Whether you store your motorcycle yourself or take your bike to a dealership for winter storage, checking and preparing your motorcycle tires for winter can save you some hassle when it’s time to ride again in the Spring. Not only will you lose riding time on that first spring day after a winter of cabin fever, you may find dealers with a service department full of customers waiting to get their motorcycle tires changed.
Often riders will feel their bikes get sloppy in the corners or they may be lose traction easily, giving them telltale signs that it’s time to change the tires. But, even if your riding hasn’t been affected and your motorcycle tires appear to be in good condition, here are a few things you should check just to ensure that your tires don’t need to be replaced:
- Wear Bars are located on the right side of the tire near the axle (when you are sitting on the bike) and you should also find an arrow on the sidewall directing you to the wear bar, make sure the wear bar is still visible.
- Visually inspect the tires for baldness, cracking, dry rot, flat spots or cupping. This requires getting up close and personal to those tires especially when looking for signs of dry rot.
- Tire age – when did you buy those tires? They may look new still after a few years but with age motorcycle tires both age and exposure to sun can cause them to become hard, resulting in a loss of grip.
- Check you valve stem cap – the cap will not only keep dirt and moisture out but it will also keep air in your tire. Riding without a valve stem cap can cause the valve to open and allow air to leak out. For a couple pennies more, make sure to use a valve stem cap with a gasket in it.
Some advantages of getting your new motorcycle tires now instead of the spring:
o Dealers may offer winter rates in their service departments, which can save you some of your hard earned money.
o Motorcycle Tires are sometimes discounted in the winter, as dealers are getting ready to do their end of year inventory and start their spring orders so this could be another money saver for you.
o If you are storing your bike at a dealership, you may find a discounted price on both parts and labor if you get service work performed while your bike is in storage.
If you buy new motorcycle tires or just wish to maintain your tires, be sure to check and maintain correct tire pressure all year round, this will maximize your tire tread life and also keep you safe. The tire pressure on your specific motorcycle will be listed in the owner’s manual and generally on a sticker located on the rear fender of your bike.