This year marks the 100th Veteran’s Day we’ll explain why

First of all, AMERiders wants you to Thank a Veteran This Veterans Day for Their Sacrifice and Service to our Country. Show them how appreciated they are. Sunday is Veterans Day. This annual event often gets overlooked on the calendar in the run-up to Thanksgiving and the December holidays. But this Veterans Day is special. It’s the 100th anniversary of the unofficial end of World War I.

A Bit about Veteran’s Day

The actual peace treaty wasn’t signed until later, but November 11, 1918 — at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — is when a truce called an armistice (pronounced ARM-iss-tiss) was signed and the fighting stopped.

One year later, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 Armistice Day. Other countries did the same, some calling it Remembrance Day. In this country, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

World War I was one of history’s largest wars. Most of the fighting was in Europe, but 30-plus countries took part, including the United States. More than 29 million soldiers worldwide died or were wounded, and an estimated 13 million civilians died — a horrific toll that led to it being branded “the war to end all wars.”

A poster for all

100th Anniversary
Adam Grimm’s design won this year’s poster competition. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

Each year, a U.S. competition is held to design a poster for Veterans Day. The winning entry appears on pins and on the cover of the program for a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

This year’s theme, “The War to End All Wars,” drew about 80 entries. Adam Grimm, whose design won, kept it simple. His poster has a large red poppy, the worldwide symbol for remembering World War I (see box); barbed wire to show the brutality of the war; and the pink hue of a rising or setting sun, showing the passage of time.

Two holidays of honor

100th Anniversary
A way to remember the difference Memorial has the same as Memory in it, Memorial=Memory which is to remember.

Many Americans confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day, another U.S. holiday related to the military.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in the 1860s following the Civil War. After World War I, its meaning changed. It honors U.S. military who died in any conflict, and it is observed on the last Monday in May.

Veterans Day also reflects a new meaning from the original Armistice Day, which honored all who served in World War I, but especially those who died. By 1954, the United States had fought in World War II and the Korean War. Lawmakers decided to rename the day to honor all American military, past and present, whether they served in war or peace.

In the 1970s, Veterans Day was observed on the fourth Monday in October so workers could have a three-day weekend. But it was an unpopular change. Many people liked the holiday’s connection to the armistice signing. So, since 1978, U.S. veterans have been officially honored on November 11.

I personally look at it this way someone can use this little helper to use it as a way to remember the difference between the two Memorial has the same as Memory in it, Memorial=Memory which is to remember.   

So make sure to honor and thank a vet on this 100th Anniversary of Veteran’s Day

The poppies of Flanders

100th Anniversary
Military officers and artist Paul Cummings, far right, place the last ceramic poppy in the moat of Tower of London to mark Armistice Day, on November 11, 2014, in London, England. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row . . .

In 1915, a Canadian doctor and soldier, mourning a friend’s death in battle in the Flanders region of Belgium, wrote a poem noting how quickly poppies grew around the soldiers’ graves. The bright red wildflowers were a sign of life in a bleak landscape.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” (the opening lines are printed above) became very popular, and the red poppy became a sign of remembrance. People started wearing silk poppies to honor the war dead. To mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war, 888,000 ceramic poppies filled the moat at the Tower of London in 2014.

Arlington remembers

Arlington National Cemetery hosts a free public ceremony every Veterans Day. It starts at 11 a.m. with a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Shuttle buses begin running at 8 a.m.

Three unidentified Americans from different wars are buried at the site. A large marble box rests atop the grave of the World War I Unknown. There used to be four graves, but because of advances in medicine and science, the Vietnam Unknown was identified in 1998 and reburied elsewhere.

Here is a way you can commemorate the 100th anniversary

in school we have all been taught and learned about the many millions of soldiers and civilians that were killed in World War I, a global conflict so devastating that, at the time, it was known as “the war to end war.” On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, the world will mark the 100th anniversary of its end — the fighting stopped at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — and the day will be commemorated around Washington with exhibits, tours, and events. Here is a selection of some you can attend if you are in the area:

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington has many ties to World War I, including the Tomb of the Unknowns, which was erected to hold the remains of a soldier from World War I; the Argonne Cross Memorial, dedicated to Americans buried in France; and memorials to chaplains and nurses who served in the war. On Veterans Day, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by a program in the Memorial Amphitheater. Sunday at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery, 1 Memorial Dr., Arlington. Gates open at 8 a.m. Visitors are encouraged to get there by 9:30 a.m. Free.

Library of Congress

“Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences in World War I” is a hefty multimedia exhibition that tells the story of the war on both sides of the Atlantic through restored film footage, vintage maps, and photographs, soldiers’ letters home and the diaries of Gen. John J. Pershing. Through Jan. 21, 2019, at the Library of Congress, 10 First St. SE. Free. Note: The library is closed on Sundays, including Veterans Day. On Saturday, the library will host a symposium, “The Road Back: Veterans and Literary Writing,” which includes tours, a panel discussion and a film screening.

National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian’s major commemoration of the Great War is a day-long event that will include reenactors; 15-minute “lightning talks” on how the war changed American society; displays of historic objects that are usually kept in storage; and hands-on family activities. The museum’s theater will screen veteran-related films all weekend, and there are multiple World War I exhibits, including “Uniformed Women in the Great War” and “Advertising War: Selling Americans on World War I.” Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the National Museum of American History, 12th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free, except for the film screenings.

Pershing Park

It might come as a surprise to visitors to Washington that there’s no national memorial to World War I: The temple-like shrine on the Mall is dedicated only to veterans who hailed from the District of Columbia. Plans are afoot, however, to turn Pershing Park — which features a statue of General of the Armies John J. Pershing — into a national memorial. Organizers will be hosting a “first look” preview in Pershing Park, with discussions about the roles Native Americans, women, and minorities played in the war; live music; and a World War I film festival. Through Monday at Pershing Park , 15th and E streets NW. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Events are free, but some require reservations.

