How Motorcycle Tires Wear Out
As you probably know, riding on motorcycle tires wears them out. Little by little, the thick rubber tread will get worn away every time your tires hit the road. Every stop, every turn and especially every vroom that happens when your song comes on in your motorcycle Bluetooth headset wears your tread down a slight amount.
For any pair of tires, it’s only a matter of time before the tread surface becomes worn enough that it no longer gives you safe traction on the road. However, the rubber in motorcycle tires won’t last forever, even if you don’t ride as much.
That’s because rubber, like many other materials, experiences the natural chemical process called oxidation. As your tires oxidize, they become harder and more brittle, which reduces their traction and other performance factors.
How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long a pair of tires will last on your bike. However, a tire that’s more than five years old is generally no good, even if nobody’s been riding on it. We’ll talk about how to identify an old tire shortly.
As for how long a tire will last, it all depends on how much you ride and your riding style. Someone who rides at high speeds with aggressive cornering and acceleration will wear out their tires faster than a more relaxed rider. By the same logic, someone who rides a lot will obviously go through more tires than a weekend rider.
Note that rear tires tend to wear out more quickly than front tires do, since they provide most of the motorcycle’s power and control. Many motorcyclists change rear tires twice before they have to replace their front tire.
Are My Motorcycle Tires Still Good?
First, you should find out whether your tires are more than five years old, especially if you just bought the bike. There’s an easy way to determine this, and you just have to know how to read a motorcycle tire to do it.
- Look at your tire’s sidewall and find where it says “DOT” followed by a long string of numbers.
- Check the last four digits of that number series to find the year and week that your tire was manufactured.
- The first two digits represent the week of the year that the tire was made, from 1-52. A number 27 means that the tire was made in the 27th week of the year.
- The second number represents the last two digits of the year the tire was made. A number 18 means the tire was made in 2018.
Any tire over five years old needs to be replaced. Don’t assume that tires are brand new, even if you bought them from a dealership.
Should I Replace My Motorcycle Tires?
There are reasons other than age to replace a motorcycle tire. Get a new tire on your bike immediately if:
- -The tire’s built-in wear indicators are showing.
- -The tire has any kind of rip, cut or puncture in it.
- -The tire’s treads are worn down to 1/32nd of an inch or less. (Use the penny test.)
If only one tire on your motorcycle needs replacement, it’s usually fine to replace just that one. However, riders who are switching to a new brand or style of tire will usually want to replace both to avoid the potential handling issues of a mismatched tire set.
Tips and Tricks for Motorcycle Tire Care
- -Before each ride, check your tires for cracks or punctures.
- -Make sure your tires are always inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
- -Avoid storing your motorcycle (or your tires) in direct sunlight if possible, as this can reduce the lifespan of tire rubber.
- -Go easy on a new pair of tires and give them some time to break in without hard cornering or excessive revs.
We love the ride at Cardo Systems, and we love to make your ride better with our selection of Bluetooth motorcycle helmet intercoms. For more tips on keeping your bike in great shape, see our ultimate guide to motorcycle maintenance.