TELL IF YOUR TIRES ARE TOAST
Your tires are the only things that connect your motorcycle to the road, so it’s essential that they’re in good condition, for both safety and performance. There’s more to a tire’s road readiness than just air pressure and tread wear. Familiarize yourself
1. Regular Wear
Wear is the most common reason a tire needs to be replaced, and to help you determine if your tires have enough meat left there are wear indicators molded into tread grooves. If the tread wear indicator bead is level with the surrounding tread anywhere on the tire, it’s time to replace it. The legal limit is 1/16 of an inch, or about the height of old Abe’s head on a penny.
Roads are rife with debris that’s just waiting to damage your tires, so it’s a good idea to regularly inspect for punctures, cuts, and tears. Holes punched in the tread by nails can often be plugged, but many manufacturers deem plugs to be a temporary, emergency fix at best. Any damage is cause for concern, as it could lead to a tire failure.
2. Uneven Wear
Even if the tread isn’t worn to the limit, it might be worn unevenly, which will negatively affect performance. The most common type of uneven wear is “squaring off” of the rear tire. Nearly as common is cupping or scalloping on the front tire, where the rubber adjacent to tread grooves is eroded. This condition can cause performance, traction, and stability issues.
Finally, even if your tires have ample tread and look great, they might simply be too old to ride on. Most manufacturers say that five years is the lifespan of a tire because oils in the rubber evaporate and the tire dries out and hardens. The tire’s birthday is molded into an oval on the sidewall, with the four-digit code at the end representing the week and year.