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Tire Question - Extremely quick tire wear? or?

568 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  LDH
Had a major issue yesterday and I'm trying to better understand it.

I've run Michelin Road series (sport tourning) tires for quite a while. Last set I bought the "Power 5s" (sportbike tires) which was not what I intended but I got a good deal and went ahead. I've gotten really good mileage from the Road tires. I got 18k miles (!!!) out of the Road 4 that was on the bike previously.

When I installed the Power 5s, I started playing with air pressures as I had previously run them at the factory spec 36/42. I settled at 34 front, 37 rear. I'd go up to 39 in the back when I was loaded for a trip and 40-42 on the rear when riding 2 up. (still playing with this)

So... new Power 5s installed 6100 miles ago. 2 up riding (380 pound total load) has been maybe 500 miles at most. Maybe 1000 miles loaded for a trip through the Appalachians. I have just done brakes (last week) front and rear and examined the tires in the process looking at the developing flat spot in the middle and it wasn't getting too bad. I seriously had no thoughts of unusual/excessive tire wear or pending replacement.

Saturday, set the pressure at 40/35, jacked up the rear preload/dampening, and took off for a day trip on 2 lane roads. All is well.

150 miles later while driving slowly through a small town, the bike felt really mushy/sloppy/"something's wrong". I pulled over and noticed a flat rear. Shucks... Got it into a driveway and found this.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread


It goes without saying that this scared the sh*t out of me. Moments before, my wife and I were happily blasting along the curvy country roads having a ball.

I recognize that the Power 5s are softer than the tires I've run in the past. But, even so, isn't it a bit extreme to go from "OK" to burned through the carcass in 150 miles? I've got a Road 6 on order to replace it. The Power 5 on the front looks OK with plenty of tread in the slots to either side of the center. I'm spooked. I'm debating replacing the front even though it looks OK.

The bike has 58k miles. I'm old and slow. No burnouts, no sliding stops, air pressure check every ride. Can anyone help explain this? Is this typical/expected for sportbike tires?

Thanks in advance.

(PS - The good part is I ended up at a farmhouse. An elderly gentlemen was happy to allow me to park in front of his shop, offered an air hose and, when we knew it would have to be trailered, offered to drive my wife and I the 30 miles home. Great conversation including talk of his house which was built in 1809. Really nice guy. They're really good people out there. 馃槉)
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Whoa! 150 mile (+6100)? I think that the James Webb Space Telescope is about
to prove everything that we think we know about motorcycle tires to be wrong.

I got low mileage like that on my ZX10R rears on a regular basis, from the get go.
WAY too much tire pressure
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loaded 2 up, maybe 34 in the rear. Day to day single rider not much load 26-28 in the front 28-30 in the rear.
loaded 2 up, maybe 34 in the rear. Day to day single rider not much load 26-28 in the front 28-30 in the rear.
Not arguing with you but what kind of riding do you do? I don't push it anywhere near the capabilities of the bike. If you are, then that would help explain your "cold" pressures being in the high 20 range. I've not seen anyone claim to run pressures in the mid-20s. Have you checked your "hot" pressures? Thanks...
My Michelin agent/tyre shop insists I should run 36/40 in Road 5s.

The Powers are reputedly softer and stickier than the Roads - I wonder if the final bit of wear just snuck up on on you. I never got 6100mi out of Pirellis or Contis - took switching to the Roads to get a decent kind of mileage.
Not arguing with you but what kind of riding do you do? I don't push it anywhere near the capabilities of the bike. If you are, then that would help explain your "cold" pressures being in the high 20 range. I've not seen anyone claim to run pressures in the mid-20s. Have you checked your "hot" pressures? Thanks...

The fact that there is such a tiny strip worn out leads me to believe excessive pressures balooning the center of the tire making for such a small contact patch.

While the powers will def run out quicker than the roads, it shouldnt be that much.
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My Michelin agent/tyre shop insists I should run 36/40 in Road 5s.

The Powers are reputedly softer and stickier than the Roads - I wonder if the final bit of wear just snuck up on on you. I never got 6100mi out of Pirellis or Contis - took switching to the Roads to get a decent kind of mileage.
Sincere question.
On what basis does the shop insist?
Per Michelin, whose numbers, are typically liability numbers based on the required pressure for the tire to be able to meet to it's max load rating?
Something different about the design?
From their "riding on them" based experience?
The fact that there is such a tiny strip worn out leads me to believe excessive pressures balooning the center of the tire making for such a small contact patch.

