The Tire Tread Explained

The simplest explanation for tire tread will be that they’re the ‘grooves’ in the tire that not just make it look good bit also perform the vital function of draining away water from under the contact patch. The larger tread of ‘knobby’ tires allows the knobs to dig into the soft ground and provide grip where the smoother tread pattern would not grip.

Talking of tread patterns, few know that tires have sea and land within. These are the technical names of tread features. The grooves are the ‘sea’ while the raised rubber surrounding them is the ‘land’. These land and sea patterns are usually unique to each tire model and most tire manufacturers favor a certain family of patterns compared to others.

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Soft Luggage for Motorcycles

Even if you don’t believe in magic, you have to admit soft luggage is sort of magical. It can help turn the least likely motorcycle into a touring bike, and do it for a fraction of what it cost to buy a purpose-built motorcycle. When you get home, you take it off and presto! You get your old motorcycle back in minutes. That’s way better than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. To keep the trick from going wrong, though, here are some tips to consider when choosing soft luggage.

Some general considerations first. Just as you do when you shop for riding gear, try any piece of soft luggage on your motorcycle before you buy. It doesn’t take long to find out that the term ‘universal’ sometimes means ‘doesn’t really fit anything well.’ Some luggage just isn’t compatible with some motorcycles, like those with high pipes that can melt saddlebags, or plastic tanks that rule out magnetic tank bags.

Especially with tank bags, mount the bag and then sit on the motorcycle to make sure the bag doesn’t crowd you, obscure the instruments or interfere with the handlebar when the front wheel is at full lock. Do the same with saddlebags that might interfere with your feet on the pegs.

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Twin-Shock Rear Suspension - Good or Bad?

Some people apparently see two-shock rear suspension as old fashion and less effective. There was a time when the rear suspension of every motorcycle had a pair of shock absorbers attached to either side of the rear swingarm.

Yes, even those that were raced on tracks or those that jumped the humps during motocross. There still are quite a few motorcycles with just such a set-up but now they belong mainly to the eco-commuter or cruiser class. Nothing wrong with it as the twin-shock set-up is pretty effective considering the costs involved and the performance of the machine vis-a-vis the amount of desired suspension travel and control.

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Sports-Touring Tires - Metzeler Roadtec 01 Technology

Sports Touring tires have an incredible tough job. They have to suit all types of motorcycles, from 200 horsepower superbikes to lightweight commuters and heavyweight tourers, give confidence in temperatures as low as 5º Celsius, cut through the heaviest rain, give excellent grip on dry roads, and provide a sporty steering characteristic while remaining stable. On top of all that, they’ve got to give thousands of kilometers of life, too.

Logic suggest that creating a product to achieve all this would be impossible, as the soft compounds needed to generate feel and confidence in cold, wet conditions are the very same compounds that can be easily overheated in warm, dry, high-kilometers situations.

But in recent years all the leading manufacturers have now created products to give riders around the world the ideal solution for all types of road riding, which is why sports touring tires represent the majority of all motorcycle tires sold around the world.

Lets look at the Metzeler Roadtec 01 and the technology that is used to achieve the impossible.

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Selecting Motorcycle Boots

Although all motorcycle gear is important, boots rank up there pretty high. More specifically, though, I’m talking about boots designed for riding motorcycles, as not all boots are created equal when it comes to offering proper protection.

Someone once said: ‘Keep your motorcycle in good repair, for motorcycle boots are not made for walking.’ Actually, boots have a huge job to do as they have to protect you from the elements, as well as that worst-case scenario, a crash. In addition, boots are pretty much the only piece of motorcycle gear that you can hang out in while you are out and about on your motorcycle. The other stuff – helmet, gloves, jacket – generally comes off once you arrive at your destination. Boots need to offer comfort wherever your ride takes you – and of course, looking good also counts.

If you’ve been riding a long time, I’m sure that you have gone through many motorcycle boots. And maybe for you, as with me, many of them failed pretty soon after purchase. Loose stitching, sles wearing out far too soon and leather cracking prematurely, even after proper care, are disappointing failures in my view.

