The ties that bind

Darkside Tire

Photo illustration by Guy Wheatley
Come with us to the Dark Side. We have cookies.

I recently joined another motorcycle-related forum. (See Link at bottom) There’s nothing unusual in that. I already belong to several. There are three forums specifically for models of motorcycles I own or have recently owned.
I host another forum for local riders and friends, and have belonged to forums for riders in increasingly large areas, like regions and states. The theme for all of these forums have been either about motorcycle riders, or riders of a specific bike.
Because all members of these forums share a common interest, there is a feeling of fraternity. Our common interest in riding or in a particular type of motorcycle gives us enough common ground to develop a sense of community. Recreational activities and brand loyalty have long been the nucleus around which groups can form.
But this most recent addition to my list of forums has a somewhat different binding force. This forum is about riding on the dark side. The dark side, in motorcycling terms, most often refers to using a car tire. Reading this forum often causes a fleeting sense of vertigo. A member will ask a question about his bike, and I automatically assume he’s on the same type of motorcycle I have. So the references to parts that my bike doesn’t have, or a part that is markedly different from the equivalent part on my bike can cause temporary disorientation. But when we get back to the main issue of car tire safety and durability, it all feels like home.
Not only are there many types of bikes represented on this forum, but myriad brands and styles of tire as well. So the binding force here is not a brand loyalty, or even general riding. It is the use of a car tire. To me that seems odd as a cohesive force.
Reading through some of the posts, I began to realize the motive force may be more external than internal. Most of us dark-siders have been repeatedly warned that we are courting instant, flaming and painful death. And there is actual prejudice out there as many have found when trying to get a car tire mounted. Very few dealerships or tire stores will knowingly mount a car tire on a motorcycle for fear of potential litigation. And most of us have repeatedly been subjected to diatribes about the danger of what we are doing.
So dark-siders come together to list places that will mount their tires, or with advice and instruction on how to do it yourself. We also share information and reviews on tires we use. And as many dark-siders my be geographically isolated, surrounded by nonbelievers, the board can be a place of moral support.
In my own case, it was a pleasure to find so many other who like me have seen the light and gone to the dark side.

- Guy Wheatley

3 Responses

  1. Jerry Says:

    Guy,
    Great write up.
    You nailed it. Using a car tire is what binds us together. We don’t care what bike you ride or where you ride. We have member from all around the world.

  2. Robert aka CaribCruiser Says:

    Guy, great blog, nicely written.
    Will let you know when I’m in the States. I might do a trip in Texas with one of the fellow darksiders.
    I’m overseas by the way, living on Curacao, Dutch Caribbean.
    Ride safe.

  3. Jack Says:

    I’ve been darkside on my Valkyrie for 11 years now. Never had a problem. In fact, I believe a car tire on a m/c is safer in many ways. Whether riding in the rain or getting a nail in the tire, I have felt more secure in knowing I had a firm, wide tire beneath me.

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