Slip Sliding Away
How does one tell when their tires are worn out?
Member Since October 2002
"Am I ready to for new tires?"
You most likely wouldn't want to recieve the answer from your
otherwise trusty TZ250. The cost of pre-emptively changing tires
is pretty small compared to the cost of a crash. I know, at least
on my TZ, I'm riding too close to the edge to recover from what
tires "go off".
I've done a lot of endurance
races, and there are any number of ways your tires will try to
kill you when you use them too long. Here are the three most likely
scenarios you are likely to encounter:
1. You hit your front brake at
the braking marker, squeeze the lever and nothing happens. In
a split second you realize the front tire is locked up, and you
aren't slowing down. If you're not already on the ground, let
go of the lever, apply as much front and rear brake as you can
and try to ride it out. From then on, move your braking markers
2. You get on the gas coming out of a corner (the
same way you've done 100 times before), and the rear tries to
pass the front. You have to make a quick decision about whether
you can save it. If you try to save it, and it's too far out,
it's high-side city.
3. Mid-corner one end, or the other will try to
jump out from underneath you. Usually it's the front tire. You
have to keep the bike up on your knee and nail the gas to try
to get the rear to slide.
the rear slides, the front will usually hook back up. When it
does, you're usually good to go because the sliding front tire
will scrub off a lot of your speed. So you end up slowly riding
out of the corner. If the rear comes around, stay steady on the
gas and try to flat-track it. If you chop the gas, you'll high
side. If you hit the steering stop, you'll high-side. You just
have to relax, and let the bike find its own equilibrium.
I was in an endurance race on an R1 in 2001 where
I'd lose the front tire once or twice a lap. It was too late in
the race to put on a spare, so I rode it out. I had to ride really
conservatively, even got passed by a sv650. But riding at 75%,
it wasn't a problem to "save it", every time.
I know that if I was riding the TZ at 95%, the chances
of saving it would be much, much lower.
Also, when a tire goes off, it almost always surprises
you. You're doing the same thing you did every other lap, and
suddenly the tire is sliding away. If you can catch it the first
time, you can alter your riding style so you won't crash later.
But that first time is always a matter of chance.
I'm not willing to take that chance on a TZ ( you
have to risk it on an endurance bike, but you're riding a lower
intensity), so I change tires often.
Thanks for listening!