If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 10 September 2010

Nother New Tyre

Last month, I replaced the rear tyre of the Bonneville. My usual habit is to try to replace my tyres in a 2:1 ratio, that is one new front tyre for every two rears. I prefer to keep the tyres matched as to manufacturer and type, so if I want to try out a different make of tyre I generally wait until I have to replace both. It's not a perfect system, and I sometimes end up binning a tyre with a bit of wear left, but that's no bad thing. Tyres (along with brakes) are something I never compromise on.

When I ordered the new rear tyre, the front one seemed OK, but silly boy here didn't measure it properly, and it was anything but. Although the tread looked clean and crisp, in fact it was down to 2mm. The handling had also deteriorated, with an interesting wobble setting in while slowing down at about 45 mph. I decided to replace the front as well. Best price was again pneus-online, so they got the business. It was delivered while I was in Ireland (left in the greenhouse as per my note on the front door, which was a pleasant surprise), but I've been too busy to fit it until now.

Tyre fitting gets easier with practice. This time it took me an hour to take off the wheel, remove the old tyre and mount the new one. Two things made the process a lot easier:

Talc: dusted liberally on the inner tube before slipping it back inside the tyre ready to mount. This makes the inner tube slippery and lets it shrug itself into a comfortable position inside the tyre, preventing twists and creases, and reducing the risk of pinching as you lever the cover back into place.

Window Cleaner: I used Mr Muscle Window Cleaner, but any spray cleaner will do. It has the benefit of being incredibly slippery when it is sprayed on something, but evaporates to nothing within seconds. Spray round the edge of the tyre and on the metal rim, and the tyre slips over it easily. Keep re-applying, as it is volatile.

Bad light stopped play at this point, so left it at that. Today I balanced the wheel, and then removed the front mudguard and cleaned it up, and painted a liberal coat of Waxoyl onto the underside. The paint underneath had already started to bubble, so I hope I have arrested its decline for a while. The visible surface of the paint still looks like new. I also gave the brake caliper a good clean with brake cleaner and a toothbrush. Although I didn't set out consciously to do this, I find I am winterising the bike. Everything I do to it, I am thinking about cold and wet and road salt and harsh conditions. Funny how only a few weeks ago we were crowing about two dry weekends in a row!

It's been pouring down all afternoon, so I will probably finish this off tomorrow. All I have to do is remount the wheel and the brake. Shouldn't take long.


  1. My usual habit is to try to replace my tyres in a 2:1 ratio, that is one new front tyre for every two rears.

    Same here, albeit with 4 wheels not 2.

    So I was a bit miffed last week to find that my system fails if the manufacturer runs out of rear tyres in my size when the fronts still have 5mm left, for a car that must (must) have matching tyres.

    so it was bye bye beer fund :-( but better than slithering off sideways into the nearest hedge :-)

  2. Sorry to hear that. I'm a bit anal about tyres, bike or car. They must match, they must be undamaged, and they must be legal. I once ruined a tyre on the Mondeo (watching a pretty arse in the supermarket car park, ran over a kerb). When I got to ATS, the fitter noticed a nail in the other rear, and then we both reckoned the fronts were near the limit, so I ended up 4 tyres to the good and about £400 down.

    I'm surprised the place ran out of tyres, though. The Bridgestone 020s that I used to need for the Pan (one of only two tyres certified for fitment to that bike) were still readily available with a bit of hunting around, even two years after they had finished production.

    Think positive - all that beer would have made you fat anyway.

  3. Oh - I agree. Tyres are hugely important.

    These are 911 tyres - 295/30, 18", Porsche-approved. I started looking in May, and by September was still being told that no-one, no-where had any, that no-one could find any in the UK at all! So Bridgestone had to come to the rescue.

    The other positive is that I have a new excuse - "I have to go for a blat, to see whether & how the Bridgestones are different to the Michelins" :-)

  4. I am a big fan of Bridgestones. I had a pair on my big, heavy Honda, and they were excellent. Completely stable, sticky to the limits of the ground clearance in the dry, and very confident in the wet. Lasted well, too.

  5. I'm certainly liking them so far!


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