Breaking in New Tires - Sanding?

Journeyman

"And this one is just right" ~ Goldilocks
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
2,155
Location
Old Fort, NC 28762 USA
Ride
2020 3R
I just sanded off the chicken strips on my front tire for the first time and may make it a permanent practice.

Recently, I went down super unexpectedly (see video link in post below) while riding in fairly good conditions and now I'm on a bit of a mission to understand what happened. In hindsight, I think some remaining morning dew, on what appeared to be dry pavement, on top of some residual diesel, or oil, in a corner was the primary thing that took me down. But, a thought that I've always had about tire break-in keeps coming back to me, as both my tires only had about 150 miles on them.

So, we're supposed to take it easy for 100 miles , or so, in order to wear off the smooth finish on new tires, right? OK, so now the middle of the tire is good and broken in, but once you start leaning her over the further you go the more you keep getting onto "virgin" rubber that still has not been scuffed- right? And, if you look at your tires you can definitely feel the difference between the main riding area and your chicken strips, however small or large they may be (probably given your geography).

So, today, I took a vibrating sander to those chicken strips and in about three minutes I had removed the sheen from that area of the tire. Now, I didn't do this, but if you were to dip your finder in oil and smear it against the chicken strip (pre-sanded) and the rest of the tire, I think you'd find that the chicken strip would feel more greasy and slick than the other area, which would absorb (sponge up and , because rough, have more rough surface area) some of that oil. This just seems to make common sense to me.

Sanding is not "mainstream." One site just considered it a "waste of time," but after riding today I can say that I sensed a more positive feel as I leaned further and further into the corners (post crash). Placebo effect? Well, maybe, possibly..... What do you think?


 
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@HansO recently got me to buy some HD wax remover and really scrub the new tyres either before or after fitting with a clean cloth soaked regularly and rub hard and the greasy black residue from the molding process that allows the tire to release from mold and preserves during transit / storage is removed.

I tried it after fitting new Pirelli Sportmasters to my little 250 before tackling the very tight, slick and wet 20- 40mph posted curves in the mountains close by and felt pretty confident.

So I have already scrubbed down my Pirelli Front Scorpion and Dunlop dirt block rear before fitting to my other 250.
 
Many years ago I had a FZ 750 Yamaha in '88 I think and went from Darwin 3000 miles South and across to Tasmania on the ferry scooted around for 5 days and on the way home I detoured to Canberra where I fitted brand new Pirelli Phantoms tyres and rode flat out at 100mph + for 500 mile across the Hay Plain before doing some 80mph sweeper curves near the Vic/SA border at Pinnaroo. With 500 mile done on my new tyres fitted that morning I felt confident the fitter's warning was dealt with.

A light shower had been through in the past hour or so and the road was 90% dry .

Banked over with a semi approaching when the back end slid out then gripped on a dryer patch and high sided me.
Luckily the semi was well past and gone and had a broad open gravel verge to roll and slide on. Luckily the throttle had partially stuck like a cruise control so I was able to ride somewhat battered another few hours to Adelaide to meet my mate.
 
Well the sanding may not hurt and it’s one way to accelerate the break in. I just lean mine over a little more in the corners to scrub in the virgin rubber. Either way it is consciously conditioning the new tire.
 
I just sanded off the chicken strips on my front tire for the first time and may make it a permanent practice.

Recently, I went down super unexpectedly (see video link in post below) while riding in fairly good conditions and now I'm on a bit of a mission to understand what happened. In hindsight, I think some remaining morning dew, on what appeared to be dry pavement, on top of some residual diesel, or oil, in a corner was the primary thing that took me down. But, a thought that I've always had about tire break-in keeps coming back to me, as both my tires only had about 150 miles on them.

So, we're supposed to take it easy for 100 miles , or so, in order to wear off the smooth finish on new tires, right? OK, so now the middle of the tire is good and broken in, but once you start leaning her over the further you go the more you keep getting onto "virgin" rubber that still has not been scuffed- right? And, if you look at your tires you can definitely feel the difference between the main riding area and your chicken strips, however small or large they may be (probably given your geography).

So, today, I took a vibrating sander to those chicken strips and in about three minutes I had removed the sheen from that area of the tire. Now, I didn't do this, but if you were to dip your finder in oil and smear it against the chicken strip (pre-sanded) and the rest of the tire, I think you'd find that the chicken strip would feel more greasy and slick than the other area, which would absorb (sponge up and , because rough, have more rough surface area) some of that oil. This just seems to make common sense to me.

