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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

My bike has about 3,300 miles on it, along with the Bridgestone Exedra stock rubber. When I took it out Saturday, I had my first bad ride (possibly excluding the two times I've dropped the bike thus far). I still lack the experience and vocabulary to describe it very well, but it felt like the bike was finding little channels in the road to "slot" into. Aside from the fact that the channels it was dropping into weren't generally in the forward direction, I didn't feel properly connected to the ground below. It felt like a cross between driving over a corrugated road and a hydroplane.

Saturday's weather was certainly gusty, but I have driven the bike in much worse weather (perceived, at least) and the sensations I recall from past adventures were of body and head buffetting - I didn't remember having the wind make the bike feel "squirly."

The streets that I rode are familiar to me and are in quite good shape. The tire pressure seems correct (+/- my skill with a gauge). The chain tension seems good. The tread on the rear tire looks pretty much like it did when the tires were new. The front tire, however, is showing some very real wear (or possibly damage?) on the left side. I have read that motorcycle tires always wear out the left edge first, but the difference here is so pronounced that it just doesn't seem natural. I will try to get a photo up later if I can figure out how.

Ultimately, I'd like to understand the source of my disconcerting ride yesterday. I'd like to know what kind of lifespan the stock front tires usually get (I couldn't find figures anywhere, quite different than my experience with auto tires). I found a Vulcan related site where the author suggested that he tended to get 11k+ on his M880s in the back and twice that in the front, though, so I'm thinking that something must be really wrong for my tire to basically feel smooth over the left side of the front rim at 3k miles. Damage would certainly be believable since, as a novice, I've probably done all the wrong things at all the wrong times, but would the damage be so even about the circumference of the tire? I realize that it's purely speculation without seeing the tire, but am I even barking up the right tree to think it's a tire issue?

I would welcome any advice or even leading questions - I'm sure that I'm omitting or improperly describing some things out of ignorance.

Thanks in advance,
WBM
 

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Did you check the torque on your axles? What air pressure are you calling "GOOD"? Are either of the tires wearing more on one side than the other?

What you are describing is generally a sign of low tire air pressure. Depending on the model and size of the tire/bike, Bridgestones should be ran at 35 in the front and 40 or so in the rear. I have over 7000 miles on my rear Bridgestone and it has many more left in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for chiming in, OBG. I have read many of your posts, and I am thrilled to have your guidance. I will do my best to answer the questions you have posed:

Did you check the torque on your axles
I have not checked the torque on the axles. I don't actually own a torque wrench - is it necessary? The wheels don't feel like they have any play, but I'm not lifting the bike whilst checking.

What air pressure are you calling "GOOD"?
When I said "good," with regard to tire pressure, I just meant that they were within range of the manual's suggestion - I think they started at 32 psi (I'm a fatty - ~235lbs). I read on an enthusiast page that a better feel can be had at 40/40, but I was afraid to exceed the manual's recommendation, as I can't see any indication on the tire.

Are either of the tires wearing more on one side than the other?
Although I've been afraid to get back on the bike since posting the "bad" ride, I have inspected it a couple of times. The front tire is definitely worn more on the left side (driver's left). The tread there is almost smooth, literally. It is worn in the same way all around the tire, as opposed to a single spot that might indicate acute damage. The rest of the tread, along with that of the entire rear tire, is impeccable.

I mentioned that I have dropped the bike a couple of times. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. They were low-speed maneuvers, but did do a little damage. The last time, I broke a rearview and bent the handlebars. My biking buddy said that I should try gripping the bars firmly and pushing them back into place, which I did. I also got a cheap pair of "Big Ones" branded mirrors and got back on the road. The more I think (worry) about this, the more I'm certain that the incidents are related and that God is punishing me for dropping my beautiful bike.

I think I've had one ride between the handlebar bending incident and now. It was perhaps a 200 mile joyride. Everything seemed perfect. I did not notice any problems with the tire prior to the ride, which is part of the reason I'm having a hard time correlating my drop to the current condition - could I have really trashed the tires in 200 miles of riding with a potentially bent fork or misaligned tire or whatever else I could've borked when I dropped the cycle?

I've resolved to find a shop and take her in to the shop this weekend, but I'm still certainly interested in knowing as much as possible about what's going on.

What you are describing is generally a sign of low tire air pressure. Depending on the model and size of the tire/bike, Bridgestones should be ran at 35 in the front and 40 or so in the rear. I have over 7000 miles on my rear Bridgestone and it has many more left in it.
I'll double-check - it would really be swell if all it needed was air. If not, it is still good to know that what I'm describing can be described as riding on low air pressure. I felt funny trying to describe it.

Thanks again,
WBM
 

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The kind of wear you are describing on the left side of the tire (Perspective is *SEATED LOOKING FORWARD*), is very indicative of being ran very low. It was probably done before you bought the bike and even though you had the pressure up to spec the damage was done. It needs to be replaced. Sorry.

Once you DO replace it and it's at proper pressure, you'll think your on a different bike. How does the back tire look? If its worn too much, replace both of them with a matched-set, brand of your choice (I like Dunlops)

Hope it all works out and happy riding!!

(PS: When I mentioned TORQUED, I just meant make sure everything tight)
 

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I mentioned that I have dropped the bike a couple of times. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. They were low-speed maneuvers, but did do a little damage. The last time, I broke a rearview and bent the handlebars. My biking buddy said that I should try gripping the bars firmly and pushing them back into place, which I did. I also got a cheap pair of "Big Ones" branded mirrors and got back on the road. The more I think (worry) about this, the more I'm certain that the incidents are related and that God is punishing me for dropping my beautiful bike.
We've ALL dropped them before. It sounds like you need to take a motorcycle safety class. There are several members in here that can steer you better on that issue than I can. (See DubsVulcan in particular)

Good luck!!;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The kind of wear you are describing on the left side of the tire (Perspective is *SEATED LOOKING FORWARD*), is very indicative of being ran very low. It was probably done before you bought the bike and even though you had the pressure up to spec the damage was done. It needs to be replaced. Sorry.

Once you DO replace it and it's at proper pressure, you'll think your on a different bike. How does the back tire look? If its worn too much, replace both of them with a matched-set, brand of your choice (I like Dunlops)

Hope it all works out and happy riding!!

(PS: When I mentioned TORQUED, I just meant make sure everything tight)
If that's all it needs, I will consider myself fortunate. I'll go ahead and ask the mechanic to look over the forks and alignment and all too, just for good measure. I'm assuming I will have to buy a new tube, so I'll probably ask for some sort of upgraded valve stem - something w/ a built-in pressure monitor would be nice.

Thank you again for your advice, OBG. It has had an anchoring effect.

Cheers,
WBM
 
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