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@raettig avatar
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UTC quote
I don't really need any input here, but thought I'd relay the story. I know these issues are as old as the hills on this forum.

My small dog and I got a rear puncture the other day. Handling started feeling wrong but I was on some dodgy roads so it took me too long to realise it wasn't just that. But when I started losing power - presumably because of ABS - it dawned on me and I managed to limp it to a safe place to stop. Roadside assistance didn't take too long. So I had a mechanic reaming my hole at the side of the road then pushing a plug in. As one does. I do carry a battery powered inflator but not a plug kit on the grounds that I'm incompetent and would rather wait and have somebody more capable do that part.

Made it home with the plug. Ordered two new tyres from a local garage. City Grip 2.

Popped by to get them fitted. But apparently my nuts had seized. They were unable to fit with a drop in appointment so I had to wait a short while for an actual appointment.

Attended the appointment. They managed to get my nuts off with the aid of a blowtorch. Story of my life. New tyres fitted.

However. Riding home the handling felt off. I put that down to "new tyres feel different" but had a nagging concern. My eagle-eyed neighbour texted to say he thought they were different to last time. I checked pressures once the bike had cooled and those were spot on.

My limited understanding is:

1. Grooves should 'look wrong' on the front and be different to the orientation on the rear. Because motorbikes and power versus braking. Last time the front 'looked wrong' but was right. This time, not.

2. Arrow labelled 'front' on the front tyre should point in the direction of travel, not, necessarily, toward the front of the bike. It was pointing away from direction of travel.

3. Arrow labelled 'rear' on the rear tyre should also point in the direction of travel, which it does. This is read with the writing the right way up which on this tyre is with it at the bottom not the top.

So, front tyre wrong, rear tyre right. I've sent photos to the garage and they concur and will sort it.
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UTC quote
raettig wrote:
.....So I had a mechanic reaming my hole at the side of the road then pushing a plug in.

I'm sorry, but the seventh-grader that's still in me has me almost giddy with the possibilities in this statement.

But I shall not pick the low-hanging fruit made so accessable to me today.

Glad your tyre situation worked out for you and your dog buddy.
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Molto Verboso
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UTC quote
"They managed to get my nuts off with the aid of a blowtorch. Story of my life"


You're KILLING me here!

ROFL emoticon ROFL emoticon ROFL emoticon ROFL emoticon
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@raettig avatar
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UTC quote
phew. think i managed to avoid any innuendo there.

"But I shall not pick the low-hanging fruit made so accessable to me today."
- the next corporate exec that talks to me about low hanging fruit is going to get a swift kick in the low hanging fruit.
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UTC quote
raettig wrote:
phew. think i managed to avoid any innuendo there.

"But I shall not pick the low-hanging fruit made so accessable to me today."
- the next corporate exec that talks to me about low hanging fruit is going to get a swift kick in the low hanging fruit.
And rightly so!

Good tyre story though.

I have my own, and it seems they always involve roofing nails and sheet metal screws for some reason.
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@fledermaus avatar
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UTC quote
JBacklund wrote:
I'm sorry, but the seventh-grader that's still in me has me almost giddy with the possibilities in this statement.

You're not alone! Facepalm emoticon

Anyway, glad things got sorted! I think I've heard enough stories about tire rotation direction that I'll probably double check my new tires routinely....
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UTC quote
New tyres will have a release compound that takes awhile to wear off, which might also be affecting handling.

Can you post a pic of the front and rear tyre and someone will confirm if they're correct.

Did you previously have City Grip 2's on, or is this a new tyre compound for you?
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UTC quote
raettig wrote:
phew. think i managed to avoid any innuendo there.

"But I shall not pick the low-hanging fruit made so accessable to me today."
- the next corporate exec that talks to me about low hanging fruit is going to get a swift kick in the low hanging fruit.
And when you do that exec may do some "blue sky thinking" about the corporate gobbledegook they insist on using.
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UTC quote
It is worthwhile getting the front tyre flipped, but I doubt that is why the tyres felt "wrong". As I understand it because the front tyre is primarily exposed to braking force, where the back is more exposed to acceleration force, the manufacturers will build up the internal cord structure to resist those forces and maintain a stable carcass. So you would probably feel a difference under hard braking, but general straighline and steering would be unaffected by the flipped tyre.

New tyres always feel odd for the first 50km or so, sometimes that is the mould release compound affecting traction but more often it is your muscle memory of the way the bike used to turn-in on the old, worn tyres.

It will be interesting to hear your observation after the front tyre is corrected. I have no personal experience; I have had the same issue with incorrectly fitted tyres but have always caught it before refitting the wheel.
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UTC quote
yes, i think it's at least reasonably likely that most of the gut feeling i have about the handling is explained by it being a couple of years since i had new tyres on and so i've forgotten the difference yet i'm in-tune enough to my ride that what might be quite a minor change is feeling significant. i'll see tomorrow. if i can put some miles on the new tyres then either me or they ought to adapt. they have at least assured me that having got my nuts off once it should be easier the second time.
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UTC quote
Rode through wind and rain then waited around for them to correct my front tyre orientation.

