Time for new shoes for the Harley

I have had my bike since June 5th, 2015.  I remember that date explicitly because it’s my brothers birthday.  Not the 2015 part, just the June 5th part.  In the time I’ve had the bike I have logged 10,560 miles.  There have been some long highway trips, but the vast majority of my riding are trips under 100 miles.  I have taken some trips with my wife on the back, but again, the vast majority of the riding I do is solo.

About 1,000 miles ago (maybe 1,500 miles), I noticed some weirdness coming from the front end of the bike.  It sounded like the tires or bearings were going bad.  This was right before a long trip with a group of friends.  I was really freaked out.  One gentleman explained that it was probably not my bearings.  He diagnosed this after we’d been riding for a few hours.  He simply felt the forks and axle (where the bearings are) and said that if the bearing were going bad, it would be too hot to touch.  Mine were nice and cool.

The other diagnosis was that my tires were going.  After 10,000 miles that’s not unusual.  Maybe early, but considering they’re factory tires (equivalent of the starter ink cartridges you get when you buy a printer) it’s not bad.  It’s longer than the tires I had with my Honda.

The picture I have here is what the dealer tells me is going on.  My tires aren’t “cupped”, but they’re feathering.  Basically, there is a difference in height between the front of the tread groove and the back.   Sorry it’s not a better picture.  I didn’t recognize it when I took the photo and didn’t pay any special attention to it.

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If you’ll notice in the picture, you can pretty much see where the tire is touching the concrete versus where it’s not.  The area where it’s touching is slightly lighter gray versus the slightly darker area where it’s not touching so much.  This causes strange buzzing noises and odd vibrations while riding.  It gets worse with speed and is more noticeable when you are turning or when the bike is leaned over.

So now it’s time for new shoes.  I polled the internet and asked friends and trusted colleagues.  There was actually not as much of a religious was as I though there would be.  I was expecting a “Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux” style  wrestling match.  Instead, there were only three tires anyone called out and the vast majority of people all recommended the Michelin Commander II tires.  Based on what I read about them, they’re going to serve me well for quite a while.

I can’t wait to get the new rubber so I don’t have to deal with the weird noises and sensations from the front of the bike anymore.

I’ll keep you posted.  Friday, September 16th is the day.

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