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Notes and/or errata

September 28, 2011
Front Kenda tire

Orin ONeill photos

It’s been about a year since I replaced the GTS’ front tire, and you’ll recall I recently put on a new rear tire.

Happily, there have been no issues. Or punctures.

However, I have noticed the Kenda K413s show a wear pattern somewhat similar to the damnable Savas—look closely at the photo and you’ll see how the tread sections are turning into little ramps. Of course, with more space between the tread grooves, the ramps are not as pronounced, so it’s not like riding on a circular saw blade.

This results in a shimmy you feel through the headset (and before I replaced the rear tire, in the seat of your pants) on launching from a standstill. At around-town cruising speed, the shimmy goes away, and returns slightly as one approaches 70 mph. Not a major issue, happily.

Best of all, the rate of wear on the front tire means it should be ready for replacement at the same time the rear is. I’m a bit anal in that I don’t like to mix brands or types of tire. This may not be an issue for you, or for anyone. But I plan to take the opportunity to try some different tires when the time comes. I still highly recommend the Kendas and consider them excellent value for money. But I’d like to give Pirellis or Michelins a try. Or possibly Heidenaus. We’ll see.

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The GTS’ registration must be renewed every September. In Washington, you can do this online and have the sticker (or new plate, if it’s been seven years) mailed to you. Or, as I did, since I had some library books to drop off, you can pick it up at the county courthouse.

One must feed a kiosk in Bellingham’s Civic Center, and the minimum charge is a quarter, which will buy you 20 minutes. So I popped in a quarter, got a receipt, and ran inside.

Five minutes later, I had my sticker and new registration. Since I paid for 20 minutes, I mused, why not use them? So I did.

I removed the plate, then removed the old stickers. Three years’ worth will peel off easily and cleanly (something thieves are well aware of). I then cleaned the plate with a shop rag and some spit, applied the new sticker, and reattached the plate. I keep a pen in the glove box for just such things as signing the new registration, meaning the GTS was good to go for another 12 months with two minutes to spare.

The rather kludgy arrangement with the month and year stickers is the result of a law passed by the Washington Legislature in 1965 (which was repealed in 2011) that prohibits abbreviating the word “Washington” on the state’s license plates. Seriously.

Back in 1963, Washington issued new license plates to every vehicle registered in the state. However, there turned out not to be enough room for “Washington 1963” and a plate sticker, so the plates said “Wash. 63”.

This resulted in gnashing of teeth and rending of garments to a degree previously unheard of. Hence the 1965 law.

In 1963, California (where I was a little kid at the time) also had a general issue of new license plates, replacing yellow ones with black ones. The new ones just said “California” on them. If you looked really, really closely, you could see “63” stamped into one of the indents where the stickers were supposed to go.

California’s DMV surely realized everyone grokked that a black license plate would be good without a sticker until 1964.

Same deal in Washington: A white license plate replaced a green one. “1963” was redundant. Makes sense, yes?

Well, this being Washington State, no.

So because of the aforementioned law, Washington has to make some special month stickers that are hard to see and often get covered by license plate frames (like the one on the GTS, f’rinstance). If “Washington” were abbreviated to “Wash” or even “WA” they could use the same month stickers as on the car and truck plates. That’s what California does, and everyone seems to get the gist.

But in Washington, for a disturbingly large number of people, the way California does something is the most compelling argument not to. Oh, well. Favicon

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