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Cycle Shanty

Q’s, A’s and Tech Tips – Page Two

Q’s & A’s – Tech Tips – Page Two


Flat tire?

                  Never thought it could happen to you? Surprise! Hey, it happens. Okay, now then, if you’re a recreational rider I highly recommend you call a “wrecker”, which by the way is what you always do since you’re afraid of who might stop to help you, and of course, if you try to fix it you’ll screw up the tire with goop and or could hurt yourself. My suggestion is to do some research and find the best towing coverage. And for those of you in this category I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

               For those of you who really do ride, here’s some help. First, take with you everything you could conceivably need. If your tubeless, you’ll need several mushroom plugs and applicator, and you’ll need several CO2 capsules. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the bike up and just have to plug and fill. The mushroom is good for about 45 mph for the first 100 miles and after that maybe 60 mph. Never attempt to plug a hole that is not on the tread. Sidewall repairs will go out on you and you wont like it, although, if you can keep your speed down to 30 mph you should be able to make it to a shop for a new tire.

                 If you’re running a tube type tire then you’ll need at least 2 13″ tire irons, tubes for both front and rear, a few “patch plugs” and applicator, several CO2 capsules, and somehow someway to get the bike up. Never use excessive glue or your tube will cement in place. Also, just as with the tubeless tire, don’t rely on a sidewall patch.

              You’re not done yet. How are u going to balance it? Well if you use premium dynamic material my advice is to ride it as it is to a gas station and then gently let the CO2 out install the material and fill it up with air. Yes, you will need enough material to install so bring it with you along with the applicator. If you can salvage the material from the other tube then you’ll need less material and don’t worry, there is no problem with putting too much material in, however, do not use less than what you need. Here’s a good rule, if the material manufacturer says you need 2 oz’s then put in 2 1/2 oz’s and you wont go wrong.

              Good luck.

So you’re raking your front end?

               There are many things you need to understand before raking your frame. First, some states prohibit any modification to a bike frame. Check with your state before you start cutting. Many states have a maximum rake and trail requirement and you need to check that out as well.

                  Okay, you’re ready to rake. There are many ways to do it both expensive and much less expensive. The most expensive way is to buy a replacement frame with the rake you desire and the least expensive are raked cups for your neck which come in different degrees of rake beginning at 2*. There are also raked triple trees.

                  How much rake? Well, it all depends on what you want from the rake, if you seek better handling for your riding style or to overcome “quick” handling then perhaps the sweet spot (33*) up to 35* may be best. If you’re mostly show and very little go then, hey, if its legal go with a 40* rake. The greater your rake the longer your trail and the “slower” your handling at low speeds, especially on turns. There is a gain with stability at higher speeds although you may not want that at all times. I am interested in stability at high speeds and handling at low speeds and the most I’d rake a bike out to would be 36*. Many frames today are set up for 36*, 38* and 40* and unless you have a specific goal in mind it may be more practical to just go with what is available and use raked cups to give you what you want.

               If you increase your rake you must also extend your front end to maintain a level bike. In other words if you give yourself a half inch rake you’ll need a 6″ extension on the fork. If you give yourself a 1″ rake then you’ll need a 12″ extension. Bare in mind, the greater your rake and extension the greater the stress on the forks and I would definitely go with a larger diameter fork tube, even if it means redesign. Nothing hurts worse than a front end failure. Sometimes those great looking tubes in the showroom or in the catalog are under spec’d, another way of putting it is they’re cheap. Know what you’re doing! In addition to this there is an issue of cables or brake lines wiring and re-positioning a front fender.

                  Have a specific question? Don’t hesitate to get with me. If I can help you I will.

Thump, thump, its your rear tire.

              So you’ve had a new tire put on and you’re thumping. I’ve heard about this for years, have answered numerous questions and am being flattered by those who repeat what I say on other sites and forums. Well, lets start at the beginning.

               There are basically two types of motorcycle tires, Tubeless (biased and radial) and Tube Type. I’ll address the tube type in that thump thump is most irritating with this type of tire. Okay, you’ve peeled the old tire off your bike and removed the tube. You now have a wheel and a rim liner. check the liner for cracks, cuts or molding and if all is well leave it alone, if not, replace it.

             Next, put the wheel on a truing stand and check both the horizontal and, most importantly, the vertical run out. if either is more than 1/16″ then true the wheel. The thump comes from a high spot on the circumference of the tire (egg shaped). Use tire lube to lightly lubricate the bead area and make sure the wheel is clean where the tire seats on the wheel. Only if tire lube is not available you should use dish washing liquid and water mix. Tire lube has a different chemical make up than soapy water and rumors are that it won’t work well with Tubeless type tires. I personally have used soapy water and have had no problems, however, I would prefer to use tire lube.