Woodrow Wilson House

When World War I broke out, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson was determined to keep America neutral; his successful 1916 reelection campaign even used the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.” (Five months later, however, he asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany.) Wilson purchased a house in Kalorama after leaving office, which is now a museum and memorial. On Veterans Day, tours of the house will be offered every hour on the hour. Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St. NW. Adults $5-$10, children younger than 12 free. Admission is free for veterans and their families on Sunday.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

100th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on 100th Anniversary of Veteran’s Day

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

Harley-Davidson’s Electric Lady the LiveWire Debuts in Italy

This past Labour Day weekend, at the company’s 115th-anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson unveiled the production prototype of its first electric lady, the LiveWire. Since then, Harley fans and detractors have been eagerly awaiting more information about this all-new innovation from the all-American motorbike manufacturer. EICMA was set to be the platform for the model’s official debut and we were excited to learn more about the long-awaited e-bike. The press release did reveal more. Well, sort of. Mostly, it’s about the wording. We here at AMERiders are here to give you a bit of information on the pretty lady and even a sound clip too.

In a bid to spread their wings and expand their demographic, “Harley-Davidson intends to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and is aggressively, but wisely, investing in electric vehicle technology.”  ‘Aggressive but wise.’ Let’s just leave that there, shall we?

The LiveWire will boast incredible torque—available immediately. Since there’s no clutch or gear-shifting, a simple twist of the throttle connects bike and rider with instant acceleration from the “permanent magnet electric motor” which is also purposely situated at a lower center of gravity to improve agile handling. Like, really low.

LiveWire

The stiffer chassis makes for a more responsive ride and the adjustable suspension will improve control. Add to that Brembo front brakes, ABS, traction control and some fancy tires for increased confidence.

If you’re thinking that the aforementioned “features” sound familiar, you’re right. So let’s move on.

Included on the “color touchscreen TFT (thin-film-transistor) display” are 7 selectable riding modes. Yup, you read that right: four stock, three custom. Someone will need to fill this writer in on how many different, identifiable riding situations require this much attention to detail. After all, we are still riding a Harley here.

In keeping with a strict tradition, Harley has made sure all eyes are drawn to the motor. “Its bright case and mechanical, the muscular shape is meant to convey the power it contains,” they brag. That said, it’s a good-looking machine and very different from its gas-consuming relatives. Much more café than a cruiser, this sporty little bike is clearly looking for attention from a different crowd.

LiveWire

No word on how much the LiveWire will weigh nor how much weight it will lift from your wallet, though suspicions abound that they will both be high. Oh, and the sound? Rumor has it, that in 2015, the prototype model that was making the rounds sounded a bit like a jet engine. Harley words it differently: “The gear set between the motor and the drive belt has been designed to produce a tone that increases in pitch and volume with speed, producing an exciting aural response to speed and acceleration.” Again: “exciting aural response.”

They revealed a bit more at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. The bike on display at the show sports the same modern sporty design of the concept, with a trellis frame, mono-shock rear suspension and a low-slung electric motor painted silver to draw attention to it. Power and range still haven’t been announced, but the LiveWire will be compatible with Level 3 DC fast chargers, which should be able to recharge its battery pack in just a few minutes.

LiveWire

The bike rides on adjustable Showa shock absorbers and uses Brembo front brakes. It has a digital instrument cluster and seven drive modes to modify its performance, with four fixed settings and three that are customizable. Harley-Davidson did not detail what characteristics they affect, but the motorcycle does feature traction control and anti-lock brakes.

And while most electric vehicles strive to be as silent as possible, Harley-Davidson has reconfirmed that the belt-driven LiveWire will have a signature sound. It won’t be very loud, or the “potato-potato” that its famous twins are known for, but “a tone that increases in pitch and volume with speed.” Here’s a taste:

I am sorry but with the way it sounds, you know someone is gonna say… ” I want one in Tron Blue”

Full specifications and pricing for the LiveWire are expected to be announced in January. Harley-Davidson plans to follow it up with a line of smaller electric motorcycles.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Memorial Day
LiveWire

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Harley-Davidson’s Electric Lady the LiveWire.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

How to Read Motorcycle Tire Wear and Tire Date Codes

When it comes to motorcycle safety, AMERiders knows that the tires you use are an integral part of keeping your bike on the road. Everything from the type of tire and the tread can affect its ability to stay on the road, and its age plays a role as well. The rule of thumb is to replace tires when they are 6 years old, even if they appear to be in good condition. This is because the rubber can develop dry rot and other structural damage that you may not be able to see. This article is to help you to know How to Read Motorcycle Tire Wear and Tire Date Codes.

Let’s start with How to Read Motorcycle Tire Wear

Motorcycle Tire WearNo matter what kind of motorcycle you ride, you should always pay attention to the quality of your tires. Whether you’re using slicks, off-road tires or those made for street bikes, you should know how to spot signs of wear. Tires are made of rubber, so every time you ride on the pavement, dirt or other surfaces, the friction erodes the material a bit. Eventually, the tires can grow bald, meaning there is no tread, which may make riding dangerous. This is why it is so important to keep an eye on your motorcycle tire health.

You will want to carefully examine the entire surface of the tire, from the areas that come into contact with the road to the sidewalls.

Treadwear indicator

The first thing you should check is the tire wear indicator (TWI), which is a triangle imprinted on the side of the tire. It points to a line of rubber that is built into the tire that runs across the tread. If you notice this line is level with the top of the tread grooves, you will need to replace the tire.

Other types of wear

Motorcycle Tire Wear can indicate a number of issues. For instance, if the center of the tire is more worn than the edges, the tires may be overinflated. Conversely, underinflated tires will have worn edges. When your tires are underinflated, make sure to keep an eye on the pressure when you refill them. If it drops quickly, you may be dealing with a leak.

When the front tire has more wear than the rear, you may be braking too hard. If the front Motorcycle Tire Wear is mainly on the edges, try to take it easy on the curves, as cornering too hard can put added pressure on this section of the tire.

