Quite often riders just jump on their motorcycles and head out on the road, forgetting the importance of tires. Here are some simple tire facts you should know:
TIRE PRESSURE: When you purchased your motorcycle it should have come with a tool kit. Sometimes the manufacturers include a tire pressure gauge in this tool kit, if not, if will definitely be worth the $5.00 investment. Your owner’s manual will have the correct tire pressure for your motorcycle listed in it. But, most riders don’t know that motorcycles have a vehicle information tag on them, which shows what the front and rear tire pressure should be. The tag is located on or near the swingarm and comes in handy when you are checking your pressure at the gas station, without your owner’s manual. The tire pressure should be measured when the tires are cold. Under inflated tires cause them to build up excessive heat, which could lead to a blow out. Adversely, over inflated tires can be easily cut or punctured, which also could lead to a blow out. Your tires should always be correctly inflated for a safe, enjoyable ride.
VISUAL INSPECTION: Look your tires over carefully to make sure they have not taken on any foreign objects. If you notice anything embedded in your tires, make sure you have them removed by a certified technician. Removing the items yourself could cause a slow leak the untrained eye will not be able to see, or it could destroy the tire beyond a simple patch repair, which could be quite costly. You should also look for any bulges, bumps or odd looking wear and tear and have that inspected by a certified technician as well. Check for any cracking, which could mean dry rot, this usually happens as tires get old, or after sitting uncovered for a long period of time. Dry rotting usually means replacement. Finally check the tread on your tires, under 2mm and it’s time to get it to the dealer for replacement.
REPLACING YOUR TIRES: When you need to replace only one tire, you should always replace it with the same tire, as your front and rear tires should be produced by the same manufacturer. If you are thinking of switching brands, consider replacing both the front and the rear for optimal tire performance. Make sure you also replace tires with the same size that is currently on your motorcycle. If you are considering changing the size of your tires, you should consult a service or parts motorcycle professional to ensure the change will not damage your motorcycle or make your ride unsafe. Finally, when you do replace your tires, give yourself a 100 mile break-in so that the tires will reach optimal grip level and give you a chance to adjust to the handling changes that result when you install new tires.
It’s often recommended that you check your tires before you ride and when you are filling up for gas. Treat your tires well and they will treat you well!