One of the most important things that determine the quality of your ride is the condition of your motorcycle tires. In this post, we will talk in detail about the life of tires and what affects the life of them. After hours of research and talking to some mechanics and tire sellers here is what I found.
How long do motorcycle tires last? Most motorcycle tires generally last more than 5 years if not ridden extensively. While sports motorcycle tires need to be changed every 3700 miles to 6200 miles. The life of the tires depends on factors like riding-style, miles covered, road conditions, and many more.
Some tires can last for more than 5 years if ridden in a controlled manner. Although, most of the motorcycle tires manufacturer recommends changing tires after every 5 years. As most of the things have got the expiry date so the motorcycle tires have got.
How often should you replace your motorcycle tires?
The low cc motorcycle tires last longer and should be changed every 50,000 miles or 5 years whichever comes first. While the higher CC motorcycle tires must be changed every 3700 miles. The rear tire gets worn out earlier than the front tires. So, you may need to change the rear tire more often than the front tires.
The same applies to every motorcycle, especially sports ones. Because mostly those people who own sports motorcycle ride their motorcycle at higher speed or acceleration than the standard motorcycle rider.
Apart from these, the motorcycle tires’ life depends on many factors that such as nature of ride, distance ridden, type of motorcycles, etc.
How long do motorcycle tires last in storage?
If the motorcycle tires are stored in a safe and controlled environment then it can easily last more than 5 years in storage fresh. But, if it is stored in direct sun or environmental elements. It will last for years and starts to deteriorate from the inside.
It just means that the tires will look intact from the outside but the inner thread or oil may have been dried. Thus, it’s better to not use those tires that have not been stored perfectly.
Storing motorcycle tire in controlled environment such as wrapping the tire up and putting it in cool dark climatized zone doesn’t mean the tires stopped aging.
It doesn’t matter that you store the tire in a controlled environment or exposing it to UV rays of sun, the tire will age in both cases.
The only difference between these two situations is, if you store the tires in a controlled environment then it will age and deteriorate slowly compared to the later situation.
Make sure to check the birth date/manufacturer date of the tires before buying them. Read below to know how to do so.
Signs of Wear on the Tire
It would be horrible to experience puncture or damage to the motorcycle tires while riding it. Thus, it’s better to have checked your motorcycle tires before planning to roam outside with them. It will also give you an idea of whether it’s time to change your motorcycle tires now or not. So, here are some signs of wear on the tire that will help you to get the overall idea of the health of motorcycle tires.
Note:- If you are riding a sports motorcycle then there is a high chance that your rear tires will get wear out faster than the front tire.
As you ride your motorcycle over time the tires start to wear out. The root cause of the tires getting worn out is friction. Friction is the root cause of tires getting wear out. It doesn’t matter whether it is from the edges or from the center of the tires.
You will see the difference of wear out from the edges because of the friction among these places. The contact that comes in contact with the road will be worn out due to friction.
Apart from this, under-inflated tires can also be the reason for the edge wear of the tire. It’s important that you check your tire pressure regularly and keep it to the recommended pressure.
Thus, if you see the unevenness on the edge of the tires than the center then it is a sign of wear. Normally this type of wear is seen more on the motorcycle that has been used to cornering a lot.
This is common wear in the motorcycle tires which mostly occurs due to riding in straight lines. You will find these wear in most of the motorcycle tires.
The center wear in motorcycle can happen because of two reasons:-
- Riding in straight line
Now let’s discuss what the both term means:-
If you noticed the center wear in tires then it means that you may have been driving in over-inflated tires or you have been riding straight always.
If your tires are filled with more than recommended tire pressure then it is a sign of over-inflation. Thus, to avoid the over-inflation you will have to check your tire pressure regularly and make sure to review your owners manual.
Puncture or cuts in the tires
As motorcycle tires get old they are more prone to get damaged and get a puncture and cuts often due to any sharpened object that results in puncture and cuts in the tires.
Under-inflation of the tires are also the reason for the puncture or cuts in the tires.