Tears and cupping, or scallop-like indentations, are other issues you should watch out for. They can be caused by the improper air pressure as well as shock springs or rebound that has been adjusted incorrectly.

Motorcycle Tire Wear Image Gallery

Motorcycle Tire Wear Motorcycle Tire Wear Motorcycle Tire Wear

 

 

Where to find the tire code

So how can you tell when your motorcycle tires reach their sixth birthday? You don’t have to play guessing games to figure it out – the information is all right in front of you, on the sidewall of each tire. Look on the outer sidewall for the acronym “DOT,” which should be followed by a series of numbers. The last four digits are what you need to determine when the tire was manufactured. The first two numbers represent the week, and the second pair indicates the year.

Deciphering the numbers

Motorcycle Tire WearYou may need to grab a calculator to figure out the age of a tire. For example, a tire with the digits 2510 was made in the 25th week of 2010. Instead of grabbing a calendar and counting out the weeks to determine the month, you can simply divide the number of weeks by 4.3. In this case, the tire would have been made in June 2010. To determine the age, you can subtract the manufacture date from the current date, which would make this particular tire 2 years and 7 months old.

When you purchase tires from a dealer, you can expect that they will be between 18 months and 5 years old, so make a note of it to remind yourself when you’ll definitely need to replace them. The sidewall also contains information pertaining to the tire’s width and height as well as the size of the rim, making it easy to find a replacement that will fit.

Veterans Day is on the November 11th lands on a Sunday this year. However, the observed holiday by federal employees will occur on Nov. 12, a Monday. We here at AMERiders honor our Veteran’s and want to thank you for your service. Don’t forget to grab your patriotic items so you are ready. We have plenty for you.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Motorcycle Tire Wear

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on How to Read Motorcycle Tire Wear and Tire Date Codes.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

Have an Electrifying and Spooktakular Halloween as You Boogy down the Road

AMERiders wants you to Have an Electrifying and Spooktakular Halloween as You Boogy down the Road on your Motorcycle to your favorite Haunt for that spooky party tonight. Please make sure to watch out for other ghouls and goblins in their ghoul and spook mobiles as well. We figured we would take a break and give you some tips for trick or treaters, and show off some wacky costumes for Motorcyclists.

Careful of the trick or treaters

halloween

All the little ghouls, goblins, princes, princesses, and other freaky things will be out looking for tricks and treats tonight so make sure you look exceptionally carefully as you ride tonight, moreso than you already do. If you are wanting to keep your trick or treaters safe as well here are a few tips. Some you could even adopt yourself for your own costumes.

-Use face makeup instead of masks. Masks can make it hard to see.
-Give kids a flashlight to light their way.
-Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
-Have everyone wear light-colored clothing.
-Use flame-resistant costumes
-Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance – make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door in neighborhoods.
-It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
-Walk, don’t run.
-Only visit homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
-Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street.
-If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic.
-Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner.
-Don’t cut across yards or use alleys.
-Don’t cross between parked cars.

Use extra caution if driving. The youngsters are excited and may forget to look both ways before crossing.

For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:

halloween

-Light the area well so young visitors can see.
-Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps.
-Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

Motorcyclist Costumes

Some people choose to celebrate Halloween by dressing up, others guzzle copious amounts of candy and/or booze with or without a costume. Others dress up their motorcycles. Here are some of the best and the worst biker and motorcycle Halloween costumes we have seen documented on the net.

Halloween
Spiderman… this guy went all out.

This guy better be a chief or something, because otherwise, he’s going to get pelted (pun intended) by politically-correct white folk. He doesn’t realize he’s being chiefly offensive. (Oh and where are his pants?

halloween

Ironman rides a yellow bike… and can’t see through his helmet.

halloween

You could even fashion your own Storm Trooper suit… or any Star Wars character for that matter. Instantly nerdelicious.

Halloween

Perhaps the Easter bunny is arriving early this year? Although He won’t get far on that little thing…halloween

Or maybe you’d prefer that your motorcycle wears the bunny costume.

Halloween

Slap on a skeleton mask and boom, costume. A veil over your chicks face, ta-daaaa she’s the corpse bride. halloweenPerhaps you’ve not yet found your motorcycle-soul-mate and prefer to go as the night in shining armor on your incredibly chromed out Harley? This would so work on any motorcycle…

Halloween

You just might wanna watch out for the cops and that polearm though… Wouldn’t quite know how to explain that one… There might not be a carry permit for it either. lol.

And there you have it maybe a few bits to give you an idea on a costume if you didn’t have one already. Please stay safe and Have a Happy Halloween.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Memorial Day

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

We at AMERiders hope you Have an Electrifying and Spooktakular Halloween as You Boogy down the Road

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

A Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires That’ll Come in Handy

Last week we started a Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires here is part two of that guide as promised. For a recap….. Motorcycle tires are more than just simple black rubber hoops that keep your wheels from grinding against the trail or road surface. We break them down and give you more information on them, so let’s continue with our A Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires That’ll Come in Handy.

On tubeless tires, it’s also a good practice to replace the valve assemblies, as the rubber deteriorates. Tire pressure monitoring system sending units in the wheels of some high-end, modern bikes should also be checked and their batteries replaced as needed.

Tire Markings Explained

First part of this Guide That’ll Come in Handy is to explain Tire Markings. Older model motorcycles often came with inch-denominated tire sizes, such as a 3.25 x 19 front and a 4.00 x 18 rear. The first number is the tire width in inches (3.25 meaning 3 ¼ inch) and the last number indicates the rim diameter at the bead mounting surface, in inches. Most modern motorcycles use a mixture of metric and inch sizing. With these, the first number indicates the section width in millimeters, the second number indicates the aspect ratio expressed as a percentage, and the last number is the rim diameter in inches. For example, with a 120/60-ZR17 the 120 is the width, the 60 is the aspect ratio, the Z is the speed rating and the R indicates radial.

