The Rubber Really Does Matter...Really
Motorcycle Tires - I experienced my first flat tire a few years ago, and it wasn't at all what I expected. I was riding along on a lovely curvy road in Idaho, early in the morning. We were riding from one location to another, where we were to be for the next 3 days. It was a hot morning, and the road had soft repair patches scattered throughout. About halfway through the ride, I felt that the road was "squishy", like my bike was sinking into the road a bit. I was able to maintain my speed, however, so I just attributed the feeling to the effect of the heat on the road and rode on. When we finally got to a little town, and a stoplight, one of my riding companions looked down and motioned at my back tire. Flat, completely flat. I had probably been riding on a flat tire for miles, and I was completely oblivious.
Prior to this, I always expected that a flat tire would be something that happened abruptly. I thought that I would hear or feel a pop, and then the bike would become difficult to control. Nothing like this happened. I simply felt a difference in the road and my tire was so damaged that it could not hold a patch, we had to park the bike. Many phone calls later, we determined that we would need to have the motorcycle towed to a BMW dealer, where the tire could be replaced.
Lessons Learned?Could this have been avoided? Perhaps. How about preventative motorcycle maintenance? I have learned that inspecting my tires is something that I should do almost daily - especially on a trip. Had I noticed that my tire was wearing, we could have replaced it while we were still in a town with repair facilities.
Instead, I started off into the wilderness, far from any motorcycle dealers or tire shops. And I paid the price, in towing charges and time away from the vacation.
I do watch my tires differently now. If I notice that the tread is wearing thin, then it's time for a new tire. Before any big trips, I ask the mechanic if the tires should be replaced given our anticipated mileage. If he predicts that I will need tires in the middle of the trip, we figure out where the BMW dealerships are, and plan accordingly. It's a much better system, and one I probably wouldn't even have, but for my little blow-out experience.
Bottom Line: Pay attention to the rubber. Know what your options are, and plan. Buy a tire repair kit and learn how to use it.
A little motorcycle maintenance is a lot better than a big flat flat tire.
Fixing a Flat Tire