To save your tires from puncture or cuts make sure your tires are neither under-inflated nor over-inflated. The tires should be filled with recommended pressure thus make sure to check out your user’s manual.
Apart from this even if your tires are new and due to the road condition or something you are getting frequent puncture then you may have to replace your tires early.
Less Grip on the road
Generally, less grip of the tires is due to improper inflation. So, before you think that your motorcycle tires have worn out, it’s important you check out its pressure.
Now, if your tires are losing grip even after having a balanced or perfect pressure. Then you must check for wear, and it’s the sign of tread wear in the tires.
If there is no visible cuts and crack and you are losing grip then it’s the sign of aged tires. Your tires may be old (more than 5 years old). To know the date of the motorcycle tires looks for the four-digit code on the edge followed by the DOT acronym.
Age of the tires
The tire’s age matters a lot because it can affect your overall riding quality. Most of the tire manufacturer recommends changing the tires in 5 to 6 years. Thus, if you are looking to be confident while riding then must change your tires in recommended period.
The age of the tires can affect the overall ride quality, on the road. As tires age and gets old, it gets hard and brittle because the oil (used during the manufacture of the tire) fade away. So, you must adhere to the required rule that never uses old tires.
And you should buy only the latest motorcycle tires from the store (it should not be less than a year). Although, if the tires are kept in controlled and safe environments then you should consider tire age from the date of purchase. So, it depends ask and discuss things with the seller before purchasing any tire.
Here is a YouTube video showing how to check motorcycle tires wear. This way you will have a better idea when to change your tires even if they look good.
Do motorcycle tires expire?
Every motorcycle tire has got a birth date and expiry date with them. Because overtime tires deteriorate and expire either you put them in a controlled environment or uncontrolled. Although, tires don’t have any date stamped for the expiry but most manufacturers recommended changing the tires after 5 or 6 years.
The life of the tires depends on the environment, it gets stored. If the tires are stored in a controlled environment then the tires will have increased life compared to the tires exposed to sun or heating in sun. Or if the tire is in your motorcycle that you ride then most probably your tires will get wear out before getting expired.
First, check/ read the birth date of the motorcycle tires. You don’t have to make any guesses to know the tires’ age. It’s stamped on the sidewall of the tire. Read below to get the idea of checking the date of motorcycle tires.
Here is how to read the manufacture date of the motorcycle tires.
Step 1: Look for the acronym “DOT” on the outer sidewall of tires.
Step 2: You will see a series of numbers followed by the acronym “DOT” on the tire.
Step 3: Move to the last four-digit number to know the manufacture date of tires.
Step 4: In the four numbers the pair of two numbers represent weeks and the rest represent the year.
So, for example, the number stamped on the tires are “4016”. From which the first number set “40” shows the week of tires manufactured and the rest two numbers “16“ tells the year of the manufacture. Summing up, the tire was manufactured in the 40th week of the year 2016.
That’s all. it‘s that simple to know the tire age, now we’ll go through an example that will help you to understand with more clarity.
Do the motorcycle tires expire even if you don’t use them?
The tires start to expire as their manufacturing completes but it remains passive or deteriorates leisurely in a controlled environment such as tire warehouses. Apart from this, if tires got stored in an uncontrolled environment then the deterioration process becomes quick and rapid.
So, the motorcycle tires expire, it doesn’t matter you use them or not. It just that the tires will expires slow if put in a controlled environment than putting in into the direct sun. The expiration time will be delayed in controlled environment that’s all. But the deterioration process never stops.
Just treat the tires as same as clothes, the clothes don’t have any expiry date but it deteriorates doesn’t matter you wear it or not.
Why do sports motorcycle tires wear out faster?
Sports motorcycles are made to provide performance, balance, and maximum grip while riding. So these tires are made with a soft rubber compound that is light-weight and wears out quickly. It also provides a better grip on the road than any other tire at any given speed. Thus, it’s the reason sports motorcycle tires wear out faster than normal tires.
