Speaking of tires…

The rear tire on my FJR1300, well scrubbed, but with an adequate safety margin
The rear tire on my FJR1300, well scrubbed, but with an adequate safety margin

…I’ve noticed something odd when I go to the shop with my FJR.  That’s my rear tire over there.  Now, that’s not an extreme-to-the-edge wear pattern, although it does reflect some peg scraping.  But I have a 650-pound touring bike, and, while I’m nowhere near the poster-boy for conservative riding, I’m not willing to sacrifice my life to Mr. Inertia.

But every time I go to the shop, I see a number of literbikes and super sports that are worn all the way down to the cords in the center of the tire, and with three untouched inches of tire on either side of the center.

So, I guess I’m just curious.

What, exactly, is it that you sportbike guys are doing when you ride?

Are you just doing burnouts in the parking lot, wasting 100+ bucks per tire in a few days? Or do you just never turn, and ride in endlessly straight lines?  How on earth does someone burn through a tire, while leaving the outer two or three inches untouched on either side? And, by the way, you do realize that if you can see steel cords on the surface of your tire, then riding it–even to the shop–is a gamble, right?

I just have this image in my mind of someone who hauls his ZX600 from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds at every stoplight, and then slows to 5 MPH every time he approaches a corner.

Seriously, I’m not trying to be an ass. I really do wonder how you can actually ride a sportbike for any distance at all, and have pristine, untouched, 3-inch chicken strips.  You simply have to be doing something stunty, and not using the bike as a daily ride.

And while we’re on the subject of weird riding habits, what’s with the shorts and tennis shoes?  I realize that we live in a desert here in far southern California.  It’s hot.  I get it.  But I constantly see guys tooling around in shorts and tennis shoes.  And I’m not talking about squids on super sports.  It’s almost universal.  I see guys on Gold Wings, Harleys, sportbikes, and BMW GSs wearing shorts and Reeboks, tooling around town, and on the highway. And I’m not talking about dumb young kids.  I’m talking about guys my age (mid-40s) riding 800 lb tourers.

I mean, granted, I’m a paranoid old woman who wears a full Olympia Motosports suit and full-face helmet to ride 2 blocks to the 7-11, but seriously, why on earth would you hit I-15 on a bike, wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and a ratty old pair of Air Jordans?  Even if you’re a super-skilled rider, the roads are full of cager morons who’ll run you over without even seeing you.

You are aware that we are involved in a rather dangerous sport, aren’t you?

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.

4 thoughts on “Speaking of tires…”

  1. Riding is shorts and shoes is something you do out of convenience. Often it’s a choice between taking the bike or a car and the decision would go to  the car too often if a guy had to gear up every time. I admire you personal safety standards. Since riding is a risk no matter what you wear, riders have to be comfortable with their level of risk just like you have to be comfortable leaning into a corner on the edge of the tire.
    Whether your in a volvo or on a chopper, you’re invincible until God want to take you out. So ride like hell, but live for heaven.

  2. Could be a lot of guys doing burnouts to wear down tires like that.  But I think it’s more to do with heavy acceleration and braking.  That’s where most of the tire wear comes from.

  3. Re: Riding gear
     
    My dad owned a 2003 Harley Soft-tale for several years, and would often ride in just such gear.  Until a trip to northern Illinois.  It was road he knew (one would almost say it had been un-touched since he was a late-teen), and had it’s fair share of gravel (most especially on the shoulders – this was back-road riding, no main streets).
     
    A car came around a corner in my dad’s lane, and it was either lay it down, or slam into the car.  Dad, not being a moron, laid the bike down, and did the tuck/roll/splay you do to bleed momentum.  He was wearing, however, OLD shorts, tennis shoes, and a t-shirt.  After picking tiny bits of gravel out of his leg and side for a week, he never went out riding again without at the LEAST some serious jeans, boots, jacket and helmet.  He’s lucky he didn’t get himself killed (he considered it God personal suggestion he take protective gear more seriously).  This was in 2004, and he was in his early 50’s.

  4. Hell down here in Florida I see guys wearing shorts, flip-flops and no shirt riding in an out of traffic on their ninjas.

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