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What do you use on your valve stem?

  • I use billiard balls, man!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I have dice, souls or lighted caps

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I do not use valve caps

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    6
  • Poll closed .
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the poll, read "skulls" not "souls"

On yesterday's long ride in Tennessee with a Meetup group, two bikes experienced rear brake fading on grades that should not have been an issue. The rear brake pads on these two bikes were business card thin.

It is nice that your bikes are all shiny, but take your bikes to a shop NOW and have them inspect your brake pads and rotors. REPLACE those pads of they are only showing 20 or 25% of the original pad thickness. I replace my brake pads at 50% wear. it is MUCH cheaper than repairing a bike that is wrecked because the brakes faded.

Check your tires for dry rot. Dry rot is small hairline cracks in the tire that are on the sidewalls, and circle the wheel just above the edge of the rim. If your tires show dry rot, I suggest you replace them. Tires with a lot of visible tread can still be dangerous if they are OLD. They become brittle, and WILL come apart without warning in a hard turn, or when you hit a pothole.

Also, remember that your batteries are very close to your engines. Visually inspect the water level of each cell in your battery. Motorcycle batteries can evaporate water in a very short time, and the reduced water level can lead to a failed charging system, a burned out starter motor and other problems. The water should be over the top of your plates in every cell at all times. If your battery is two years old, consider replacing it. Yes, it may still start your bike, but it is losing its ability to accept a charge, and that is putting a strain on your charging system.

Once a month or MORE, I will find a big glass store window and pull up in front of it at dusk. I use the reflection to check all of the lights, turn signals and such. Then I flip the bike around and make sure that all of my rear lights and signals are working.

Finally, physically inspect your valve stems on your wheels. I used to run 888-BIKETOW in southern CommieFornia. People would put dice, 8-balls and cast aluminum skulls and even golf balls and more onto their valve stems, using them as "valve caps,", thinking they looked cool.

Folks, valve caps are small and light for a reason. I towed many bikes because they crashed after the valve stem on one of the tires simply separated at the base of the stem without warning. The steel valve stems that cannot bend over are not a problem, but the RUBBER valve stems ARE a problem when you add weight to the tip.

To find out why the rubber valve stems would fail catastrophically, I asked a very smart scientist friend... "If a wheel is 15" in diameter, and it is spinning at 65 MPH, and a valve cap weighing 1/4 OUNCE on a scale is screwed onto the top of that rubber valve which is inserted through the wheel and pointing to the center hub, what is the weight it places on top of that rubber valve stem when you add centrifugal force of the wheel spinning at 65 MPH?"

He did his calculations and SHOCKED me, when he told me that, at 65 MPH, that 1/4 OUNCE valve cap weighs 3.4 POUNDS! On a rubber valve stem, what happens is, at speed the weight of the cap with the added centrifugal force bends the valve over 90 degrees to whichever direction it will most easily flop over. When you stop riding, the valve step pops back up, and you NEVER SEE the fact that the entire time you were riding, your valve stem was laying sideways on the rim.

After that valve stem is bent over a few hundred times, the rubber fatigues and cracks, and fails, and the stem breaks off while you are riding, causing INSTANT deflation of the tire and most likely, a horrible accident that could have been avoided by simply using the small, boring black plastic valve caps.

To understand this, point your index finger at a wall and touch the wall. Now lean your body weight toward the wall, holding it away from the wall with only your index finger. See how long it will take, before your finger folds over, unable to support the additional weight you added by leaning toward the wall. Your rubber valve stem suffers the same fate, trying to support a HEAVY valve cap, until it flops over 90 degrees to one side, yielding under the added weight cause by centrifugal force. Every time you reach highway speed, you are bending your rubber valve over just as if you pushed it over with your thumb. In time, that rubber valve stem WILL fail.

You have been warned!
 

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You don't have chrome valve covers as a choice. I like chrome!

My valve stems are metal and can't change shape. Plus, I'm running Ride On sealant/balancer in the tires which can move around to keep the tire in balance if necessary.

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joejinky;11705 months said:
In the poll, read "skulls" not "souls"

Check your tires for dry rot. Dry rot is small hairline cracks in the tire that are on the sidewalls, and circle the wheel just above the edge of the rim. If your tires show dry rot, I suggest you replace them. Tires with a lot of visible tread can still be dangerous if they are OLD. They become brittle, and WILL come apart without warning in a hard turn, or when you hit a pothole.
Come on. I wear out a set of tires long before dry rot could ever be a problem. I have over 15500 on a bike I bought new last May and the front tire is almost gone. I might get another couple of months out of the rear. If dry rot is a problem in less than 18 months I give up.
 

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Come on. I wear out a set of tires long before dry rot could ever be a problem. I have over 15500 on a bike I bought new last May and the front tire is almost gone. I might get another couple of months out of the rear. If dry rot is a problem in less than 18 months I give up.
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To quote you, "Come on." You know most people don't bike that many miles per year. Many folks will do only 2-3,000 miles per year or buy a bike that is five years old but with 6,000 miles on it. So for them, age is a factor, too.

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