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New Tires
NEED to GROW before you stress them

By: James R. Davis

Once again I heard well intentioned experienced riders only partially explain to some newbies that they needed to be careful after putting new tires on their bikes. They were told that this was because the new tires do not have as much traction on them until they are scuffed up a little.

It is not that I dispute that fact - new tires do provide less traction until the new-tire coating is worn off of them. But that is not the whole story and if no more is said about them an inexperienced rider could do something very foolish and dangerous if they rely simply on that information.

They could, for example, scuff the new tires using an abrasive just after mounting them and then take off to tackle some twisties. Lower traction would not, then, be a significant problem. But that is a far cry from saying that the new tires would be safely usable in stress situations as a result.

ALL new tires grow during the first hundred miles or so of use. It is absolutely essential that you allow them to do so before putting them to a stress test such as attempting to aggressively navigate a set of twisties. Why? Because it is the process of growing that results in a tight and secure bead to rim seating. If you put the tires to undue stress before their beads have seated to the wheel rims there is a possibility that you will experience a catastrophic loss of air while heeled over in a turn.

Rather than using an abrasive to convert a new tire into a used one, better by far to ride on them for a hundred miles or so. Besides, it's more fun doing it that way.

[New or used, before you stress your tires in the twisties you MUST allow them to get warm first. Traction available on a cold tire is significantly less than for a warm one. Similarly, if you are doing a lot of twisties and your tires get HOT, traction is diminished. Maximum traction exists only under normal operating temperatures.]

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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