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Tire Additives
Miracle products or trouble waiting to happen?

By: James R. Davis



Once upon a time tires were made of rubber - solid rubber. They worked, but they produced a dreadfully hard ride. Then, someone came up with the idea of making them pneumatic (filled with air) and tires became far better as a result, and far more comfortable to ride on.

Over the years our tires have steadily gotten better. From better rubber compounds to the addition of belts, better biasing techniques, radial designs and better tread designs. Tire manufacturing has become a well understood science, not an art.

And as motorcyclists our lives depend greatly on those tires. So, we tend to buy the best tires made. And the tire manufactures have never stopped trying to make them even better.

So, one has to wonder why it is that some motorcyclists completely abandon the idea that the tire manufacturers REALLY know what they're doing when they created our tires. Some motorcyclists have decided that for a few dollars they can squirt some magic compound into their tires and never have to worry about a flat tire again. They believe that this same goop even magically balances their tires for them and no longer have to rely on a trained mechanic to mechanically do that for them. They believe that if their tires are punctured after squirting this wonder product into their expensive tires they can disregard the problem altogether because, like magic, the tire won't leak its air out through the puncture - it will seal itself automatically. And, they believe, once the stuff is squirted into their tires they don't have to tell anybody about it.

These are the same kinds of motorcyclists who are easy targets for sales pitches for such things as Slick 50, gasoline treatment additives, and instant weight loss pills.

(I'm not here trying to argue that all additives are useless or hype. But I am going to argue that it should take a lot more than a clever sales ad to convince you to IN ANY WAY deviate from the advice of professional mechanics relative to your motorcycle.)

To go back to motorcycle tires - virtually all of them are now tubeless by design and are built to resist the loss of air from a puncture - without you having to add anything to them other than air. If the puncture is large, the built-in puncture sealant will not be totally effective. But, that is not a bad thing! A large puncture means that you have had significant damage to the belting of the tire. It should be replaced, not covered up!

There is no excuse not to have your tires mechanically balanced when mounted. No amount of internal 'balancing goop' substitutes for a properly mounted and balanced tire to begin with.

So, products that are designed to be squirted into a tubeless tire, it seems to me, make very little sense. Do you think that a tire manufacturer like Dunlop would fail to make the very best and safest tire they are capable of making for use on motorcycles? Do you think they never heard of puncture sealants? Do you think that they should have to stand to a warranty if the inside of a tire has been coated with a chemical compound that it was not designed to have to deal with?

While on the subject of putting something into your tires, if you have a tire repair kit that includes a pressurized can of gas to inflate it after the repair, you MUST TELL YOUR SERVICE MAN THAT YOU HAVE USED IT BEFORE YOU ASK HIM TO REMOVE YOUR TIRE! Some of those compressed gasses are flammable and can explode if the tire is exposed to a spark while their beads are being removed from the tire rims! YOU would be responsible if that mechanic were to be injured.

Copyright © 1992 - 2018 by The Master Strategy Group, all rights reserved.
http://www.msgroup.org

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

     
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