They needn't prostrate themselves but a simple sorry for the inconvenience would have gone a long way.

When collecting I asked if it was indeed the wrong way round as seemed very likely. The answer was they didn't know ("well, could you ask?") and that they apparently did it to match my previous tyre. ("Was my previous tyre oriented correctly? Why didn't you do that last time?").

This is a specialist motorcycle tyre place. It would be more reassuring if they actually understood it based on first principles.

Cornering still feels weird particularly at the rear. I can't quite articulate it. I've done over 50,000 miles on Vespas but the first 6000 on this new bike have been over a long period so I'm likely just forgetting the new tyre feeling. New tyres are same model. I could check they haven't changed anything in reassembling the rear. Shock preload for instance. Though seems unlikely. It's hard enough to do that on purpose. Best I can describe the back is that it feels rock hard and about three sizes too wide. My ex had a similar complaint.

Full service next month if the belt lasts that long.
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UTC quote
What pressure front and rear?
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I did check that once the bike had cooled as it felt really off. But they nailed it. 26 PSI front, 29 rear.
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UTC quote
Can you post a pic of the front on your Vespa so we can see the tyre tread in relation to the Vespa.

The release compound can take 50-100 miles to wear off.

I recently had 12 psi in my rear tyre, and handling was extremely weird. I pumped it back up to 29psi and could swear that it didn't feel right for weeks - but now it seems ok. I can only think that this was a psychological effect. Maybe I'd adjusted my body posture and riding style when the pressure was so slow, or maybe I'm a bit more "wooden" in my body movements as I don't have the same level of trust.
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If you look at the front of your Vespa, do the tread markings look like they're forming an arrow pointing up, or pointing down?

Which of the following 2 images do they look like now?
Image 1
Image 1
Image 2
Image 2
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UTC quote
My City Grips both point the centre of the tread upwards and I know they are mounted with the corrent orientation.
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This should be interesting.
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cadbury64 wrote:
My City Grips both point the centre of the tread upwards and I know they are mounted with the corrent orientation.
The curious thing is all of Michelins product photos show the opposite, as do the photos on the official Vespa website.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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It all depends whether you look at the front or the back of the tyres. Ignore the tread pattern - just go by the rotation arrows on the side. Yes, to some people the front tyre then looks 'wrong' - but it's not, those treads and sipes are designed to throw out water when cornering as well as when going straight and braking.

We often forget the front and rear tyres do completely different jobs! The front has to provide maximum grip when braking, the rear tyre has to provide maximum grip when positively accelerating.
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A quick internet search found this picture.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
⚠️ Last edited by cadbury64 on UTC; edited 1 time
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UTC quote
cadbury64 wrote:
A quite internet search found this picture.
which has the arrow in the direction of rotation. ie, correct.
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UTC quote
JakeM wrote:
The curious thing is all of Michelins product photos show the opposite, as do the photos on the official Vespa website.
and this has one up and one down.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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The official Vespa website shows it pointing down at the front!
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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Normally the tread arrows point in the direction of travel to bite in the ground...so to speak. however the GTS photo if you put theory in to motion as the tire is rotating the water is being push fwd out of the tread to clear the road.
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In the wet, when leaning around a curve, with the tyre on correctly (directional arrows!), water gets squeezed towards the outside of the curve - which accounts for the tread appearing to be 'wrong'.
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UTC quote
jimc wrote:
In the wet, when leaning around a curve, with the tyre on correctly (directional arrows!), water gets squeezed towards the outside of the curve - which accounts for the tread appearing to be 'wrong'.
Correct, however doesn't work when braking.
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UTC quote
srd0060 wrote:
Correct, however doesn't work when braking.
oh please elaborate on this, I really want to hear your science and data references for such a claim.
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UTC quote
JakeM wrote:
The official Vespa website shows it pointing down at the front!
simply piaggio screwed up in some promo shots, ain't the first time. that pic of yours actually looks very very photoshopped

when delivered they are the other (correct) way.

so can this thread please chill out about the direction. just follow the arrow of rotation on the tire (which for different tires designs could of course be different)
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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UTC quote
and photo of real one on vespa.com.

also correct.

so ignore piaggios promo shops that look photoshopped
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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UTC quote
+1 to that Steelbytes.

I wondered if the Piaggio brochure photo was actually CGI; there seems to be surprisingly little sidewall info printed on the tyres, much like on Michelin's own images.
@steelbytes avatar
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UTC quote
cadbury64 wrote:
I wondered if the Piaggio brochure photo was actually CGI; there seems to be surprisingly little sidewall info printed on the tyres, much like on Michelin's own images.
check that fake as hell brake disc / rotor
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