Tips for Getting the Most Motorcycle Tire Mileage
One of the biggest expenses of any vehicle is its consumables: parts that wear out and need replacing, like motorcycle tires.
Gasoline is the most frequent consumable expense, but tire costs add up over time too. Doing little things to extend your motorcycle’s tire mileage can help you save money. Here are some tips to maximize the mileage on your motorcycle;'s tires.
Keep up with Air Pressure
Your motorcycle’s tires need air, obviously, and having the right amount inside them makes a difference on how fast they wear.
Too little air can cause a tire to generate too much heat, which can accelerate wear. Add a little extra weight, and the process goes even faster. If a tire is really low on air, it can actually damage its structure.
The tire manufacturer puts a pressure recommendation on the sidewall for a reason, so make sure to follow it. Even if you’re a tick over the pressure, the tires should be okay. It might make taking bumps a little more jarring, but in most cases it won’t change the tread wear.
If you’re carrying a heavy load, add a little pressure to offset the extra weight. That extra pressure will also give the tires a better grip in the rain.
Get a Quality Tire Gauge
Always have a quality motorcycle tire gauge at your disposal, and replace it every now and then.
The tire gauges shaped like pocket pens can be accurate at first, but wear out much quicker over time than a professional-grade gauge. Keep an extra gauge or two handy to compare pressure readings for accuracy.
Align Wheels and Tires
If the wheels and tires on your motorcycle aren’t aligned, they’ll actually work against each other and the pavement. There are many ways to check the alignment on your motorcycle, including simply letting an experienced mechanic take a quick look. The factory alignment marks on today’s machines are also a big help for checking them yourself.
Get Tires Balanced
Along with alignment, balance is a key player in what happens when the tire is rotating against and interacting with the pavement. The balance on a tire can change over time, especially after it gets some breaking in, so have it checked between the 500 and 1000 mile marks.
Use Valve Caps
The valve in the tire stem seals the air in, but adding a good valve cap helps keep it in. Get metal valve stem caps with O-rings in them to really seal the deal.
Know How to Brake
Locking up your brakes and laying rubber down on the pavement will flat-spot tires, and take miles off their lifespan. Make sure you know how to brake hard and modulate the brakes so they don’t lock up. An anti-lock brake system takes that work away from you.
Inspect Your Tires
Do you know how to inspect motorcycle tires? There are a lot of things to look for, and the wear indicators on the tire can help you see where the tire is in its lifespan.
Look for cupping or other signs of uneven wear. Under-inflation, misaligned wheels, or suspension problems can also eat up tires.
Clean Your Tires
Keep it simple: wash the tires with soap and water only. Protectants can actually pull oils out of the rubber and make it brittle, causing the tire to age faster and lead to traction issues. If you get brake cleaner, chain lube or gasoline on the tires, wipe it off immediately.
Consider your tires when it comes time to winterizing your motorcycle. Over the winter months, tires can crack or even react with the concrete in the garage. A couple of motorcycle stands can get the tires off the ground where they can hibernate safely.