What have you got on your wheels this winter?

December 31, 2011

Remember: The most important part of the bike is where it touches the ground

This is the time of year for festive cheer, family reunions, Christmas dinner and lots of chocolates. However it is also the time of year where bikers of every denomination can suddenly find themselves tumbling painfully along the surface of an oily, wet or icy road with various broken pieces of motorcycle in their wake.

Regular as clockwork at this time of year, posts appear on the Electric Motoring Forum or Endless Sphere relating tales of woe about being unexpectedly turfed off their bikes when it suddenly fails to stay upright. Manhole covers, potholes, road muck and wet and icy driving conditions make things especially treacherous for bikers, and riders of electric scooters are especially prone to this. The weight of a typical SLA bank (32Kg for a 48V bank, 48Kg for a 72V bank) puts a greater stress on the braking components and has a habit of quickly identifying the weakest link in this system.

That weakest link is invariably the tyres that come with the bike. To keep prices rock bottom, a new Ego Scoota or other electric moped will come furnished with the cheapest, poorest quality tyres that Chinese manufacturers can knock out. Invariably these turn out to be the culprit in most spills: Though they seem deceptively steady in good weather conditions, they have a habit of brutally betraying you at the first sign of trouble. As followers of this blog may remember, I was fortunate enough to stay upright through two slides: After a front slide I replaced the front tyre, but a rear slide shortly afterwards made it clear to me that the tyres that come with the bike are just not fit for purpose. With Continental K-62s both front and rear, the handling was worlds apart.

My Scoota with its chunkier K-62s front and rear

So please, please folks: If you plan to ride through the winter, consider switching to some better tyres. – If you’re riding on what came with the bike, your odds of coming off are that much higher.

Stay safe, and a Happy New Year!

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