|09-12-2011, 06:01 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Illinois, USA
Taking care of your motorcycle tires
In most cases, a motorcyclist depends on their tires even more than an automobile driver does. A flat tire or blowout at speed has the potential for disaster on a bike. There are a few simple procedures that should be taken to ensure long life and safety on your tires.
Keeping your tires properly inflated will make sure they can maintain a good, solid grip on the road. Over-inflated tires can reduce the contact patch and therefore traction. They may also wear incorrectly, shortening the life of the tire. Under-inflated tires can heat up, wear quicker, and also cause sloppy handling. Tires should be checked often for the proper pressure. I check mine once a week or about every 500 miles or so. A visual inspection should also be made before every ride.
The proper PSI to set your tires at will vary from bike to bike and slightly from condition to condition. A bike heavily loaded with gear or passengers will likely do better with slightly higher pressure than one with a solo rider. The proper PSI for each tire will be listed in your owner's manual or in many cases, on the frame of the bike on an info plate near the serial number. The pressures listed by the manufacturer are meant to be taken with the tires cold, meaning after the bike has been sitting for a while and before it is ridden. Tire pressure will naturally increase as the tire heats up from riding.
Keeping an eye on your tread
Another important aspect of tire care is monitoring the remaining tread depth. Modern street tires have wear bars in the treads at regular intervals around the tire. When the tread becomes even with the wear bars, it's time to get a new tire. With a depth gauge and a little math, it's fairly easy to estimate the miles left on your tread. I personally use a dial caliper for accurate measurement.
In the photo above, my lovely assistant is measuring the tread left in my front tire. The indicator reads .11 inches. I know a new front tire has .1875 inches of tread and that the wear bars are at .06 inches. That means I have .05 inch of usable tread left on this tire, or about ¼ of the tire's life left. Believe it or not, this tire has over 30,000 miles on it, (and I got about 25,000 miles out of the rear). So I should start looking for a new tire at around 37,000 miles.
The condition of the rubber
A close visual check should always be made of tires that may be several years old. Cracking or checking can mean a dangerous condition, especially on older machines that haven't been ridden in a while. If there is any question as to the stability of the tires, it's best to change them out rather than risk your neck.
If you have an interesting story about your tires or any tips not mentioned here, please join the discussion below!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Last edited by Dodsfall; 09-12-2011 at 06:07 AM..