Motorcycle Tire Care and Maintenance

What good are all the cool accessories, chrome, etc. you’ve purchased if they end up sliding down the road without you because a tire blew out? And that’s not to mention the road rash or worse, having your parts strewn across the pavement. Tires are the most important safety factor on your bike – yet many bikers neglect them, cut costs, or are unaware of all the factors that affect them. Tires support the weight of the vehicle chassis off the ground. They help absorb shocks from the road surface. They transmit traction and braking forces to the road surface and change or maintain your direction of travel. Your tires control steering, stopping, position and acceleration – all the major safety factors. This is not an area to skimp on or neglect.

Tires are even more important to the group of cyclists that do touring. The longer distances and typically heavier loads increase the chances of failure. Do you know what your bikes load capacity is? Do you know how much your bike weights if you are riding two up with cargo? Here

Tires are abused more often than any other system on your bike. They have to stand up against extremes in temperature, exposure to the elements, potholes, and debris on the road. Now add incorrect inflation and overloading, wheel spin, lockup, a significant amount of straight road driving, and you can understand how important it is to monitor your tires. The National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety as assembled by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) states that tire punctures are the major cause of all the vehicle failures that result in a crash.

The air inside of the tires carries the weight of the motorcycle, not the tires themselves. The tire’s ability to hold air pressure, the amount of air pressure, and the amount of space between the tire and wheel available to hold the air, determines what a tire can support. It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for load and inflation. Your owner’s manual will guide you on load limits of your bike’s chassis and suspension, and the sidewall of your tires will have inflation information. This information can also be found on the VIN plate, which is usually near the steering head.