Making sure my ride is safe

I really enjoy riding my bike, even if it’s just  commuting to work. You can tell how much I enjoy it: I put about 10,000-12,000 miles on my bike every year.

I also spend a fair bit of time laying in my driveway, working on this or that. I do my own oil changes and as much maintenance as I can. Changed out the brake lines and changed the brake fluid.  Getting ready to take all the tupperware off and change the plugs and air filter.

Last week, I discovered I had a flat tire, and in short order discovered the cause: a screw right through the face of the tire. I thought about patching it, or even plugging it, but wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about trusting my life and limbs to a tire I wasn’t sure of. Then it occurred to me that I had purchased a road hazard warranty.

It turned out that the road hazard would pay for about $70 on a new tire, and I upgraded a bit, so after mounting and balancing, I handed over a cool $200, and a few days later they got my tire in and mounted it and balanced it. Or so I thought. Seems you need a special balancer for wheels that mount on a single-sided swing arm (i.e., BMW & Ducati). Easy to change the tire, not so easy to balance it. 

So right now, I’ve got an unbalanced rear tire. At 65-75 mph, it feels sort of like riding a fish. There’s a side-to-side oscillation that has nothing to do with my input, nor with the road surface. If you’ve ever towed a trailer that’s been loaded too light on the tongue, you have an idea what I’m feeling. It’s like someone is pulling back and forth on my trailer hitch while I’m riding down the highway.

The easy solution is Dyna Beads, those ceramic wonders that you dump in your tire and they automatically balance the tire. I’ve driven with Dyna Beads in my Goldwing tires for 2 years now, and I have no complaints, but the physics elude me. It’s sort of like believing in magic. I get a sense of how my father felt when he was dowsing for water. He constantly muttered to himself, “There’s no scientific reason why this should work,” yet it always did.

So I’ve got a question, and a challenge. Is there anybody out there who understands the science of how Dyna Beads work? Everyone I know has had good experiences with them… is there anyone with a horror story?  I’d love to know.

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2 Comments

Filed under Equipment safety, Motorcycle Safety, Tires

2 responses to “Making sure my ride is safe

  1. Thank you for every other excellent article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal approach of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.

    • You might check out a book called “Blue Threat,” by Tony Kern. It’s a book about Threat and Risk Management in aviation, but it’s easily applicable to nearly any activity. Or just Google “Threat and Risk Management.”

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