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Newbie tyre grip question

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by bloodnikita, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Hi All,

    I've been riding for about a month now and in Brisbane it has recently been extremely hot. I noticed on my ride home after the bike had been in the sun all day that it felt like it had very little grip? I don't know how else to explain it but it didn't feel normal. I'm quite sure it's not the tyre pressure as I checked that a few days ago.

    Does anyone else have some insight.. could it be the hot weather or might it be another issue?
  2. There are a couple of things.

    The road surface gets greasy because it hasn't rained for a while.

    The rubber compound of your tyres gets soft and squidgy. The tread blocks move around a little - feels bad if you're not used to it.

    The tyre pressure actually goes up - because the tyres are hot. That can give a smaller contact patch, which has a number of effects but generally results in the bike moving and wriggling around a little more.

    It would be my opinion that there's more grip out there in real terms today, than any time in recent memory. But the feel of the bike is a little different.

    It's also possible the damping oil in the forks and shock(s?) is hotter today than ever before, so you're missing some of the damping you're used to.

    What sort of bike is it? And what sort of tyres?
  3. It's a kawasaki ninja 250 with the standard tyres it came with, only as old as I've been riding.
  4. Yeah, I stand by my observations then.

    If you stopped and checked your tyre pressures while riding, you may be surprised how high they were today. It's stinking hot.
  5. KD knows his shoite mate.
    Did it feel light and floaty?
    High air pressure will make the bike quite light. And floaty.
    Low pressure will make it feel heavy...but planted. Well till you have below 20psi then they can get squooshy lol.
  6. Yeah light and floaty describes how it felt quite well. Thank you for your replies kneedragon and bretto61 I've learnt something new today.

    Do either of you have any tips for riding safer in these kinds of conditions?
  7. Drink lots of water. Get your riding gear open and off as soon as you stop. Sports energy drinks are good - especially the ones that replace salts and electrolytes. If you start to notice a headache and you find yourself getting grumpy and irritable over nothing - stop and drink lots of water. If you start to cramp, you need more salt in your diet. This time of year, esp if you don't like salt, you might need to go to the chemist and get salt tablets.

    Look after your gloves. If you wear leather riding gloves in this weather, they will get wet with sweat, and when they dry, they will be hard and stiff. That makes them uncomfortable and will compromise your feel and control of the machine. I'm not going to plug one particular product, but there are little bottles of oily stuff you can get from sporting goods shops for leather, that are marketed at baseball catcher's gloves and stuff like that, that do a really good job. Baby oil will do, but it isn't the best one. The wife's expensive hand moisturiser/lotion usually works pretty good too. Don't use heat to dry wet gloves - that will stuff them. By all means put them under or in front of a fan, but don't use a hair drier or similar, never use an oven or microwave, and don't (on cold wet nights) put your gloved hands on the muffler. You'll ruin your gloves. I would even be a little cautious about the warm air hand driers in the ladies room.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. are you using a service station pressure gauge or your own? service station ones are notoriously unreliable. you can get good ones from places like supercheap. a little foot pump is handy too.
  9. i'm gonna go against KD here, most sports drinks are just cordial with added salt.
    if you want an electrolyte replacement, buy something specifically for the job, such as hydrolyte or staminade.
    but this stuff shouldn't be a substitute for drinking water. the recommended 2 litres is the bare minimum for a couch-sitting aircon junky IMO.

    something else to remember, tarmac temps are on the warmer side of 50 degrees, if you're out there stopped in traffic, you'll have surrounding cars plus your bike adding to temps. heat stroke can set in when the body's core temp reaches 40.5 degrees.

    heat and dehydration can affect you in just a few minutes, and from personal experience it can effect judgement of simple things you can do blindfolded with one arm behind your back

    also remember, if ever you stop sweating in this heat, you're at the danger point. stopping sweating means your body has no more fluids, and will draw water from internal sources just as your blood. you MUST get cool and get water into you NOW
    • Like Like x 1
  10. A headache behind the eyes is a good sign of dehydration.
    And lol yeah those sports drinks are great. But you are better off with water, a red frog and licking your arm.
  11. I coped a bit of dehydration at the start of the week with a lack of food, hot weather, not enough to drink and a friggin' accident on the M4 causing a 10km low-speed/stop-start parade. Started with a slight headache (behind the eyes) which grew as I went further. Stopped for a drink and a break about 20 minutes from home and it calmed down some-what but I felt like shìt by the time I finally arrived home. Took a decent size meal, 2 x Panadol, a couple of litres of water and a 2 hour lie-down to come good.

    Dehydration will affect your concentration and reaction times which is no good when riding your bike (or any vehicle for that matter) - especially so if you're splitting/filtering in peak-hour traffic. Stop at the first sign and re-hydrate; better yet, plan your ride and keep the fluids up to prevent the onset of dehydration in the first place. Yesterday was a killer for that in Sydney as the humidity was so low (the work air-conditioner wasn't producing any water at all) so I drank like there was no tomorrow before venturing home.
  12. double post
  13. One more thing to add here - When it's hot the road tends to "bleed" and that can reduce grip as well.. You tend to get almost wet patches of tarmac, sitting on the surface. Not sure if it's a problem with the way the road is made or if it is an issue in other states other than Vic. Did falls creek the other day, and on the light coloured road there were some very black spots that were very soft and had little grip.
  14. What you coped there was a section where the bitumen has gotten soft from the heat. If you were to stop and look at it, it is usually very pliable even with your hand. Of note, it may be that there is very little aggregate. It is almost pure bitumen. You can often pick it because it will appear to be very shiny compared to the surface around it. Be wary.

    Op, on days of extreme heat like that, you might consider letting some air out of the tyres. Before riding when the tyres are cold you could set 30 psi for your commute. Within a k, they could easily be back up to 34+ psi.
    BUT, remember to reset your pressures when/if it cools down a bit. I use 38c as my personal marker.
    In extreme heat the road does indeed take on a life of it's own.
  15. Be aware guys, that with both dehydration and heatstroke, by the time you feel something wrong it already has a good grip on you.
    • Like Like x 3
  16. This is why I brought it up. Lots of people are not familiar with the effects and symptoms, and by the time the onset is actually obvious to you, just like getting drunk, your judgement and thinking are seriously compromised.

    Hypothermia is much the same. By the time you realise that you don't feel quite so cold any more and that you're not shivering, and you just feel kind of sleepy and dopey, and there's no reason why you should be feeling warmer because nothing about the conditions has improved, you're in a life threatening place and your judgement has gone to hell in a handbasket.

    I don't think I've ever experienced gradual oxygen starvation, but my interest in flying tells me its another one. It can come on quite quickly, and by the time you notice something isn't right, you can be semi conscious and drastically impaired. There have been plane crashes where pilot and copilot have both lost consciousness, apparently without ever realising anything was wrong.
  17. On tyres and learning something (unfortunatly, not the yanks learning to spell 'tyre' correctly) this is a good looking read:


    I haven't been through it start to finish yet but on a brief once over seemed helpful.
  18. OP you'll be amazed how often the handling of your bike will change due to the conditions. Unless your doing a special long trip I'd leave the stock pressures in it and just learn to ride it that way. It happens to everyone but we don't really notice it because you get used to it. It's all part of the fun.