I replaced the Ratchet’s stock Metzeler Sportec M5 110/70 R17 front tyre with a Pirelli MT60 Corsa 120/70 R17 tyre. Although the aspect ratio of both tyres is the same the larger width led to a larger height. As a result the Pirelli tyre almost touches the inner surface of the front fender. While this isn’t that big of a problem when riding on tarmac, it’s a big deal when riding in muck. The wet dirt gets stuck and cakes between the tyre and the fender, locking up the tyre.
A technique that helps preventing front tyre lock in this manner is to continuously find puddles on a trail and ride in and out of them. The water loosens the caked mud and frees it from between the fender and the tyre. But that’s easier said than done because you need to find puddles at regular intervals to dive into.
I turned to my good friend and fellow trail rider Prajhot Pednekar for a solution. We first thought of replacing the Duke’s fender with that of the Impulse, but decided against it. I didn’t want to change the look of the motorcycle too much. So we decided to do the most obvious thing and raise the fender by an inch using a set of small plates.
Now I need to ride Ratchet through a mucky trail to check whether an inch of space between the tyre and fender is good enough. I think it will do the trick. But time will tell.