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Whitehorse Gear The Whitehorse Gear Update
News & Tips for Motorcycling Enthusiasts
January 27, 2015

We Never Tire of Talking Tires

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The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel
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The importance of those black rubber hoops on your motorcycle cannot be overstated. They have a lot to do with your riding enjoyment and more important, your personal safety. Since motorcycle tires aren't cheap and they don't install themselves, you want them to work properly and last as long as possible. How's all that done? It's easy when you know how, so here are some fundamentals on motorcycle tire care and feeding.

Heidenau Tires

  1. Size and Type. First and foremost, buy the right size and correct type of tires for your bike. A sticker on your machine or your owner's manual will tell you the proper size for your front and rear tires. It will also indicate if your bike should be rolling on radial or bias ply tires. More on this later. Sometimes riders will want to stray from these specifications because they think their bike will look cool with tires that are wider, shorter, etc., compared to the stock sizes. Trust the pros. This usually ends badly.

Tread Information

  1. Mounting. When you buy new tires, be certain they are mounted on your wheels by a qualified technician. With the right tools and training, that technician could even be you. Too often we've seen the annoying and sometimes dangerous results of improper tire mounting. Beware of some guy across town who "knows all about bikes" and can change your tires for you. He may or may not be qualified to do the work, but you'll need to decide for yourself.

Motion Pro Tire Bead Popper

  1. Balancing. Because of minute manufacturing variations, it is rare that a tire will balance perfectly when it is installed on its wheel. For the best ride quality and the longest service life, tires must be well-balanced. Traditionally tires have been balanced with lead weights and that works if it's done correctly. But if the weights fall off or if the balance requirements change as the tire wears, the ride quality then deteriorates and the tire will wear out much more quickly. We prefer to use Dyna Beads ceramic balancing beads. Just pour them into the tire and let them go to work. There are no lead weights to fall off and pollute the groundwater, no special skills or tools needed to install them, and the beads are a dynamic balancing solution which responds to changes in the tire's balancing needs.

Dyna Beads Wheel Balancing System

  1. Correct Pressure. Check your cold tire pressures frequently with a high-quality pressure gauge. Ideally this should be done every day you ride. Find the frame sticker or the page in your owner's manual for your correct front and rear tire pressures. These are "cold" pressures which must be set after the bike has not been ridden for several hours. We like to check tire pressures first thing in the morning. This is a simple two minute task that could save your life and make your tires last longer.

Accu-Gauge Tire Pressure Gauge

  1. Wear and Tear Tips. Inspect the overall condition of your tires whenever you check the pressure. Run your hand over the tread, feeling for any unusual wear such as feathering or scalloping. If you find any stones stuck in the tread, pop them out with a small screwdriver if you can. Check for weather cracks. Check the "wear bars" to see how your remaining tread is holding out. In multiple places in your tire tread there are raised bars, which, when worn even with the tire surface, tell you your tire is spent. Look carefully and you'll spot the wear bars on any tire.

The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel

  1. Ageing Signs. Replace your tires promptly when they're old or worn badly. Even if there's plenty of tread left on your tires, they may no longer have sufficient grip if they're too old. Tires do not age well even if unused. Check the date code on the sidewall near the DOT mark, where you'll find an oval stamped into the tire with a four-digit number. The first two numbers are the week of the year and the last two numbers indicate the year. For example, 1509 indicates a tire that was made in early spring, 2009. There's no hard rule on such things but we would not be comfortable riding on a tire that is more than five years old, no matter how good it looked. Nor would we ever buy "new" tires that were several years old to start with.

Motion Pro Bead Breaker and Tire Lever Set

  1. Decoding Tire Info. Learn to read the alphabet soup on the sidewall of your tires. There's a lot of information molded into your tires. There you can learn a tire's diameter, height, width, load rating, speed rating, and construction (bias or radial) type. This is important to understand especially when shopping for new tires. For a quick tire code lesson, download Chapter 12: Underpinnings from one of our most popular books (which you should own), The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel, now at a special price of $20.96 through Sunday February 15.

The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel

  1. Whitehorse.We stock more than 30 tire and wheel products to help you take care of your tires, so they can take care of you. Ride well, have fun. Call us with any questions. We'll be right here and ready to help.

LED Smart Cap Tire Pressure Monitoring System


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For free expert outfitting advice, give us a call or write to Customer Service. Even better, visit our Warehouse Store in the beautiful, sales-tax-free White Mountains of New Hampshire. We're open Monday through Saturday, 9 to 5.

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