John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 10 16:01:13 PET 2011

by John Del Santo
A good set of properly inflated motorcycle tires with good tread keeps us attached to the road and separates us from being just another flying object.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. estimates that hundreds of thousands of crashes could be prevented if vehicle owners kept their tires properly inflated. This agency recommends checking your tire pressure at least “once per month”.  When you’re on a trip, checking the pressure every morning is not a bad idea.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage up to 3.3%.  And this quote was made before  gasoline prices reached four bucks a gallon!
The MSF’s “T-Clock Inspection” advises us to check :  “(TIRES) Tread depth, wear, weathering, evenly seated,  bulges, imbedded objects.  (AIR PRESSURE)  check when cold.. adjust to load/speed”.    If you do a lot of one-type  riding,  such a lot of Freeway,  your tread will wear unevenly…part of the tread can wear down while other parts look deep enough.  Watch for the “wear bars” in the tread.   When you change a tire, invest in a new valve stem.
Depending on the shape and size of the wheel and the valve stem,   it can be a pain in the butt to check the air pressure on your bike. “Aw….what the heck…the tire looks  round,  it must be OK”.  I bought a small, brass, right-angled valve stem from San Diego BMW that attached to the valve stem on my wife’s bike and made her life easier.  Some Honda’s come with a large L-shaped valve stem that sticks out and simplifies reaching the stem with a gauge or air hose nozzle.  That stem comes with a plastic support to keep the stem from vibrating, and if the stem is installed without  that support, road vibrations can cause a crack in the stem…..and cause an instant “Air-Out”.  That was an exciting experience !    
 AccuPressureCaps.com  sells a valve stem cap that changes color when the tire pressure starts to get lower.  If your tire pressure is too low,  or too high,  the tread will start to cup or bow and not make proper contact with the road…..that kinda defeats the whole purpose of having good tread.  The recommended pressure printed on the side of the tire is there for a good reason.  
Any time a tire starts showing ozone cracks in the sidewall, it's time to replace them right away.  Sidewalls operate at some pretty high temperatures due to the fluctuation of the sidewall and any separation on a sidewall can cause catastrophic tire failure. A tire has a wax-like preservative in the rubber compound to keep it from hardening and splitting. This material is like sun blocker.…It's that off-color material that seems to show up on your sidewalls for no reason.  It protects the compound against ozone which is produced by the sun and also by electric motors. This protectant helps the compound to stay soft, but It can be worn away, washed away, and chemically washed/leeched out of the tire.
Do NOT clean your tires with stuff like Armor All.  There are a few solutions that Detailers use on tires that will not harm the tire…if you are into “pretty” instead of functional…. but when applying even these, you can use it on the sidewall but not past the line that separates the sidewall from the tread area.  
There are many important Round Things in life….like Silver Dollars and Crispy Donuts….but the most important are our motorcycle tires !  They keep us alive and keep our knees in the Breeze !  Take good care of your tires and they will take care of you.  

John Del Santo
(619) 223 - 0421

  Benjamin Franklin
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