Well-maintained tires key for motorcycle safety

tire safetyTires are the foundation of bike safety. Our motorcycle safety team have tips for you to keep your tires in tip-top shape.

For much of the country, peak motorcycle riding season is just around the corner. Most of you are eager to hop on your bikes and take to the roads. That means hours and days of enjoyment spent with the sun on your face. But before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure your bike is up to the challenges and adventures you plan to put it through.

Perhaps the most important part of your bike that needs to be checked regularly and kept in top working order is your tires. Your tires are the only connection you and your bike have with the road, so regular checks for wear and tear and proper inflation are essential for your safety.

Before you get your bike out of storage and start your motorcycle riding season, here are a few tips for you to consider about your tires.

Tire tread

Your tire treads are key to overall motorcycle safety. Worn treads can lead to longer stopping distances, trouble controlling your bike and extremely low traction in wet conditions.

You can be sure your motorcycle tire needs replacement when:

  • The sidewalls are severely cracked due to tire age or dry rot
  • The tire’s tread height is even with its wear-bars
  • The tire has a bald spot running down the middle
  • The steel belt below the rubber exterior is exposed
  • The cord or fabric layer below the rubber exterior is exposed
  • The sidewall was cut or punctured

One practical way to determine if your treads are worn is the “quarter test.” Place a quarter upside down into a groove and if the top of the tire is lower than the top of George Washington’s head, it is time to replace your tires.

Proper inflation

You do not need to check your tire inflation each time you ride, but it is important that you regularly (once a week) check the air pressure. If your tire pressure drops more than 2-4 psi per month, the tire, valve or wheel may be damaged.

Riding your bike with improperly inflated tires can be dangerous because:

  • It can cause your tires to generate excessive heat and suddenly fail
  • It can cause irregular and excessive tread wear
  • It can cause a tire to break away from the rim and deflate
  • It will impair your cornering ability
  • It decreases gas mileage
  • It can cause sidewall cracking

Consult your owner’s manual to find the optimal tire pressure for your motorcycle. Be sure to check your tire pressure with a pressure gauge. Don’t just visually gauge the tire pressure. You can pick up an inexpensive digital tire pressure gauge anywhere tires are sold, so be sure to have one on-hand. It’s important to check your tire pressure before you start riding. When you ride, your tires become hot from friction, causing the tire pressure to change.

Choosing a tire

When choosing your tires, it is important to know the type of riding you will be doing and what you want your tires to do for you. Performance capability classes include:

  • High mileage touring
  • All-weather driving
  • Multi-season driving
  • Sharp cornering
  • High-speed driving
  • Off-road riding

Most of the major motorcycle tire brands will have a model that works for your needs, so be sure to do your research and find the tire you think will work best for you and your bike.

If you have any question please give us a call 1-888-75-BIKER.

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