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Are Your Motorcycle Tires Worn Out? 👻

Are Your Motorcycle Tires Worn Out? 👻

How do you know if your tires need to be
replaced? Stick around we’re gonna go over some of the telltale signs that
your tires are worn out. Tires are one of the most critical components keeping us from landing on our head. There are many factors that contribute to a tire being worn out including the most obvious. This is an extreme example of a tire being
flat worn out. This is what we jokingly refer to as “throwing sparks.” The rubber
has worn away revealing the metal bands, or chords, that hold the tire together.
When the rubber starts making these weird patterns, that means the metal
chords are just about to wear through. It’s worth noting that a tire does not
wear at the same rate throughout its life. As the rubber becomes thinner, the
tire actually wears faster. Like car tires, motorcycle tires have wear bars. When the tire wears down to the point where these bars are level with the rest
of the tire, it’s time to replace it. Most modern motorcycle tires the front
tire is tasked with moving all the water out of the way. This often means the rear
tire will have a solid strip of rubber with no saiping or tread in the center.
This is done to help the rear tire wear more slowly and withstand more abuse
from acceleration. This is why it’s important to always run matched tires.
Not only can mismatched tire construction cause we’re handling issues,
but the tread pattern on matching tires has been specifically engineered to work
together. The problem with tires with this solid
strip of rubber in the center is that it’s very hard to tell when the tire is
at the end of its life, particularly for those of us who live in ride in the real
world, where we wear out tires in the center long before we wear them out at
the edges. So here’s our plea to the manufacturers. Race slicks use these
little dots to indicate wear. When the dots disappear there is no more rubber
on the tire. So manufacturers; please put these dots down the center of these rear
tires. It would be so helpful so that we could more accurately be able to tell when a tire is wore out, so we don’t end up in this situation. The wear bar isn’t even yet flush
but… cords! All tires are stamped with the data manufacture. The stamp is a four digit number molded into the sidewall of the tire. If the number
is “2714” that means the tire was manufactured in the 27th week of 2014. If
the number is “0516” that means the tire was manufactured in the
fifth week of 2016. If the stamp is only three digits long that means that tire
was manufactured before the year 2000. So, how old of a tire should you run on your bike? Don’t confuse the manufacture date with the “Sell-By” date. Most manufacturers recommend the tire be sold before the tire is five years old. When you’re buying
tires it’s good to be mindful of the age a tire that’s three or even four years old is
fine. But also pay attention to the age of the tires on a used bike that you may
be considering. If the tires look great but we’re manufactured 10 or more years
ago, you’ll probably want to add the cost of new tires into the price of the bike.
Here’s the thing, as rubber ages it interacts with the air in the atmosphere
causing oxidation. Oxidation causes the rubber to harden and become brittle. The
rubber will wear away much more slowly but will offer significantly lower levels of grip. Oxidation also shows up as cracks, or “checking,” on the sidewall. Cracking on the sidewall, or in between the traction blocks, indicates severe
oxidation and it’s a sign that the tires should be replaced. Which brings us to
the third reason why a tire wears out. Heat increases the rate of oxidization,
so if your bike lives in a hot garage, or you live in a hot environment, your tire
will lose its grip more rapidly because the heat accelerates the rate of
decomposition of the rubber. What’s more, every time your tire warms up and cools down it goes through a heat cycle, which also compromises the grip the tire can
provide. When a tire has gone through so many heat cycles that it can no longer provide adequate levels of grip, that tire is “baked-out.” And not all tires deal with heat cycles the same way. A race tire or even a DOT race tire
that can withstand extreme heat punishment on the racetrack, may
only be able to withstand two or three heat cycles before the level of grip is