Sports motorcycles run at a higher speed, used for hard cornering than normal motorcycles. That’s the primary cause that sports motorcycle tires wear out faster than normal tires.
How to increase the motorcycle tires’ life expectancy?
In order to increase the motorcycle life expectancy here are some of the basic things that you can easily do:-
Maintain the tires pressure
Maintaining the tire pressure not only increases the tire’s life but also provides us the best riding experience.
If you just maintain the tire’s pressure then the chances of tires degrading and punctures get low.
When I say about maintaining the tire’s pressure it’s important to know that the tires must be filled with the right amount of pressure.
Tires should neither be underinflated nor be over-inflated. The right amount of tire pressure can undoubtedly enhance the overall riding experience and reduce wear.
Never store the tires in sunlight
If you store the tires in direct sunlight then it is another reason that will absorb or dry all the oil (used during the tire manufacturing) which will result in early cracks and deterioration in tires.
The tires are made up of high quality vulcanized rubber that help to handle the pressure and heat situation while riding on roads. But, keeping tires in direct sunlight can cause the pressure to heat up resulting in expansion a lot. This situation can affect the tire’s pressure rate (over-inflation) resulting in a crack, early wear, puncture, and sometimes bursts also.
It can result in premature penetration and deterioration of the rubbers resulting in drying and breaking out the rubber compounds.
Sunlight contains UV rays that can do harm to our tires and shorten their life. So, it’s important to limit sun exposure to the tires whenever it’s possible.
Thus, if you want to keep your tire’s life expectancy long you shouldn’t park your motorcycle tires in direct sunlight. If your motorcycles are parked in a shaded place where the sunlight is minimum will help the tires to strengthen their life.
Don’t do Hard Braking often
Instant or hard braking can adversely affect the motorcycle tire’s life and make it wear out faster. The reason behind this is as you apply the brake instantly at high speed your tires will be dragged. As tires drag the friction between the tires and road increases that lead the tires to wear out faster. The outer layer of the tires will be worn out faster because of the hard breaking resulting in drag.
Don’t do wheelies and burnouts often
Burnouts and wheelies are mostly done by guys who have a sports motorcycle. This causes the motorcycle’s rear tires to wear out faster than the front. Thus, it decreases the rear tire’s life and consumes the fuel for nothing. Therefore, to increase the motorcycle life expectancy you should limit your burnouts and wheelies often.
The basic thing that happens while burnouts are the friction between the tires and roads increases that results in early wear in tires. And If you own a sports motorcycle then you have been changing tires as soon as you reach 6,000 miles. And the rear tires are replaced often than the front ones.
Do motorcycle tires go bad with age?
Motorcycle tires are made with a mix of both natural and synthetic rubber which deteriorates and degrades with time and age. That’s why most of the tire companies have the “sell by” date or the manufactured date on the tires with an expiry of five years. Apart from this the tires also go bad with the use/distance traveled.
How old should new tires be when you purchase them?
When you are going to purchase new tires it must not be less than a year. Make sure to check the manufacture date of the tires. If the seller is selling you two or three old tires then don’t buy them, you are paying the full price for, brand new tires not some old stock.
So, make sure you don’t buy that junk but if need then don’t pay the full price, pay less or ask for the discount and use your intuition for it.
Should I replace both motorcycle tires at the same time?
You should change only tires that are necessary to do so. Rear tires wear out faster than the front ones. So, you will need to replace the rear tires more frequently than the front ones. If you do wheelies etc and ride in full throttle then the rear tires are the ones that will wear out faster and earlier.
Are 14-year-old motorcycle tires safe?
Most motorcycle manufacturers recommended changing the tires every 5 to 6 years even if the tire tread is deep and looks in condition. You should not ride motorcycles with more than 6-year-old tires as these are not safe to ride with.
Thus, you should not ride the motorcycle with 14-year-old tires as these are not safe to ride even if these are stored in good conditions.
Even if you thought to ride, then no one guarantees the effectiveness and grip of these tires on the road. In worst condition, the old tire may get you into trouble