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Front Tire Cupping Expand / Collapse
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Posted 12/26/2011 1:49:49 PM


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So I have three to four days of possible riding before I can get my front tire replaced. The existing tire is cupping but no wear bars are showing. Is it safe to ride the bike as long as i don't push the turning to hard? What about highway riding, does that present any problems with a cupped front tire? Just curious if you think I should ride or not.

The "Z" MAN - North Carolina
2005 R1200RT
BMW MOA #115950
Olympia, Arai, Gerbings, Alpinestars, Amsoil, Russell Day Long, Metzler, Duragloss
"If cagers can do something stupid, they will"
Post #43901
Posted 12/26/2011 11:22:05 PM
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What one person thinks it bad is like, the decision with my wife about what temperature the themostate should be set at.

My suggestion is, If you are uncomfortable riding on the tire, don't.


Gfurlo
Post #43902
Posted 12/27/2011 6:12:39 AM
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Your best option is to consult a professional whom you trust. Granted, they may be gunning for a sale, but you can at least try, and don't be afraid to ask them to explain the reasons behind their recommendation, if they propose replacing it immediately. Be tactful, but also be assertive. You can always get a 2nd professional's opinion, as well. Building a trusting rapport with a local mechanic is very advantageous, in the long run. It takes work, and a bit of trust, on both sides. Cheers!

1993 Kawasaki Voyager XII
Post #43903
Posted 12/27/2011 7:36:22 AM


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Good question. As for me, I would be just as concerned with why the tire is cupping. If something is amiss with the front end, could that be more dangerous than riding on a cupped tire?

DEDSLED

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not all out to get you."

Post #43904
Posted 12/27/2011 11:26:17 AM


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Cupping could be anything in the front end...from balance to fork oil, to a slightly dragging rotor...I've even heard that sometimes it's caused by the "crown" in the middle of the lane...where the car tire don't ride...we ride in the kind a natural depression.  Who knows?

All 4 of  my UJMs had this problem. But I had to change tires every 10 thou or so....and I only noticed the cupping around 8...it didn't bother me. But if it bothers you....get a new tire.

Funny...with both my Harley dressers...no cupping or feathering of any kind. And these front tires last for around 30 thou. 

Just thought I'd throw that in there.....

Post #43905
Posted 12/27/2011 2:56:10 PM
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drummer (12/26/2011)
So I have three to four days of possible riding before I can get my front tire replaced. The existing tire is cupping but no wear bars are showing. Is it safe to ride the bike as long as i don't push the turning to hard? What about highway riding, does that present any problems with a cupped front tire? Just curious if you think I should ride or not.

As long as no wear bars are near the surface, I would ride the tire. Wish I knew which tire/model and what bike?  And I would ride the tire like normal on the hwy. Local streets with sand/slime in the corners, I would go a little slower than normal.

My dunlops cupped to a point where I didn't like the feel of traction they were giving and I changed them out a little early.  I had a bridgestone (BT010) that cupped about half way thru expected life that I changed out because I couldn't stand the vibes and the slight 'pushing' that it was giving me. My continentals cupped but it didn't seem to matter. I have a Dunlop now that doesn't seem to cup but I can get it to push more than I like. I don't mind taking a rear down to the cord. But a front really seems to go bad before it goes bald or cord shows and it has to be changed.

I would like to render an opinion about why harley fronts do not cup and seem to last a long time. But it would just PO the harley crowd. And we would gain no real knowledge.

I now look at front tire tread patterns and try to guess what will be most likely to cup and how soon. While I have had a bunch of cupped tires, I have never felt they were 'unsafe' to ride on. But I do slow down to finish off the tread life when they start pushing a lot. 

Once, I dismounted a cupped tire and turned it around for a re-mount as an experiment in getting it to erode the other way and getting some useful 'feel' back into it. I didn't like the way it 'felt' and had no confidence in the tire. The traction might have been very good but I just couldn't tell and wasn't up to the risk to learn anything more. If I was going to flip a front again, I would try it as the a 12k mile tire reached 6k miles before any cupping might get noticably bad.

Note to all: I will be glad to experiment with tires and make the best report that I can if anyone wants to supply me with tires that fit an 05 Sprint.

nobody rides half as well as they know how.

Post #43906
Posted 12/27/2011 7:46:39 PM
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[quote]ibafran (12/27/2011)
[quote]
Once, I dismounted a cupped tire and turned it around for a re-mount as an experiment in getting it to erode the other way and getting some useful 'feel' back into it. I didn't like the way it 'felt' and had no confidence in the tire. The traction might have been very good but I just couldn't tell and wasn't up to the risk to learn anything more. If I was going to flip a front again,[/quote]

Don't most motorcycle tires have direction arrows that mean "to mount so rotation is in the direction of the arrow"?
I wonder if that is just for water dissipation or other reasons.

Gfurlo
Post #43909
Posted 12/27/2011 8:33:37 PM


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drummer;
Interesting question. Obviously, the tire wasn't perfectly good one day and then cupped the next. It gradually got that way--and if the handling changed--it changed gradually. If it gets worse, as it probably will, it will do so gradually. Some years back, uh, nearly 40 years back, I mentioned the cupping I was getting on my Z1 front tire. The dealer told me that they almost never saw cupped front tires until disc brakes began to be installed on the bikes. Apparently among the many things that could cause cupping, one of them is how heavily the front brake is used. I try to use the brakes lightly and usually do not experience cupping--if I get some, it is usually after more than 20K miles or so. Watch yer air pressure!
Post #43910
Posted 12/28/2011 5:00:34 AM


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I don't know if this is true or not, but a very experienced dealer told me once that the directional arrows on motorcycle tires are there because of the way the tires are built. The tread is "laid on" the tire in a certain direction and where the two ends of the tread meet, one end is "laid over" the top of the other end (overlaps.) If the tire is mounted in the wrong direction, there is a greater chance of the tread "seam" coming apart and the tread separating from the carcass. The chance of this happening at speed is enough to keep me from mounting a tire in the wrong direction.

DEDSLED

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not all out to get you."

Post #43913
Posted 12/28/2011 3:18:43 PM
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Dedsled's post is the one that I heard long ago regarding rotation direction. At the speeds that I run, this has little risk for me. Water dissipation is another matter. I don't believe that I run hard enough in the wet to worry about tire rotation direction.

A lot of those ironbutt rally riders put a lot of freeway miles on their tires and get cupping with very little brake use? The causes of cupping are pretty much a mystery to me. And I have yet to figure out a good way to test cupping for myself. I hate to rely on a rumor or supposition for the explanation.

I don't like cupping any more than the next rider. But, traction and safety wise it hasn't been that big of a concern to me. But it does make the steering heavy requiring more effort to pitch the bike into a lean and keep it there. As I reported in an earlier thread on tires, a badly worn and cupped tire will make my bike slow to turn in and require so much more effort that a new tire will feel 'darty' by comparison until I get used to it. On a fresh tire, the bike was so much more responsive that I early apexed a right hander and put myself on the side walk expecting the bike to corner so slow that I would remain on the street on my desired line.

nobody rides half as well as they know how.

Post #43914
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