Monday, August 13, 2012

2012.08.13 - What a blow-out!

Don't try this at home friends.  I'm a trained professional. . .

I managed to get every last bit of rubber off the pusher tire that came with my Ural Gear Up.  Of course, I was only about two miles from home this afternoon when the death knell sounded.  Pop!  Wheeze!  And it was down for the count.

OK I thought, I've got a spare.  That's one of the good things about a Ural.  Things aren't too bad.  I remembered that getting the bike on the center stand is not fun.  That's why I used to carry a small bottle jack in the trunk.  Of course, when I sold my old 2003 Patrol a couple of years back, the bottle jack went along with it.  Today it was the center stand and nothing but the center stand.  I thought I was slick when I positioned the bike facing up an incline.  It was still a grunt to roll it back on the center stand, but it was up.

I haven't changed a Ural tire in at least 4 years, so I had my first fit before I remembered that the special oil filter wrench is also the special rear axle nut wrench on the two wheel drive Ural bikes.  It was a struggle to get the cotter pin out too of course.  Then I rediscovered that the center stand is not high enough to be able to roll the tire out from under the fender.  (Note to IMWA, the Ural Oracle, three words: Hinged rear fender.  Come on, BMW did it in the 1930's. . .)  So, unbelievably, the Gear Up's shovel saved me for a second time in the space of two weeks.  I got to work chopping the hard dirt and rocks away from under the rear tire.  If you ever wondered why they call these hills the "Rocky Mountains", I can tell you why.  It took almost 15 minutes of chopping before I was able to squeeze the tire out.  And Bob's your uncle!  I thought. . .
All dug out, nowhere yet to go.  How do you like the fuzzy cell phone camera effects?
Just a couple of minutes more digging allowed me to get the spare tire into the same space that the flat one had been.  Guess all that air in there makes it a bit bigger.  Wheel on.  Axle on.  Axle nut tightened.  No cotter pin, but its only two miles or so to home.  I put all the tools away, put my riding gear back on and kick the bike to life.  She won't move too far with the pusher wheel off the ground, so I cleverly slipped her into two wheel drive.  Unfortunately, the sidecar wheel just didn't have enough grip to get the bike moving back up the incline.  She just spun a little to the left and the sidecar wheel started to dig a hole.

Ah, fun and games.  I spent the next few minutes trying to dig the center stand out in the hopes of popping it up.  I even contemplated leaving the motor running, the bike in gear--in two wheel drive--and pulling on the front fender's grab bar.  I figured that might possibly end nastily.  I reconsidered.  Brute force was obviously the answer, so a few more minutes of bouncing, and pulling, and grunting, basically left me breathless and no closer to home.  Then salvation arrived in the guise of a local bicyclist who happened by and offered to help.  With him pushing and me pulling we got it off the center stand and I was them able to power out of the little trench I had dug.

After a thanks from me, the cyclist went on his way and I pulled out onto the tarmac for those last few miles home.  Holy Cow!  I couldn't believe how the bike was handling.  It became an entirely different beast with the change of the tire.  The bike seemed to have a mind of its own!  It didn't want to steer left, and was scary going right.  I never experienced this on my old Patrol the many times I changed its tires.  I even thought for a second that maybe my spare wheel didn't have any bearings in it and it was wobbling around.  A quick look down showed a cleanly rotating tire.  I checked the tire pressure and adjusted it to 40psi right after I mounted it on the bike.  The old flat pusher was a Duro, the spare tire a Uralshina.  Different cross sections, but I didn't think it would make such a big difference.

I don't know what's going on there.  For this evening, I've had enough bike wrestling.  I'll look at it tomorrow.  I guess my forlorn BMW F650 will get a ride tomorrow.  It's been lonely since I brought the Ural home two weeks ago.

Oh, if only those last few inches of rear fender were somehow removable. . .


  1. Dan

    Looking forward to meeting you in person this Saturday

    Figure out what's going on with the new pusher?


  2. Motorcycle tire blow out can really mess up plans. It is something that can happen anytime at any moment causing inconveniences. I travel for long distances and i always use Michelin Motorcycle Tires. The tires are of good quality but they too can burst out at a given point in time so i have a routine of inspecting my tires before every ride. I look forward to more posts from you.