What a difference 7 PSI makes! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Southeast Michigun
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What a difference 7 PSI makes!

Yes, I know, I haven't been as diligent as I should when it comes to checking my tires. No excuses for my complacency; I had simply become lazy as every time I checked it previously, it never lost a bit of air. However, I had noticed that over the last few weeks, the bike had been getting increasingly unstable at freeway speeds. We're not talking 100+, we're talking a comfortable 70-80 mph cruise that had the bike feeling like it was starting to wobble. Much of our pavement here in southeast Michigan has parallel grooves in the direction of travel, and I thought maybe my relatively new tires (Metzler Tourances)were tracking in them.

But the problem was worsening... Passing semis at 70 was becoming a white-knuckle affair. The wobble seemingly induced by the wind was scary as hell, and more than once I wondered if the wobbling was going to stop. So, the week before last, after a particularly commute home, I started going over it with a fine toothed comb, looking for any obvious signs of wear or play where there shouldn't be any.

The only thing I found? Rear tire was down to 29 psi. WOW! What a difference!! The bike tracks straight and true again, no wobble, no sway. Even in last week's 40mph cross-winds on the way home, the bike felt far, FAR more stable than it had on a calm day with the low tire. Amazing what a difference it makes!!

Just thought I'd share for others...
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post #2 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 03:50 PM
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Yes, pressure can make a big difference. With the volume of air in MC tires so small, a small loss can make a big difference in pressure...check often. I once rode my son's tw200 at highway speeds with 0 pressure (not intentionally). The sidewalls are so stiff that you can actually ride on a flat tire. Don't try that on a Strom.
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post #3 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 04:15 PM
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That is hard to believe? How much do you weigh?
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post #4 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 05:23 PM
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I once had a Suzuki Cavalcade. It was a beast to handle as it was, but low tire pressure really made it bad. I hadn't had it too long and we were riding with a group on a lunch ride. I noticed that I was having a terrible time making the curves, and at one point, in a right hander, I went clear into the opposite lane of traffic and down into the ditch. Fortunately it was shallow, however the upcoming curve was blind. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic.

I mentioned my problem at lunch and someone suggested we check my tire pressures. I hadn't bothered to do that at home as I trusted the dealer to have done a proper job of setting the bike prior to delivery. WHAT A MISTAKE!
We found that both tires only had 15 pounds of air!! Yowzers!! Aired 'em up and yup, what a difference that made. Still a beast to handle, but not like before. I learned about motorcycling from that. A valuable lesson.

'09 DL650
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post #5 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 06:08 PM
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At least you found it: read a tidbit on a local dealer's website reminding you to check tire pressure.
Apparently more than a once someone rode in on the bike they ended up trading same day for a new/ new to them bike. At some point in the process, they'd remark about how crappy the handling was on the bike they were trading in. The dealer would send the bike to the shop, where they'd discover the tire pressure crazy low.
post #6 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 06:20 PM
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If my back tire goes below 35 psi, I can tell in the first corner, which from my house is when I leave the driveway. The front is a little harder to detect, but is distinctly noticeable at 33 or lower.

OTOH years ago, I had a set of run flat goodyear eagle GT2s on my XS11. One day I ran up to the corner store and noticed it didn't feel right. I got home and checked tire pressures and get this, 15 psi in each one. I think some kids let the air out the night before. After that, I got to wondering what would happen if I were out on a long straight highway and one of the tires lost air and I didn't detect it. I never bought another set of run flats.
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post #7 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 08:33 PM
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I keep my tires at 39-40. If either gets to the mid 30s or lower I can feel it.


2007 DL650 Gray
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post #8 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Stromburger View Post
...you can actually ride on a flat tire. Don't try that on a Strom.
The other day on my way to and from lunch, I noticed my Wee didn't quite feel right - a little sluggish, less secure in the corners, a little squirrelly on the straightaways, and the rear tire kept slipping a bit when I'd turn on a painted crosswalk. Normally, the bike is rock solid, but that day it just felt a little off. Walking up to the bike after work, I noticed a shiny glint in the rear tire. I had picked up a nail, and my pressure gauge showed about 12 psi in the tire.

I have to admit, though...if I am riding dirt or gravel roads, I routinely reduce tire pressures to 25 psi or so, but I've never had any problems at 65-75 mph (indicated) on the highway like that. I wonder if the stock Trailwings have a stiffer sidewall than the Metzelers, or if I'm just not as in tune with the bike as some of the rest of you?
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post #9 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 10:48 PM
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I have almost exclusively used a dial gauge attached to the air chuck on my compressor for checking my air pressure.

I recently unearthed a gauge after a couple of years of hiding in my office.

I decided to use it and found my tires to be low about 5 lbs.

I got out the air chuck gauge and found the correct pressure.

These are both dial gauges which I presumed would be pretty accurate.

Well, I tried a couple of pen-type gauges and found that one matched the air chuck and one matched the newly-unearthed guage.

I think I may be ready to spend more than $15 on a guage.

Sent from my Hewlett-Packard 75C, using the Flying Merkel motorcycle app.

Stromin'Nroman NC28729, USA

DL650A K7 (Greywolf Moto Lab's R&D test mule) June 1, 2012 - present
DL650A K7 April 23, 2007 - January 6, 2012, RIP

"Look here brother, who you jivin' with that cosmik debris?" Frank Zappa, 1975
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post #10 of 28 Old 09-28-2010, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Stromin'Nroman View Post
I think I may be ready to spend more than $15 on a guage.
I used a dial gauge for a good while before buying this roadgear digital. The digital gauge read 5 psi less than the dial. I took the digital and dial to work to check calibration on a device used for instrument calibration. The digital was within 0.5 psi @ 40.

The other day at wally, I picked up a little digital gauge. It's the oval looking one. It almost always reads 10-15 psi low on the 1st and 2nd try, but looses almost no air on each check. Eventually it reads right with the roadgear gauge, which looses at least 1/2 psi each check.

Last edited by ozart; 09-29-2010 at 10:34 AM. Reason: the usual mistakes
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