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check your tires often!!!

This area is for sharing Maintenance Procedures & Information related to the Yamaha Virago Wheels & Brakes.

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Posts: 279
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:31 pm
Location: Oakland CA
What Virago you Own: 1995 XV1100. My dad has a 1996 XV535. I also ride a 2008 SV650S and 2004 Yamaha TTR125. Currently restoring a 50cc Yamaha Champ moped

check your tires often!!!

Post by jsyzdek » Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:32 pm

I check my vehicles (2 or 4 wheelers alike) before each ride. Walk around, "kick the tires", all that good stuff. I'm particularly thorough when going on a longer trip.

Well, a week ago on Sunday I drove 400 miles along the pacific coast, driving south on Hwy1. It started off misty and gloomy, but then was just gorgeous for the remainder of the trip. Hundreds of miles of never ending twists. I still had plenty of tread on the rear tire when I left home. When I arrived there, there was still some tread left, but I thought to myself: I should probably shop for a new tire when I come back home.

Well, on Friday I drove back. It was >100F in the hottest spots, and I took an even longer route, through the mountains west of I-5, until I reached the coast around noon, and then continued north on Hwy1. The heat was less, but all along the 500 mile ride I had a lot of headwind, or crosswind. I mean A LOT.

I was 20 miles away from home, cruising at ~80mph when all of sudden I felt like I'm doing a drift race. Immediately rolled off the throttle and pulled to the side using my front brake. The rear tire was used up all the way through, with all three layers of the white fibers showing and a nice hole eroded through them, letting the air out.

AAA picked me up and dropped off at home.

Lessons learned:
1) check the tires not only before the ride, but at each gas stop, especially when it seems like the end is near
2) Dunlop 404s are really soft, and it seems they only get softer as they get used up. I had great cornering grip on the cheap, but the tire was completely gone after 4,512 miles and just over 2 years. And yes, the manufacturing date was only 2 months older than the purchase date.
3) I still have plenty of tread on the front tire so I decided to go with a 150/90-15 from Dunlop (404) so that I have the same kind of rubber on both wheels; 150/90 has a max load of 827 lb vs. 739 of the stock size (140/90). I'm hoping this will give me at least a little more longevity given that the bike is mostly ridden 2-up, or with luggage. I know, gas mileage may get better, too.
4) after both front and rear are due for replacement, I'll go with something better. I didn't expect 20k miles out of these, but I was really surprised to see a tire go from a little tread left to absolutely no rubber left, in less than 500 miles. Granted, lots of wind, lots of heat, and I'm not exactly easy on the throttle, but still...

Gladly it didn't blow up and I was able to handle it without any damage to personnel or equipment, and so I felt like I should share the experience.

All that said, if you have never taken the Pacific Coast Highway, you should do it at least once, and now I also feel that way about the highways running through the mountains separating the coast and the central valley. What a variety of landscapes! The views are breathtaking, and the roads are very much free from any traffic. I had a blast, despite the unfortunate end on the shoulder with a flat, worn-out tire.
Keep Calm and Ride On!

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Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:55 am
Location: Norge
What Virago you Own: 1982 XV750 with XV1100 engine, Seca rear wheel, XT600Z shock, Seca 650 fuel tank

Re: check your tires often!!!

Post by faffi » Fri Jul 01, 2022 4:30 pm

Most tires suffer accelerated wear near the end of life. Glad you avoided an accident there, as it could have turned nasty!

Highest wear I have recorded is 2 mm of thread in just 200 miles. That was on the back of a Suzuki GS550, ridden on a winding road covered with coarse tarmac (not asphalt). The tire was a Pirelli Phanthom +28 SuperComp, and not only did it wear fast, it did not grip nearly as well as the much longer lasting Michelin M48 I usually fitted my bikes with back in the 80s.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a motorcycle.

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