Tyres are the only part of the motorcycle which are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact and it is therefore importance that your tyres are maintained in good condition at all times and that when the time comes to change them suitable replacements are fitted.
The original tyres for a motorcycle are determined by the motorcycle brand working with thier chosen tyre supplier and take into account all aspects of the machines use. It’s recommended that changes in tyre size or type (construction) should not be undertaken without seeking advice from the motorcycle and/or tyre manufacturer, as the effect on handling, safety and clearances must be taken into account.
It is your responsibility to ensure regular care and maintenance is undertaken. The point at which a tyre is replaced is a decision for you are responsible.
TyreSafe’s tips for checking motorcycle tyres:
Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style – sounds obvious but the tyre you think is best for you may not be so check with your dealer.
Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern – a mismatch in tyre type can have a dramatic affect on handling and therefore safety.
Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall – using a recognised tyre company will help ensure your tyres are fitted and balanced correctly – most authorised bike shops will do this as a service.
Inflate tyres to the pressure recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook – badly adjusted tyre pressures not only affect handling but can also dramatically increase the rate of wear and fuel consumption so a weekly check is worth it. Keeping tyres at the right pressure will also alert you to any minor changes when riding giving you an early warning of any punctures.
Inspect tyres regularly for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread – if you are not sure get it checked, a small cut in the wrong place could lead to a problem where you can’t fix it.
Check that the tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc) – withough this water dispersal is greatly reduced making grip in the wet an issue.
Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge – as tyres warm up the air inside increases in pressure so do make sure you check them cold to get the right measurement.
Run in new tyres for at least 100 miles – new tyres have a protective coating which needs gentle removal before your new tyres can run at their best so don’t skip this part. Also be extra careful when running in new tyres in the winter as the cold road means tyre temperatures take longer to reach optimum and therefore grip is reduced.
Cracked or bent rims should obviously be replaced immediately – damaged rims result in a poor join with the tyre and could lead to problems. Possibly dramatic failure at the worst time ie in a corner where pressure on the edge of the tyre is at its highest.
Replace old or damaged valve stems – these should also be replaced whenever new tyres are fitted too. Always ask just in case.
When replacing tube type tyres always insist on a new inner tube. It adds to the cost slightly but the extra safety is worth it.
Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly – essential to ensure good handling, even more so than with cars.
Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal.
Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary.
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional
For more information hints and advice go to tyresafe