Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hanging by a thread.

Well, we're back home. We weren't scheduled to return until Saturday but I found a chance for us to leave early. Katie's brother is coming up in a couple of weeks so they can visit more then.

First thing I had to do was jump on the bike. Sophie got new tires recently and I have to properly scrub them in, don't I? Withdrawal has nothing to do with it, I swear. I wanted to put Dunlop D205's back on this time around. Dunlop has been strange on the supply end, though. There was a strike that affected production. The 18 inch front wheel seems to be available sometimes and other times not. This time it was not readily available.

Sophie got to go back to Metzeler tires. I've run the ME-Z4's previously. Now I'm trying the new Roadtec Z6's. Me like a lot!!! Very predictable and consistent. The feedback's excellent. The tires are pretty well scrubbed in by now except for those pesky chicken strips. I'll have the chance to take care of that real soon. I'm scheduled for two police trainings on the go-cart course and the drag strip in June. Come July 3rd we'll be on the race track at Portland International Raceway, again, with the police motors. I guarantee that the tires will be thoroughly scuffed from one edge to the other. Not to mention Sophie will be missing some weight that got scraped off. I like to use Sophie as she's the same size as the police motors. More credibility when the cops see us on bikes like theirs, you know!

Speaking of tires, I can't believe some of the tires I've seen on bikes lately. Take a look at this:

The picture's a little funny colored because I snapped it with my camera phone. This bike is an early 90's Honda CBR F2. The rest of the bike's in as bad as shape as the rear tire. It looks like the bike's been down more than once. The rider must like turning left more than right!! That's typical of riders by the way. Ask your friends who ride and see what they say.

Here's another one:

Snapped this with the digital at the motel. Big deal, it's a Beemer bike from another state. What's the deal? Here's a close-up of the rear tire:

Judging by the license plate the bike's about 1200 miles from home. What do you think the chances are of this bike making it home like this? We never saw the bike move that we know of. There was a big yellow disc lock on the front wheel. Nobody was hanging around the bike. Stolen and abandoned? Maybe they had a tire on order and were just chilling. I hope so.

I must be spending way more money than I need to. Letting my tread get down even with the wear bars makes me nervous. Although, the wear bars are in the middle. As long as I keep the bike leaned over there's plenty of tread, right? I just kinda worry about things like quick stops on wet pavement when there's not much tread in the center of the tire. What if this rider had to make a maximum braking stop in the rain? Would the ABS make up for the fact that this tire is literally hanging together by a thread?

On the other hand, if I let my tires get like this I could probably save the cost of a set of tires every year. Am I tempted? Not on your life. Or my life, for that matter.

My ride today was quite interesting. A predatory bird dropped a snake into my lap. Sorry, you'll have to wait for the next post to read the story!

Miles and smiles,



Steve Williams said...

The comprises we make in the name of economics can be befuddling. Tires on a two-wheeled vehicle are pretty important components. Letting them get to the state they are in is nuts.

I've seen some bad tires Dan but never anything like that on a motorcycle. I thought that sort of bad judgement was reserved exclusively for four-wheeled vehicles.

Glad you and Katie arrived home safely. All the best to you and the extended family over the recent loss.

Lucky said...

I have to admit that the back tire on my VX800 is almost as bad as those. I don't have a good excuse or explanation, just a lot of luck (hence my nickname) and a lesson learned without a nasty crash.

I keep a much closer eye on the condition of my bike now.

Jim Kane said...

Huh, I completely forgot you were in the Portland area. I was there last week and saw the sign for PIR on my way to the Expo Center (Roller Derby, of course). Wish I could have seen an event at the track... maybe next time. As for tires, that has been my first purchase for just about every used bike I've bought. I must be a limp-wrist though, because the skins on my FJ1200 are 2 years old and still have most of their tread left.

I gotta get out more!

balisada said...


And to think that I was worried when my tires were worn down to the 'wear bars'.

Yes, I will admit that for the first several months that I owned my motorcycle, the tires portion of the pre-ride check consisted of: "Tires - Yeppers, there appears to be two of them."

Now I am happy to say that they get examined closely.

I hope that the tires you photographed do not get their owners in an accident.

Gary said...

Tires are something I have never compromised on. Look how important they are to racers. Should they be any less important on public roads that present random hazards? Hell no!

Good post, Dan.

Ride well,

Combatscoot said...

Those wear bars are there to tell you when to replace the tire- legally. They can also tell others. I don't know how true this is, but I was told by my Dad and some other old-timers that policemen would often shine a spotlight at a car's tires while it was driving down the road at night. The wear bars showed-up quite well if the tire was too worn, and the driver would get a fix-it ticket. I know that doesn't happen anymore, but we still have a legal obligation to replace a tire once it reaches the wear bars- in any place.

irondad said...

This is a group reply. Riders can't take tires for granted. There's precious little contact patch with the road. It needs to be the best it can be. Riders in general seem to be getting a lot less responsible. Ouch!