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Tyres, monitoring & punctures


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OK - so I had a flat on the tintop (car) going into work (~45km) and it got me thinking about the same happening on the bike ... I do carry usual bike repair strings & pressure cannisters but

- has anyone ever had a flat front happen on a Niken? How did it feel? - how did you realize you had a flat?

- has anyone fitted a TPMS to a Niken? I've got a 'DeeLife' 5 wheel system coming from AliExcess which (a) can be run with only 3 wheels registered & (b) has a separate controller which will alarm on low/no pressure independent of the phone app ... will be interesting to see how it goes

- if you did have to dismount a front for repairs, how do you plan to do it without your usual stuff in the home workshop? (eg at a strange MC/tyre shop somewhere for emergency repairs)

I do have to keep reminding myself here that I need to remember too that at least my early Niken does have a center stand (thanks, whichever prev owner!) but even that isn't always going to be the easiest/usable ... If anyone else is looking at lifting the front while on centerstand, where is safe to jack to? And what jack do you take with you?

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Posted (edited)

No flat yet, but same concerns in my head enough that I went ahead and signed up for AAA (American Automobile Association) roadside service here in the USA since my only other alternative was to put the bike up on center stand and try to lift the front and perform a roadside patch. This would require me to bring a set of full size automotive tire irons in addition to socket wrench, patch kit, mini inflator. 

But in the event of a non-repairable puncture the unique scooter tires used on the front end would make it difficult to source tires that match OEM e.g. Bridgestone Battleaxes in that specific size - which are the ONLY recognized speed rated tire for the Nikens. There are other tires in that size but not speed rated like the OEM Battleaxes. Also the Battleaxes are not usually in stock at dealerships I’ve checked locally. During pandemic I was concerned enough about getting spare front tires (they were backordered/out of stock for months at a time) that I bought a spare pair of fronts to minimize downtime due to unavailability of parts.  

No TPMS because I’ve read all kinds of potential quality issues, battery life with the smaller TPMS sensors used by Garmin as well as Alibaba sourced components. Figured I’d go with cost effective, and relatively more reliable old school color coded tire pressure cap readers and visually check pressure each time before a ride. NOTE: I’ve got an air compressor at home so I do a pressure check with all my tires usually once every 2-3 weeks, but a visual check every time before I drive out. 

Only way I’ve seen the front lifted while on center stand is by:

1) using straps secured through the top handlebars to some secured overhead connector

2) through using a frame lift like the one from Abba Sky Lift: 

 

3) putting enough weight on the back of the bike such that the front end stays up while on center stand.  

If I absolutely had no other option I’d find something to support the front end to  BOTH of my SW Motech crash bars. I wouldn’t trust putting a jack under anything on the front because I’d be afraid the jack would damage any of the front engine area contact points. 

IMG_0326.jpeg

Edited by maximNikenGT
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2019 Niken GT
"Motorcycles - the brand is not important, the fact that you ride is."

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Could anyone comment on how a difference in tire pressure between the two front wheels affects handling of this machine? Perhaps someone could simulate this by deflating one tire... say 10+ PSI below the other... and report back? 😁

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Posted (edited)

Hmmmm - many, many thoughts :P

- AAA or local eqivalent ... Have had the NZ equivalent until a couple of yrs ago, had an issue with the wifes' car & literally couldn't get hold of them for 3+ hrs. Phone down, app broken, not answering FB. 'One job' as the saying goes. Then did get hold of them (as a local garage was loading us up) and 'it wasn't our fault' & 'we didnt authorize it, we're not going to pay anything towards the tow you had to organise'. I do have an alternate thru my MC insurance policy so somewhat covered ... guess if you have the policy extension on a Niken remember to have it state that a flatbed (or something other than a two-wheeler narrow trailer) must always be sent.

- A41s ... NZ (like a lot of the world) doesn't lock-in on manufacturer-mandated rubber - Pilot Roads all round here, came like that, no issues so far ... As long as the tyre is rated itself & the right fitment for the rim, it's up to the rider to not exceed speed ratings (which all now well exceed the highest national speed limit!) So, I've probably got more options if I had to replace while away from home - although that said, in rural / small town NZ the stock might have to come overnight. So far I've managed to plug, as long as I've noticed the flat fast enough that I haven't ridden the tyre off the bead - then I've never managed to get it back on with roadside inflation even if the hole is sorted.

- Pressure indicators - good idea, but as above, won't give you a hint while riding, & my aim is to keep the tyre pluggable so I can carry (limp??) on. If the DeeLife system works, I may look at tiding up the install by putting the system warning module - sort of an oversized keyfob? - into the fairing for power & also for tying the warning LED into the shift LED somehow

- Lifting - some sort of jack/hold-up under the SWMotec bars while on centerstand is the thought here too; maybe a board/alu plate in the bottom of the topbox too so I can use the centerstand anywhere as long as I can find some level ground? For home: while I'd love an Abba stand, I think I'll be using straps off the Motec bars to a rafter (plus the centerstand) for any front work. Would not use handebars at all, they're not really structural - pivoting on the centerstand might work (not that much upward pull) but why risk it? See attached - the bearings are really more like bicycle headstock bearings ...

