Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A tired old subject

It seems that every time you think you've done all you need to for vehicle maintenance for a while, something else comes up. Last week, I happened to look at the front tire on the Honda and noted an interesting tread wear pattern. 

For those who are unaware, this is called "cupping" or "scalloping." For more information on this phenomenon, there is a good discussion of it here. For those who do not at this very moment wish to follow the link, cupping occurs due to the force of the tread against the road surface, which pulls the edge of the tread surfaces up or otherwise forces the tread to be moved around. The close-up below shows this in better detail on my old Dunlop. 

Cupping on the front is generally caused by the stresses of braking, particularly heavy braking, while on the rear it would be caused by the stresses of acceleration. This can be worsened by improper inflation, though in my case, I've kept the air pressures fairly consistent, checking them at least once a week. The most frustrating thing about this is that the tire still had less than 7,000 miles on it when I noticed the cupping. 

So I bought another Michelin to replace the Dunlop. I have to say, I like my city grips. Even before the resin wore off the new front tire, the difference in grip and lean-ability of the scoot was evident. Just replacing the rear last month made a difference, but with the front changed now as well, the scoot feels noticeably different.

Tire condition and quality doesn't seem to be the focus of many motorists. Most people only get new tires when they absolutely have to. For a motorcyclist or scooterist, we have such a small contact patch on our tires "where the rubber meets the road" that overlooking tire condition can be life threatening. This is important, especially on the front where the rubber patch is generally the smallest and the braking force is the greatest. 

So, it's safe to say I'm sold on Michelin City Grips. They seem to be a very good tire. Dunlop, not so much.

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