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Light Up My………..Tire?


I know you have thought of what you would do and what you would buy if you hit the Lottery. Haven’t we all?  I have done a whole lot of wrenchin’ on bikes, not because I want to but because I have to!  I know what I would do if I hit the lottery. Bigger house, Nope.  Nicer clothes, Nope. Finer restaurants, Naw.  Newer truck, Maybe.

I would buy more bikes and way more parts just so I didn’t have to band aid them to keep riding.  As it is I have several bikes, Dual Sport, Off roaders, Race bike, and Adventure bike. Some are duplicated even though I can only ride one at a time.  I justify that by saying that if I split the time between two of them I won’t have to replace them as soon. Clever, eh?

One could say that if you have to have a log book to keep track of oil changes, air filter changes, chain and sprocket changes then you may have too many. I think that just means a guy really cares about his bikes and the maintenance required to have a perfectly functioning machine.  Sounds good.  Well in my maintenance log book I don’t have a section for “riding buddy’s bike”.

Now we get to the moral of this story.  I helped a buddy locate, acquire and set up a KTM 300xcw. It was a used bike, 2014.  Very well kept and in good condition.  So it should not take much to get it in the ball park right?  I found out how poorly some bikes are set up but ridden month after month, year after year in that condition.  The guy it came from was a Fireman and seemed to be pretty squared away with all his accessories, add on parts and even riding gear.  However, when I took over the task of set up I discovered looks are often deceiving as we all know.  The bike worked ok but was too harsh in the front, over sprung in the rear, pinged when under a load and barely cleaned out on top end. I changed what was necessary and made improvements in the performance and handling. But I did all of this on the old tires that came on the bike because I didn’t want to thrash my buddy, Jess’s, new tires. Am I a nice guy or what!  So I had his new tires sitting in the corner of my shop with the other 30 new tires in my garage, lol.

Set up completed and it was time to mount the new tires. Front was a Pirelli knobby and the rear was a Pirelli MT43 trials. No problem with the mounting, bike looks great and all set to deliver for Jess to ride.  I rode with Jess on his 2nd or third ride and his rear tire was looking low. We checked and aired it up. Next ride low again, ok now we gotta take a look and see why.

We break it down and find a small FLASHLIGHT inside the tire! No Way! I would have called him a fibber if I had not been there and seen it. Then I would have said he was such a Joker and was setting me up.  But when we looked closely at the light, sure as heck it had #33 engraved into the side of it. I mark all my tools.  Apparently it rolled off one of the benches and landed in the tire during my 2 week long set up period, since it was parked in the corner waiting to be mounted I never checked and didn’t notice.  I just grabbed a new tire and put it on. Ok, I am a dipstick for not checking first.  So we fix it and go riding.  Jess gets another flat.  Whaaaaaat! I gotta see this one, so we break it down AGAIN and take the tire off the rim to check EVERYTHING!  I am looking for broken rim strip, burrs in the aluminum rim, sharp spoke nipples and even possible exposed wire in the tire. Nothing!  So while Jess is double checking, I look close inside the tire and there is the usual little bit of rubber chaff from the tire and tube rub. I dump it out and see a little something that doesn’t look right. On closer inspection I realize it is the LENS from the little flashlight!  I stare at it and know that I can sweep it away before Jess sees it or realizes there is anything there since he is busy checking the tire again.  But I don’t, I just hang my head in shame for not catching the flashlight in the first place and decide to take the beating.  Jess laughs and says, “I see a shadow board trophy will have to be made.”

Ok, Whatever!  Does anyone think he still has that little flashlight.  Not a chance, it disappeared and I have No Idea as to what could have happened to it.  But if you ever stop by my house you might have to look for the ‘Wall of Shame’.


‘Complacency is a continuous struggle that we all have to fight’


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