Can you align a motorcycle? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 18 Old Jan 27th, 2013, 5:24 pm Thread Starter
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Can you align a motorcycle?

I have a 99 LT, with about 90,000 miles on it. I have already had a FD and a clutch failure. I'm running the bias ply Bridgestone battleax tires, mostly because a BMW dealer was going out of business and I bought his back stock for pennies on the dollar. I just put my last front tire on about 3,000 miles ago, and it is already totally cupped, with less than 2,000 miles to go for replacement. The rear has been through two fronts and still looks fine!!!

I noticed the tire has a bald groove to the rider's left of center line, like I am in a perpetual curve. Is this due to road crowning? Weight on the left (off balance)? I even thought it might be a front caliper that is braking harder on the left. Or could it be a more sinister alignment issue? I checked with a piece of string, and it looks like it is in order.

I'm thinking about going back to the Metzler, because I use the bike to commute, and need better rain and mileage performance, rather than sticky feet in the curves. I don't want to put new shoes on the bike if it has a mechanical problem that will prematurely wear them out. Opinions??
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post #2 of 18 Old Jan 27th, 2013, 5:53 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

There are several threads on this forum that talk about left side tire wear (and right side wear in locales where vehicles operate on the left side of the roadway).

The page commonly linked to for an explanation (if not necessarily "the" explanation) of this phenomena is at http://www.rattlebars.com/tirewear/index.html.


Antony (Tripod)
Dallas' Northern Suburbs
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post #3 of 18 Old Jan 27th, 2013, 6:57 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

So then why am I going through front tires at a 2 to 1 ratio? On all my other bikes it is nearly exactly reversed, going through rear tires at a 2:1 ratio. Given that logic, I am burning through front tires at almost four times the normal rate !!

Thanks,

Robert
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post #4 of 18 Old Jan 27th, 2013, 7:04 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

WHY are you going through twice as many fronts as rears? I cannot answer that. But..... take the "WHY" off the front of the question and, yes, you are going through more front tires than rear tires.

LT front tires wear faster than the rears, regardless of brand, in my experience. From reading posts here over the years, it seems to be quite common.

Inflation, inflation, inflation. One of the keys to long(er) tire life is keeping tire pressure at the "correct" level. There are a multitude of theories about what is correct. Not as many as arise when discussing oil, but a variety of opinions just the same.

Antony (Tripod)
Dallas' Northern Suburbs
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If you want to be happy for a lifetime, ride a motorcycle.

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post #5 of 18 Old Jan 27th, 2013, 7:19 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

I get on average 12k mileage on the rear and 20-22k on the front. Running Metz me880
I always check the pressure and make sure it is 42 and 48 psi before every ride.
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post #6 of 18 Old Jan 28th, 2013, 10:21 am
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Yep, Bridgestones on mine go two for one. Two fronts to one rear. Ususally cup the front in 3-4000 miles pretty bad. The roads, driving/braking habits all play a major role in tire life .The Beemer DOES tend to eat fronts pretty quickly from my experience, on my bike. I usually get no mote than 8 to 10,000 miles on a set of fronts and one rear. Heck, one good weekend in Arkansas on twistys will seriously put the hurt on a new set.
Just the price of admission I guess.
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post #7 of 18 Old Jan 28th, 2013, 11:45 am
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

If you ride two up all the time like I do the mileage you get out of tires drops by 20%. If I get 5K on tires I'm thrilled.
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post #8 of 18 Old Jan 28th, 2013, 12:08 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Front tire wear is mostly affected by pressure and braking techniques. Rear tire wear is mostly affected by pressure and accelleration loads. If you brake hard alot and in curves you will exaserbate the cupping on the front tire.

You spend more time in left hand curves (relative given an even number of left and right curves) than in right hand curves (in a country the drives on the right).

Several of us have gone to the Metzeler on the front and the Bridgestone on the rear for best all around mileage and rain performance. Also bumped up the pressures to 42 front and 48 rear.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
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Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #9 of 18 Old Jan 28th, 2013, 12:38 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deputy5211
....
LT front tires wear faster than the rears, regardless of brand, in my experience. From reading posts here over the years, it seems to be quite common.

Inflation, inflation, inflation. One of the keys to long(er) tire life is keeping tire pressure at the "correct" level. There are a multitude of theories about what is correct. Not as many as arise when discussing oil, but a variety of opinions just the same.
You've nailed it. You can align a motorcycle, but I doubt that is the cause of short treadlife on the LT.

