Smolder, Pop, Burn

Tire-Popping 101, or: Honey, I Shrunk the Property Value!

Editor's note: This article is for your entertainment purposes only. Don't do this. All photos are of professional riders under controlled conditions. If you try this at home, it could rip your leg off. Or your mother will.

We live in a society of rules. Everywhere we turn another lawyer-mandated sign or warning tag advises us of some miniscule or seemingly obvious danger like: "Caution: Coffee may be hot!" Or: "Do not touch chain saw blade while it is moving!" Do they think we're idiots? Probably not, they're just reacting to some ridiculous lawsuit drummed up by another blood-thirsty lawyer.

Well stuff them all! We don't ride bikes because of the fuel mileage or parking convenience. We ride them for an ass-kicking rush of speed, the thrill of crazy lean angles and, most of all, because the opposite sex digs 'em! And if you're going to ride, you may as well learn some tricks, right? Luckily we're here to educate you on the things they missed in Driver's Ed. Assuming you've received your diploma from Burnout 101, it's time to learn some serious license shredding stunts!

Your instructor for this lesson is John Ortiz. Note the absolute lack of safety gear. Don't even think of doing anything like this without helmet, leathers, boots and gloves. Also note the obvious street setting, guaranteed to set the image of motorcycling back 30 years. Actually it's the driveway to a major motorcycle accessory manufacturer. Of course, we can't tell you which one. Hey, isn't that seat made by...

There are only two things you need for this class, students: First, a bike that has some power. Second, you gotta have faith, brother!    

You need faith to convince yourself that when you grab the front brake just as hard as your puny little wrist will allow, click into second gear, rev the nuts off your stinking little motorbike and dump the clutch, it will spin the rear instead of "looping" and spitting you on your ass. There are a couple of things you can do to ensure this. First, warm your front tire by doing some hard braking. You may also wish to put a small amount of bleach or oil under your rear tire. Bleach is preferred for its smoke-inducing qualities. Also, putting as much weight as possible on the bike's front end helps your back tire light up. Once it's spinning your job is easy -- just wait, you could be there for five minutes.

Continue this lunacy until you feel the rear of your bike start to sag. Keep smokin' it for another minute or two until you hear a loud "BANG!" and the rear sinks a couple inches. Note that modern radial tires are much better for tire popping, as the nylon cords will melt. Old steel bias-ply tires usually throw strips of steel mesh and rubber that loop around and catch in the swingarm -- if you've got old-style tires, keep a hand on the clutch so you can stop the motor when the tire separates or it'll pitch you on the ground when the tire whips itself around the swingarm! If you've reached this point without being arrested or having the old lady who lives next door smack you with a broom you've just passed the final exam for Tire-Popping 101. Congratulations, you're an idiot!

Disclaimer: All photos depicted here are digitally enhanced creations, and are not real. Tire shows signs of abuse. Hmm, that could limit mileage. Oh my! Wheee, a burnout. Yawn. My mom can do that. Yahoo! That's more like it! Give it the berries, and all that. Hey, could this guy look more relaxed?



Want some more, eh? More smoke than a Jamaican Horticulturist's Convention! Same rule applies too - Don't Inhale. Got some time to kill during that second-gear burnout? Why not take your bike for a walk. We suggest a circle, but writing your initials is cool too. Not only are burnouts fun, they also rid your driveway of unwanted objects, like this nail. Undaunted, we press on.





Ain't dead yet? This tire popping stuff sure does take a long time -- should've brought a gas mask.Strip show! Rubber starts to reach the molten point and flies off in stringy cords.Note smoldering patch on pavement. Nasty.




Now we're getting somewhere! Ridges appear in the thrashed tire and the EPA called about the smoke. More, we cried! Eagerly John obliged and sent the unknown bike screaming to redline. Note how he's holding his breath against the toxic fumes? Wimp. NASA should produce so much smoke! Third gear + big revs = a tire whose temperature equals the Earth's core.                




Success! Tires have nightmares about dying like this. Full points for artistic impression! What does this resemble? Looks kind of like a sperm you say? You sick freak, go work it out in therapy!

Better clean up that burned rubber before the boss comes out..


 Ben Bostrom warms up his Metzeler before the NASB World Finals at Daytona.


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