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How To Tell If You Need To Replace Your Motorcycle Tires

Your tires are the only things connecting your motorcycle to the road, so it’s critical that they’re in good condition. Do you know what factors determine when a tire is toast? In this video from the MC Garage, Senior Road Test Editor Ari Henning will explain the three main reasons your tires might need to be replaced.

Tread, sidewalls, beads, tires appear pretty simple, but there’s a lot going on under that smooth black exterior. Your tires are the only things connecting your motorcycle to the road, so it’s critical that they’re in good condition. You already check your tire pressures regularly (you do, don’t you?), but how often do you inspect your tires to make sure they’re roadworthy? And do you know what factors determine when a tire needs to be replaced?

In this guide from MC Garage, we explain how to tell if your tires need to be swapped out for fresh rubber. Wear is the most common reason, but damage and age can also be grounds for replacement, and we provide examples of each scenario. Knowing how to inspect your tires and replacing them at the right time is critical to both safety and performance, so get educated!

Check The Wear And Wear Pattern On The Tire
Wear is one of the most common reasons to replace a motorcycle tire and it is the simplest to diagnose. Some tires are marked with the letters TWI (tread wear indicator) and if it is flush with any part of the tire, then it is time to get a new one. Also, within the tread, there will be bars molded into the tire. When these bars are flush with the outer layer of the tire, it is time to change them.

A simple trick to determine if you have enough tread on your tires costs a cent. Taking a penny, place it inside the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, then you should be replacing your tire as soon as you can. Even if the tread is not worn to the limit, it might be worn unevenly. The most common type of wear for the rear tire is when it becomes “squared-off,” developing a flat spot in the middle. For the front, look for uneven wear on either side of the tire, which is called cupping or scalloping. While you should replace your front tire ASAP, you should also dial in your suspension settings, or service the system, because scalloping is a symptom of something being amiss with your suspension.

Check For Tire Damage
Although it should go without saying, before every ride you should check your tires for proper inflation and any damage. Any damage to your tires is a cause for concern and could lead to a blowout, which can be catastrophic. If you do have a repairable puncture, go ahead and follow our guide on how to plug a motorcycle tire or how to permanently fix a motorcycle tire. If you need to replace your tire, you can also follow along on our handy how-to replace your motorcycle tire.

Know The Age Of Your Tire
Even if your tires have more than enough tread and there are no punctures or tears, your motorcycle tire may be too old to ride on. Most motorcycle tire manufacturers claim that the lifespan of a tire is around five years because the oils in the rubber will evaporate, drying out and hardening the carcass of the tire. This results in a tire more susceptible to damage and cracking, and losing its grippy properties. Do you know how old your motorcycle tire is? Well, its manufacturer date is molded right into the sidewall, displayed as a four-digit code. The first two digits are the week of the year it was made, with the last two numbers representing the year.

There you have it! If your motorcycle tire has one of the symptoms listed above, it is time to research and shop for a replacement. Remember, your tires are one of the most important parts of your motorcycle, and keeping them properly inflated will help prolong their life. Stay safe!

Video From: Motorcyclist Magazine

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