Tires! They’re an incredibly important part of your motorcycling experience. Both the wear and inflation play a role in the safety of your ride, and the pressure is one essential factor that you should be adjusting and monitoring.
I myself have been quite lazy with this in the past, so I’m taking this opportunity to delve into the health of my tires and make a bigger priority of routinely checking them. First, I looked at the wear. Motorcycle tires have a tire wear indicator imprinted on the side of the tire. It’s a triangle that points to a line of rubber built into the tire that runs across the tread. If your treads line up with the depth of this line, then it’s time to replace your tires.
You should be dialing in your tire pressure according to the motorcycle and/or tire manufacturer. I check my manual for this info, but it’s also often on the stickers of the bikes you buy new. You’ll also want to consider the anticipated load on your bike as well as the road conditions.
Manufacturers may recommend a higher tire pressure for heavy loads. So see if you should fill up your tires when you pack saddlebags or have a passenger.
Under-inflated tires can run hot, and in hot environments this can skyrocket the temperature in the hull of the tire. The combination of high speed, heat, and a heavy load can lead to a dangerous blowout.
Tire wear can clue you into a few issues with inflation. The edges of my tires have some consistent wear even though most of my riding is in the city, so this is a telltale sign that I’ve been underinflating them. I need to pay much more attention to my tire pressure in the future.
Luckily, I've recently installed a great new product that makes it stupid easy to monitor my tire pressure, the TireMinder TPMS. (PS: You can use my code STARK for $5 off and free shipping on USA orders). Watch my video below for the easy installation process and more info about the Bluetooth motorcycle tire pressure monitoring system.
Here’s more of what I learned about tire wear that indicates issues with the pressure-- If the center is significantly more worn than the sides, they may be over inflated. If the front tire has more wear than the rear, you may be braking too hard. If the front tire wear is mainly on the edges, you may be cornering too hard.
Tears and scallop-like indentations on the tires are caused by improper air pressure and by shock springs or rebound that has been adjusted incorrectly. Have a technician check your suspension if this is a problem for you.