Handy

Another tire sizing method is the alphanumeric system. These are often found on cruiser tires. Every alphanumeric motorcycle tire will start with an “M.” For example, with an MT90-16 the T indicates the width (which is 130mm, the 90 represents the aspect ratio (aspect ratio is the height of the sidewall expressed as a percentage of the tire’s width) and the wheel diameter (16) is shown in inches. With a radial, there would be a letter “R” between aspect ratio and rim size. Since there is none, this is a bias-ply tire. Were this a bias-belted tire (with additional, stiffening layers over body plies), a letter “B” would be between the aspect ratio and wheel size. Tire width charts are widely available in tire catalogs and online if you need them, but stick with what you have. You have to admit having that information is pretty Handy.

READ MORE: AMERiders Answers the Question: How To Change a Motorcycle Tire?

Load Ratings

Some motorcycle tires are available in a choice of load ratings for a given size. Typically this is the case with rear tires for some of the larger sport-touring machines. Make sure you choose the right tire for your bike, load, and use. Replace your tires with ones that have a load rating at least as high as the old ones for safety.

Tire Dating Explained

The next part of this Guide That’ll Come in Handy is Tire Dating and its explanation. Sorry, there is no such thing as TiresOnly.com (not the type we are talking about anyway because there is a tires only.com) so if you are a single tire, you might want to try the Craigslist Personals… Of course, we’re kidding! When tires are manufactured they have a date stamped into the sidewall. This code is a four-digit number following “DOT” on the sidewall. The first two digits indicate the week the tire was made, and the last two digits indicate the year. For example, 0414 would indicate the fourth week of 2014.Handy

This is important because tires harden and the rubber deteriorates over time, even faster when tires are left out in the sun and weather. Most manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced when they are about six years old. However, tires should also be replaced if any significant sidewall cracks form, even if that is sooner.

Tires and/or bikes should also be stored indoors in a cool, dry place where water cannot collect on the important components and they are protected from the sun. Tires should be stored away from electric generators and motors (because ozone damages rubber) and sources of heat such as hot pipes.

Break-in Period

In order for new tires to provide optimum performance, they should be ridden cautiously for about the first 100 miles in order for the tread surface to be “scuffed-In” and work properly. Immediately after new tires are mounted, sudden acceleration, maximum braking, and hard cornering should be avoided. This will allow the rider to adjust to the feel and handling characteristics of the new tire and for the new tire to be “scuffed-In” correctly in order to achieve optimum grip level. Track riders will scoff at this notion, but we are making this recommendation that you err on the side of caution.

As you can see, tires are more than just round loops of rubber. Not only are they the connection between your motorcycle and the road but they are the difference between having a great day riding and a day you would not soon forget. Take care of your tires and choose your tires styles wisely and if possible, don’t skimp on them. Usually, you get what you pay for.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Memorial Day

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with A Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires That’ll Come in Handy.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

AMERiders Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires

Curious about those round rubber things attached to your wheels? AMERiders Gives you our Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires. Motorcycle tires are more than just simple black rubber hoops that keep your wheels from grinding against the trail or road surface. We will break them down and give you more information on them.

These are state of the art traction providing technology that continues to get better every year, even though the basic concept remains the same as it always has. Tires work so well by providing a cushion of air between your machine and the ground, which give tire its shape, allows them to conform to the surfaces and soak up bumps.

How did Motorcycle Tires come about?

The first part of our Informational Guide is to tell you how they came about. Back in 1887, John Dunlop developed what is considered to be the first practical pneumatic tire for a tricycle, and he received a patent for it on December 7, 1888. Commercial tire production started shortly thereafter in 1890 in Belfast, Ireland. Mr. Dunlop partnered with William DuCros, forming what later became Dunlop Rubber Company. This basic design has remained in use throughout the world for more than a century. Originally, tires were made from natural rubber, and these days virtually all tires today are made from synthetic rubber which is a blend of petroleum, along with chemicals such as sulfur, carbon black and silicone. Tires are built up in stages, starting with the assembly of the cord and belting structure, and after that, rubber is applied and molded, then vulcanized with extreme heat to join it all together and prepare them for use on our favorite motorcycle.

Informational guide

What Motorcycle Tires Do

The next part of our Informational Guide is to tell you what they do. Tires not only provide traction for accelerating, braking and turning but also serve as a part of the suspension. Like we mentioned earlier, the tires soak-up the first part of the impact from bumps, before the fork and shock even begin to work. They are also called upon to perform well in a wide variety of conditions, including extreme heat, cold, and wet.

You actually bet your life on your tires, so aren’t they worth taking a little time and attention for their care and condition? Pay close attention to what your tires are telling you while you’re riding. If steering seems odd or mushy, or if cornering and braking response feels heavy, there’s a good chance your tires are underinflated. Vibration or wobble may also signal that a leak or tire damage has occurred and failure is imminent.

Informational guide

Different Types of Motorcycle Tires is our next part of our Informational Guide.

The two primary types of tires are radial and bias. Within the bias, the category is regular bias and bias belted tires. The bias belted have a more robust construction. The terms Radial and Bias refer to how the internal cords and belts are arranged during the construction of the tire. Essentially, radial belts go straight across the tread at a 90-degree angle from side to side, whereas bias construction has the belts going diagonally across the tread area. This makes for different dynamic characteristics which greatly affect handling, wear, braking and rolling resistance between radials and bias tires.

READ MORE: How You Balance Motorcycle Tires After You’ve Changed Them

Radial tires are a newer design and are widely used on current model motorcycles, while bias tires are used mainly on some cruisers and older motorcycles. In general, radial tires run cooler (leading to longer life), have a stiffer construction (which makes them feel more responsive), and feature sidewalls with a lower aspect ratio, resulting in less flex. Bias-ply tires generally offer a softer, more compliant ride and, typically, a little lower price. Their other main advantage is load-carrying capability. In a given size, you’ll often see a bias rated to handle more weight.

Informational guide

There are also many types of tread designs and patterns. It’s important to select the right tires for your bike and riding style, and a good reason to explain in our Informational Guide. Each type of tire is a compromise, so choose carefully. Generally, tires with large knobby treads are best in loose dirt and off-road use and tend to squirm a lot and wear quickly on pavement. They also don’t have a good grip on hard paved surfaces.

