Really cold tires - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Really cold tires

I'm curious about cold tires. It was about 20 degrees F this morning and I had a few errands to run. It was dry and clear and I have some nice heavy riding gear. So the V and I set off to enjoy the morning. It was glorious for about three miles. Then, turning left through a large intersection at about 18mph, not braking or accelerating, just coasting, the tires suddenly went out from under me.
I had already scanned through the intersection and didn't see anything interesting at all and was already looking ahead. It was a very gentle turn with no cars coming towards me or behind. But plenty waiting at the crossing red! So I had quite the audience.
The result was lots of little scrapes, a substantial scuff on the left fairing and bent rear wheel right at the bead because it slid into a curb. I'm perfectly fine due to the slow speed and lots of quality gear, but I'm still a bit baffled. I even walked back to the corner to see if I missed anything and all I saw were my scrapes from the middle of the intersection to the curb. Not even a painted area like a crosswalk.
Were my stock tires that slippery just due to the cold? I only have a few thousand miles on the V and a BMW GS650. All the rest of my motorcycling experience is on dirt. Obviously snow and loose dirt behave much differently than cold tires/pavement, but wow.
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:01 PM
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:05 PM
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It's the front tire that let you down, from an understeer slip?

Stock tires are really not great to start with. At 20F ambient and pavement temperature, they certainly won't reach anywhere near optimal operating temperature. Even automotive 'four-season' tires are not designed to perform properly when colder than about 35F ambient... Upgrading your tires ASAP would be highly advisable. At any rate, I wouldn't normally attempt to ride in 25F or colder temps.

Last edited by invader; 11-19-2014 at 06:19 PM.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:06 PM
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Glad you're OK and sorry about your bike. I'd check the bent wheel very carefully as it might need replacing, cast wheels are hard to get straight unless you find a GOOD wheel shop that specializes in straightening wheels.

Cold tires can be very hard and don't stick well but I have yet to have mine just "Let Go" as you describe. BUT it takes very little ice or frost to dump you on your head. And three miles would have a little heat in them I'd think, maybe not race heat but a bit. Strange.

Or was that look THEN leap?
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Well. There ya go. That second video was like a flashback. Maybe a bit faster, and I don't know anyone with a moped, but I definitely just lived that.

By the way, does anyone have a extra black rear wheel laying around? I wouldn't trust mine now. Or a green left side cowling?
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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It's the front tire that let you down, from an understeer slip?

Stock tires are really not great to start with. At 20F ambient and pavement temperature, they certainly won't reach anywhere near optimal operating temperature. Even automotive 'four-season' tires are not designed to perform properly when colder than about 35F ambient... Upgrading your tires ASAP would be highly advisable. At any rate, I would never attempt to ride in sub-freezing temps.
Want to hear a sad coincidence? I just got a Pilot Road 4 yesterday and one errand was headed to the store to get tire irons. I was going to try to change it myself. The stock tire on it now has decent tread with 3k miles, but its dry-rotting and I want an upgrade anyway.
I rode that GS650 all last winter with no issues, but its super soft suspension doesn't corner like the V. I guess I'm getting complacent.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:43 PM
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I believe a Ninja wheel will work. You want to check to be sure but if so here's a link to E-Bay there are a few there.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...&_sacat=180035

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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 06:53 PM
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I had a dirt bike come out from me like that on the road. I was tweaking the carb and took a test ride up the road and --** splat** -- like I got shot by a sniper. Had zero gear on. Road rash hurt like a SOB. Not to mention the ego.

Thank you for posting your experience. Never hurts to have reminders like that.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 07:02 PM
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Sorry for your mishap.

Even at 40 degrees you will see a big drop in performance. Even with my Pilot 3s today I had a few pucker moments.

I find this time of year I "dirt bike" the V quite a bit. Meaning, sit up straight, knees squeezing the tank, elbows out and bend the bike under me. Gives me more margin to correct for those icy surprises.

And as stated above, a Ninja wheel should work.

Good luck!

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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 07:06 PM
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So at what ambient temp are tires at full performance?

Last edited by Gatorfan; 11-19-2014 at 07:14 PM.
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 07:10 PM
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So at what temp are tires at full performance?
Varies by manufacturer and tire. A good street tire will reach it's best operating temp at a much low level than a full out race tire. Even a hard core sport tire needs to get more heat in it and a ST type tire will need.

Now what the temps are? I have a clue.

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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 07:26 PM
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Another big consideration is the road surface. Those glossy black City Streets are the worst. Like black ice.

For me with the Pilot 3'a I start to adapt riding style at around 50 degrees. Still, i'm happy to ride all the way down to 20. Just 'dirt bike" style as stated above.

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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 07:32 PM
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I rode this morning in 30 degree weather on my Voyager. I took the corners very slow. When the temps are below freezing I assume I am riding on ice and ride accordingly.

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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 06:47 AM
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when its cold I ride like the road is wet. when its cold and raining... I definately stay more upright, I suppose it is dirtbike style but for me its habitual from many years of mountain biking.

I generally try not to right if there is a frost out because i've experienced too many light glazings that could barely be felt unless you were walking on it or turning a tire on it.
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 08:20 AM
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During winter I keep low pressure in tires. Around 30psi, that should help with the grip. Sure it can cause other minor problems, but when friction between road and tire is needed, I want to make sure I have it.
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post #16 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 09:45 AM
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Yikes, Sorry to hear about the bike. Glad you are good though.

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post #17 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 09:47 AM
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The stock tires are garbage on a hot summer road, let alone a cold winter road. That combined with the decreasing performance of any tire in cold weather, is a recipe for, well, exactly what you experienced.

Be glad you're OK, the bike parts can be replaced.

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post #18 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 02:44 PM
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Now that I don't have a heated garage, i'm going to get a couple of cheap heating pads to have the tires sitting on for a while before I take the V out on those really cold days.

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post #19 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 02:52 PM
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So what's the magic number?

We've got one saying 50* they adjust riding and another saying 40*.
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post #20 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 03:07 PM
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There isn't a magic number, it really just depends on the tires.

Ice tires for cars are only at operating temperature from -10 to 30 for example. Its the rubber compound, not anything else.

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