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Go Back   DCSportbikes.net > Sportbike Operation > Test and Tune

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  (#1)
boxing twins
 
hayabusafiend's Avatar
 
Posts: 581
Join Date: April 6, 2003
Location: Northern California
August 1, 2003, 07:00 AM

Why are you getting slower? Check your tires.

You're excited. You've put a brand new set of semi-sticky street tires on your motorcycle. After the obligatory 50 mile or so tire scrub-in to remove the slick tire coating, you canyon carve your favorite piece of road. It's a wonderful ride. The tires are sticking to the road, absorbing the surface bumps, allowing you to approach some impressive lean angles.

A few months pass, and you've carved your favorite road as often as possible, maybe a few dozen times. You're feeling more of the bumps in the road. Your lean angles aren't quite as impressive as a few months ago. The front wheel feels like it's pushing to the outside of the turns. Dismayed, you return home and run your checklist: tire pressures good, tire tread good, suspension settings unchanged. Maybe you're just having an off day. But come to think of it, you felt the same way returning from your last canyon carving.

What's wrong? Your rubber's getting harder.

Tires are made in a process called "vulcanizing" where heat and pressure are applied to a rubber mold to achieve certain characteristics. The rubber characteristics are determined by the type of rubber, how hot and how long it's heated, how much and how long pressure is applied, and how long the rubber is allowed to cool. Tire manufacturers have this process down to a science and can churn out thousands of tires with the same performance characteristics.

Here's where you come in. You're looking for a tire that provides a high level of traction, but won't quickly wear out. So you choose to have a set of semi-sticky street tires shod onto your motorcycle.

The "vulcanizing" process occurs every time your tires heat and cool from riding. As the tires warm up, a small portion of the volatile materials that make the rubber semi-sticky and pliable, escape. Every time you go canyon carving, the tire gets progressively harder. The hardening rubber has some distinctive pros and cons. Pro: a harder tire takes longer to wear out, therefore giving you more mileage as it ages. Cons: 1) a harder tire provides significantly less traction, and 2) since it flexes less, takes longer to come up to operating temperature.

And you thought it was just you getting slower in your old age. Maybe, but it could also be your older tires.


-- Chris
BMW R1100s
(previous rides: '82 KTM250, '95 CBR600F3, '98 Buell S3T, 2000 Hayabusa, 2008 R1200R)

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke
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  (#2)
GP Champ
 
Posts: 2,839
Join Date: November 12, 2002
Location: Woodbridge, VA
August 1, 2003, 07:16 AM

Nice write up :thumbup:


Katie 135
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  (#3)
Fuzz Runna
 
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Posts: 960
Join Date: December 29, 2002
Location: Dallas
August 1, 2003, 11:49 PM

well duh....


Sometimes in order to live, you must first be willing to die....
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  (#4)
boxing twins
 
hayabusafiend's Avatar
 
Posts: 581
Join Date: April 6, 2003
Location: Northern California
August 2, 2003, 10:39 PM



-- Chris
BMW R1100s
(previous rides: '82 KTM250, '95 CBR600F3, '98 Buell S3T, 2000 Hayabusa, 2008 R1200R)

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- Arthur C. Clarke
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  (#5)
Knee Draggin!
 
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Posts: 576
Join Date: September 30, 2002
Location: Manassas
August 3, 2003, 04:45 PM

I had first hand experience of this today. My tires are shot, but I decided to get every last scrap out of them since I'm getting new ones this week anyway. Up on 211, the front kept wanting to tuck, and the rear was giving me no confidence, so I was taking it a little easier. Decided to have some fun anyway and on the big left sweeper on the west side, I gave it a handful of gas expecting the rear to step out a little. It did, but I gave it to much gas for the condition of the tires, which resulted in it stepping out a lot further than I expected. I had it crosswise according to Doug, and it felt like it. Felt cool though and I gave a little mind laugh wishing I could see what it looked like. Until it hooked back up and I had to save myself from highsiding from the resulting tank slapper. I had only one thought: "fuck you, I ain't wrecking", which is pretty funny now that I think about it. I let instinct take over and didn't panic. Bike started to shake underneath me, trying to buck me off, which told me I had too much weight/grip on the bars, so I stood up a little to let my legs act as shock absorbers, and let go of the bars with everything but my fingertips. Bike instantly settled down and I continued up the mountain like nothing happened and then went down and up the east side. Doug said it looked pretty cool.

So I guess the moral is don't play with your bike when your tires are shot. The other is don't let mishaps mess with your confidence.

-Mod
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  (#6)
Site Admin
 
Posts: 9,771
Join Date: October 4, 2002
Location: NoVA
August 3, 2003, 06:18 PM

good info....damn i thought i was goin slow today...guess its jus my tires
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  (#7)
I'm a Realtor in VA
 
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Posts: 396
Join Date: October 20, 2002
Location: Alexandria, Va
August 11, 2003, 04:17 PM

Yes true but.........4 year old tires will do that. A modern set of good sport bike tires shouldnt last 25,000 miles anyway. 5 to 10 K max at the far end. An avrage street guy or gal souldnt notice the difference in performance over the life of the tire. If you do you belong on the track where you dont pay attention to tire longevity anyway. A set of d208gp's should only last a weekend anyway, but those takeoff tires will still grip great on the street for about 2 or 3k.

What is the point of timing anything on the street anyway?


I'm a Realtor Licensed In DC and VA
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