             Next, put the tire on the wheel making sure your don’t pinch the tube. make sure the tube is the right size for your tire in that a one size larger tube could pinch or fold over resulting in a flat tire and a smaller size being stretched too thin. Inflate the tire to seat the bead. let the air out , install the premium dynamic material, install the valve stem and inflate the tire. Roll the tire slowly looking for a thin part and if so then check the seat at the thinnest spot. If there is more than 1/16″ of space between the tire bead and the wheel then break down the tire and seat the bead. If all fails and you have 1/16 or less space, take note of this customer, then a minimal thump will be felt and this will normally correct itself after riding about 500 miles (at 65 mph is best). The normal vibration will seat the tire. If this doesn’t work then you need to get the tire back into the shop again. Oh, by the way if you static balanced you need to balance every time you break the bead and inflate the tire. If you need more info then email me.

Front Forks and Seals, etc.

                So your front seals are leaking? The make and model of your bike will determine just how much stress your in for. If you’re rebuilding a Harley fork you have less problems with the fork, although, you may have some grief with the lower triple tree. Don’t be surprised if you have to pound the fork out and before you do that make sure you have a new fork cap to replace the old one with. Harley forks are definitely the easiest to rebuild. The others, just like Harley, manufactured by Showa, are also easy.

              With any front end there are seals, “O” rings, sealing washers, damper piston rings, springs etc. If your going to rebuild or for that matter just replace your seals then go all the way and rebuild it right. Pay attention to what the parts manufacturer says and do it that way. If they tell you to use a certain type of fork fluid then do that or you may cause premature wear to the seals, “O” rings, etc. Never just replace parts that look worn in that what doesn’t look worn now sure will be before the new parts you put in are worn out and you’ll be doing the job all over again.

            Yes, there are cheapo seals on the market and NOK makes for the most part the better ones, are used by OEM’s as stock equipment and are of a good quality. In the recent past there was some flack about Leakproof seals and the problem was found to be elsewhere; the problem did not involve quality. In an effort to be fair to Leakproof I decided to give them a test drive and have installed them in my own bike as per Leakproof’s instructions and we’ll see what evolves. UPDATE and WARNING: After only a few thousand miles the Leakproof pro moly seals installed on my bike have started leaking, I should say, pouring. These are not what they’re trumped up to be. Avoid this product at all costs. Buy OEM and you’ll bebetter off!

                  One of the most common problems with front ends is they seem to just go flat. First, understand that OEM’s cannot design a custom fork just for you. They must design for a norm and if you don’t fit in to that norm you will find your front end either lasting much longer or going flat sooner. If you exceed the engineered use limits then expect to have problems. A front end can be re-built in numerous ways, stock, modified to accept more weight and abuse or with the newest most well engineered system on the market to date. Expensive and new is not always the best in that you may be buying more than you need and that will not please you. A front end needs to be re-designed for you, the design of the bike and your riding style. Sometimes a standard spring damper set up is better than the most advanced and expensive in that it can be designed and tuned as close to perfect for you as possible.

                 Fork oil is another issue. Don’t think that running a lighter oil will give you better dampening. While it may produce a softer ride it will put extra wear on your seals, “o” rings, springs etc. Why replace these items prematurely? Stick with the manufacturers grade (not necessarily brand) and you’ll have a smooth enough ride. Some times people think that putting a heavier oil in they are giving added protection to their bike. They are not. The negative effects of heavier oil are similar to the lighter oil . Although, if you re-design your front end, a heavier oil may be of great benefit and the type of oil may be critical.

                    Talk to someone who knows their stuff if you’re not sure.

Tire balancing

              Yes, balancing your tire is important. For a vibration free ride and extended tire wear you really do need to balance those tires. If you want even more wear then balance them the way they should be balanced. There are two methods of balancing tires 1) static balancing and 2) premium dynamic balancing. Static balancing balances your wheel as it sits on the balancing axle and that’s as far as the balancing act goes. Most, the great majority of tires, are balanced this way and will give the average rider on the stock OEM machine an average of 12,500 miles wear.

               Why? Well, if you change your sprocket, rotor or even the bolts that secure them (even when put in the same position) your tire is now out of balance. If you run through a puddle of water and a small clump of grass gets stuck on your spoke your tire is out of balance. If you have a problem with your forks and find cupping on your front tire your tire is out of balance. Plain and simple, if there is the slightest change in weight anywhere on the wheel your tire is out of balance. If a jerk comes along and pops a weight off your wheel your tire is out of balance.

              With premium dynamic balancing none of that can happen since the balancing act changes with the change of conditions. The balancing act can be transferred to a new tire assuming you haven’t had a flat and used goop to inflate it or glue to patch it. Yes, I can attest to the fact that it increases your tire tread life about 5-7 K miles. What does that mean? It means that if you go with premium dynamic balancing you’ll only replace two tires when those that were static balanced require three tires to gain the same mileage. Hey, what does a new tire cost?

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