New Tire Experience - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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New Tire Experience

Fair warning: This is a long post, that is essentially my experience with a long overdue tire change.

I just wanted to share my experience here.

Important background to the story. I am a new rider. I rode 30 years ago, and am just starting again. I took the MSF course, and then within a week after that, purchased a 2012 VStar 950.

On purchase, the bike only had 4000 miles on it, the tires had plenty of tread, but the tire tread was hard. I didn't really have much to compare it to, so figured it was something that would need to be addressed, but okay for at least a little bit. The dates on the sidewalls were the 27th and 28th week of 2012 - just about exactly 6 years prior. I knew the tires would probably need replaced, and figured I'd get around to it within a few weeks.

I got the bike, and after a couple of days realized I hadn't even checked the tire pressure. Both front and rear were at 15 pounds. I even verified with multiple gauges, thinking it couldn't be right - and it was. Fortunately I have a small compressor at home and was able to get them up to the advised pressure before riding again.

That's when things started to get interesting. All at once, it felt like the back tire was slipping around a bit - like it wanted to slide out from underneath me. Considering my extremely limited experience, I thought there was a really good chance it was all in my head. I dropped the pressure in the back tire down to 30 PSI and, it felt like things were a little better, but again - still within that range of wondering if it was just subjective on my part. I figured no matter what, it was time to get new tires ASAP.

After doing a bit of research, I decided on the Shinko 777 for a number of reasons. The shop I had do the installation took a couple days to get them in, so I went on only a couple of very short, and slow rides just to be safe.

I'm sure more experienced riders than me will know what happened when I got the new tires.

When I got the bike in for new tires and an oil change, I told the tech about my experience, and asked him to take it on a good solid test ride for me and let me know how it felt to him. After he got back with the bike, he told me it felt great to him - and was a really good bike in general

It turns out that that feeling of the back being unstable wasn't entirely in my head. On the bike that felt like the tire wanted to slide side to side when going in a straight line, suddenly felt rock solid underneath me with the new rubber. I am still in the break in period on the tires, so being very careful, but what had me questioning if this while thing was a bad idea, suddenly turned into just as much fun as I was expecting.

Advice I would give after this experience?
1: If the tires have a date code that is 5 years or more - replace immediately.
2: If the rubber feels almost as hard as the concrete the bike is sitting on - replace immediately.
3: If it feels like the back tire isn't stable under you, or any other reason that feels like things might not be safe, trust that feeling, even if you're a new rider. In hindsight, those few rides were probably extremely dangerous.
4: I also should have checked everything on the bike before riding it even the first time. I should have known right away the tires were dangerously under inflated.

If you made it this far - pat yourself on the back. I'll stop my long winded post now - thank you for staying with me.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 09:58 AM
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Good advice, Matt. I recently replaced some 7 year old tires with some Kenda Kruz and while I wasn't getting the sliding you experienced, I was amazed at the difference in both ride quality and stability. I read somewhere to ignore the tire pressures on the bike and fill them to the max on the tire for best mileage so I have both of mine at 40psi and it feels fine.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 12:37 PM
KCW
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Matt, I really dont know what to make of your post.

The first question that comes to mind is how many miles are on your bike? If it feels like the back end is breaking loose, even when going straight, I would check the swing arm, wheel and steering head bearings.

The second question is how do you ride this bike? Does it have a throttle or only off / WFO switch? Ive been riding my 650 for 4 years, 20,000 miles, and Ive only managed to break the rear tire loose once: wet pavement from a stop, in 1st gear, making a left hand turn - got on the throttle too much and the back end started to come around - I caught it ok.

A six year old tire is not that old - how it feels to the touch is not a good indicator. But even if it was an old dry tire, if you are breaking it loose and its squirming around all the time, you must be riding with the throttle WFO all the time.

Brand new tires are slick for the first hundred miles of so. The mold release or whatever process they use when making them needs to be worn off. The other point, since this bike is new to you, it takes a while to get a feel for the bike. You may be just getting more use to it and what feels normal, and getting a better feel for shifting / releasing the clutch, without surging the drive shaft.

If you really are riding the bike so hard that a 6 year old tire will slide out on you, and you are riding right to the limit of a new tire, there is a patch of sand or debris or a garbage truck stopped on a curve that is going to ruin your day.

