Pressure and checks: our recommendations on motorcycle tyres11 October 2018
When you think about it, your motorcycle or scooter tyres represent the only part that hold you and your bike on the road. That’s why we consider it as the most important parts of your vehicle and recommand to double-check their pressure and condition as often as possible. Here are some tips to keep your bike tyres in good shape and secure each one of your trips.
How often should I check my tires?
Checking your bike tyres pressure and condition is the most important thing to do in order to guarantee your safety on the road. Of course, you don’t have to do it every day, but doing it on a regular basis will highly reduce risks. The question is, how often should you do it? Well, it depends on how often you ride your bike, but also the weather conditions in which you ride.
If you ride it daily, and weather conditions are more or less stable, you may check your tyres once a week approximately. On the other hand, if you ride it only once or twice a month, you’ve better check tyres pressure and condition every time you ride. However, if you’re in a middle of a long trip, check it daily to make sure you travel safely.
Pro tip: when your front tyre is underinflated, you can feel it immediately when you sit on your bike and turn the handle bars. The tyre will feel a bit ‘grabby’ and ‘sluggish’ when moving the tyre bar back and forth. If you feel something like this, it is probably time to check your front tyre pressure, and, if you’re doing so, you might as well check your rear tyre pressure too. At the same time, you may want to check if you didn’t pick any debris that could cause a slow leak.
In which conditions should I check my tyres?
It is very important to understand that tyre pressure varies a lot between cold and hot conditions. When travelling, the air inside the tyres heats up, while it cools off when you stop riding. This is called a heat cycle.
Note that cold conditions are always best to measure your tyres pressure, but some manufacturers manuals still indicates standard pressure in hot conditions. Remember to always use a high quality pressure gauge when controlling your tyres, as cheap ones are often not accurate enough.
Do all bikes need the same tyre pressure?
No, all bikes do not need the same tyre pressure. It will depend on several factors, such as your bike make and model and the weight you’re carrying. It will also highly depend on the type of riding you’re doing, as it influences a lot the stresses you’re putting on your tyres.
This way, touring or leisure riding will use your tyres much less that if you’re doing racing, competition, off-road or extreme riding. For this reason, it would be useless to provide a chart of tyre pressures, as to many factors come under consideration. However, you might find good calculators on the internet, that will take all these criteria in account.
Do both my tyres need the same pressure?
No, that would be too easy! Rear tyre often needs a higher pressure as your weight and the weight of the stuffs you carry are mainly focus on the rear of your bike. Note that both recommendations must be below your tyres maximum pressure.
How do I know what pressure my tyres need?
Well, you may find this information on the internet, or by asking you usual mechanic, but if you want to be absolutely sure, remember that your motorcycle manufacturer will always know best. For this reason, we would recommend to always check your bike manual when looking for such an information. It will give you recommendations for your front and rear tyres, often along with a brief explanation. Remember to always check if indications are for hot or cold conditions, like explained above.
What if I can find my manual?
If you’re travelling, you might not have your manual within easy reach. In this case, note that tyre pressure recommendations are often indicated on your bike, next to your motorcycle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). This can usually be found on the frame, in the front, like the front fork tubes, but also maybe under the lid of your trunk or under the seat. As a last resort, you can always call your dealership or manufacturer. You can also try to find your manual online.
Warning regaring tyre manufacturer indications
Note that you can probably find pressure indications on the tyres, but these must not be followed as tyre manufacturers do not know which bike you are riding and how much weight you are carrying. Still, you can have a look and make sure that the maximum pressure recommendations is above your manual’s instructions.
Note also that you may use a pressure slightly below your manual’s instructions, but never above.