Many dual sport and adventure bikes are fitted with less aggressive open tread patterns which tend to be somewhat better on the pavement and wear better, but they sacrifice traction in loose dirt, sand, and mud. Dual-purpose tires often are sold with a designation such as 50/50 or 90/10, indicating the percentages of traction on pavement vs. dirt. Be realistic with what you plan to actually do, as being wrong in either direction will likely make you unhappy with your choice. Tires used on the street should always have a DOT approval molded into the sidewall.

Informational guide

Street tires generally have a much less-aggressive tread pattern than tires used off-road. Street tires will always have rain grooves to channel water away from the center of the tire in an effort to improve grip and prevent hydroplaning in the wet. Sportbike tires which are designed for use on dry roads and race tracks have fewer rain grooves and therefore sacrifice grip in wet situations.

The fewer grooves typically result in more surface and a potentially slight increase in traction. Avoid using slicks on the street, which are designed for race tracks and have no grooves, as they are illegal and can be dangerous on roads where there are wet patches, puddles, etc. Tires also come in various rubber compounds, which are blended to provide vastly different properties. Generally, tires with softer high-grip rubber tend to wear out faster than tires with harder compounds, so it’s important to understand what a particular tire is designed for before purchasing it. Grip is a great item to discuss in our Informational Guide.

How to Check Your Tires

Tire pressures should be checked frequently and is a good item to discuss in our Informational Guide. Technically, you should check your tire pressure every time before you begin to ride. There are several reasons for that. Tire pressures are supposed to be checked cold, at ambient temperature. As soon as you begin to ride the tires warm up from flexing and contact with the road, and the internal pressure rises. This results in getting a false inaccurate reading if you stop to check pressure, mid-ride at a gas station, for example.

There’s also the obvious safety reason which is the reason for them being discussed in our informational guide. If a tire has picked-up a nail or otherwise is losing pressure, it could cause a crash on the way to the gas station, where you were planning to check tires. We recommend that you find a place on your bike (or carry it in your pocket if there’s no place on the bike) for a tire pressure gauge. Get a good quality gauge, cheap ones tend to be inaccurate.

Informational guide

Look up the recommended tire pressure in the bike’s owner’s manual. Note that many models have different specifications not only for front and rear, but also for low speed and high-speed operation, along with light (solo) and heavy loads, plus passengers. Don’t use the pressure shown on the tire sidewall, unless the bike is at full load because the sidewall pressures shown are maximum pressures.

Replacing Your Tires

Eventually, tires wear out and need to be replaced. Typically the rear tires start to square up, losing their rounded profile, as the center of the tread wears away faster than the shoulders. Front tires generally wear more evenly across their tread but may begin to develop scalloped wear known as cupping. Knobby tires are more obvious as the knobs start to wear, tear or break-off over time.

Inspect your tires for adequate tread depth. When the tire is worn to the built-in indicators at 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimeters) or less tread groove depth, or the tire cord or fabric is exposed, the tire is dangerously worn and must be replaced immediately. Also, inspect tires for uneven wear. Wear on one side of the tread, or flat spots in the tread may indicate a problem with the tire or bike. Consult your local dealer or mechanic for help. Inspect your rims also. If you have a bent or cracked rim, it must be replaced.

A good practice is to plan ahead and have replacement tires lined up and ready to install before the old ones are totally worn out. Tubes should be replaced at the same time as the tires, on tube types. Old tubes deteriorate and are prone to cracking, which can lead to sudden failure, so a new tube should be installed whenever the tire is replaced. Make sure the tube (if it is used) is the right size and is compatible with radials if need be. Rim strips should also be replaced if they look deteriorated.

We are splitting this into two parts as it is quite a large article, the rest of it will be talked about on Friday.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Memorial Day

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with our Full Informational Guide to Motorcycle Tires.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

Motorcycle Tires Important Do’s and Don’ts to Keep You Safe

Did you know that if Motorcycles Tires are not regularly checked as well as their air pressure the motorcycle performance can be compromised and could put someone’s life at serious risk as well? AMERiders wants to give you a few Motorcycle Tires Important Do’s and Don’ts to keep you safe.

We checked all over the net to find information for this article digging through, specifications for bike wheels, tires, and tubes that are sold here in the U.S, and other articles for you. Plus we asked friends of ours for some information that work at different bike shops on their take about do’s and don’ts of bikes as well.

Tire Dos

Before you ride your bike you should check your entire motorcycle over every single time. “That doesn’t always happen in the real world,” said one person “But it should. It’s a bit like being an air pilot carrying out a pre-flight inspection. You should examine your bike from front to end and pay particular attention to your Motorcycle Tires. With a motorcycle, you only have two wheels on the ground and you should take the time to inspect your tires as often as you can.”

Even if you are a long-time experienced rider, here are some basic things you should do to keep you and your bike safe out on the road that is recommended.

Firstly, buy an electronic tire pressure gauge from any good automotive store. They are not expensive and start from as little as around $10. An analog gauge is good too, but the electronic ones are a little more accurate and easier to use.

Motorcycle Tires

Before you ride anywhere you should always check your motorcycle tires pressures – both front and rear. Get down and look at them and see if there is any unusual wear, bulges in the sidewall or anything sticking into them. If you do find something wrong you should take a photograph and e-mail or text it to your tire dealer or even the tire manufacturer’s customer service department, who will tell you whether they think it’s safe for you to ride.

Also, something that is recommended is that you read your owner’s manual that came with your bike to see what the recommended Motorcycle Tires pressures should be. This is one thing most mechanics told us. But if you don’t have a manual you can sometimes find it marked on the sticker on a bike’s swing arm. Failing that, call the manufacturer and get the correct figures.

Some people like to ride their bikes with reduced psi (pounds per square inch) as it offers a softer ride. But don’t do that. The load-bearing capacity of a motorcycle is not in the actual tires but the air inside them. In effect, you are compromising your tires, the way your bike handles and possibly your safety.

