The Right Motorcycle Tyre Pressure
Whether you ride your bike on your commute, or you are switching back and forth in a turn at the track, knowing the right way to maintain your bike’s tyres is essential. If you are an aggressive biker who corners hard, or someone who has to carry a lot of loads, or takes their bike at high speeds, you should be checking you have the right tyre pressure.
Tyres that have been maintained properly help ensure the rider’s safety. Properly maintained tyres also perform much better on the road and will obviously last longer as compared to tyres that are not well taken care of. As a result, having good tyres allows the rider to spend on other things, like upgrades or gadgets which would make the ride more comfortable.
Rapid wear and tear of your tyres can often be attributed to under-inflated or over-inflated tyres. Even if you are riding a brand-new bike, make sure that you check the tyre pressure before taking it out for a ride. Under-inflated tyres are one of the most common causes for wear and improper handling.
Why is it vital to maintain the right motorcycle tyre pressure?
The tyres on your bike must be pliable compared to the tyres found on cars and trucks. The tyres on your bike have to be supple and bendable in order to provide the necessary grip when manoeuvring curves and turns. If you do not have a pressure gauge for your motorcycle stored in the seat of your bike or hidden in your tank bag, maybe it is time for you to get one.
A study done by automotive clubs revealed that a lot of service stations have gauges that are significantly inaccurate. Mechanical units were found to be 5 to 20 percent out, while those electronic units were said to be 95 percent inaccurate. These digital gauges tend to lose correct calibration over time and sometimes may run out of battery.
What is the right motorcycle tyre pressure?
The answers can vary and at the same time be a bit complex. However, it is best if you consult an expert on this matter. An expert on tyres or a good tyre technician is the right person to talk to. A tyre tech knows exactly the specifics of your situation.
If you are hitting the track, a tyre tech can give you advice on the best tyre pressure for bike. For older street bikes, 34/36 psi is the ideal pressure for your bike. For modern bikes it could be up to 36/42 psi. To be safe, it is always best to talk to tyre experts or people who know exactly what they are doing, and not to a salesperson trying to sell a product. Once you know the air pressure for your bike, you can experiment with it for performance, but only within a narrow margin that is safe enough to let you know what will really fit your riding technique and of course, the comfort that goes with it.
Just a friendly reminder though, tyre pressure and the comfort of the rider are generally subjective. Two riders may not feel the same comfort with the same tyre pressure on their respective motorcycles.
Very low pressure in your tyres can result in sluggish handling and high tyre temperatures. Bikes with very high tyre pressure on the other hand can suffer from worn-out centre tread and reduced grip, and can give the rider a rougher or bumpier ride, as compared to bikes with the right tyre pressure. High tyre pressure can also result in a hard ride and does not increase the load-carrying capacity. Over-inflating is not recommended.
Riding on the street after riding on a dirt road, always remember to bring the pressure back to the right setting. Many people think that running on a lower tyre pressure means better performance. But the thing is, you are just flexing your tyre when you shouldn’t be. You are bending your tyres when they do not need to be bent when you don’t have the right air pressure. This will speed up the wear and tear of your tyres. Lower pressures can affect the shape and contact area of tyres. This will eventually affect the performance and handling, even on short distances. For safety reasons, lower tyre pressure, just like over-inflation, is not recommended.
Last, but definitely not least, the most important thing to remember is that you should follow the pressure indicated by the bike manufacturer. The user manual on your bike will state what tyre pressure is best for your bike. If you change tyre brands, make it a point to check the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
So how can you make your motorcycle tyres last longer?
As mentioned earlier, having the proper air pressure in your tyres can help them last longer. Having the correct tyre pressure reduces excessive wear. And when it comes to protecting the rubber itself, here are some easy tips and guidelines that could help you get the most out of your motorcycle tyres.
Whenever possible, always park your motorcycle in a shady and cool area. If it is convenient, put a cover on it. Park the bike either in a garage or area with enough shade. Remember that your tyres will wear out faster if they are always exposed to sunlight, the elements, and extreme temperatures.
If you need to store motorcycle tyres, it is best to lay them on top of each other, parallel to the ground. Make sure that you store them away from direct sunlight, the elements, and extreme temperatures.
Keep tyres away from any electrical devices or machines such as refrigerators or tools. Electric motors and machines emit traces of ozone which can greatly accelerate the ageing process of your tyres.
Whenever possible, put your bike on its centre stand, especially if you are storing it for a longer period of time. This allows it to take the weight off the tyres while it is being stored.