“Man, that’s a fat rear tire” was once something you heard far more often than you might today. Parked nose out along some curb while enjoying the view, the subject might come up that fat rear tires are not as prevalent as they once were. The reason is simple. There aren’t as many cruisers around and that was where you traditionally found your widest rear end rubber. Particularly so if you were looking at power cruisers keen on putting all that toque to the pavement and keeping it on the pavement in a long straight line. We are going to learn some interesting things about where the fattest rubber lives at some manufacturers. Cruisers? Apparently not.
So what is the state of the wide rear tire business in 2023 as opposed to the first time we asked the question all those years ago?
Eyes need to be cast toward the returned-to-the-market 2023 Breakout from Harley-Davidson. It is the new-old hot rod from Harley. Smoking a fat rear tire seem to be its destiny- although looking good while doing so. The Breakout features a 240 rear tire. That is a pretty respectable number but comparisons need to be made to another Harley-Davidson, the Low Rider S. Both the S and the Breakout feature the big Milwaukeee-Eight 117 motor – the performance mill available right off the showroom floor. While sharing an engine, the purpose of each bike is illustrated by the size of the rear tire. The Low Rider S, intended to be the sportiest of Harley’s offerings has a 180 rear tire – much better for keeping up the speed through the corners rather than laying it down in a straight line.
Next on the list comes an oldie but a goody, the Suzuki M109R. It might be long in the tooth but it has out lasted all the competition from metric cruisers – power or otherwise – to remain standing. The bike with the inverted front fork and big 1783cc, liquid-cooled motor runs, as it alway has, a 240 rear tire.
After visiting the old 109R we need to look at more recent offering for a rear fatty. Will we go above a 240? You would think the new V4 Ducati Diavel would run a tire more inclined to corner than straight line speed but you might be surprised to learn that the Diavel also runs a 240 rear. Seems as though we have a pattern going here. The explanation for the girth of the Diavel rear tire may be explained by the styling of the bike. It has to be fat to anchor a rear end that, more so than just about any other bike on the market, showcases the rear end. That’s what a single sided swingerm will do.
Where do we need to go to find a fat tire from one of the big manufacturers. How about the Rocket 3? It was complertely new a few years back. The bike also has a single side swingers and a lot of torque to apply to the pavement. But low and behold, what do we have? Yes, that’s right another 240 rear tire.
It seems that big rubber is limited to a small number of offerings in 2023. Yamaha’s fattest tire is a 200 on the hyper-sport bike, the R1-M. Honda’s fattest tire is a 200 found on opposite ends of the spectrum – the Gold Wing and the CBR1000RR-R. If you live in the USA or go buy a bike there, a 200 is also found on the Fury. At Kawasaki, the widest rear tire is not found on any of the remaining cruisers but rather on the 200 on the Ninja H2.
So there we have it. When we first made this list the crowning bike was the Victory Hammer. It is a shame Polaris drop just one of the many Chiefs or Scouts and bring back a sole Victory bike? The Hammer should be that bike with its big boy 250 wide rear tire.