Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tyred and emotional

A disadvantage of big, fat tyres on motorcycles is the difficulty in inflating them. The problem is that, unlike on a car where the valve pokes out of the side of the rim, on most bikes the valve points straight at the middle of the wheel. This means that the adapter on the air line has to be crammed between the valve and the hub. On my monstrous machine the rear hub is huge because of the shaft drive and there’s not enough space to get the adapter in.

I’ve tried foot pumps, but these are always cheap and extremely nasty. They simply disintegrate under normal use. I have destroyed two since February, and it’s seemingly impossible to buy a foot pump that is durable and good quality. I’d be happy to pay more for something that would last more than a couple of weeks, but alas, good quality is Not Coming In Dubai. Al cheabo pumps are the only ones available. “Buy cheap; buy twice” as a luminary might say.

Nevertheless, even a quality pump at home wouldn’t help if I needed to inflate my tyres at a petrol station. The air line wand won’t go around the fat rear tyre. At one garage, a mechanic tried to prove otherwise and all he achieved was to let a load of air out and then to saunter off through the ‘staff only’ door before I could express my full displeasure.

What I need is a tyre angle valve adapter. A cursory search on Google yields 18,800 hits, so it’s not unreasonable that I should be able to get one from somewhere.

But not in the UAE of course. During my previous attempts, I was met with many, many variations on a theme of “We don’t know what you’re talking about. The item you describe does not exist.”

So yesterday I downloaded photographs and went shopping again. I regard this form of shopping as a kind of anger management therapy. The challenge is to visit upwards of twenty different shops without being sarcastic, rude, offensive or loud. Now confronted with photographic evidence, every tyre shop, bike shop, accessories or spares retailer I tried had never ever seen one. In extreme cases, the salesman didn’t know what it was, and more than once I was stared at as if I’d just asked for a gold-plated stoat. With custard.

Even the Harley-Davidson shop in Dubai couldn’t help. Selling, as they do, lots of motorcycles with enormous tyres, the difficulty in inflating them must be known. The guy behind the Parts counter confirmed that lots of customers ask, but no, he doesn’t stock any angled valve adapters… And why an angled valve isn’t simply fitted at the factory is a further mystery.

Of course I could mail-order from the UK, USA or possibly Antarctica, but surely there must be somewhere in Dubai, Sharjah or the Northern Emirates that’s got one?



R Bailey said...

Dive cylinder ?
Or doesn't the big white desert beast have a compressor ?

Grumpy Goat said...

The Goatmobile certainly does have a compressor. However, this is of limited use when:-

1. The bike tyres need pumping up and the Goatmobile is nowhere nearby;

2. The compressor's adapter won't fit on the bike's schrader valves.

Gnomad said...

reminds me of an occasion in the UK when asking for a gadget (I forget exactly what) to be told:

"no we don't stock those, I keep having to tell people. There's no demand..."

Bush Mechanic said...

Hmmm, looks remarkably similar to a thingy in Wolfi's bike shop, Sheik Zayed Rd. Extremely remarkably similar. I had it in my hand 20 minutes ago. On the counter no less.

Grumpy Goat said...

Bush Mechanic: You appear to have been absolutely correct. I visited Wolfi's on Saturday, and a member of the Wolf gang was able to sell me one. Huzzah.

Thanks, shukran, arigato, etc.


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