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Head-Up Display for KTM and Husqvarna

Pierer Industrie AG, the parent company of KTM, Husqvarna and WP Suspension, has invested in American-based tech company NUVIZ, which in just three years has developed a head-up display (HUD) for motorcycle helmets.

The fruits of this new collaboration are expected to hit the market within months.

The investment, which reportedly amounts to about US$ 5 million, includes a seat on the NUVIZ board of directors.

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Rating: 4.50/5 (2 votes cast)

The Alternator, Regulator and Rectifier

Most Japanese manufacturers call them alternators, but they also called generators which is in some sense the correct term. The alternator alternates the current, it’s as simple as that: it spins on one end of the crank, a variable based on rpm by a magnet passing a fixed point with a coil on it and generates electricity. The role of an alternator is to generate an electrical current in order to recharge your battery, so you could say it’s a vital part of your motorcycle.

With an alternator, there are other items required in order to take that alternating currency (AC power). We used to have dynamos, which were DC and therefore wan no need for such luxuries as a regulator rectifier. Instead a more basic regulator controlled the current to the battery: a much simpler system and far less effective. We now have the advent of ‘smart’ rectifiers that click in and out and work only when called upon, rather than a free-flow job.

Nowadays, when you turn your motorcycle’s ignition on, there’s fuel injection, lights, alarms and starter button all drawing current, so you need a decent input. Years ago we used to see car alternators on motorcycles – I think MV Agusta was the last motorcycle manufacturer to use a car item – but those days are gone, and it’s all about trying to reduce inertia, and ultimately give the engine less work to do.

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The Dainese Torque D1 Air Motorcycle Race Boots

Are you the kind of person who is always decked from head to toe in Italian riding apparel? Well, no reason to ditch that allegiance when you get the track, thanks to the new Dainese Torque D1 Air Race Boots. Or maybe you’re just a Valentino Rossi fan. Whatever it is, the Dainese Torque D1 Air race boot is one of the best in the business.

We’re saying that after putting in over 1000 kilometers on the road as well as a few kilometer on the track.

What makes the Dainese Torque D1 Air cool? Besides look that good, you mean? Well, how about D-Axial joints to prevent ankle-twist, active ventilation, magnesium toe sliders and a CE-Level 2 safety rating? Plus a calf-circumference adjustment for a custom fit and a rear entry, making it one of the easiest motorcycle boots to get in and out of.

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Valve Stem Caps are Important

Valve stem caps on tire/wheel valves are hugely important, which is why they’re there in the first place although too many riders ignore the dangers. We see numerous motorcycles through the workshop that come in without one or even with both valve caps missing. They’re there to stop the muck and crud getting in and deflating the tire, but also to minimize air escaping if the valve leaks and to contain it as much as possible.

If you look at a brand-new valve, it’ll come with either a plastic cap or a lightweight aluminum cap that’s plated to stop corrosion. Some people seem to like going out and buying fancy valve caps for whatever reason, and wonder why their tire is losing pressure or the valve is bending. Just because your friend down the pub reckons it’s cool to rock skull head or dice caps, it doesn’t make it acceptable.

They are often cheap, porous metals that do more harm than good. You don’t really want that, do you?

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Rating: 3.50/5 (4 votes cast)

Exciting as Engine Oil

To the uninitiated, modern engine oil is about as exciting, well, as waiting in a queue for over 30 minutes. But once you take some interest in the quality of the lubricant you’re putting into your trusty motorcycle, you realize the boffins in white coats who formulate the motorcycle engine oil are brainiacs.

Take Shell Advance Ultra 4T four-stroke engine oil for example. It’s 100 percent synthetic race-spec engine lubricant, which Shell reckons provides a motorcycle engine with more torque and increased power while also keeping the clutch and transmission well oiled.

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Rating: 5.00/5 (2 votes cast)


How many times have you crashed your motorcycle in the last three years?

  •  Never
  •  Once
  •  Twice
  •  Three times
  •  Four times
  •  Five times
  •  More than 6 times
  •  More than 10 times
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