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Motorbike Tyre Pressure Safety Guide & Tips

Author
Ari Kypuros Owner & Founder of Tyreman M/C
15 min June 27th, 2022
a close up photo of a guy monitoring the air pressure of a motorcycle tyre

If there is one thing the team at Tyremen MC constantly remind our customers, it’s to check their tyre pressure regularly. Motorbike tyre pressure is extremely important, as the air within the tyre carries the load, unlike the tyre itself.

Ensuring the correct psi makes your riding experience safer and more comfortable while also increasing your tyre’s longevity. The ideal tyre pressure varies with each motorcycle, all of which have their own recommended psi pressure that the manufacturer has set.

Read on for our motorcycle tyre pressure guide and learn more about the factors that set the pressure, along with some important tyre pressure safety tips from our experts.

a side view of a motorcycle tyre up close

What Is The 'Right' Motorcycle Tyre Pressure?

Street motorbike tyre pressure amounts usually sit within the psi range of 28 to 40. Sport riding utilises the lower setting on the manufacturer placard, while commuter riding sits around the higher setting. These rules typically apply to sports/road motorcycles.

We advise a general setting of 32 psi front and rear for maximum grip and sporty riding, or 40 psi front and 42 psi rear for maximum longevity.

a person kneeling down next to their motorbike wearing motorbike gear and a jacket

Why Is It Important To Check My Tyres’ Air Pressure?

Under-pressurised tyres run hot, affecting the compound and accelerating wear. If you ride on tyres lower than the recommended pressure, the performance and handling of your bike will be negatively affected, and things will get dangerous in certain conditions. Over-inflating creates a hard ride and also accelerates wear in the centre contact patch of the tyre.

The primary benefits of maintaining the correct motorbike tyre pressure include:

  • Saving Money: Tyre repairs or, even worse, bike repairs due to an unnecessary accident are costly; minimise this risk by riding on the right tyre pressure.
  • Riding Confidence: You’ll be more confident on the road or track with tyres that perform as they should and a bike that handles comfortably.
  • Safer Operation: When you have more control over your bike, you can operate more safely, especially at high speeds.
  • Can Prevent Tyre Wear: Get the longevity you should from your tyres by keeping them pressurised correctly.
  • More Comfortable Ride: Everyone loves a smooth ride, and correctly pressurised tyres are the key to achieving this.
a close up of a rear motorbike tyre

What Can Affect My Tyres’ Air Pressure?

Even if your tyres are in good shape (no holes or tears), the pressure can still be affected by a range of factors. This is why regular riders should check their tyre pressure fortnightly at least. This is also a good time to check the condition of your tyres, to understand whether or not they are due for a replacement.

The primary factors that will lower your motorcycle tyre pressure kPa include:

  • Weight
  • Tyre Construction
  • Tyre Types – Road or Track Tyres
  • Hot and Cold Pressures
  • Ambient Temperature
a guy wearing a blue jumpsuit checking the air pressure of a motorcycle tyre in store

How do I check my Tyres’ Air Pressure?

Always check your tyre pressure when your tyres are cold, as the pressure can increase when your tyres heat up. To check your pressure, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the valve stem, which should be on the inner surface of your wheel’s rim
  2. Take the cap off and ensure the opened section is clean
  3. Make sure your pressure gauge is set to zero, then line it up over the valve’s end and press down
  4. There should be no sounds of escaping air; if there are, your gauge is not set correctly
  5. Check the pressure on the gauge and adjust accordingly, repeating these steps to confirm you have the right amount in the tyre
a close up of a motorbike sitting in a shop

When Should I Check My Tyres’ Air Pressure?

All tyres lose air over time, leading to underinflation, so it is essential to check your tyre pressure every two weeks at a minimum when the tyres are cold.

However, if safety is your main priority (as it should be), check the pressure of your tyres every time you ride your motorbike. Most service stations have air pumps available, so you can pump your tyres while on the road.

What Problems Can Occur If Tyre Pressure Isn't Monitored Properly?

Most tyre-wear issues directly result from tyre pressure; to put it simply, more air, less wear, less air, more wear. We can also see that with prolonged underinflation, you’ll experience irregular tyre wear; this is known as ‘scalloping’ or ‘cupping’ on the tyre’s edges (a high and low spot of wear on the tyre tread).

a close up photo of a motorcycle tyre

Tyre Air Pressure Recommendations & Tips

In most cases, you will be inflating your tyres with standard air – which is fine – but it is important to note that an irregular mix of atmospheric gases and temperatures can fluctuate greatly in the tyre, affecting its pressure depending on weather conditions.

An alternative that avoids this issue is pure nitrogen gas inflation, which as an inert gas, is far more stable and less likely to vary its pressure in different weather conditions. This helps to increase your tyre’s lifespan and prolong grip quality (the more a tyre heats up, the greater the tyre fatigue, which eventually results in a loss of grip).

In conclusion, we recommend that you correctly care for your motorcycle tyres to increase their longevity. Have a read of our next article to help choose the right tyres for your next ride.