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Top Signs Your Motorcycle Tyres Need Changing

Author
Ari Kypuros Owner & Founder of Tyreman M/C
5 minutes September 1st, 2021
a mechanic changing a motorcycle tyre

You have just come home, parked your motorcycle in the driveway and have noticed that your tyres have started to bald.

How long until you have to replace them? Well, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you can no longer determine the tread depth on your motorcycle tyres, then it’s time to replace them.

However, balding tyres is just one of the many signs that indicate that it’s time to change your motorcycle tyres. Other signs can include the tyres taking damage when you’re out for a ride, getting a puncture, and even riding with the wrong type of tyres are all indicators that it’s time to change the tyres.

To ensure you stay safe when out riding, here are the top signs of when it’s time to change your motorcycle tyres and what to look out for.

Motorcycle Tyre Age

an old motorcycle tyre that is rusting

Unless you know exactly when your motorcycle tyres were manufactured, knowing their expected lifespan isn’t easy, whether they’ve been used a handful of times or are brand new. On top of this, other external factors contribute to shortening the tyres’ lifespan such as how fast you ride your bike, the type of weather you ride in, the pressure of the tyres, how they are maintained and more.

Typical signs of an aging motorcycle tyre include noticing cracks or other types of deformations on the side, shoulder and tread of the tyre. If you have been riding on motorcycle tyres that are more than a couple of years old, then it’s recommended that you have a professional check to determine if they need to replace your motorcycle tyres.

Riding In Cold Weather

a motorcycle left out in the cold snow

Cold weather isn’t ideal weather for motorbike tyres. For example, riding during cold weather can cover your tyres in dew which can cause your rear tyre to slide out when turning. Dew can also lead to rust if the motorcycle is left outdoors or not properly covered.

Riding in low temperatures can also affect the grip of your motorcycle tyres when they are cold. Colder countries with snow typically have winter motorcycle tyres available for this reason, but riding carefully around the block will warm up the tyres and help restore their grip.

However, if you’ve been continually riding in cold weather and noticed your motorcycle tyres slipping or not having as much grip as they used to, then it’s usually a sign that you at least need to get your tyres checked to ensure they are still safe to ride on.

Motorcycle Tyre Wear

dirt getting kicked up from a motorcycle tyre

One of the biggest signs that your motorcycle tyres need changing is wearing out the tread. Riding on tyres with worn tread is very dangerous as it can result in the tyres losing their grip, going flat or blowing out as you’re leaning into a turn – which is not ideal.

Paying attention to the tyre tread wear indicators (TWI) is essential. Depending on the type of motorcycle tyres you have, their TWI can be found on the sidewall or on the tyre itself at the bottom of the deep grooves on the tyre pattern.

Once this has been worn down, the tyres will start balding and become unsafe to ride on. If you notice any balding or smooth surfaces on your tyres that don’t look like they should be, it’s most likely a sign that your motorcycle tyres need to be replaced.

Wrong Tyre Pressure

a motorcycle tyre with the wrong tyre pressure

Having consistently low pressure in your motorcycle tyres can also result in bald spots appearing on the tyres along the outer edges. With continued use, the contact patch on the tyre will widen and cause the edges to carry the weight.

If you find yourself filling up your motorcycle tyres with air only to find the tyre pressure dropping quickly, then this is definitely a sign that you need to replace your tyres with a professional.

However, riding on tyres where the pressure is too high is also damaging. When the pressure in the motorcycle tyre is too high, the contact patch becomes much smaller. This results in the centre of the tyre carrying most of the weight when riding. Not only is this unsafe but also can lead to less stability and an increased risk of the tyres blowing out.

Build up your knowledge, have a read of our motorbike tyre pressure safety guide, and prevent further damage to your tyres.

Damaged Tyres

a damaged motorcycle tyre

Factors such as blunt objects, holes and even the surface of the road can contribute to causing serious damage to your tyres. Although it sounds obvious at first, identifying the signs of a damaged motorcycle tyre isn’t always that simple.

For example, riding over a nail can cause it to penetrate deep into the tire and let the air slowly escape over time, making it hard to instantly notice low tyre pressure or identify the point of entry when quickly checking the tyre.

When checking your motorbike tyres for any signs of damage, here are some important factors to look for:

  • Any signs of visible or deformed beads.
  • Any scratches or marbling on the inside faces.
  • Any small punctures on the side of the tyres.
  • Any bits of tread rubber that has become deformed or unstuck.
  • Noticing any unusual vibrations or ‘wiggles’ when riding.

Wrong Type Of Tyre

a motorcycle driving fast down a road

Maybe you’ve picked up some cheap tyres from a local seller or were recommended a certain pair of tyres that didn’t quite match the model of your motorcycle, but riding on the wrong type of tyres can cause a number of headaches.

As a rule of thumb, and to ensure optimal performance when riding, both your rear and front motorcycle tyres should have matching tread patterns. If they don’t, this can affect your stability and balance when riding.

Of course, the type of tyres you should be using depends on factors such as the type of motorcycle you have, your riding style, your needs and the relevant legal requirements in your state/country. To ensure you’re riding on the right type of motorcycle tyres for the best performance possible, it’s vital to have a professional check your tyres.

We’ve also written an article on how to choose the best motorcycle tyres for you, that we suggest checking out.

Wrong Speed Rating

a motorcycle doing a burnout

Riding on tyres that have the wrong speed rating according to the model of your motorcycle or your riding style is never advised and can lead to performance and safety issues. The speed rating of your motorcycle tyre indicates the top speed the tyre can travel carrying weight according to its load index number.

Travelling on motorcycle tyres with the incorrect speed rating can risk damage being done to the tyres and having them break apart over time if you ride faster than the indicated rating. It can also result in a less comfortable ride and affect your performance depending on your riding style.

 

Even the smallest sign of tyre damage can quickly turn into a nightmare if ignored or missed. If you’ve noticed any of the following signs or just want to make sure your motorcycle tyres are performing the best, contact us at Tyreman M/C. We’ll make sure you’re riding on the right motorcycle tyres and can provide expert tyre advice.