When to Replace Motorcycle Tires

Spending a Saturday morning to replace your motorcycle tires is nothing but uneventful. No wonder it’s a daunting task, right? And since nobody likes to change it before it expires, it’s important to understand when to change motorcycle tires.

Last week my brother bought a dirt bike. He’s quite new with it, so I thought I would advise him an overview of dirt bike tires and tires in general and replace motorcycle tires. I’ve followed the same tips throughout 6 years of my bike riding experience, and it really works for me.

So, in this article, I am going to share with you all I know about motorcycle tire replacement and when to replace motorcycle tires. I will share a lot of information that will help you to steer clear out of accidents and untimely tire change.

So, let’s begin.

When to Replace Motorcycle Tires?

Modern motorcycle tires need to be changed every 3-5 years. More specifically, the front tires remain viable for 3900 miles while the rear tires retain for 1900 miles or roughly between three to five years.

When you’re regularly riding a bike, it is essential to do some inspection once in a while. Checking them once a week is a good practice.

Tire replacements are necessary for following conditions according to expert recommendations –

  1. The condition of the tires
  2. The depth of the tire treads
  3. Signs of unusual tread wear and damage

How to Tell If  You Need to Replace Your Motorcycle Tires?

The question might arise in your mind that when should you replace motorcycle tires or when motorcycle tire replacement is necessary? It generally depends on three things. Tire tread, sidewall, and beads – these are the things that get damaged in your motorcycle tires. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the eight reasons that tell you that it’s time to put on brand-new tires.

Motorcycle Tires

1. Worn Out Tire Tread

The most common reason to replace your motorcycle tires is that they are aging. Almost all tire manufacturer builds their tires with a treadwear indicator or tire wear indicator (TWI). The TWI is a triangular arrow on the sidewall of a tire that marks the thickness level of the tire up to which it is safe for usage.

Federal and State regulations require you to have at least 1/32” or 2/32” of tread depth, depending on what type of tires you have.

Checking the treadwear should cost you just a cent. If you find it interesting, take a penny and put it inside the tire tread. If you can see the Lincoln head or the hair details, then it’s time to change those tires.

2. Uneven Wear and Wear Pattern on the Tires

When the rubber wears off too much, it exposes the metal chords underneath the rubber, which forms the base of the tire. Some people refer to it as ‘throwing sparks.’

Wearing of treads in specific places, in the center, or on the shoulder – these are the signs of wear that happens due to mechanical problems. Unadjusted shock absorbers, depreciated shock absorbers, old transmission, balance issues, etc., can cause such problems.

Mostly, finding weird patterns on the tire is a symbol that the metal chords will be exposed soon. Besides, what you need to understand is – a tire wears out differently in each stage of its life. In other words, as the rubber gets thinner, your tires will start depreciating even faster.

In order to prevent unusual and early wear, you should check the wheel balance and depth of tread after every six months.

3. Aging Tire

The rubber compounds of the tire are complex. Over time it reacts with the oxygen from the atmosphere and forms an oxidation reaction. Oxidation reduces the lifetime of the rubber over time which causes – hardening, forms cracks, and becomes brittle.

Oxidation is the result of the side cracks or ‘checking’ you see on the sidewalls of the tires. Usually, these cracks along the sidewall are the sign of bad sidewall and are commonly known as ‘dry rot.’ Dry rot is a clear sign of tire replacement.

Also, keep track of the tires that are close to 5 years old or more. See the code imprint on the sidewall of the tire to find the manufacture date. The four-digit code should tell you the week number and the year, respectively.

For example – if the last 4 digits on your tire are 4321, it means your tire has been manufactured on the 43rd week of 2021.

You might come across a cheap set of unused but old tires on sale. Professional advice would be to not buy any tires that are 10 years old because the rubber gets hard over time and brittles. If you want to test whether a tire is freshly manufactured, all you have to do is take your thumbnail and push it into the rubber to see if it penetrates.

Usually, the tires harden up because the oil inside the rubber dries out due to longer than usual shelf life. This reduces the tire life and makes it hard to penetrate. On the other hand, the soft tires will easily allow the nails to push through since new tires are comparatively soft and flexible.

4. Squared off  Tires

Squared-off wear is the most common kind of tire wear. It forms a flat surface in the middle due to increased usage. Alternately, this is also known as cupping or scalloping.

This tire will not give an experience if you lean the bike on either side while turning. In fact, the contact patch on the corner of the tire will be significantly small.

On regular days, this will not be much of a problem. But, under wet conditions, it can lead to a serious accident. A reduced contact patch eliminates the chance for the tire to remove the water from under the tire. As a result, there is a chance you might slip and slide on one side while taking corners.

All front tires on a bike are meant for maneuvering and moving the water away in case of wet conditions. But the rear tires are meant for handling hard brakes and acceleration, so they are built with a solid strip of rubber with no tread in the center. Make sure you inspect the tread pattern on both tires regularly.

5. Tire Suffered a Puncture

The manufacturer designs all vehicle tires in a way that can handle the impact of punctures. Apart from positives, flat tires are fixable, but that is not durable. So, make sure you get the damaged tire replaced.

6. Tire Pressure Keeps Decreasing  Shortly

Insufficient tire pressure is harmful to the tires. This is because underinflated tires put extra stress on the tire, which causes it to wear out quickly. Meanwhile, you need to understand that incorrect tire pressure is also something you need to avoid.

If you feel the tire pressure is falling quickly, contact an expert and ask if it’s best to change the tires or not.

7. Tire gets Heated Very Quickly

The one thing that is responsible for wearing down tires is heat. In fact, all tires are made in such a way that they can dissipate heat as much as possible so that they can have a longer road life.

Tire grooves are made to dissipate the extra heat generated from the friction with the road. And if the grooves get all flattened, then it becomes hard to dissipate the extra heat.

Heated tires damage the metal chords and beads inside the rubber compounds of the tire, and so it becomes essential to change it quickly.

8. Fitting in the wrong Tires

Before you rush off to the store to buy brand-new tires, you need to understand what tire size, what model of tires is ideal for your bike.

To obtain the maximum level of performance and the best level of grip, use the tires that have the same tread pattern for both the front and rear wheel.

Riders often feel a difference in the vehicle’s balance and stability after installing different types of tires that have separate tread and wear patterns.

Why Should You Change Your Motorcycle Tires?

Changing the tires on your motorbike impacts you in three ways.

Firstly, it significantly reduces the chance of getting into an accident.

Secondly, new tires provide extra grip on the road, which significantly improves your bike control.  Worn tire tread performs poorly in wet weather conditions. Besides, it takes more time to break, which is noticeable and also the reason for most accidents.

Thirdly, fresh tires exert less friction on the road surface. This brings out the optimal performance from the bike engine, thus moving faster with better fuel economy.

What are the Best Ways to Retain Motorcycle Tires?

The best way to retain tire health is to do the following maintenance check at regular intervals –

  1. Check Tire Pressure
  2. Check for Unusual Cracks
  3. Look for Uneven Wear on the Tire

In Conclusion

Motorcycle tires are the most important part of your bike as it constantly remains in contact with the road. So, it is important to be careful about tire maintenance and replacement to avoid any major accidents. After all, one accident can become the reason for all woes as long as you live, which is why it is important to know when to replace motorcycle tires.

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