significantly diminished. While a sport touring tire may not be able to
withstand the abusive punishment and heat like a race tire can, it can
typically survive a lifetime of heat cycles from normal riding stresses,
before grip decreases. However, tires intended for cooler, wetter climates are
less capable of dealing with too much heat when used in hot, dry climates, and
may bake-out long before the tread is worn away. This is part of the reason
racers and track day riders use tire warmers. Not only to keep the tire warm
and grippy, but to reduce the number of heat cycles that tire will have to
endure. This is also why it’s a good idea to try to replace your tires and sets.
Your front tire is going through just as many heat cycles as your rear tire, and
is baking-out at the exact same rate. We’ve seen a lot of riders who will
replace the rear tire, and then a few months later replace the front tire, and
then a few months after that, replace the rear tire again.
So they are always chasing a new set of tires. And nothing makes your bike handle like new like a fresh set of tires. So, again, if you can swing it, it’s always best to replace
your tires as sets. But if you can’t, for whatever reason, then at least stick with
matched tires. Knowing how old your tires are, or how many heat cycles they’ve
endured, may be a bigger indication as to how worn your tires are, then how much
tread remains. Being aware of these things can help you make the best decision, to know when it’s time to
buy new sneakers for your bike. The way we tend to know the mileage
left in a tire is the simplest of all: We track mileage. We’ve collected a fairly substantial
database of tires that we ride,
and the mileage we got out of them, and we’ve posted that information on our website. There are still a wide range of factors involved here, so we don’t take these to
be gospel, but they do give us anecdotal evidence to determine if a tire should
be replaced before a trip, or can go the distance. So here’s the bonus;
below we put in a link to our tire mileage calculator. It’s a Google sheet
that will help you predict how long a tire will last based on how long tires
of the same make and model have lasted you before. This is how it works:
We’ve included the mileage of how long Pirelli Angel GT’s have lasted us, taken
from our Tire Mileage Chart just as an example. The only caveat is this really
only works for a single make and model of tire. Different makes and models can
provide vastly different levels of durability, even two different sport
touring tires from two different manufacturers can last from 3,000 miles
to 6,000 miles. So you’ll want to add a new sheet for each new make and model of tire you run. Next we measure to the wear-bar, not to the bottom of the sipe,
because we plan to replace our tires at that point, not when the tire is bald.
Which is this number. Then we enter in the mileage we got from previous
versions of the same make and model and the tread depth, to the top of the wear
bar, when we replace the tire. If you replace it early you’ll get a number
greater than zero and if you rode it until it was bald you’ll probably end up
with a negative number. From this point you just enter in your bikes odometer
reading when you installed the new tire. Then at any point later in time you come
back, re-measure your current tread depth, and the current odometer on your
bike, and it will tell you, roughly, how much more life you can expect from your
tire. Hopefully this will help you know if you have enough tire left over for
that weekend trip, or, so that you can plan your budget accordingly and not be
taken by surprise when your tire starts throwing sparks. But one last thing, that
if you want to get the most out of your tires, you need to stay on top of your
tire pressure. We strongly recommend you run the pressure recommended in your
bikes owner’s manual, not the max PSI rating stamped into the sidewall. Get
your hands on a quality tire pressure gauge and check your pressure at least
once a week, or before any long ride. We’ve provided links below to our Tire
Mileage Chart, our Tire Mileage Calculator, a tread depth gauge that we
like, and of course, a quality tire pressure gauge. Please click like and
subscribe, leave a comment below, we read every comment and try to respond to as many as we can. Thanks so much for watching and ride well.

