The part about the wear bars/water shedding reminded me of a trip we took with our regular traveling partners. About 4 days into a trip through Washington state and British Columbia, we stopped at a lovely little site and rented cabins up in northern BFE BC. Upon learning that it was supposed to rain the next day, my buddy decided to check the rear tire on his rented Gold Wing to find this:
I ended up following him for hundreds of miles before we reached anywhere that looked like it might be remotely capable of changing a tire. It poured rain the whole way and to my amazement, that bald tire still shot water out of it like it had perfectly good tread.
Needless to say, my friend got the tire changed and gave an earful to the guy that rented us our bikes via Ma Bell.
Your buddy rented a bike but didn't give it a once over until he was four days into the ride?
Yeah, I gotta admit I wasn't any smarter. I had rented an FJR from the guy previously and it had brand new tires and ran great. When we rented these Goldwings I guess I really wasn't all that concerned. And besides, to see the back tires on those things ya actually gotta bend over!
Sometimes it doesn't make a lot of difference. I rented an RT1200 last year to ride around Cali. It had fabulous tires. When I got out in the mountains far away from life, the oil light pops on.
I nursed it back to town only to find that one needs a special tool to access the engine's oil inlet. Apparently, it must be amusing for Germans to dump non-oil products into one another's engines. In my best McGyver impression, I fashioned a sandal from my tank bag and a borrowed fountain pen into a Neanderthal like cave drawing tool to finally beat the cap into submission. That bike had just over 30k miles and drank a quart of oil in the under 3k miles that it was in my possession. The techs at the Harley rental place said that was normal. If so, why the hell didn't they tell me or send me out with a quart?
And btw, no obnoxiousness was intended by that post- I was more surprised than anything. I agree some things are hard to visually inspect but that's a doozy, and wouldn't take much effort to look for. I always look at tires before riding even my own bike. it's the one failure point I'm the most concerned about on a moto. You've only got two, and they are the only parts of the bike connecting you to the road!