He’s got a full tank of gas and a fresh change of oil, but when was the last time Joe Average checked his tires? “We always tell riders to check their inflation regularly because air is to a tire what oil is to an engine,” says Continental’s Greg Reich. “Proper inflation keeps the tire at optimum operating temperature much like oil does for an engine. For some reason riders will check their oil regularly but not their tires.” A good old-fashioned tire pressure gauge is all a rider really needs to check his tires on a regular basis, but why stop there? Check out associate publisher Dean Kelly’s review of the Doran 360M Wireless Tire Pressure Monitoring System on page 76. This trick toy will be sure to alert riders when their tires aren’t properly inflated, which can significantly decrease a tire’s lifespan.
You could also consider setting up a nitrogen inflation station at your shop. Nitrogen has been proven to better retain tire pressure, run cooler and prevent oxidation. As a premium air provider, riders will stop at your shop instead of the BP down the street when it comes time to fill up. Visit www.motorcyclenitrogen.com for one of many affordable nitrogen options on the market.
While inflation will keep those whitewalls rolling as long as possible, we all know that tires need to eventually be replaced, but sometimes riders wait until its too late! “Old tires with worn tread are a safety concern because you have less tread depth to rid your contact area from water and debris,” says Reich. “In addition, worn and thinning tread means you have you less material protecting the inner casing of the tire, thus increased potential for road debris piercing through and causing a flat.” A flat could be the best-case scenario — many accidents, especially in slick conditions, are the result of old tires.
Make it a priority not only in service, but on the sales floor to check in on your customer’s tire health, it could literally save their life. Every time you sell a quart of oil or other consumable, ask your customer how his tires are doing. If he doesn’t really remember the last time he checked them, toss him a penny and have him check them out. We all know that good old trick with Lincoln’s head — if you stick a penny in the tread head-first and see the top of Abe’s head, it’s time for new treads!
When it does come time for replacement tires, be sure to stock a full range of widths and sizes. Trends play a bigger role in V-Twin tire sales than any other segment, so make sure you’re keeping up with the skinny on the latest and greatest rubber to hit the road. We’ve started the leg work for you with our roundup of six of the top V-Twin Tires for the ’08 selling season. Craving more? Turn to our full contact list for a full directory of top V-Twin tire vendors.
Avon Cobra Tire
Take a bite out of the cruiser market with Avon’s Cobra tire. Its stylized tread design rapidly disperses water with its EAF (Enhanced Aqua Flow) and takes on stability with its Enhanced Stability System. Wear-resistance is tackled by Avon’s LPE (Lifetime Profile Engineering). Deep cut grooves follow the forces being transmitted through the tread and carcass significantly reducing irregular wear, and add yet another sure seller, the Force Following Grooves. The Wide Custom Tread Arc delivers improved maneuverability at low and high speeds, and, where appropriate, this range features Advanced Variable Belt Density, which brings new levels of handling while maintaining the legendary mileage associated with Avon Touring Tires.
Dunlop Custom Tires
Wide tires are still big sellers in the V-Twin marketplace, and Dunlop delivers with its lineup of custom tires, which includes two wide front tires along with another wide rear tire — all of which the company says deliver superior performance along with show-stopping style. Dunlop’s specially engineered carcass and computer-aided profile deliver superior straight-line stability and outstanding cornering stability while leaned over. The wide tire tread pattern provides class-leading wet-pavement performance for great traction and confident cornering.
Continental ContiMilestone TIres
The ContiMilestone delivers high mileage, high comfort and exceptional grip all in one tire. In the past a rider had to choose between tires that delivered mileage, comfort or grip. It wasn’t possible to get all of these performance characteristics out of just one tire, however the team over at Continental says the Milestone has changed that. The Milestone delivers exceptionally high mileage and high levels of wet and dry grip through the use of Continental’s ASC (Activated Silica Compound). ASC is exclusive to Continental and differs from a standard silica-based compound in that it allows the Milestone to deliver 30% more wet grip while at the same time increasing mileage (wet grip is a trade-off for mileage in standard silica based compounds). Another benefit of ASC is that it runs cooler, which allows Continental to build the Milestone with the deepest tread available.
Metzeler ME880 V-Twin Tires
Metzeler’s ME880 family of 79 sizes of V-Twin tires are chosen by more riders and builders than any other tire, making it an upgrade icon for metric and domestic V-Twins. Metzeler’s Alphanumerics are an ideal original-equipment upgrade for Harley riders, having all the popular features of ME880s but in the exact sizes and load indexes required by Harley-Davidson. Alphanumerics have unmatched stability, feel and comfort, with a bias-ply construction and a hyperhystetic compound for firm grip and light rolling resistance. They’re available in whitewall and narrow white stripe, plus a whitewall 21-inch front for an old-school look on Dynas or Softails.
Pirelli Night Dragon Performance Tires
The Pirelli Night Dragon is the first pavement-pealing performance tire designed for V-Twin cruisers, customs and choppers. Driven by racetrack technology, the Night Dragon is designed for performance and styled for stance. The secret to the Night Dragon’s performance is its exclusive contact patch with a new shape, larger dimensions and compounds of increased durability and traction. Combined with the Night Dragon’s structural balance of stiffness and flexibility, it provides predictable handling at every lean angle. Its compound is a proprietary mix of racing laurels and V-Twin street cred.
Shinko 230 Series Tour Master Tires
The Shinko 230 Series Tour Master tires are designed for long-distance, high-speed riding. The aramid belted tires have a staggered tread design that offers a quiet ride with excellent handling. The V-rated tubeless 230 series is also four-ply rated and is available in a wide range of popular sizes with prices starting at $61.95 up front and $71.95 in the rear from your favorite WPS rep.