Low Tire Pressure
Date: Saturday, October 21 @ 11:32:42 EDT
I was twisting my way up Hardscabble Pass, a scenic bit of mountain road on Hwy 96 in Fremont County, Colorado, and a road I know very well, driving it three to four times a week. As fate would have it, on this particular day I ran up on a Chevy Tahoe traveling at the posted speed limit. It was a nice day, so I settled back and started paying more attention to the scenery than the road. This was no hardship, as the pass is different every trip.
So there I was, nice and relaxed, laying the bike through the corners at low speed as one does just for fun, when suddenly the rear end stepped out violently, like I had hit a patch of ice. Adrenaline surged as more through luck than anything else I was able to recover the bike, although I came damn close to laying it down.
I immediately pulled over and inspected the bike. No visible problems, nothing leaking onto the rear tire, no visible damage to the tire, and nothing loose anywhere. I went back to the point on the road where the incident occurred expecting to find some sand or gravel, but the surface was clean. What gives? I inspected the tire again, this time pushing hard on the center of the tread. It gave the slightest bit. Not good, looks like low pressure.
My shop was 8 miles away, so I continued on, keeping the bike upright through the remaining curves. A tire pressure check at the shop showed 16 pounds of pressure. Spraying the tire with a soap solution revealed a neat hole, most likely left by a nail.
My guess is I ran over something right after departing home that day and had about 18 pounds of pressure in the tire by the time I reached the pass. As I laid the bike through the turn the sidewall partially collapsed, throwing the rear end out. Up until that point I hadn't noticed anything to indicate a problem, but I was kind of day dreaming along. It's one time I'm glad I had traffic slowing me up.