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Getting To Trust Your Tires, Tar Strips, And New Asphalt


256rotax
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This post is much like the mental recovery after a crash post I saw earlier. After building up more and more trust in my tires and bike, learning to relax and feel what was going on, it was getting easier to lean farther and farther on the street (but no foolish extreme lean angles). Yesterday, I was riding to VIR on a pretty fun road except that now it is in the process of being repaved and what has not been paved yet has tar strips all over the place. The tar strips suprised me pretty good (or bad-plus it was 90+ degrees) and the newest asphalt was worse than riding in the rain. Now the trust thing might rear its' ugly head again even though I know exactly what was going on. How long does it usually take for new asphalt to lose its' greasiness? Another thing, in a car or even another two wheeler (bicycle, I know-it weighs less than 20 lbs. and the speeds are usually under 25mph) getting surprised is so much easier to handle than on a motorcycle. Could it be that it is because on a 400 lb. bike you immediately have to get your whole body to react?

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As long as there is a good explanation, there is not any reason to doubt the tyres in general. What I personally hate is inconsistency. For instance, the Dunlop D205s fitted to my GSX600F would stick like chewing gum to a carpet on asphalt, but on worn tarmac it had grip as on a fire road. No other tyre I have used have had this issue, so it made me very sceptical whenever I rode on an unfamiliar road and ruined my back road rides because the bike wouldn't stop nor would it steer as wheels where locking and sliding ridiculously early. I ended up fitting new tyres despite the D205s were little worn.

 

There is one thing that's difficult to control on public roads, however, and that is unmarked road repairs, oil/fuel spillage, potholes and gravel patches. In order to see these things, especially the less remarkable ones, you must look quite close to the front wheel. This is not good for picking the right lines or for observing other hazards early. Hence I tend to move where I look constantly between close in front and far ahead to hopefully get all the information I need to stay upright.

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Work on your throttle control.

Once you have gotten used to not chopping the throttle all those things (tarrolls, mud, whatever) aren't that much of a problem anymore. Of course if there's no grip at all eventually you will run out of lean angle and/or street, but for me it's always amazing how stable a bike can be once you know what to do and what not to do. Read TOTW2, the information is all in there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually, along these lines, I've got a question as well... When practicing lean in a large parking lot, I've gotten to the point where tar snakes are causing a bit of slide in the rear tire. Is that indicative of hitting max lean angle? I'm running Metzler M3's 120/190 and 37/42 air pressure (that's what my K bike's pressure sensors tell me & about 1 pound +\-of how I got the bike from the dealer). Is it possible the tires might be overinflated?

 

In any case, is this a condition I'll just have to get used to, or is it a warning that I'm at the edges of safety?

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Yes it is a warning that you approaching the limits of traction. Yes it could be that your tires are overinflated, those pressures sound high. I don't know those tires but typical track pressures are more like 31 front, 30 rear. Best thing would be to search the web for recommend TRACK pressures for those tires. Recommended street pressure from bike or tire manufacturers is usually higher than track pressures, to handle a passenger or other loads safely and to warm up quickly.

 

Also have you had your suspension set up properly for your weight? That can make a difference on how the bike feels to you and also how much traction is available.

 

Pick up drill would be good to practice so you can be ready to stand the bike up to save a rear tire slide should that occur.

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Hotfoot, thanks for the reply. Good to know that I was getting close and now I've got a good idea where the limit is. Guess sometimes that knot in your stomach is your Guardian Angel telling you to back off ;-)

 

I'll check the pressure as you suggest. As far as bike setup, no I haven't touched a thing. I'm 6'4" about 285 or so, my bike weighs in around 560 wet. Don't know who I can go to locally to get the bike setup validated or changed. Dealer isn't any use, and no bike shop within a reasonable distance even has a Dyno! And the BMW K series has an interesting duolever/paralever setup that can be interesting to work with, though completely electronic - no tools. And awesome to ride,

 

Does anyone know of a reliable, reasonable place I can go in the Central NJ area, one that can work with this setup? If not, I'll check with people at the Thuderbolt class later this month.

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