The best way to achieve the ride you want is to adjust the suspension. Not all bikes have a sophisticated suspension system but most will allow you to make some adjustments. It’s a much better and safer option than playing around with your tire pressures.

It is also advised that riders should run their motorcycle tires pressures between one and two psi above the manufacturer’s recommendation. That way you take into account any changes in weather (heat and cold can affect pressures). But also if you are only going to do the bare minimum and check them just once a month, it will compensate for that too, as on average tires will lose one psi every four weeks under normal riding conditions.

Once you have checked both tires are in good condition with no serious wear or damage, you should then do the pressure check. This should always be done when the tires are cold. If you have been out riding let the bike stand for an hour and let the tires cool off.

“Move your bike each time you take each pressure reading so the tire valve stem is directly at the bottom of the wheel. Press the gauge as firmly as you can into the stem to make sure you get a good seal.

If you need to increase the pressures use a regular air pump. Ideally, you should be putting in dry air or even nitrogen but that can be an expensive option. As long as the ambient air is dry that should be perfectly fine.

Motorcycle Tires

On average, a sports motorcycle’s front tire can last 3,700 miles and 1,800 miles for a rear before both need to be changed. This is if both tires are well maintained and are regularly checked. However, by running two or even three psi less than the recommended pressures you can actually cut the life of a tire by as much as half.

It may not seem a lot but let’s say you rode with 27 psi in your rear tire rather than the recommended 32psi for an average sports bike. Then you will be lucky to get as many as 1000 miles out of the tire. You’re reducing its durability by almost half. Not only that, by running deflated tires you are altering the way your bike handles and performs and ultimately could be putting yourself in real danger.

If you are checking your Motorcycle Tires and you are unlucky enough to find a nail or a piece of debris stuck in it you should not attempt to ride the bike. Instead, you need to find a way to get your bike taken to the nearest motorcycle tire dealer either on a trailer or in the back of a truck.

If there’s a nail in the tire do not under any circumstances use a rope plug to repair it. There is an option for patch and plug that looks a bit like a mushroom. An expert should fit it, as it fits inside and creates a seal around the material of the tire. In all honesty, the best thing to do is replace the tire if it has been damaged in any way. It’s not worth the risk.

Motorcycle Tires

If you do opt to use a patch plug to repair your tire remember you lose whatever speed rating the tire had before it was damaged. With a repaired tire your maximum speed is reduced to no more than 85mph. You also should not under any circumstances take a passenger on a bike with a patched tire.

Tire Don’ts

Never ever consider using a car tire to replace a motorcycle tire on your bike. Known as ‘Riding On The Dark Side’, some bike owners have done this as they think they will get better durability out of a car tire rather than a motorcycle tire.

A Bridgestone car tire and a Bridgestone motorcycle tire are completely different and have been designed for entirely different purposes. For a start, there are different compounds in both and different traction properties.

The contact patch on a motorcycle tire is much larger than a car’s. In wet weather with a car tire on your bike, you will have less water dissipation and the bike could be fundamentally dangerous. “Just don’t do it,’” we were told by many mechanics.

If you also like to attend track days with your motorcycles, pay extra special attention to your tires. Check with the manufacturer before you go and seek advice from other riders at the circuit as to the best Motorcycle Tires and set-up and ask them what they suggest.

“You may also be at a track that has a lot of right hand corners. Consequently, you may start to notice a lot of wear on the right side of the rear tire and not the left.

“Some people have been known to take the tire off and flip it around. Don’t do it. That is potentially very, very dangerous. Motorcycle tires are unidirectional – marked by those arrows you see on the sidewall and are designed to rotate in just one direction. You potentially could have a very big accident as the tire’s material will start to peel and then the will tread come off.”

It’s worth remembering that your Motorcycle Tires are the two things that separate you and your motorcycle from the road. Check pressure frequently and keep an eye on them for wear and tear. It could save your life.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Motorcycle Tires

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Motorcycle Tires Important Do’s and Don’Ts to Keep You Safe.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

Important Facts to Know About Motorcycle Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is the most easily adjusted variable on your motorcycle and also one of the most crucial. But the vast majority of us are guilty of neglecting it and, even if we do check it regularly, failing to take full advantage of the benefits adjusting it brings. AMERiders provides you with some things you need to know about motorcycle tire pressure.

1. Check Pressures Regularly

Tire PressureOpinions vary on how often, with many manufacturers suggesting once a week and some safety experts stating every day. Just factor in how you’re using your motorcycle. Commuting every day in fairly stable weather conditions? Once a week will serve you just fine. In the middle of a big Adventure trip with variable loads on your bike, conditions ranging from the highway to single track and hitting a bunch of sharp rocks? Once or, if conditions are particularly severe, even twice a day may be best.

2. Check Them While Cold

The suggested pressures in your owner’s manual are for cold tire pressures. That means after your bike’s been sitting for 20 minutes or more, don’t wait until winter. Heating tires up by riding on them can increase pressures by over 10 percent. The MSF actually recommends waiting three hours from your last ride before attempting to ascertain a correct cold pressure. That sounds like overkill to us, use your judgment.

3. Use Your Own, High-Quality Gauge

Tire PressureI’ve seen the gauges at gas station forecourts read-off by up to 30 psi over my own gauge that I carry with me everywhere. Even a variation of just a few psi can alter your motorcycle’s handling and braking abilities, so it’s important to use an accurate gauge. They’re cheap, so no excuses.

4. The Extremes

What’s the worst that can happen if your tires are massively underinflated? Ultimately the tire could come off the rim if there’s not enough pressure to force the bead into the wheel. More likely, you’ll simply experience sluggish, unstable handling, slow steering and you could damage the tire or wheel, particularly if you’re riding off-road. Overinflated? The size of the contact patch is reduced and the ride worsened. Too much pressure can cause your tires to quickly overheat, reducing traction.

