Your motorcycle’s tires are by far the most important part when it comes to safety and performance. You could have the most powerful engine, the best brakes, and even the most high performance suspension, however, none of this would matter if your tires aren’t up to the task. More importantly, your tires are literally the only thing between your motorcycle and the road beneath it.
Having said all that, it can be all too easy to overlook the maintenance of your tires. After all, tires are a consumable part of your motorcycle and will require replacing every so often. As such, it’s always a good idea to look after your motorcycle’s tires in order to prolong their service life. Here are five easy to follow tips on maintaining your tires and keeping them in tiptop shape.
Just like our four wheeled counterparts, motorcycles also require wheel alignment. This is particularly evident for machines that make use of a chain drive system. Most motorcycles that use a chain drive system are equipped with a double-sided swingarm which has bolts on either side responsible for loosening the back wheel.
Now, the back wheel can come out of alignment especially when adjusting your chain tension. Riding your motorcycle with a misaligned rear wheel can greatly affect your tires’ wear as both front and rear wheels are not tracking properly. That said, always be sure to check your rear wheel alignment by referring to the markers found on your swing arm. This will ensure that you get the most longevity and mileage out of your tires.
Another commonly overlooked aspect when it comes to tires is pressure. All motorcycles have a specific range of tire pressures which the manufacturer recommends for use in order to ensure optimal performance. Now, running your tires too soft or too hard both present themselves with disadvantages which drastically shortened your tire service life.
Running your tires too soft can result in premature wear on the tires’ sidewalls as well as the overall carcass of the tire. Meanwhile, running your tires too hard will cause the center to wear out a lot faster than normal. Apart from shortening your tires' service life, running the inappropriate pressure also poses a safety risk, so it’s always a good idea to double check your tire pressure before going for a ride.
Put your bike on a stand
Now, it isn’t uncommon for motorcyclists the only ride their motorcycles on and occasional basis. This is especially true for those who see motorcycling as a hobby rather than a means of transportation. That being said, some motorcycles only see the open road a couple of times a month. Now, a motorcycle sitting on the driveway will have the tendency to develop flat spots on the tires especially if not moved for a long period of time.
A simple and affordable way to avoid this is to store your motorcycle on top of front and rear paddock stands. Decent quality motorcycle stands can be purchased online and delivered to your doorstep with minimal hassle. The best part is that most motorcycles, big and small, are capable of accommodating universal style paddock stands. Keeping your motorcycle on a stand relieves the tires of any pressure whatsoever, and thus they are able to retain their shape despite not being used for extended periods of time.
Mind the terrain
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Nothing can do more damage to your motorcycle's tires than some really bad roads. This is especially true for motorcycles which have been designed for street use only, such as sportbikes and scooters. Running over a pothole as a result of not being careful about where you were passing can definitely ruin your tires, and worse even your rims and suspension components. Sharp pieces of debris scattered on the road can inadvertently puncture your tires and Brenda are you stranded on the side of the road.
As such, it is always a good idea to exercise a certain degree of caution when riding on public roads, especially those which you are not exactly well acquainted with. Not only does this prevent any untoward incidents, such as road condition-related accidents from occurring, it also prevents you from sustaining any unwanted damage to your motorcycle.
Keep 'em clean
It’s always a good idea to clean your motorcycle's tires, especially after a long ride in the rain. This is because you’re not exactly sure what your tires have run over. There could be remnants of used engine oil, chemicals, and other elements which, if left unattended, can drastically shorten your tires’ service life. Tires contaminated with used oil and other chemicals can degrade a lot faster and lose traction a lot sooner than expected.
Keeping your tires clean also gives you the opportunity to inspect them for any damage such as scoring, gouges, and punctures due to everyday use. This definitely helps in prolonging your tires’ service life, and ensures that you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to your motorcycle’s rubber.