slow leaks and flats
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  1. #1
    Senior Member peruano's Avatar
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    Just had to relate a learning experience for me. Some may recall another thread that asked who had had a blowout, talking about old tires and when to replace them. That thread stimulated me to buy new tires to replace the originals for my 2002 bike. The tread was good but they were 9 years + old and thus in need of replacement for safety reasons.

    I had a slow leak in the front tire that had been there for at least 1 year. It never went flat/flat but over a week or 10 days it would drop from 18 psi to 10 or so. When we replaced the front tire and tube, I took the old front tube home for a backup and on careful examination found it had a cholla spine (cactus spine about 1" long) in the tube. It clearly sealed the hole pretty well but allowed a slow trickle leak from high to low pressures. Apparently it had pulled all the way through the tire and hence was primarily in the tube cavity. Lesson 1. Slow leaks usually represent something in your tire - they could stay the same or get worse. They never get better without slime or some other alchemy.



    The back tire was a different story. I had never had a problem with air pressure drop in it and we had intended to change the tube anyway -- however, my MC shop guy messed up, ordered the wrong tube and so on new tire day we had no tube but the original to stick in the rear tire. No problem we think and buttoned the bike back up and I rode away. When I got home, I checked the pressure because my man always overinflates the tires based on his road bike experience. As I let some air out (down from 30 to 18 psi), I notice that there seemed to be air released from one of the spoke holes. I immediately assumed he had pinched the tube when inserting it, and it was more prone to leak at lower pressures than at higher ones (or maybe it was leaking slowly anyway, but I had not noticed till then). I called him and we scheduled a look at the tire when we had a chance to get a new tube. In the three days it took to get a new tube, the back tire went completely down, but would stay up for a few hours if I pumped it to 20 psi or so for a short ride, or to deliver the bike to the local shop. My guy swore he would not have pinched the tube in such a big tire (rear) and so I had probably run over a "something" on my way home. Possible but not likely in my mind.

    When we finally broke into the new rear tire that was going flat we found nothing in the tire to indicate it was a puncture, and a puncture in the tube (not a pinch). On careful examination of the old tire (there was a big spine (probably mesquite or russian olive) in the tire that had stayed there (leaving a hole in the tube that we had switched to the new tire). We had not checked the old tube for holes (it had never leaked, even tho it had obviously been punctured by a mesquite spine still residing in the old tire.

    Lesson 2 - After you ride on tires for 6000 miles or so, expect things to be in them whether they leak or not. Always check the inside of the tire if you have it off, and most especially praise the TW for having beefy tires that can tolerate things like cactus and mesquite spines without having to go flat immediately. I love my little fat tired bike and have even more respect for its foot ware than I had previously. Probably ride on and maybe even a bit of Slime would have solve either leak but not made my old tires any more resistant to age degradation.

    Long story, but it might save someone some grief. Tom BTW I installed the original tires - I like them for the mixed style of riding I do around New Mexico. Tom
    Tom - TW200 2002, Kawasaki VN 500 2006

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  2. #2
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Due to the expense of new Ride-On, I've taken to reusing tubes, after a careful examination. So far, so good.




  3. #3
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    One of the Tw's I bought for parts actually had a tire spoon inside the rear tire. Prolly been there since '87. I once found a Bic lighter inside the rim of my buddy's dealer-maintained Harley. Some folks just have dumb luck on their side.



    There is no such thing as one cholla thorn, though. Danged things are nearly invisible sometimes. I've done the drill a few times myself. I just won't admit my "per occurrence" maximum for mounting and dismounting the same tire



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Malkop's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight into the tire situation Tom. I have been using my newly aquired TW on trips in a radius of 30 miles around home where there is plenty of adventurous trails and wild destinations to test her on. She has not been found wanting but my experience of elderly vehicles is that rubbers and plastics fail and my fuel tap/petcock packing/gasket proved that. The one thing that has been giving me reservations about taking a long fishing trip high into the mountains are the old tires with plenty of tread but old nevertheless and showing some signs of perishing. I reckon I will change the back one and take off the front and inspect before going too far from home. The back takes all the weight and pushes out the horsepower. This is a drawback of two wheels with no spare tire. Then again I could just be lazy and take the TW on the back of the truck and not use her for long trips but then that would not be very adventurous. When I was younger such things did not concern me much but then I ran into some problems on long solo trips which I had more time to solve than I do now. What did you pay for a new tire Tom? From Yamaha here a rear back one is the equivalent of US$136 which is as much as I pay for a one for my 4x4 truck - quite steep relatively



    Malcolm

  6. #5
    Senior Member peruano's Avatar
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    Malcolm, I hear you on price not matching size or utility. I paid something like $239 US total for both the front and back tires through Motorcycle Superstore with delivery included. As they say on TV "local prices may vary (in South Africa)". The price went up as I changed out tubes (something like $25 each), and paid a bit of labor to get the tires changed out. I know I should have done it myself for practice, but like you said I used to have more time to devote to such stuff. Now I've got a bit more cash to lubricate the process. Its a way to support my local bike shop. Ride safely and remember the rubber part is the only one that touches the road when you are moving. Tom
    Tom - TW200 2002, Kawasaki VN 500 2006

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  7. #6
    Senior Member ronnydog's Avatar
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    Pro Series Tire Sealant by High Lifter seals punctures up to 1/2" in the tread and up to 1/4" in the sidewall! It also stops bead leaks and pinhole leaks in wheels. The Pro Series Tire Sealant prevents 90-95% of common tire failures. Wounds or punctures are plugged instantly and PERMANENTLY.



    Ronnydogby

  8. #7
    Senior Member Malkop's Avatar
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    Funny that we should be talking about this. I did a fair bit of riding on the weekend. Can get to the local store without going on the pavement and all on dirt road and forest tracks. Phoned around and looked in town at available rear tires and Yamaha has the Bridgestone TW34 for the equivalent of $135 fitted. The general bike dealer that houses all the lesser species like Kawa and Honda etc does have a Kenda that looks like the TW 204 for $82 fitted . Am planning to save some fuel on commuting to work on the tar now it is warming into spring, but decided to take your advice and qwerty's on the other thread and fit a TW34 at some point. That point came more quickly than I imagined.



    Got home and got on the TW and found she was not wheeling backwards out of the shed, so fiddled with the gears and switched her on and found neutral but still struggled to wheel her backwards. Looked down and, sure enough, a flat. So that has hastened the decisive action. I discovered that the first gear is great for walking besides while taking her to a bank to load.



    I decided that a new tyre is not such bad economy considering that all I have to do is drop the bike on the way to work and pick it up on the way home only a mile or two out of my route. Also, imagine the saving on fuel and wear and tear on my truck that every mile of especially rough road riding counts. I guess that the TW tire is not a mass market commodity that is why it is relatively expensive.



    Thanks Ronnydogby. We don't have that product here but will ask the guys what they have in the Yamaha workshop and a compatible emergency can for flat.



    You are right on the money about safety Tom. Have been spending more on this than ever of late and am investing in a new helmet which is on its way and will share that product research on another thread.



    Malcolm

  9. #8
    Senior Member RodneyReed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peruano View Post
    remember the rubber part is the only one that touches the road when you are moving


    Normally.

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