180/55ZR17 $154
ME-Z4 120/70ZR17 $115 ME-Z4 180/55ZR17 $137
Michelin Hi-Sport TX15 120/70ZR17 $150 Hi-Sport TX25 180/55ZR17 $197
Macadam 90X 120/70ZR17 $88 Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17 $122
Pirelli Dragon GT MTR03 120/70ZR17 $101 Dragon GT MTR04 180/55ZR17 $138
Dragon GTS MTR23 120/70ZR17 $106 Dragon GTS MTR24 180/55ZR17 $136
Dragon MTR01 120/70ZR17 $112 Dragon MTR02 180/55ZR17 $153

Listing by Manufacturer


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
AV27 120/70ZR17 $131 exact
Azaro AV35 120/70ZR17 $107 exact Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
BT35 Sports Mileage 120/70H-17 exact
BT45 Sports Mileage 120/70H-17 $84 exact
BT50 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $89 exact BT50 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $144 exact
BT54 Sports Touring 120/70ZR17 $102 exact BT54 Sports Touring 180/55ZR17 $137 exact
BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 120/70ZR17 exact BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 180/55ZR17 exact
BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 120/70ZR17 $94 exact BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 180/55ZR17 $124 exact
BT57 Sports Perform. 120/70ZR17 $113 exact BT57 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $137 exact
BT92 Sports Mileage 120/70HR17 $65 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Sport 2000 120/70V-17 $76 exact Sport 2000 180/55V-17 $122 exact
Sport 2000 Radial 120/70ZR17 exact Sport 2000 Radial 180/55ZR17 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
D204 Sportmax II ZR 120/70ZR17 exact D204 Sportmax II ZR 180/55ZR17 exact
D205 Sport/Touring 120/70ZR17 $93 exact D205 Sport/Touring 180/55ZR17 $112 exact
D207 Sportmax 120/70ZR17 $111 exact D207 Sportmax 180/55ZR17 $142 exact
K455 Radial 120/70VR17 exact
K510 120/70VR17 $98 exact K510 170/60VR17 $118 soft


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
ME-33 Laser 120/70V-17 $90 exact
ME-880 Marathon 120/70VR17 $103 exact
ME-Z1 120/70ZR17 $101 exact ME-Z1 180/55ZR17 $140 exact
ME-Z2 120/70ZR17 $115 exact ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132 exact
ME-Z3 120/70ZR17 $118 exact ME-Z3 180/55ZR17 $154 exact
ME-Z4 120/70ZR17 $115 exact ME-Z4 180/55ZR17 $137 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Hi-Sport TX15 120/70ZR17 $150 exact Hi-Sport TX25 180/55ZR17 $197 exact
Macadam 50 120/70V-17 $106 exact
Macadam 90X 120/70ZR17 $88 exact Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17 $122 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Dragon GT MTR03 120/70ZR17 $101 exact Dragon GT MTR04 180/55ZR17 $138 exact
Dragon GTS MTR23 120/70ZR17 $106 exact Dragon GTS MTR24 180/55ZR17 $136 exact
Dragon MTR01 120/70ZR17 $112 exact Dragon MTR02 180/55ZR17 $153 exact
Match MT09 120/70VB17 $96 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!!!