As a responsible motorcycle owner, your tire pressure should be at the forefront of your mind before you take a ride. You may already set a strict schedule for checking your tire pressure, but sometimes, that is not enough to keep it where it needs to be. Learning about how tire pressure can affect your ride and the way your motorcycle performs is also important to ensure you have appropriate handling ability and your bike does not obtain excessive and needless wear.
By reviewing these five facts about motorcycle tire pressure, you can be ahead of the game when it comes to your motorcycle maintenance. While checking your tire pressure and adjusting it when needed may seem like an easy task, learning how your motorcycle behaves under different pressure is also important for an optimum ride. Check out the information provided below so you can become an expert on motorcycle tire pressure and keep your motorcycle performing efficiently on the roads.
1. Check your pressure as often as you can.
There are varying opinions on how often motorcycle tire pressure should be checked. Some manufacturers feel it is important to check this pressure everyday while others would debate that it only needs to be checked every other week or when it seems low. You should consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual to learn how often your manufacturer suggests you check the tire pressure.
In addition to taking your manufacturer’s suggestions into consideration, you should also think about how often your motorcycle is used and what it is used for when scheduling your tire pressure checks. If you use your motorcycle to commute to work on well-paved roads in stable weather conditions, you can probably resort to checking your tire pressure once a week.
However, if you use your motorcycle on gravel or dirt roads or in severe weather, you should check the pressure everyday before you ride. Additionally, if you are currently on a road trip that includes long days with lots of miles, consider checking your tire pressure twice per day if possible.
2. Wait until the motorcycle cools down to check the pressure.
When you do check your motorcycle tire pressure, it is important that you complete the task when the bike has cooled down from your previous ride. You should wait at least two to three hours after turning off your motorcycle to get a reading on the tire pressure. This will ensure the reading is accurate and the motorcycle tires have completely cooled from your recent ride.
It is important to only check tire pressure when the tires have cooled because tires that are even slightly warm from a ride can show inaccurate pressure reading by about 10 percent. It is also important to ensure the tires are cool before checking the pressure because the manufacturer’s tire pressure recommendations are made for tires that are cooled.
3. Invest in a tire gauge.
Every gas station tire air pump machine is equipped with its own tire pressure gauge. This makes it simple and convenient to fill up your tire pressure while checking the pressure readings at the same time. However, you should be weary of the tire pressure gauges that are attached to these machines. Oftentimes, these readings are erroneous, sometimes by up to 30 psi. Keep in mind, if one of your tire’s pressure is low or high by even just a few psi, it can affect your motorcycle’s steering and braking abilities.
One of the best ways to ensure you obtain accurate tire pressure readings is to carry a high-quality tire pressure gauge with you when filling up your tires with air. Using your own tire pressure gauge can seem like a nuisance, but this piece of equipment is usually inexpensive and small enough that you can carry it in your motorcycle carrier or in a bag. With your own tire pressure gauge in hand, you can be sure you are filling your tires to the correct readings.
4. Review the consequences of bad tire pressure.
It is important to review what can happen if your tires are under or overinflated. By understanding how your motorcycle will behave if it does not have enough or has too much air in its tires, you can easily diagnose a problem related to the tires.
Under inflated tires: If your tires have low pressure and you ride your motorcycle without fixing the problem, you might realize the motorcycle is hard to control. In addition to attempting to handle an unstable bike, your motorcycle could also have unresponsive steering or it could simply be sluggish and slow to accelerate in general. In the worst-case scenario, your tire could come loose from the rim since there may not be enough pressure to hold the bead into the motorcycle wheel.
Over inflated tires: Tires with high pressure are also dangerous on the roads. Your motorcycle cannot gain enough traction when the tires are over-inflated. Without enough of the tire touching the ground, it is possible that your tires can overheat. You may also find it difficult to control your motorcycle if the tires have too much air.
5. Adjust tire pressure based on your activity.
It is important to keep in mind where you plan to ride your motorcycle when adjusting the tire pressure.
Paved roads: If you will be mainly riding on paved and flat roads, you should fill your motorcycle tires to the manufacturer’s suggestions. Keeping your tires at optimal pressure as recommended by the manufacturer will ensure you have proper handling capabilities on the road.
Off-track: When riding on road rubber, you should fill your tires to 30 psi and monitor how your tires are affected. If your tires start to look marbled, consider letting out a bit of pressure and reducing the psi by a few before riding again. While your tires should look scrubbed, marbling may mean the pressure is too high.
Dirt roads and trails: It is important to have a lower tire pressure when handling your motorcycle on off-road trails since traction will be key to maintaining proper steering on tight turns. However, if your tire pressure is too low, you could cause damage to your rims and your tube could get caught between the rim and the tire. Therefore, it is important to experiment with different psi tire pressures when riding on dirt roads and trails to find what works best for you. Always remember to re-inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s recommendations before riding on paved roads again.