As far as moving parts go, tires can last a lot longer than you might think. But while they can give you a lot of road miles, it's important to remember that they won't last forever. As these tires are the only thing separating the rest of you and your motorcycle from the pavement, you'll want to be sure that they are cared for and are not used beyond their life expectancy. We thoroughly researched motorcycle tires so that you can have a definitive answer on how long they can be depended on.
The length of time a motorcycle tire will last should not ever exceed five years. When determining how many miles these tires will last, it will depend upon the model of tire as well as how the tires have been treated. The range of road miles for a motorcycle tire is between 1,800 miles and 12,000 miles.
Now that we know the range of how long motorcycle tires will last, we'll look at some tips for keeping them safely on the road as long as possible. You might also be wondering if it's okay to replace one tire on your motorcycle or what the minimum tread on these tires needs to be. How do you measure motorcycle tread? How often should you get these tires balanced? For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.
Tips to keeping your tires on the road longer
Just because the factory recommendation gives you an approximate mileage expectation for your motorcycle tires doesn't mean that it will automatically happen. To meet the mileage milestone, you'll need to follow a few guidelines.
Keep the tires inflated
Driving on tires that are over or underinflated will undoubtedly lead to premature tire wear. Examine your tire to determine the recommended PSI. Routinely check the PSI to ensure that your tires are inflated to the proper levels.
Tires will slowly leak air over time, and temperature changes will change their pressure. Make it a point to check your tires after every fuel fill-up, so you get in the habit of keeping your tires inspected and inflated to the right PSI.
Rotate the tires regularly
If you have a motorcycle with tires engineered to last more than 10,000 miles, you should get them rotated. The rear tire receives the most weight placed upon it, so it will wear quicker.
Rotating the tires at regular intervals of 2,500 miles will even wear out and make the tires last longer.
Routinely inspect the tires
Along with checking the PSI, you should also get into the habit of checking your tires out for wear and damage. Tires with low tread levels can result in a blowout on the road, so checking this out is critical. We'll discuss how this is done ahead in this post.
Carefully run your bare hand over the tires to ensure they are free of lacerations or road wear. Be certain that no part of the tire is cracked or separating. And look to make sure that there aren't any screws or nails embedded in the rubber.
Drive with your tires in consideration
How you drive will also impact the lifespan of your motorcycle tires. Quick acceleration and braking will wear down the treads faster.
Laying rubber or doing burnouts will also significantly reduce the number of miles you can put on your motorcycle tires. Drive with care and consideration of your tires, and they will get you a lot more time on the road.
When should motorcycle tires be replaced?
As we noted earlier in this post, motorcycle tires should be replaced at a minimum of every five years. The material the tires are made from begins to break down at this point and can separate or crack.
But if you are driving your motorcycle with any regularity, you will probably need to replace the tires long before the five-year mark. You should look to replace your motorcycle tires when:
- The tread depth falls below 1/32 of an inch
- You notice that there are cracks in the tire
- There are noticeable punctures in the tire
- The tires are losing pressure regularly
- There is abnormal wear on the inside or outside of the tire
Can I replace just one tire on a motorcycle?
Replacing tires can be costly. If you own an all-wheel-drive car or SUV, you probably know that you will need to replace all four tires at once, even if only one is damaged. Thankfully, this is not the case with your motorcycle.
The tires on a motorcycle will wear noticeably unevenly from front to back. As most of the weight is placed on the rear tire, this tire will wear out much faster than the one in front. The rear tire will wear out twice as fast as the front tire on some models.
Check your tires often, and replace them as needed. And don't worry if you have to replace one at a time.
What is the minimum tread on a motorcycle tire?
While you can drive on a motorcycle tire with a tread of 1/32 of an inch, it's recommended to replace them if the tread level falls below 2/32 of an inch.
Low tread levels will mean an increase in the chance of a blowout, surely leading to an accident. Inspect your motorcycle's tires regularly, and replace them before there's a bigger problem.
How do you measure motorcycle tire tread?
You can measure the tread of your motorcycle's tires with a small ruler, although the numbers can be difficult to read. All this requires is inserting the top of the ruler into the spot where the tread seems the lowest and seeing how deep the tread is.
But who carries around a ruler with them? According to Tire America, it's easiest to use pocket change to get this critical measurement.
Using a penny, insert the top of the coin in between the treads. If the top of Lincoln's head touches or is below the top of the tread, then you have enough tread to drive upon safely. But if the tread sits below the top of Lincoln's crown, it's time to look for replacing that tire.
How often should you balance motorcycle tires?
Every time you purchase motorcycle tires, you should have them professionally balanced. Balanced tires ensure that they will wear throughout the drive and keep them on the road longer.
If you notice that the balancing weights on your tires have fallen off, it's a good idea to take them to a tire shop for rebalancing.
Or, if you notice that your tire is wearing unevenly from the inside out, it can indicate that your tire is off balance. If this is the case, it's a great idea to take your motorcycle into a tire shop for a tire inspection and a possible rebalance.
Do motorcycles have snow tires?
As you don't see a lot of motorcycle riders in cold weather, you might be surprised to know that there are snow tires made for these vehicles.
In most cases, they aren't needed, of course. As you won't usually be riding in the snow, standard all-weather tires will work great on the roadways.
But for those who traverse the roads in unexpected snowy conditions, there are snow tires available for motorcycles. These studded tires will grip the pavement much better in wet and snowy conditions, making for a safer ride.
In addition to snow tires, you will want to consider winter-proofing your riding gear. Riding in the cold at high speeds will chill you to the bone. So be sure to consider that before you head out to ride your motorcycle in colder temperatures.
Motorcycles need care and maintenance, and the tires are no exception. While tires will not last forever on a motorcycle, you can ensure that you get the most out of them if you routinely inspect and maintain them. Drive safe!
If you found this post on motorcycle tires to be helpful, be sure to check out these others:
What To Wear As Motorcycle Passenger? [6 Items You Should Seriously Consider]
How Long Do Motorcycle Jackets Last? [Different materials examined]