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Old 11-27-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
ALANRIDER7
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Question Do You Know What A Tire Going Down Feels Like?

The best crash is one that never happens in the first place. In the effort to get the word out about tire pressures (4 out of 5 bikes I work on have low tire pressures), it's important to fully understand and know just what your tires are telling you through the feedback they send to you. Proper tire pressure is ESSENTIAL for rider safety. Keeping up on them by checking once a week with an accurate gauge (preferably a dial type) is time well spent. Tires slowly lose pressure all by themselves and it's your responsibility to maintain them. Remember- it's your ass that's on the line.

Most punctures will cause a slow leak. Some type of road debris has put a hole or cut into the tire tread. As the tire loses pressure, it's important that you know how to recognize the signs of an impending flat.

If the front tire is low, the steering will feel vague and "heavy." The bike will require gradually more and more input to change direction. Your instincts will tell you something just doesn't "feel" right. Your normal steering inputs will not change your direction- you'll still be going straight wondering WTF! is wrong. Heed that warning and pull over as safely as possible to a spot where you can check the tire condition and pressure with the gauge you should be carrying with you. Use as little front brake as possible as the braking load will cause the under inflated tire to squash under the load and you will lose even more steering capability. If you get on the brakes too hard, the tire can deform and fold causing a crash.

If the rear tire is losing pressure, the back end will feel loose or slippery. You will feel like you're riding on a road covered with butter but the front will still steer. It may even feel like you're being hit by a gust of wind when there is none. The rear end can fishtail back and forth, especially under acceleration. It's an odd sensation. Be aware that using the rear brake is not a good idea.

On the rare occasion that both tires are punctured by the same debris, expect all of these symptoms to feel magnified and more severe than just one tire going flat.

An instant blow out, though rare, can still happen. It's important to remember to first keep your cool. You need to split your focus- monitor what vehicles are around you and also find a safe place to stop. Coasting is going to provoke the least amount of resistance from the bike. Your speed will drop dramatically- look for a safe spot to stop. Once you have stopped, make sure you're not going to be hit by some asshole driver talking on a cellphone.

This picture shows a pocketknife blade I picked up in a brand new rear tire. The front tire hit it knocking it upright and it then pierced the rear. It went totally flat in about 8 seconds. I didn't crash because I listened to what the bike was telling me.

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Old 11-27-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: Do You Know What A Tire Going Down Feels Like?

I know what a tire installer going down feels like, but I promised Shawn I wouldn't talk about that.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:05 PM   #3
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Excellent stuff Alan! Thanks man!
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:29 PM   #4
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Good stuff AR7.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:27 PM   #5
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Re: Do You Know What A Tire Going Down Feels Like?

Quote:
Originally posted by ALANRIDER7
An instant blow out, though rare, can still happen. It's important to remember to first keep your cool. You need to split your focus- monitor what vehicles are around you and also find a safe place to stop. Coasting is going to provoke the least amount of resistance from the bike. Your speed will drop dramatically- look for a safe spot to stop. Once you have stopped, make sure you're not going to be hit by some asshole driver talking on a cellphone.

This picture shows a pocketknife blade I picked up in a brand new rear tire. The front tire hit it knocking it upright and it then pierced the rear. It went totally flat in about 8 seconds. I didn't crash because I listened to what the bike was telling me.
In all seriousness, I never found the item that caused this tire puncture earlier this year, but it's basically the same scenario you're describing, Alan:

Quote:
Originally posted by wackyiraqi
I'm not entirely sure--it's a big slash through the thickest part of the tire. It's an old tire that I was expecting to replace any day now because it's quite square from commuting, but not NEAR old enough to spontaneously split.

I was travelling in the carpool lane at ~60 mph and heard an loud pop, then the bike went limp. I merged over immediately and exited.

I just checked my tire pressure a few days ago and it was fine. I was only ~10 miles into my ride tonight, so it was barely warmed up.

I either ran over something sharp and cut the tire tonight, or it had been cut earlier and just gave out tonight. Who knows.
Like you said, I basically coasted across four lanes to get off the freeway safely and call for a tow. The tire was completely flat in just a second or two, and the bike lost speed and responsiveness just as fast. There was really nothing else to do but stay calm and not do anything stupid and/or sudden with the throttle, brakes or handlebars.

The tire was an Avon Azaro ST46:



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Old 11-27-2006, 04:04 PM   #6
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Re: Re: Do You Know What A Tire Going Down Feels Like?

Quote:
Originally posted by wackyiraqi
I know what a tire installer going down feels like, but I promised Shawn I wouldn't talk about that.
whats to be had against tire installers........
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Old 11-28-2006, 12:39 PM   #7
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Good stuff- sounds applicable to determining when your front/rear tire has exceeded available traction for the conditions also, ya?
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Old 11-28-2006, 02:13 PM   #8
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Great advice. Three weeks after I got my license I got a flat tire in the rain and it sucked (didn't crash though, could have been worse). Could anyone provide me with a link to their favorite, most trusted type of tire pressure gauge for motorcycles (I have a nice one for my car that doesn't really fit where it needs to go on my bikes)? I've bought a few and have not been happy with any of them. Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:07 AM   #9
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In the msf course they teach you to scan the ground for machete's Thank you once again for the great info. I will spread the word as best I can.
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:03 AM   #10
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Originally posted by karayzieho
Great advice. Three weeks after I got my license I got a flat tire in the rain and it sucked (didn't crash though, could have been worse). Could anyone provide me with a link to their favorite, most trusted type of tire pressure gauge for motorcycles (I have a nice one for my car that doesn't really fit where it needs to go on my bikes)? I've bought a few and have not been happy with any of them. Thanks!
SnapOn makes a great one. It's a dial type with a hose and a memory feature- the pressure reading stays on the gauge until you're ready to use it again.

spidey-five-o was inducted into "The Low Tire Pressure Hall Of Shame" with it.



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Old 11-29-2006, 09:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by ALANRIDER7
SnapOn makes a great one. It's a dial type with a hose and a memory feature- the pressure reading stays on the gauge until you're ready to use it again.
I have one from cyclegear (forgot what brand) that cost me about $20 that has the same memory feature. How do you reckon it rates on the accuracy scale?
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:14 AM   #12
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The only way to know is to check it on a master gauge. I check mine at the Dunlop tent every time I'm at the track.
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by ALANRIDER7
spidey-five-o was inducted into "The Low Tire Pressure Hall Of Shame" with it.

Hee hee hee. That's a cute picture. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-29-2006, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by ALANRIDER7
The only way to know is to check it on a master gauge. I check mine at the Dunlop tent every time I'm at the track.
When I was up at Sear's for the last AFM race there I brought my fancy Accu-Gauge. I tested it at the Dunlop tent and discovered it read 6lbs over. I made a label for it to remind me of that fact.

And the damn thing cost me over $20 when I bought it.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:12 PM   #15
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alan, you'll never let this go, won't you?

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Quote:
Originally posted by ALANRIDER7
SnapOn makes a great one. It's a dial type with a hose and a memory feature- the pressure reading stays on the gauge until you're ready to use it again.

spidey-five-o was inducted into "The Low Tire Pressure Hall Of Shame" with it.



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