Here is the Michelin PR2 from my LT after less than 8500 miles.


I ran pressure around 36-38 and it looks like I needed to have kept it higher.
I replaced this with a Continental Motion Sport. I'll be running it at the sidewall max of 42psi. We'll see how long it lasts.

Dave
-2000 K1200LT
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post #10 of 18 Old May 7th, 2015, 7:56 pm
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Align a motorcycle. PDF Book

Is there a Tire Alignment?

https://www.rbracing-rsr.com/downloa...0LT_Repair.pdf
On page 46.37 & 46.38 has info about that in this PDF book.

This is the only book that has more information then CLYMER book.


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post #11 of 18 Old May 8th, 2015, 8:15 pm
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Re: Align a motorcycle. PDF Book

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rashou812 View Post
Is there a Tire Alignment?

https://www.rbracing-rsr.com/downloa...0LT_Repair.pdf
On page 46.37 & 46.38 has info about that in this PDF book.

This is the only book that has more information then CLYMER book.
That is the factory BMW manual for the pre-2005 bikes and it is only a measurement with no provision to adjust. It is what it is. I find it interesting that it is biased to the right with -5 to +14 mm offset.
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John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #12 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 7:34 am
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep View Post
So then why am I going through front tires at a 2 to 1 ratio? On all my other bikes it is nearly exactly reversed, going through rear tires at a 2:1 ratio. Given that logic, I am burning through front tires at almost four times the normal rate !!

Thanks,

Robert
With the Metz 880s, I run just the opposite. I get 16-18K on the fronts and 7-8K on the rears. I am getting towards the end of my 3rd front 880 at 48K.

I tried a BT020 rear last change as many here reported longer life than the Metz. I have about 6K on it and may get 8, so for me it appears the life will be about the same as the Metz. It is a fair bit cheaper, so I likely will stay with it even if no life advantage.

The Bridgestone front has a repute for fast wear. Also, inflation and front brake use matter. I run higher than BMW recommends with 42 front and 48 rear. 48 is 2 below the max for the 880, but right at the max for the Bridgstone so need to be precise with the rear. And I use both brakes together and live in a rural area with infrequent stops. If you use the front brake alone and live in a more urban area, then shorter life is expected. For reference, my front pads are only about 60% worn after 48K. The rears were nearly to the metal by 30K.
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post #13 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 8:13 am
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

I use Bridgestones and eat up 1-1/2 fronts to 1 rear. I suspect the useable tread thickness is much thinner than the Metz, the stones really look thin brand new. Also the compound must be harder on the Metz. thus longer life but sacrificing optimal grip in wet conditions as some report. What does help longevity is 42/48 front/rear PSI. The beast's nature is she is a tire eater!

Scott
2007 LT
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post #14 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 10:48 am
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Funny on the bt020 I got 13k and the bt022 at 15k and still going..

-BATTLAX BT-020 RADIAL
-BATTLAX BT-022 RADIAL


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post #15 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 5:50 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

I use Ride ON in both tires Metz. and get 2-1 rear to front and no cupping. They are always balancing as you ride. Jim
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post #16 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 7:49 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep View Post
So then why am I going through front tires at a 2 to 1 ratio? On all my other bikes it is nearly exactly reversed, going through rear tires at a 2:1 ratio. Given that logic, I am burning through front tires at almost four times the normal rate !!

Thanks,

Robert
Hard acceleration will eat up a rear tire and hard braking will eat up a front tire. So it appears you are heavy on the front brake, while the rest of us have a lead ...wrist?

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #17 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 8:16 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep View Post
So then why am I going through front tires at a 2 to 1 ratio? On all my other bikes it is nearly exactly reversed, going through rear tires at a 2:1 ratio. Given that logic, I am burning through front tires at almost four times the normal rate !!

Thanks,

Robert
Three things:

1. You are using the wrong tires. You need 880s.
2. You are using the front brake too much. Brakes are for sissies.
3. Your tires may be underinflated. Run 42 psi.

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post #18 of 18 Old May 9th, 2015, 8:19 pm
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Re: Can you align a motorcycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
Hard acceleration will eat up a rear tire and hard braking will eat up a front tire. So it appears you are heavy on the front brake, while the rest of us have a lead ...wrist?
I prefer to think of it as an agile wrist.

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