Also? No wandering when there's a longitudinal crack in the pavement. The bike tracks straight now and doesn't get squirrely.
If I'm recalling correctly, the tires that were taken off the bike were 20 years old. Somewhere in the morasse of crap on my desk there's a sheet of paper which has the tire details, including the date codes from the old ones.
It's really nice to ride at 60 MPH and not be thinking about how old the tires are and wondering if they are fixing to come apart underneath you.
Anyway--while I had the thing apart, I also took the front forks off and installed the new seals that Og bought lo these many years ago and never installed. One was held together with electrical tape, for crying out loud. But I don't blame him because doing this job was a pain in the ass. I had to loosen four pinch bolts and work the shocks out of the triple tube assembly, and they were being stubborn and I kept running out of room, so I had to keep jacking up the front of the bike, and then bump it went over onto the rear swingarm, and the shocks still refused to come out, and--
Also had to remove the speedo cable and the brake caliper, of course, because those things aren't long enough to let you get the shocks out. But I emerged victorious.
Of course I had to reinstall the rear wheel twice, because after I'd gotten everything back together and went to get the shocks off the workbench I saw a leftover part. Argh etc.
The next user-replacable part I'm going to worry about is the chain. It's stretched a bit since I last adjusted it, and I have perhaps two more turns of the adjuster screws before it's beyond the wear limit. But that can wait a month or two.
After I've got a couple of paychecks under my belt, then, I'll do the chain and probably buy the valve compressor tool, so I can check the valve clearances. Also sync the carbs.
And in the "it's worth every frickin' penny it cost me" department: I'm really, really glad I had a professional mount those tires, because it turns out that I ordered the wrong inner tubes. I wouldn't have known any better.
...and they mounted the tires with tubes out of their parts room, and those inner tubes cost me less than the ones I ordered did. So I'll be sending those tubes back for a refund.
But all that work out in the chilly October air--satisfying as it might be--means I'm hungry and tired, and I'm planning to make chili tonight.
* * *
Ah, here's the piece of paper, and the date code was "291". The three-digit code indicates the tire was made before 2000, and it consists of the two-digit week of the year, followed by the one-digit year. So these tires were either made in 1981 or 1991.
29th week would be the middle of July (thanks to this calculator) and that means these tires are--at a bare minimum!--21.25 years old.
Old enough to buy booze!
Which is too f-ing old for tires, damn it.
And considering the amount of wear on them, I'd wager they're not that young. If they're original equipment, that would make them thirty-one years old.
I really don't know. What I do know is that the bike had 14,396 on it when I took the wheels off yesterday, the rear tire was down to its wear limit, and the front tire was getting there; I'd planned to replace them long before they started having trouble retaining air.
So the bike's finally got new tires!
...just in time for winter. *sigh*