Motorcycle Tires Tips...

Please don’t ever make the mistake of thinking all motorcycle tires are the same. Each motorcycle requires its own type of tire that’s even further deemed appropriate by its specific use. While that’s all explicit and I talked about it in my previous post about choosing motorcycle tires, there are some general caring practices that can be applied to all tire types.

Good working tires will considerably contribute to the wonderful experience that only motorcycling can afford as well as to a safe ride. Motorcycle tires can also be expensive so you’re well advised to take good care of them.

Below you’ll find 10 tips that will help will help extend the life of any motorcycle tire regardless of its type or use.

Tip #1 - Keep your tires at the right pressure. They will perform better and last longer. Always carry a pressure gauge in your bike and check air pressure at least once a week. Under inflated or over inflated tires will wear out faster and can compromise your safety.

Tip #2 - When mounting new tires, always balance the tire and rim. This will avoid vibration while riding as well as premature tire wear.

Tip #3 – Always “break in” new motorcycle tires. Every new tire could use a good break-in period. This will enhance your tires’ performance over their lifetime of service. After installing new tires on your motorcycle, take the bike out for a few easy and light rides just for the purpose of breaking in the new tires. After the first 100-200 miles, the new tires should be stable enough to accommodate fast accelerations, hard cornering and sharp breaking. Otherwise you could be faced with imbalance, low tire life and differing profiles on both the front and rear.

Tip #4 – When possible, keep new tires out of direct sunlight. Whether they’re on a motorcycle or not, direct sunlight (or more precisely, UV radiation) will chemically change the tire compounds and weaken bonds, dry the tires, and make them brittle ahead of time. The ozone in the air can react with the compounds in the tire too and cause additional unwanted changes. Electric motors contribute to ozone production, so in addition to keeping tires out of sunlight, keep them away from things like large generators or air conditioning units.

Tip #5 - Never mount a front tire on the back of the bike or a rear tire on the front. The front and rear tires of a motorcycle have completely different design profiles.

Tip #6 - Replace motorcycle tires at the same time. If you ride a motorcycle with an old worn tire in the front and a spanking brand new tire in the back, the bike’s stability will decrease and create dangerous driving environment.

Tip #7 - Don’t mix radials with bias-ply motorcycle tires. Each one of these different types of tire gives a motorcycle a specific type of handling characteristic. Mixing them on one vehicle will only create an unstable condition, a rougher ride, and it will decrease the ability to hug corners.

Tip #8 - Clean tires with mild soap solution and rinse with plain clear water. Clean your tires frequently and especially after a long ride or after riding on rough terrain. Oil, gas, and street debris can degrade the tire’s compounds faster than usual. Take the time to clean off the tires so that their treads can a) move the way that they were designed to move, b) maximize grip and friction, and c) stabilize the bike. While cleaning your tires inspect them carefully and look out for cracks and embrittled surfaces.

Tip #9 – During long periods you don’t use your bike - as in winter - don’t outgas the bike’s tires because that will eventually make them brittle. Even if they’re not used, keep your tires at the right pressure.

Tip #10 – Do not overload your bike. Heavy add-ons can have a significant impact on the lifetime, the durability, and the performance of motorcycle tires. If you are planning to add a sidecar, saddlebags and/or other heavy accessories, ask your motorcycle dealer about your bike’s tires and which ones would be most appropriate for the intended purpose.

Well, that’s it for the moment…

You have other motorcycle tires maintenance tips you would like to share with our readers? I invite you to leave them in the comments of this post.

Enjoy the ride!



AtlasRider said...

Regarding tip #6, I don't think this is always necessary. I can only vouch from my experience but I've changed rear tires and left the old front tires on before. I still had half the tread on the front tire, and it seems like a huge waste to just throw it away and get a new front tire as well when I change my rear.

I changed out the rear and left the front before taking a 3,000 mile trip. I encountered hundreds of miles of curves through the Sierra Madres and I didn't encounter any problems with grip.

Is this not as hazardous as it seems, or was I just lucky?

Johnny Schultz said...

I agreed with most of your tips. Taking care of your motorcycle tires can save big money. I just want to add that if you are not using your tires, you can store it to a dark clean, dry, cool room.