02/09/2012 at 6:39 AM #9861
Tyres are the only parts of the motorcycle which are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact and it is therefore of paramount importance that tyres should be maintained in good condition at all times and that when the time comes to change them suitable replacements are fitted.
The original tyres for a motorcycle are determined by the motorcycle and tyre manufacturers and take into account all aspects of use. It is recommended that changes in tyre size or type (construction) should not be undertaken without seeking advice from the motorcycle or tyre manufacturers, as the effect on handling, safety and clearances must be taken into account.
It is the rider’s responsibility to ensure regular care and maintenance of their tyres is adhered to. The point at which a tyre is replaced is a decision for which the owner of the tyre is responsible.
Rjh Driver & Rider Training Ltd recommend these tips for checking motorcycle tyres:
Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style – sounds obvious but the tyre you think is best for you may not be so check with your dealer.
Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern – a mismatch in tyre type can have a dramatic affect on handling and therefore safety.
Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall – using a recognised tyre company will help ensure your tyres are fitted and balanced correctly – most authorised bike shops will do this as a service.
Inflate tyres to the pressure recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook – badly adjusted tyre pressures not only affect handling but also can increase the rate of wear and fuel consumption so a weekly check is worth it.
Inspect tyres regularly for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread – if you are not sure get it checked, a small cut in the wrong place could lead to a problem where you cant fix it.
Check that the tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc) – withough this water dispersal is greatly reduced making grip an issue.
Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge – as tyres warm up the air inside increases in pressure so do make sure you check them cold to get the right measurement.
Run in new tyres for at least 100 miles – new tyres have a protective coating which needs gentle removal before your new tyres can run at thier best so dont skip this part.
Cracked or bent rims should be replaced immediately – obvious really but damaged rims mean a not ideal join with the tyre and could lead to problems.
Replace old or damaged valve stems – these should also be replaced whenever new tyres are fitted too.
When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube
Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly – essential to ensure good handling, even more so than with cars.
Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal
Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional
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