Motorcycle tyre air pressure: What you need to know

tyre legal standardRoadworthy tyres are a legal requirement when you hop on your motorcycle and part of that involves ensuring your tyres are inflated to the appropriate air pressure.

Worryingly though, a Canstar Blue survey of more than 700 motorcycle owners identified a serious knowledge gap in this area, with 22% of respondents admitting they are not sure what the correct air pressure of their tyres should be. That might not sound like a lot of people, but if one in five motorcycles is being ridden around on potentially dangerous tyres, it represents a significant risk to those riders and other road-users.

The issue is complicated because there is no one-stop answer to the air pressure question; your motorcycle model, tyre type and road surface are all factors. Chances are you’ll spend the majority of your time on ‘normal” road surfaces, and for this everyday use it’s essential to check the tyre pressure recommendations from the manufacturer of your motorcycle. You’ll find these details in your bike’s handbook or on the bike itself. If you’re planning to ride on a track or off-road surface, it’s important to check the guidelines supplied by the manufacturer as the tyres you have may not be suitable.

Riding on tyres with the incorrect air pressure

Not only is it a safety requirement to ensure your tyres are inflated to the optimum level, but it’s also crucial from a comfort and maintenance perspective. Inflating your tyres to the correct pressure as recommended by the motorcycle manufacturer will make a major contribution to its safe handling and braking, even at moderate speeds. Riding on under-inflated tyres may lead to premature wear and in extreme cases even a sudden blow-out.

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When to check your tyre pressure

It’s important to regularly check your motorcycle tyre air pressure. If you can’t remember the last time you did so, it’s probably been too long. Given that tyres naturally lose air, checking them every two or three weeks is a good idea. And remember to check when your tyres are cold as air pressure increases when tyres are used and heat up, so never deflate a tyre which has just been on the road.

Having checked the pressure, don’t forget to replace the valve cap which contributes to an airtight seal in addition to the valve core. The pressure of the valve cap is essential for an airtight seal.

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