- System I've ordered is external sensors, so **supposed** to be easy to replace the batteries (& can be set to 'wake up' on movement too, so last longer that way). Even internal sensors have battery replacement, but of course you have to dismount the tyre :(

- Low pressures - I picked up my bike & rode ~400km (highways up to 110kmh, incl heavy rain) before stopping the first night & finding the fronts @ 16psi and back around 22. Didn't particularly feel any better/worse than riding my old F800? Since pumping up that night (std 33/40) I've backed off the compression damping about 4 clicks because the bike felt so harsh over any sharp edges in the road seal. General conclusion here: front is fairly forgiving as long as its equal side-to-side? And maybe 33/40 pressures are specific to the A41s & I should be checking relative to the fitted rubber, not the stock.

 

sh1.jpg

Edited by maxfnz
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On 6/28/2024 at 9:47 PM, piotrek said:

Could anyone comment on how a difference in tire pressure between the two front wheels affects handling of this machine? Perhaps someone could simulate this by deflating one tire... say 10+ PSI below the other... and report back? 😁

I remember when I was chasing my dream of being a test driver for one of the major automotive firms and ran across a story in Road and Track that to this day stuck with me. The story was about a Honda test driver that was testing one of their models’ suspension performance out on a test track. After taking it out for a single lap he pitted and told the engineering team that something was off on the suspension. Through trial and error and method of elimination the engineering team realized that what the test driver identified as “off” was a difference between left and right  tire pressure of 1 psi. 

It should be noted that the story did not go into detail on type of car, ambient conditions, type of tires, or more scientific details like that but the seed in my head was planted that this could be an ultimate Zen achievement for any rider/driver. 

Now I’ve tried to develop a butt that sensitive to feel that kind of difference in my motorcycles/cars but there’s only so far one can go without putting in thousands of hours of track time on different machines, tires, and road surfaces to hone that kind of feel. Maybe truckers who have logged millions of miles might achieve this nirvana…

But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to chase that ideal state. 😄

To the original question of if I’m down to attempt this, the front tire pressure on the Niken is supposed to be 2.25 bar or 33 psi for the front tires. I’d be afraid to attempt a 10 psi drop down to 23 psi on one front tire in that the tire might not have enough air pressure to maintain grip leaning into a corner (I’m not even thinking about high speeds e.g. <35 mph).

I’m always do a visual air pressure check on my color coded tire caps before my rides (but still check with a pressure gauge every 2-3 weeks) because I’ve had tires drop my bike mid-corner because I rode without sufficient air pressure. 

Edited by maximNikenGT
Incorrect tire pressure stated

2019 Niken GT
"Motorcycles - the brand is not important, the fact that you ride is."

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I have heard of a Niken rider who said that when one front tire side went flat while riding the steering was super heavy and could still be turned (at upright turning  - not leaning).  

Edited by maximNikenGT
grammar

2019 Niken GT
"Motorcycles - the brand is not important, the fact that you ride is."

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17 hours ago, maximNikenGT said:

To the original question of if I’m down to attempt this, the front tire pressure on the Niken is supposed to be 2.5 bar or 36.3 psi for the front tires.

Fronts are supposed to be 2.25b/33psi according to the SM/bible (and the sticker on the swingarm)?

That said, the TPMS has arrived & should be going on this week, weather permitting so should be interesting to see pressure variance with operating temperature - got the same model onto the car yesterday and 32psi at about 6c outside as I fitted them was ~28psi at -6c when I left for work & ~34psi at 5c after driving home (45km), so who knows what a static 33 maps to on smaller (less metal) rims with discs that possibly heatsink more heavily to those rims.

press1.jpg

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On 7/15/2024 at 4:27 AM, maxfnz said:

Fronts are supposed to be 2.25b/33psi according to the SM/bible (and the sticker on the swingarm)?

That said, the TPMS has arrived & should be going on this week, weather permitting so should be interesting to see pressure variance with operating temperature - got the same model onto the car yesterday and 32psi at about 6c outside as I fitted them was ~28psi at -6c when I left for work & ~34psi at 5c after driving home (45km), so who knows what a static 33 maps to on smaller (less metal) rims with discs that possibly heatsink more heavily to those rims.

press1.jpg

You are correct sir - my quick search didn't pull from the Niken manual. I will correct my mistaken post so I'm not perpetuating bad info. Thank you!

2019 Niken GT
"Motorcycles - the brand is not important, the fact that you ride is."

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I picked up this Digital Tire Pressure Guage for $10 at a discount store.

My front tires were both reading 32.6 and my rear 41.8, after filling to 33/42 with my air compressor a week earlier. Easy to use and takes up little space in the tank bag.

My only concern before use it that it might allow some leakage during testing, but that was not an issue.

Highly recommend.

Tire PSI tester.jpg

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On 7/15/2024 at 1:27 AM, maxfnz said:

Fronts are supposed to be 2.25b/33psi according to the SM/bible (and the sticker on the swingarm)?

Remember that tire pressure in the manual is a reference starting point just like the recommended suspension setting, tire pressure will be determined by what works for you.  Motorcycles are different than passenger vehicles with one-size-fits-all recommendation.

Your pressure will likely be very different for street riding vs track riding vs touring loaded with a passenger.  My FJ is a fairly small bike and I like 36F/38R, my VFR is a much larger bike and I use 40F/42R

 

***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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