5. Going Up And Going Down

pressure
Tire pressure

On-Road: Stick to your manufacturer recommended pressures. Even if you’re spending all day Sunday on The Snake trying to get that ultimate elbow down shot, dropping pressures will just slow your steering. Modern performance tires are designed to work at stock pressures unless you’re on a track.

Off-Track: If you’re on road rubber, start at 30 psi front and rear and monitor your tire wear through the sessions. Your tires should look scrubbed, but not marbled. If the sides of the tread do begin to marble, reduce pressures a few psi until they’re happier. If you’re on race rubber, you likely know what you’re doing already.

Off-Road: Lower pressures equal more traction off-road, but the compromise is potential damage to your rims or pinch flats caused by the tube getting “pinched” between tire and rim. I like to take the big ADV bikes down to around 17 psi front and rear, which seems to be a good compromise between traction and puncture-proofness. Experiment to see what works for you. I’ve taken dual-sports as low as 8 psi in particularly challenging terrain but doing so put me at undue risk of punctures. Make sure you pump them back up before you get back on the road!

Don’t go up or down in other circumstances. Stock pressures work.

Remember…

SMALL TIRE PRESSURE ADJUSTMENTS CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

We’ll give you some do’s and don’t on tires on Friday.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

Memorial Day

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Important Facts to Know About Your Motorcycle Tire Pressure

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

How to Ride Your Motorcycle with a Broken Clutch Cable Successfully

We stated last week that we would go over this when we were doing our article on Fixing Some Common Issues on an Older Motorcycle, so here it is. Something you never want to have to go through is your clutch cable snapping and leaving you without the ability to disengage the clutch. Can you ride the bike home? Of course, you can. AMERiders is going to show you How to Ride Your Motorcycle with a Broken Clutch Cable Successfully.

Note: These instructions are equally applicable whether you have a cable-actuated clutch or a hydraulic one. They do not apply if your actual clutch mechanism breaks, in which case you’ll be calling a tow truck.

Step One: Prevent It From Happening

clutch cableThe lucky thing is, breaking a clutch cable is a rare occurrence. Grease yours once a year or so and replace it every 30 or 40,000 miles (consult your owners manual for service schedule) and you’ll likely never break one. Clutch cables break by fraying, popping one strand after another over time. So it’s also something you can keep an eye out for, not something that’s likely to happen without warning. Make inspecting the head and tail of the cable part of your routine pre-ride bike inspection, along with tire pressures (we will handle that in a future article) and such.

clutch cableYou can also be left unable to pull the cable if you break the lever in a spill. Preventing broken levers is actually simple; versions designed to fold in case of impact are common in the aftermarket or you can make your own by sawing halfway through the lever, three quarters along its length with a hacksaw. Doing so creates a natural stress relief point; the lever will snap there in a crash, leaving you the remaining length to work with.

Step Two: Arm Yourself For The Possibility

clutch cableLong distance, self-supported riders who plan on being a long way from mechanical help often duct tape or zip tie spare cables alongside the current ones. Cables take up little space and weigh virtually nothing, so there’s no real penalty in doing so and the benefit is quick repair; with the cable pre-routed, you won’t have to do anything but connect it in order to get moving again.

clutch cableIf that’s overkill for you, consider packing a small pair of vice grips in your toolkit. Those are a multipurpose get-you-home item, working equally well as a shift or brake lever as they do holding onto the end of a broken cable.

Step Three: Evaluate The Need

Riding with a broken clutch cable is possible, but by decreasing control over your bike it adds an extra element of risk and complication. If your route home (or to a mechanic) involves crossing a city and you’re within cellphone reception, balance the risk and challenge of riding the bike with just waiting for a buddy to come to get you in his pickup truck. The last thing you want is to damage the bike (or yourself) further.

Step Four: How’s Your Bike Work?

Does your bike have a failsafe, preventing it from starting if the clutch lever’s not pulled in? If so, the switch is likely in the clutch perch, so you’ll still need to pull the lever in to start, even if it’s not connected to the cable.

Step Five: Get Moving

clutch cableWith the bike in neutral, start the engine and get it rolling up to about 5 or 10 mph. A hill helps here, as does a buddy riding alongside, pushing you with an outstretched leg. Or, just run alongside the bike until you’re up to speed, hop on, and click up into 2ndgear.

Alternately, you can use the bike’s starter motor to get it moving. Again, use 2nd gear and, when the coast is clear, thumb the start button and give the bike a little gas as it begins to move. It should fire the engine after a few revolutions and you can then accelerate away.

1st gear is simply too short and abrupt on most bikes, but your mileage may vary.

Step Six: Shift Gear

This is the easiest part. You probably already know how to upshift without the clutch (apply upwards pressure to the shift lever, close the throttle a bit), but downshifting is nearly as easy. It helps to have the engine spinning low in the rev range, then just apply the normal amount of downward pressure to the shift lever, hold it there, close the throttle a bit and the lower gear will slide home. Downshifting without the clutch can be a jerky affair.

Step Seven: Coming To A Stop

Coming up to a stoplight or stopped traffic? Start slowing well ahead of time, giving you the opportunity to downshift without the clutch. Try and find neutral before you have to come to a stop, then just coast to a halt modulating your speed with the brakes. If you can’t find neutral (don’t underestimate how recalcitrant some gearboxes can be), then you’ll need to stall the bike at a stop, just use both brakes to make sure you do so without jerking forward and be prepared for that jerk and to catch the weight of the bike when it happens so you don’t fall over.

clutch cableYou’ll need to follow Step Five again when it comes time to pull away. Obviously, this would be a huge pain if you have to do it every half mile, crossing a city and exposes you to the unpredictability of other traffic at each and every stop. You can mitigate the hassle somewhat by rolling through stop signs or choosing routes with fewer intersections.

Just be careful, the cars around you aren’t likely to understand the unique challenge you’re facing and may fail to anticipate that you’re going to come to a sudden stop when you stall the engine or that you’re going to pull away slower than normal. Keep safety as your first priority and resort to riding without a clutch cable only when it’s absolutely necessary. There’s no shame in pushing.

