I just want to say a little on the subject of tires, particularily for new riders. As I'm sure you have noticed, we do not require new tires, or for tires to have certain tread depth. We used to.

The reason we stopped was that it got to the point with tire technology that tread depth and tire wear had little to do with each other. One rider would show up with well over the minimum thread on a sport tire, and come back with cord showing. Another rider would so up with a mileage tire that didn't have the minimum depth, but there was enough on the tire to do 2 rallies. So we stopped doing that.

With that in mind, let me explain a few things about tires, and how they work in rallies.

1. The stickiest sport tires on dry pavement are the worst for traction in the rain. The same silica in the tread of sport-touring tires that makes them last longer also makes them repel water so they stick better in wet conditions.

2. Tires will wear much faster on the rally than they do normally. Motorcycle tires in general, and sport tires particularly are designed to heat up quickly. Most riders ride for a short time, then stop and let them cool. A cool tire wears slower than a hot tire. In a rally, the tire never cools, so it wears faster. If you look at your tire before the rally and figure you can get another 1500 miles out of it under your normal riding, you will most likely not be able to finish the rally on it.

3. Tires wear much faster in rain than they do on dry pavement. This is not what most people expect. Before I started doing this I always figured that a tire would wear slower because of the lubricating effect of the water. It is not the case. Because the tire is slipping almost constantly, it wears the tire faster.

If you do not have rally experiance on your bike with your prefered tires, I highly, and I mean HIGHLY recommend that you have new tires mounted before the rally. If you normally run a sticky sport tire, I also highly recommend that you give a sport-touring tire a try. Tires such as the Metzler Z6, Bridgestone B-21, Avon Storm, or my favorite, the Michelin Pilot Road 2 are great choices. You will likely be suprised that these tires offer about the same traction on the street as the sport tires, and last up to 4 or 5 times longer.

Tom