Sunday, July 8, 2018

"POP" goes the STI inner tubes

Installed new K-Block Tires on all corners of the sidecar a few days back. For my initial shake down run I hauled a package to UPS in Billings. Total distance around 100 miles. The following morning the sidecar tire was flat....upon inspection I found the "new" STI HD Inner Tube had split open at a seam.

I contacted the seller and he claimed this was a "first" for them and said he would send a replacement tube immediately. With his input I figured this was probably a one time issue. I replaced the faulty tube with a used spare Michelin tube I had removed. 

Yesterday we planned a sidecar trip over to Red Lodge Montana to visit a great Mexican restaurant and then ride up the Beartooth Pass. I had the other STI Tube in the sidecar pusher tire. All was going fine for about 50 miles, then about 3 miles outside Red Lodge, at about 60 MPH the bike began to slightly "sway / yaw".....not realizing what was happening I immediately began to slow down. When at about 25 MPH things got REAL squirrely. Any faster and it might have been a "wreck". Safely got the bike to the shoulder and realized the rear tire was flat. 

Luckily there was a pull out / entryway to a Vet Clinic  across the highway. Hated to, but "flopped" the bike / flat tire across the road into the pullout. No way was going to attempt a repair 12" from live traffic.

Years back I decided I needed to be prepared for such an event so put together items to deal with a sidecar tire repair: Automotive scissor jack / (large) Tire irons / Small "Slime" mini air compressor / one spare inner tube, luckily an 18" one. I had wired the sidecar battery with a plug to attach whatever accessory might be needed. 

A Gal was working in the Vet yard so I told her what we were up to....I did not have any "soap" with me to assist in removing the tire, so asked her for a little dish wash fluid. I had never attempted to use the scissor jack and wanted to block the bike up....thankfully the gal also had some scrap blocks which I shoved under the engine for safety's sake. Figured out how to "set" the jack....and initially it did slip on me....thankfully the blocks were in place. 

This tube failed exactly like the other one....split at a seam.

Nice view for tire repair.

Thankfully I had one new 18" tube in the storage area. 

  The little compressor had never been removed from case and worked fine....back in business in about 45 minutes. In the future will carry a small bottle of soap and more extra tubes. 
We continued on our ride to Red Lodge. Had a great lunch then rode to the Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway. 

A lot of traffic on the Beartooth Highway....and a lot of motorcycles.


RichardM said...

I’ve had two flats on the pusher but never had a tube failure like that. Have you used the heavy duty tubes before? A local moto tire shop refuses to install them as he says they’re not rated for highway use.

BMW HACKER said...

"Not rated for Highway Use" is a problem. I mount my own so never considered that "Heavy Duty / Off Road Use" could also mean near instant failure on the Highway. I guess that is why they are rated as such. Lesson learned for me. I'm a bit nervous as I also installed HD tubes on my Honda Goldwing last time I mounted tires. (last Winter) I've racked up 1000 or so miles so far without a problem. They were "brand name" tubes so I'm hoping they will continue to hold air! I imagine that the heat retention / lack of heat dissipation is quite a bit higher due to their extra thickness.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.