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Display Mesage #101413

Transitioning to the Dark Side - a Detailed Log
Written by timdearborn on 3/18/2011 at 02:07 am

Purpose: I put a car tire on my back wheel 2 days ago. I hope to provide a
detailed post of the experience, good and bad, in order to provide as much
information as possible for those considering a similar move.

Disclaimer: Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. You can die. Putting a car tire
on the back of a motorcycle is dangerous. You can die. If you go down in a
blazing ball of fire, tell your next of kin not to blame me. You are
responsible for your own actions. Enough said.

Background: I am in my 40's and a relatively new motorcycle rider. While I
have 40,000 miles logged on a bicycle, I have only been riding the motorized
version for 1 1/2 years. 6K of my 10K miles experience is on my Pacific Coast.
I am a conservative rider. The only time I ever scraped anything on the
pavement was when I dropped my PC 15 minutes after buying it, but that's another
story. I live in Illinois. I spend 95% of my time with the bike straight up.
Our idea of twists here are entrance ramps. I was previously riding on Dunlops.

Removal of the Wheel: I purchased a BFGoodrich Radial TA P155/80R-15 tire from through one of their many local stores in my area
for about $86. There is a great write-up on removing the rear tire at - except the rear axle
is a 27mm nut. I following these directions, removed my rear wheel without too
much difficulty.

Seating the Bead Round #1: A local no-name motorcycle shop said they would
remove the old tire and put the new one on for $40. After they worked on the
wheel for quite some time, they were unable to seat one side of the bead
completely - about 3 inches was not seated. They said they went up to 100 psi
and used lube. They dropped the charge to $30, but I had an unfinished wheel.
(Not going back there again). I left the tire at 60 psi overnight. No luck.

Seating the Bead Round #2: I took the wheel to Discount Tire, the store I bought
the tire from. They reapplied lube, put the tire in a cage, and went up to all
of 70 psi a number of times. No luck, but no charge.

Seating the Bead Round #3: I then took the tire to a no-name warehouse that
worked on truck tires. The guy there was about to apply the typical pasty black
lube, but then promptly stopped, went in the back to mix something, and came
back out with a liquid the consistency and color of water, but the smell of a
strong chemical (sorry I don't know what it was). He squirted this unknown
liquid all over the tire and rim liberally. Then (after unscrewing the valve
innards), he applied an air hose several times, letting the air go in and out,
watching the sides of the tire carefully. After a few minutes of this, the tire
seated. Yea! Charge - $5. I do not know what

Installation of the Wheel: Installation of the rear wheel was uneventful. I
greased the splines and axle while re-installing. I set the tire pressure of
the wheel to 32 psi, as recommended by other posts on this forum.

Riding First Impressions: Now the subjective part. I have been riding on the
new car tire for 2 days and about 50 miles. My first impression was how
"un-different" things were. The ride and handling was 90% the same as before.
I will go on to describe some differences in handling and feel, but keep in mind
that these are on the "subtle" scale, not the "oh my gosh - this is a different
bike" scale.

Riding straight: The bike feels more steady - well, actually, rock solid
steady. The bike "wants" to stay up straight. This is probably the biggest
difference in handling and applies to all of the below categories as well.

Starting a curve: No difference

Holding a curve: You must maintain a slight pressure on the inside handle bar
throughout the curve. To repeat the above, the bike "wants" to stay up
straight, where as before the bike would tend to stay in whatever position you
put it in. This is similar to how a car steering wheel wants to straighten out
when you are in the middle of a curve. Only a light pressure is needed to keep
the bike leaned into the curve, not any more than was needed to initiate the
turn to begin with.

In the midst of the turn, traction seemed to be every bit as much as when on the
motorcycle tire, if not more. It did not feel like I was riding on a "knife's
edge" (something I am sensitive to), but instead felt every bit as steady as the
previous tire. Keeping the tire down to 32 psi may be a factor here.

Finishing the curve: The bike will pop up a little faster than before - (the
bike "wants" to stay up straight).

Riding on uneven pavement at slow speed: I tend to feel the bumps and
unevenness of the very poor pavement in front of my house more. The bike
handles it well; it is not unsettling, but the tire does let you know that
things are not smooth beneath it.

Riding at high speed: Not much difference, other than the bike feels more

Riding at high speed with 25 mph crosswind: The bike seemed easier to handle in
a crosswind, and does not feel like an elephant on a rolling log like it felt
previously in a strong wind.

Riding on tar-snake cracks: I don't notice this as much as I did with the other

Riding on longitudinally grooved pavement: No experience yet.

Riding on grated bridges: No experience yet.

Riding on gravel/off road: Do you think this is a dirt bike??

I will update this post in another month or two, after I have more experience on
the C.T. Please add your own dark-side experiences to the thread, especially if
they are different or if they can add more detail.

Message Thread for message #101413