Sanding is not "mainstream." One site just considered it a "waste of time," but after riding today I can say that I sensed a more positive feel as I leaned further and further into the corners (post crash). Placebo effect? Well, maybe, possibly..... What do you think?


Friction circle, Amigo.
Especially if front tire braking was the culprit.
There is a lot more to this issue than I'm

willing to hunt & peck out . . .
Merry Christmas!
 
Well the sanding may not hurt and it’s one way to accelerate the break in. I just lean mine over a little more in the corners to scrub in the virgin rubber. Either way it is consciously conditioning the new tire.
I would agree to the above and add the comment that riding in the dry is important when breaking in new tyres.
Also, avoid roads that have a likelihood of tree sap, organic debris such as leaves etc...
Oh, and one more important thing....Tyre pressure. Never ride on new tyres with tyre pressures higher than specified. Very important.

Basically, a clean dry road shouldn't pose a threat to riding with new tyres, as long as you ride progressively in the way that Dr.D describes.
For me, new tyres has never been an issue and whilst I wouldn't ever say that i'm the fastest out of the block and the first over the line, i'm definitely not a slow rider.
That said, i'm not complacent about this new tyre thing. After all complacency and motorcycles don't mix,

Widening the subject somewhat.......

Lets break this down into two areas of focus: Front end and rear end grip.
Rule of thumb: It's more difficult to recover loss of grip on the front than on the rear. (particularly when cornering)

Generally on the subject of trying to avoid loosing grip at the front end, I have experienced conflicting opinions. Mainly my own opinions are that in order to ensure light application of the front brake but still have fast reaction time to apply the front brake, I cover my front brake lever with only two fingers (closest to my thumb). The reason is so that I can't grab too much brake in a corner if I get 'caught out' for some reason. (It's so easy to grab too much front brake when 'situations' suddenly occur when cornering).
I have been criticised by riding instructors for not, either, applying the brake with all my fingers or constantly covering my brake with my finger(s) when I 'should be gripping the bar with all of my fingers'. However, the main defense of my technique is that I learned to ride off road before I rode on road.
Off road there is very little grip. Delicate application of the front brake is essential on low friction surfaces. When you loose front wheel grip you hit the deck faster than you can think. Don't ask me how I know ;) . Thankfully I learned it all when I had younger bones and on mud and wet grass and that hurts less than tarmac.

Moving on to rear brake, well for starters, you have two ways of causing loss of grip..... too much brake or too much throttle, so there's that.
Generally, I would say that if you ride smoothly, the rear end just does it's thing without any drama. In my experience, it's the front end that is the one to focus on most. .....and the condition of the road itself. After all, these modern bikes have traction control and ABS.
 
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Many times over the years when at the racetrack, if it rained we put on new tyres. The edges are sharper and cut through the water better. This was in a control tyre class, no wets allowed. Obviously the new tyre was slippery as journeyman described above. I would spray brakleen on a rag and wipe the tyre over, maybe two laps around. Always worked.
 
Many times over the years when at the racetrack, if it rained we put on new tyres. The edges are sharper and cut through the water better. This was in a control tyre class, no wets allowed. Obviously the new tyre was slippery as journeyman described above. I would spray brakleen on a rag and wipe the tyre over, maybe two laps around. Always worked.
Maybe that's just it.... The fact that Journeyman's tyres had excess mould release on them.

In that case I would assume that brakekleen would have more effect than sanding the tyre.
 
.....and the tires may not have had anything at all to do with it. Just like good 'ole boys around here think a big 4X4 truck and knobby tires will enable them to drive on ice (ah, yeah, no!) any tires hitting a slick spot of diesel, oil, or antifreeze will lose all traction. Given the fact that I already had close to 200 miles on the tires it's almost certain I had already exceeded that lean angle a number of times to take off the sheen in that area, but the idea has come back (now that traction is a little more focused in my mind).

Not braking either- been riding for a while now and at that speed in that corner I wouldn't have applied the brakes at all. I do trail brake when riding faster/harder. @Jagster said, "I cover my front brake lever with only two fingers (closest to my thumb). The reason is so that I can't grab too much brake in a corner if I get 'caught out' for some reason. (It's so easy to grab too much front brake when 'situations' suddenly occur when cornering)."
I agree, btw, two fingers, for the reasons you've given.

It seems that if the plan is to lean the bike over progressively more as the tire breaks in, that the contact patch would be partly (you'd hope mostly) worn with some percentage that has yet to be ridden on. Yeah, this is what I've done for years too without a problem, but now thinking it might be lovely to just have the "fun" part of the tire broken in from the get go. The center of the tire I am least worried about.

@Neville Lush - I'll try Brakekleen next time.
 
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