While the powers will def run out quicker than the roads, it shouldnt be that much.
I was thinking the same thing.
So... my trusty pressure gauge was reading 3 psi low. That means I was running 45 (!!!) before I started playing with air pressure and had dropped down to 40 instead of the 37 I thought. So... yea.... I just bought a new JACO digital and, well, there it is.

On a brighter note, just got my new Road 6 installed on the back and balanced it to within less than a 1/4 oz.

Check your gauges, kids.
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Good catch - straightforward solution, too.
So... my trusty pressure gauge was reading 3 psi low. That means I was running 45 (!!!) before I started playing with air pressure and had dropped down to 40 instead of the 37 I thought. So... yea.... I just bought a new JACO digital and, well, there it is.

On a brighter note, just got my new Road 6 installed on the back and balanced it to within less than a 1/4 oz.

Check your gauges, kids.

45 cold means you were probably up near 50+ warmed up.

Definitely play around with tire pressures and see how things change from cold and various loads/speeds. When I had my 919 and ran roads (id get a set of powers new, wear out the rear pretty quick then put a road on and the front and rear would then end their life about the same time) I would run the same PSI in the roads as I did the powers.

My super tenere which is 100 lbs heavier and has skinnier tires (110 width front, all of a 150 width rear) than the 919 - I still only run ~ 32 front 34 rear cold with just me single up and no load on it.
Stop Engine Braking too. Every single time you bang a down shift and let the engine braking occur it causes the rubber to roll backwards off the tire drastically reducing tire life.

Anyone can see this for themselves. Next time you are coming off the interstate on an exit ramp. Aggressively bang every down shift and let the engine slow you down through the gears. When you come to a stop and the end, IMMEDIATELY get off and look at the rear tire and you will see thousands of tiny little rolls of rubber in the middle of the tire.
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Additionally I do tire gauge checks against a calibrated air source. Just send me the gauge you want checked and I will verify not only accuracy, but also verify that it is consistent. I have seen some tire gauges that are spot on at 21 psi, but 3lbs off at 30psi etc... I have also witnessed $450 liquid filled gauges that are 6lbs off right out of the box.
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For sure, what use is a gauge that doesn't provide accuracy and repeatability across the required range of use!

Additionally I do tire gauge checks against a calibrated air source. Just send me the gauge you want checked and I will verify not only accuracy, but also verify that it is consistent. I have seen some tire gauges that are spot on at 21 psi, but 3lbs off at 30psi etc... I have also witnessed $450 liquid filled gauges that are 6lbs off right out of the box. View attachment 159668
Thanks everyone. I found the issue when I bought a JACO digital. Then the JACO aligned, perfectly, with a dial type gauge on a tire filler I bought for my wife/daughter. Then, to back it up, I purchased a replacement gauge from Measureman (identical to the JACO) that matched the other 2. So... now I've got 3 gauges reading the same.

Funny thing, when digital gauges first came out they were considered unreliable compared to a traditional type and as much a novelty as anything else. Technology has caught up and now the opposite is true.

Now, I'm off to play more games with tire pressure knowing exactly where I am and knowing I've got another 3 psi to play with as I compared my pressures to what others are using. Has anyone else used the "10-20" rule? That is, after running, the target is a 10% increase in not pressure on the front and a 20% increase in pressure in the rear. Adjust pressures to create heat buildup to hit the target hot pressure increase. I read it on a sport touring site and had never heard of it.
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law of averages trumps science I suppose...
Stop Engine Braking too. Every single time you bang a down shift and let the engine braking occur it causes the rubber to roll backwards off the tire drastically reducing tire life.

Anyone can see this for themselves. Next time you are coming off the interstate on an exit ramp. Aggressively bang every down shift and let the engine slow you down through the gears. When you come to a stop and the end, IMMEDIATELY get off and look at the rear tire and you will see thousands of tiny little rolls of rubber in the middle of the tire.
What鈥檚 the difference between engine braking and normal braking as far as a rear tire is concerned? So the key to tire wear is to never apply your brakes?馃お
What鈥檚 the difference between engine braking and normal braking as far as a rear tire is concerned? So the key to tire wear is to never apply your brakes?馃お
Quite a bit in terms of pressure, duration etc, but the rear brake is wholly ineffective at stopping or slowing a motorcycle to begin with and the vast majority of trained motorcyclists riding on the street rarely use the rear brake at all.
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