When to change your motorcycle tyres

Stacks of tyresThere’s a lot riding on your motorcycle tyres – literally – so it stands to reason that you’d want to know as much about them as possible, right?

But Canstar Blue’s survey of motorcycle owners revealed many don’t have the depth of knowledge in this area that perhaps they should – and it could cost them.

Respondents spent an average of $308 the last time they bought a new tyre. But for many, that was probably a long time ago, with 32% admitting they delay buying new tyres for as long as possible.

Are motorcycle tyres a rip-off?

This knowledge gap and reluctance to buy new tyres relates to the fear of paying over the odds when you eventually drag yourself to a tyre retailer. A very significant 60% of riders told us they are fearful of being ripped off when they buy new tyres and 33% claim they have been.

One obvious solution to help quell that concern is to make sure you do your homework before setting off to buy new tyres, and that starts by understanding what different brands are available and how other consumers rate them. Once you have a good idea of which brand of tyres you’d like to buy, you can delve deeper into your specific requirements and take that knowledge with you to the retailer – as well as a good idea of what you should be paying.

The more knowledgeable you are about your tyres, the more likely you are to get the best deal possible. From a safety perspective, there is nothing more important than your tyres – they are, after all, the only thing connecting you and your motorcycle to the road. But who wants to pay more than they have to?

Checking your motorcycle tyres

It’s important to get to know your tyres as soon as you buy them – understand what a new tyre looks like and compare it to what you’d previously been riding on. You might get a shock! It’s essential to maintain the quality and performance of your tyres, while observing the safety rules and recommendations of their use, which includes riding on appropriate surfaces. Failing to do this will not only compromise your tyres, but could also compromise your safety and that of others.

Pay close attention to the condition of your tyres (any abnormal signs of wear), their tread depths and any damage that may have occurred due to impacts. Also be sure to regularly check the air pressure of your tyres. If you have any doubts, seek the opinion of an expert and don’t take any risks.

tyre legal standard
Motorcycle Tyre Air Pressure: What You Need to Know.

Do your tyres need changing?

Courtesy of Michelin, our customer satisfaction award winner for motorcycle tyres, here are five reasons for checking whether or not you need to replace them…

The tyre has been punctured

Tyres are very strong and capable of withstanding a lot of heavy impacts, but they could still be punctured. If you suspect your tyre has been punctured, have it examined by a professional mechanic who can determine whether or not the interior of the tyre has been compromised, meaning it cannot be repaired.

The legal wear limit is reached

Your motorcycle tyres will have wear indicators, which look like little bumps at the bottom of the main grooves. When the depth of rubber remaining gets to the level of these indicators, the tyre has reached its legal wear limit and must be replaced. If you continue to ride on your tyres below this limit, their safety, grip and performance – particularly on wet roads – is not guaranteed. You will also be breaking the law.

The tyres show signs of ageing

It’s difficult to predict the life of tyres and how long they can be used for. It doesn’t always depend on their date of manufacture as tyres which have never been used, or just used occasionally, could still show signs of ageing. Factors like conditions of storage, load, speed, inflation pressure, riding style and even climate conditions could all play a part in the service life of a tyre. As a result, it’s recommended you regularly check your tyres for any signs of ageing or wear, including deformation on the tread, shoulder or sidewalls.

The tyre is damaged

While they are resilient to many bumps and bruises, your tyres could still be damaged by foreign objects in the road. Any perforations, cuts or deformations that are found should be examined by a professional mechanic who can advise whether or not the tyre remains safe to use. You should never ride on a tyre you suspect is damaged.

The tyre shows abnormal wear

Abnormal tread wear could be a sign of a mechanical problem like worn shock absorbers, transmission or brackets, or a balancing fault. It could also be the result of incorrect inflation pressure. To prevent abnormal wear, it is recommended you get the balancing of your wheels checked every six months. This could extend the service life of your tyres, while giving you a more comfortable ride.

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