Let’s take a moment to pull away from the Broken Clutch Cable talk, and talk as a community. Hurricane Michael has just run through and devastated part of the Panhandle and more of Florida. If you can try to help those in need down there. We here came very close to having our Manager (me) not be able to write these lovely little articles for you as I am in the Panhandle but to the West of where it hit. I have friends that are there but were lucky. So please if you can help. It hits home when these things run through. Be it Tornados, Hurricanes or any such devastation that hits our country. Help in any way you can.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

clutch cable

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on How to Ride Your Motorcycle with a Broken Clutch Cable Successfully.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.

Fixing Some Common Issues on an Older Motorcycle Part 2

Last week we started giving you information on Fixing Some Common Issues on Older Motorcycles, today we are going to finish that article up. Stuck cables, false idles, ignition failure, valve issues, fuel issues, and more – find out how to stay on top of them. Regular issues can be easy to address with a little know-how. AMERiders wants to make sure that you have information to take care of these issues.

Dude! Where’s my ignition!?

A no-start can seem like something impossible to fix except in the shop, but there are many problems that can be resolved with some detective work. First, ensure the battery is good and that the engine turns over. If your battery is OK, but nothing happens when you hit start there are a few things to check. Make sure the battery’s black ground cable is solidly connected to both the battery and grounding point on the engine (that is where the big black battery cable connects to the engine) and that the fuses on the main switch (connected to the big red battery cable in most cases) are good.

Clutch switches, kickstand switches, and the neutral light can all break to cause this type of problem. Try starting with the kickstand up, clutch in, and bike in neutral to see if the motor spins. If not, these switches can normally be bypassed with a paperclip pressed into both ends of the connector one at a time, MacGyver-style. Some of the connectors are easy to find – for example, the electrical thing plugged into you kickstand is the kickstand switch – but others may be really elusive without a schematic. Especially on a newer motorcycle.

issuesIf it still won’t spin and you don’t hear anything when you hit start, try roll-starting the bike by getting some speed (ask a buddy to push) and put the clutch down in second gear. If it starts, something is wrong with the starter system. Check the connections.

Sometimes the engine just spins and you’ve already checked the fuel system as we’ve outlined above. In this case, you need to ensure you have spark. Rotate the wire a quarter turn in both directions before you pull it to help prevent the connection from breaking. Whatever you do, do not yank it! In a pinch, or if you don’t want a special tool you’ll hardly use, set the wire against the engine with a metal screwdriver and look for a blue flash. Because there is a fire risk and a real big electrocution risk, though, I suggest it is better to just buy a tester. If there is a spark, check the plug gaps. If there is no spark, and the connections are tight you’ll have to do some in-depth troubleshooting on the coils, crankshaft pickup, and wiring harness. Not a light job.

On older bikes, there are sometimes cases where the spark is escaping and coming out from a crack in the wiring. This is only really visible in the dark; luckily, it is normally also audible – a regular crackling while turning the engine.

The Big Ones

Sometimes the motorcycle breaks in a big way. While you can’t fix these you can diagnose them. They don’t tell you about these major failures when you buy the thing, and motorcycle safety courses, I guess, figure you won’t ride a bike like that.

Diagnosing the difference between valves and bearings is a bit of an art on a motorcycle because the whole thing vibrates throughout the frame. In general, the rules are as follows:

  • Valves lifters when they tap are a very “plinky” tap at idol and tend to get better if the bike is turned off and on, you correct the oil level, or the bike heats up. If your noise is like that, you probably just need an oil change. On a bike without hydraulic lifters, you need a tune-up.
  • Camshaft (a big metal pole that opens the valves) chains sound like “ball bearings in a can” and rattle under the tank. Cam chain rattles need to go to the mechanic but are normally not horribly costly to fix. If the plink doesn’t get better with topping off fluids or heat, it’s something that will need to get fixed.
  • Valve issues, on the other hand, tend to “suck.” No, literally! Sticking valves cause suction on the tailpipe. Valves are also often the cause of the black smoke.

issuesMajor engine troubles on motorcycles sound like a metal scrape. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the transmission just because the sound goes away most the time when the bike is put into gear or revved. Engine heat doesn’t make much difference with these noises, and a low oil pressure light is a dead giveaway.

A rod, piston or serious knock is not subtle and you can change the noise by manipulating the throttle. The real thing to look for in all engines is the marked “rattle up” or “rattle down” noises that follow the throttle. You should not run bikes making noises like this.

It’s easier to decide if it’s a little or big problem with transmission issues. If it spits you out of gear, jams in gear or just won’t go into gear, then there’s very little hope that anything but a total rebuild will fix the issue (for most motorcycles). But if the transmission “sputters,” rattles or pulses as you put it in or out of gear it’s normally just the clutch. The best thing you can do for your transmission is to always make the full shift – gears are mostly damaged by half shifts. A clunky gearbox, which sometimes makes a metal punch noise, doesn’t usually mean much except that it’s designed to shift fast and take abuse. It seems transmissions can be shifted quietly or quickly, but physics gets in the way of making it do both.

Parting Thoughts

This guide is designed to help people clear up the “simple fixes.” You need gas and spark to run any engine and good controls to use it. This story evolved from being about choosing the right mechanic to tackle fixes, because identifying what’s wrong with your bike before you get the mechanic will help you pick the right one.

Ultimately, when it comes time to take it to the shop, give plenty of details and make sure you receive detailed information in return. Ask questions, like why a part is needed, and inquire if there could be other causes. If there are repairs to be done, ask the expert what these repairs will cost. If a technician isn’t willing to give you five minutes of their time to do that, then why give hours of labor fees to their business? Don’t feel bad walking away from a bad shop. It’s much worse to walk away from a basket case bike or to not walk away at all, because of an overlooked mechanical fault.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

issues

 

 

 

 

~AMERiders

and

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Fixing Some Common Issues on an Older Motorcycle Part 2.

And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures, and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM  and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.

Like what you just read? Share it on social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram) with others and let them get the information and benefit from it as well.