Sunday, February 16, 2014

Know thy Tire

Riding season is approaching. Don't wait until spring to decide to take your bike to the local shop in preparation for riding. The longer you wait the longer your wait will be. Shops are at a particular slow period in winter, and though many have riding far back in their minds, this is the best time to get new tires and service work done if you don't do your own wrenching. Shops just aren't backlogged in the winter months which means faster turn-a-round for customers. Wait until spring and more often than not you will have weeks instead of days for a shop to get to your motorcycle.
Tires should be at the top of the list, your actually riding on air and the tires ability to hold it. Over time the elements take a toll on a tires structure even though it might not be readily apparent. Age will harden a tire and it's flexibility, reduction in cornering, gripping, and shock absorption. All of this leads to handling problems along with braking, it's even worse in rain or debris that collects in corners, not to forget those painted lines on roads service. Cornering ability on a hardened tire can be as bad as trying to ride on ice, the hard rubber along with road slickened pavement from cars, and more with a spring shower and your headed to certain disaster.
Try to match the tread design of both front and rear tires for optimum performance, new tubeless tires should always be accompanied with new valve stems (always remove and keep the old valve stem caps before leaving the bike at the shop for tire replacement for a spare.) Tubed tires should always include a new tube, always. A new tube is not that much and can mean the difference in a good ride or a shortened one. Remember that the tube also goes through the same heat cycle as the tire but a tube can break down faster if reused. A patched tube on a street bike could fail with the patch coming lose at the worst possible time. A plugged tubeless tire, especially the front, should not be a substitute for a new tire, a plugged tire could possibly fail faster than a tubed tire.
If you've never done it before with a tubed or tubeless tire, and I suspect very very few have, deflate the old rear tire to only a few pounds and try to ride it twenty feet. Inflate rear and then do the same with the front. The sensation should stick in your mind and give you a good idea how the motorcycle will react when a tire goes flat. Only do this when you are getting ready to have new tires installed. Riding on completely flat tires will ruin the integrity of a tire and even if you plug a tire on the road or patch a tube to get home, it should be at the fore front of your mind to replace those tires asap.

For more in depth information I'm including a link here from the Motorcycle safety Foundation.   


Trobairitz said...

A great reminder Wooley.

These are the days to get all those little maintenance projects done.

WooleyBugger said...

You Betcha Trobairitz, no time like the present.

KT Did said...

You are so right. I check my tires every trip, last time I had a screw in one of Godzilla's tires. more custom tires for me!! BTW, hope all is well with you my friend :)

WooleyBugger said...

KT Did
Glad you found that screw before getting stranded out somewhere. Thing about screws is at least they tend to stay in sealing or bleeding air slowly as opposed to a dang nail, least ways with a tubeless setup. Tubed tire not as screw friendly.
We're doing pretty good, got us a new dog as well. I see Murray is doing very well these days.

Jason Tyler said...

Great post man. Everybody should be aware of this information. Very important for your safety.