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Tuesday, 23 September 2014 06:00

Trapper's Trail - TIRES

columnist David PocockSo, when was the last time you checked your tires, is there enough tread, are they inflated correctly to the loads and speeds you are carrying, is it possible they might be subject to a recall, what condition are the sidewalls in??  If the answer to ANY of these is, “I don’t know”, right now, please go and check at least the condition and pressures.....go on, I’ll wait . . . 

 

 

 

 

Today, on my way home from work on a really nice riding day, I came across some folk who’s day just got, a lot less than nice.  On the highway, at speed, the rear tire blew out and dumped the rider and passenger.  Yup, not nice but wait, it gets even less than nice.  The passenger was unconscious, and non responsive, I could give you a bunch of the rest but, long story short this person stayed in that condition for better than 10 minutes and only had just started being barely responsive when the EMT’s arrived.  We back boarded and stretchered this person and put them in one ambulance.  The driver of the bike was conscious but a little disoriented and, as a precaution, was also back boarded, stretchered and loaded into a second ambulance.  Both of these people will get to spend the rest of what was a really nice evening being checked out and might well get to be guests at the hospital over night.... NOT my definition of a good time!

So, let’s get back to your tires.  I’ve written about bike tires before and I’d like to reiterate some important thoughts.  First, the contact patch we, as riders, depend on is MUCH smaller per weight of vehicle than that of a car or truck.  Second, bike tires wear a bit faster than those on a car or truck partly because of the weight factor but mainly because of the compounds that bike tires are made of.  The compounding for bike tires is softer so that they will get more grip to increase the effectiveness of that smaller contact patch and so is prone to wear out just that little bit faster. Third, the stresses on bike tires are much more than those on any but pure race cars and trucks, which contributes to their being prone to possible failure sooner than those on trucks and cars.  I’m pointing this out because, while at the scene of the above mentioned accident I was talking with the firemen and, they related to me that this was the THIRD bike incident this month where the rear tire had failed!!  

What can we do to reduce the chance of this happening to us?  Glad you asked!

FIRST, make sure you are following the manufacturers specifications for tire pressure for YOUR bike, not your buddy’s bike, or your sisters-boyfriends-uncles-wife’s-brother-in-law.  Yours.  If you do not have an air pump I truly recommend you get one, they are reasonably inexpensive and will save you a lot of trips to the tire store or local gas station.  While you are at it, that is if you do not already have one, get a good tire pressure gauge, they’ll be right near the air pumps.  If your manual is missing or you can not find the information for your bike here is somewhere to start:  https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=motorcycle+tire+pressure+recommendations

Next, have a good look at the amount of tread on your tire, if you can put a nickle in and the printing at the edge does not disappear into the tread, go see your local bike tire dealer, the truly good and honest ones will look at them and help you to assess your tires.  While you are at it, look at the condition of the sidewalls, if there is any cracking or it looks like there might be some separation, again have your dealer look at it.  On line there are several resources to check if the tires you have are subject to a recall.  You will need the number that is moulded into the side of your tire, it will start with DOT and have 12 numerals behind it.  Take that information and go to your favourite browser and look here:  https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=motorcycle+tire+recalls   go to the site that is relevant to the manufacturer of your tires and enter the DOT code if they ask for it.

A side note.

Do you know what to do at the scene of an accident?  Have you taken a First Aid course?  These are some things that are very good to know as a rider if foe no other reason than you can help yourself or your passenger in the case of an emergency. 

After you’ve done all of this, or at least made sure you’ve done what is reasonable, then you can get back to reading the rest of the very good articles that “Belt Drive Betty” has collected for you, in this edition of Busted Knuckle Chronicles.

As always, Ride Safe, we would rather talk to you, than about you.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 03:04

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