5 Signs Your Motorcycle Tires Need Replacements

Your motorcycle only has two tires. If one blows while you’re riding, there is a much bigger chance you’ll hurt yourself and your motorcycle as opposed to driving a car. Motorcycle tire maintenance is crucial, although, even when your tires are maintained, there will come a time when they need to be replaced.

Below is a list of five ways you can tell that your motorcycle tires need to be replaced.

1. Tire Crazing Patterns

The small cracks, cuts and other distortions that develop on the tire’s exterior as a result of aging is known as crazing. It is completely normal to have crazing on the tire’s sidewall beside the rim, but you should look all over the tire just in case. Crazing leads to slow leaks and blowouts if not addressed, be sure to replace your tires if you notice crazing.

Crazing is a common byproduct of cold climates, leading to dry rot, where the rider doesn’t use their bike during winter months. If you live in Canada, crazing is definitely something to look out for.

2. Low Tread

The more your ride your motorcycle, the more the tires will wear down and lose tread. To determine if you have enough tread left or not, use the “dime test”. This test used to be called the penny test, however, we no longer have a penny in Canada so we’ll need to use a dime instead!

The dime test is very simple, flip the coin so that the Bluenose is upside down and insert the coin between the tread grooves. If you can see the top of the Bluenose mast, you need to replace the tires. The motorcycle minimum tread depth is approximately the same as for cars, 1.5mm.

If you don’t have any change handy, many motorcycles come with tread wear indicator bars, TWIs for short. These are small bands of raised rubber that are inside the tire grooves, when the TWIs become flush with your tire’s surface, you’ll know to replace your tires.

3. Chicken Strips

Riders that tend to go slowly and sit upright are prone to “chicken strips” on their tires. Essentially, chicken strips are a line that forms down the middle of your tire. Chicken strips form from too much wear on the center of the tire and too little use of the outer parts of the tire.

Chicken strips can form elsewhere on your tires too, depending on your riding style. Flat spots can even develop from not putting your bike on a stand during the winter months. Regardless of how flat spots or chicken strips form, it is an indicator that you need a new set of tires.

4. Investigate Stick-Ons

Objects can stick to your tires while you’re riding. If you notice something, it should be closely investigated. If the object is merely sticking to your tire, pick it off and go about your day.

However, if the object is stick inside your tire, you’ll need to investigate more carefully. In this instance, you may want to bring your motorcycle to a shop to remove the object safely and prevent your tire from deflating. You’ll also need a new tire while you’re there.

5. Tire Bulges

If a bubble has formed on your tire, change them immediately. It is dangerous to ride with tire bulges as a blowout is highly likely to occur.

Tire bulges are caused from extreme damage to the tire’s exterior leading to internal air pressure pushing outwards forming the bubble. The bulge will be very fragile, do not drive your bike anywhere, even to a repairs shop. Instead, change the tire yourself, transport the bike on a trailer to a motorcycle shop or detach the wheel and bring it to a shop to change the tire.

Ronald Ryan

I'm a self-proclaimed science geek and all-around nerd. Useless fun trivia seems to be my forte. If you ever need to hear a good dad joke, I'm your guy!

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