Why do my tires wear out unevenly? Usually the left side wears out first.

Steve Lythgoe" <steve@sharples.com>, of Sharples Tyres in the UK offers this explanation:

"In countries where you drive on the right, motorcycle tyres will wear more on the left side because of the camber of the road. On a typical straight road, the front tyre is continually turned very slightly to the left in order to keep the bike from dropping down the camber into the kerb/gutter/sidewalk/whatever. This shifts the contact patch to the left of the centre line, and significantly accelerates wear as the tyre is not rolling freely but scrubbing slightly sideways. In contrast, the rear wheel is not steering the bike, and as the rear tyre deforms more readily than the front, the slight inclination of the rear wheel in relation to the plane of the road surface actually has much less effect than at the front."

You might also want to read Paul Glaves, Technical Editor of the BMW Owner's News, take on this issue by clicking here.

What's the proper tire pressure for my RT?

Erik Miner <axeis@pluto.njcc.com> had this to say about tire pressure: "Only run the stock pressures if you want bent wheels and quick wearing tires! But seriously there was a service bulletin last year recommending that pressures be set 3-5 lbs. over what’s in the manual. I run my K12 at 38 front/42 rear . I’d recommend 36 front 40 rear for your R11RT"

Other people have commented:

"Several posts have promoted the use of tire pressures about 5 or so pounds above that recommended in the owners manual, mainly to protect the rims. My manual says 31/36 psi (front/rear)."

"I’ve noticed that the two times I’ve gotten my bike from the dealer (at delivery and after the 600 mile service) the pressures were in the same range, i.e. about 5 psi above the recommended values."

"Supposedly the downside is poorer handling. I don’t know that I’ve noticed it (I don’t run my R11RT around the corners at 10/10ths; maybe 9/10ths with the little experimentation I’ve done with tire pressures. Basically my experience through 4 sets of tires on my RT is that the dealer will inflate to rated pressure, the tire will start to wear (especially scalloping on the front) and inflating to 39/41 or so will stop the problem. I’ve not dented a rim at higher or lower pressures but about 80% of my total miles on the RT (35K) have been at 40 psi or so. Go with the higher pressure, you’ll get much longer life from your skins."

One rider, Bill, considered going even higher for two-up riding:

"I’ve been running 36/42 (front/rear) for 15Kmiles now, but only because I do most of my riding two-up and that’s what the manual recommended. If those pressures are approximately what most of the knowledgeable folks are recommending one-up, should the two-up pressures be upped (to, say, 40/46, for example)?"

Rob Lentini of Tucson, AZ replied: "I’d stick with owner’s manual pressures, Bill. NEVER exceed the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. In the case of your tires, that’s 42 psi. Exceeding this cold inflation pressure invites tire failure. FWIW, I run the stock 32/36 solo pressure, sometimes even less in the front tire since my weight is 140 or so."

"More pressure is not necessarily better with tire inflation. Neither is less. The objective is to get the tire up to its designed operating temperature for best traction and mileage. Low pressure invites overheating and can make the rims more prone to impact damage. High pressure reduces the contact patch, does not allow correct heating of the carcass, and reduces sidewall compliance. Bottom line: Read and follow the owner manual recommendations."

Nick Neuhaus <nanco@IDT.NET> of New York City replied "I am sorry, but I have to disagree with Rob. I have BT50’s front and rear and run 38 front and 42 rear, all the time, whether riding solo, with luggage or two-up. I weigh 235 naked. With leathers, boots, helmet and all the junk in my pockets the riding weight must be at least 250. I bent two front rims in potholes when I was using factory pressure and it cost me about $850 to replace the front wheel/tire. Since I upped the pressure I have had no more problems. The ride is a little harsher but I can live with it. Maybe in the well-maintained AZ roads the recommended pressures are good for Rob. But here in Pot Hole City, I feel safer maxing out the pressures. Furthermore if what Rob says about the effects of under/over inflation is true, and I believe it is, then I would wager that if I could readily measure the tire surface making contact with the road at his 32/36 at 140 and my 38/42 at 250, we would be pretty close in total source area."

I bent my front wheel. Where can I get it fixed?

Barry ('95 K75S) noted: "Many people on the "big list" speak well of Tim Bond"

Charlie Morrison <cmorrison@peganet.com> of Ft Myers, Fl said: " I just had a front wheel straightened by Tim Bond, WireWheels MC Service. The work was excellent and he was very cooperative with a quick turn around because I had an upcoming trip. He was highly recommended when I asked the same question on the list and I also recommend him. His web page is http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/WireWheels and His phone number is 606-873-6686"

People on the West Coast have spoken highly of David Moore Wheel Service in Rosemead California. He does not have a web page, but his phone number is 818-280-9815.