Last edited by KCW; 07-15-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 08:36 PM
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KCW, I agree with matt mostly here, though I do respect a lot of what you say on this forum.

The tires on my bike when I bought it second hand where starting to dryrot. Bike is only 4years old, 3100 miles, and hadn't been rode for the last year. Not riding is the worst thing for the tires, as they need to be flexed, or stored very carefully.

I will agree how it feels isn't a good indicator.

My backend kept fishtailing on me, I was not juicing the gas on it at all, as I was still getting a feel for the bike. But in order to pass inspection it required new tires.

Got them replaced and no more fishtailing and I can gas it all I want and not have it break loose.

In my case only the back tire failed and had to be replaced, cause they didn't notice the dryrot on the front, as it was mostly under the rim lip. But I replaced that about 2 weeks after the shop did the rear.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-15-2017, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCW View Post
Matt, I really dont know what to make of your post.

The first question that comes to mind is how many miles are on your bike? If it feels like the back end is breaking loose, even when going straight, I would check the swing arm, wheel and steering head bearings.

The second question is how do you ride this bike? Does it have a throttle or only off / WFO switch? Ive been riding my 650 for 4 years, 20,000 miles, and Ive only managed to break the rear tire loose once: wet pavement from a stop, in 1st gear, making a left hand turn - got on the throttle too much and the back end started to come around - I caught it ok.

A six year old tire is not that old - how it feels to the touch is not a good indicator. But even if it was an old dry tire, if you are breaking it loose and its squirming around all the time, you must be riding with the throttle WFO all the time.

Brand new tires are slick for the first hundred miles of so. The mold release or whatever process they use when making them needs to be worn off. The other point, since this bike is new to you, it takes a while to get a feel for the bike. You may be just getting more use to it and what feels normal, and getting a better feel for shifting / releasing the clutch, without surging the drive shaft.

If you really are riding the bike so hard that a 6 year old tire will slide out on you, and you are riding right to the limit of a new tire, there is a patch of sand or debris or a garbage truck stopped on a curve that is going to ruin your day.
Gotta ditto KCW on this one. Short of dry-rot/bad storage (which is clearly visible and not just "getting too hard") I haven't seen older-but-unworn tires produce this effect.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-16-2017, 10:15 AM
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Matt, I thought of something that would explain what you experienced with the old tires on your bike. It took me a while to realize this, because its something I would never think of doing... but some people do it.

Some people like to wash and polish their bike and detail it, and then take photos, and almost never ride it.

If the previous owner (or you) put Armour-all on the tires, on the treads, the bike would be squirrely as hell to ride. Maybe he 'greased' the tires with the stuff to take a photo to put on cragslist... ?

If you put Armour-all on your tire treads and tried to ride it immediately, it would be like riding on ice. After a day or so, not as bad but still compromised. If the guy put the stuff on his tires frequently it might have been soaked in pretty good.

Its also possible the PO may have been wiping the tires with paint thinner, acetone, or god knows what, to make them look "nice" and screwed them up.

The bottom line is, you thought the tires were not performing like they should, and you replaced them. So you did the right thing. If someone gets an older bike with old tires, and they dont like the way they perform, then ditto - replace them. It you just putter around and you have no issues with braking or cornering, thats ok too.
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Last edited by KCW; 07-16-2017 at 10:31 AM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCW View Post
The first question that comes to mind is how many miles are on your bike? If it feels like the back end is breaking loose, even when going straight, I would check the swing arm, wheel and steering head bearings.
he doesn't actually say it felt loose when going straight. i would assume he meant when turning because the same thing happens to my Dunlop E3s when they get high mileage.



Quote:
Originally Posted by KCW View Post
A six year old tire is not that old - how it feels to the touch is not a good indicator.
i disagree on both accounts. i've always heard, online and in person, that 5 years is about the benchmark to replace a motorcycle tire if it makes it that long.
rubber hardens over time, tire or anything else. you never found an old pencil with a rock hard eraser? new tires are definitely softer than old tires. since my Dunlop E3s don't wear down on the tread or the indicator lines even after 30K miles, my best indication that they need to be replaced are 1)back end getting loose in the turns and 2)just squeezing and knocking on the rubber you can definitely feel it is a lot harder versus a new tire.

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