76 comments on “Are Your Motorcycle Tires Worn Out? 👻

  1. Love all the videos man! Keep em coming! Just cleaned all my brakes yesterday on my 2015 multi. New HH pads and all power bled with that new $70 Castrol SRF fluid 😁 Would love to see some multistrada suspension videos. Still to this day I can't seem to ever settle on the proper suspension settings in touring or sport mode.

  2. Good stuff! When I bought my Blackbird it had a set of Bridgestone Battlaxes (2ct rear and regular up front) with a very uneven wear pattern. The tires were not worn out, but the bike handled like a pig. Replaced the set with a set of Michelin Pilot Power 3's, and the difference is night and day. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

  3. I use diablo rosso III on my VFR 2004. Bike manual say 2.5 psi while Pirelli suggests a different pressure for the rear tyre. Who is wrong?

  4. I differently need to replace my front tire!! Hey guys if you want to see a motovlogger with a panda helmet come on over to the channel and show your support!! You won't leave one of my videos without at least a laugh. Thanks everyone

  5. Wow man. Really great info. I always ran the same tire front to back but never why this actually mattered!!!!

  6. I bought a used 1996 Kawasaki Ninja 250ex for cheap, then immediately took a job that had me traveling away from home for 3 years. Poor bike's been sitting and I'm looking at replacing the tires, getting a new battery, cleaning/lubing the chain, cleaning out the gas tank, etc. I've been researching like crazy and I'm glad I found your channel. Lots of work ahead of me. Subscribed!

  7. FedEx is holding my tires hostage. I'm afraid to open my emails because It might be ransom. Tracking says they showed up in town on Thursday (original delivery date) rescheduled for Friday (was out for delivery) now rescheduled for Monday. I need my tires.

  8. Always use racing slicks they are cheaper and will be more entertaining on wet or gravelly surfaces also unhook or do away with the front brakes ( you don't need em) plus that front end will be easier to keep up in the air while riding wheelies without that extra weight now you could use your clutch and just downshift into the turns to slow down but the best riders just use the throttle and shifter and get rid of those pesky turn signals as they will only get caught or snagged while pulling off stunts and tricks on the freeway and remember a few beers will help loosen you up and calm your nerves before an intense stunt session but also acts as a great pain reliever if you go down these are just a few things that have made ME a champion rider over the years and remember RIDE LIKE HELL!!!

  9. You guys have awesome quality vids and the sound is clear and loud. I don't have to cup the rear speaker of my stupid Galaxy 5 phone

  10. Great info! My bike recommends 42psi on the rear! Which seems terribly high. When I have set it at that pressure, it feels hard on the seat of the pants. So I have typically set my rear to 39, feels better to me, and grippier. I run 36 in front. Almost always Bridgestone S21’s

  11. Thanks for such valuable information. I ride a bobber motorcycle in Quito, Ecuador (2850 meters above sea level) I have placed double purpose tyres because of low quality asphalt and lousy maintnance in our city strrets and roads…

    I have a question for you, would you recommend filling the tyres with nitrogen other than regular air? If yes, why? if not, why?

    Thanks. José Vela

  12. Once again another great video! Love my 2013 Multistrada GT but hate the air it kicks. Bought some $70 brake fluid and going to flush soon.
    Already replaced the infamous fuel sensor once…may have to soon. Have you a fix for that? LOL

  13. My motor cycle tyres usually wear out evenly both the rear and front. I usually had to change both the tyres as they wear out evenly. An MRF staff told me that there might be something wrong with my bike. My old bike is Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi and Now I ride Bajaj Dominar 400. I only used MRF tyres. I use the brakes a lot (combine with engine brakeing maximizing it thanks to slipper clutch). But techincally this kind of braking should cause more wear in the rear

  14. so have you guys had any experience with the Pilot Road series since the PR2s that baked out on you? I have a set of Road 5s on my Versys and they have to be the best tires I've ever run, though the back is starting to cup a tad, but took a lot longer to start cupping than the PR4s I previously run. I suspect it will hit the wear bars in back before the cupping gets too bad, I also have about 6000mi on the back with no sign of baking out, based on how it is wearing, I suspect I will get 8000mi out of the rear, no idea on the front yet, I got 10k out of a PR4 front. I also suspect I would get better tire life than a typical sport touring bike as a 64hp Versys 650 isn't going to be nearly as hard on tires as a 150+hp Multistrada.

  15. Thank you very much for taking time to share this information. I used to apply shoe wax(after thoroughly cleaning the bike) on the side walls of my bike's tires once every 3 or 4 months to make sure that they don't crack. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad idea now???

  16. So if the neck of your bike one tire pressure like mine is 29 in the front and 36 in the back but the tires say 41 so I should go by the tire pressure on the neck

  17. I have a pair of Anakee 3’s on my BMW GS with about 6k miles on them. Most people say you can get 10k miles at least. I am going on a trip in a few and the guys are recommending I get a new set before. My question is if your at 7k miles and the tire can go to 10k is the performance significantly reduced by the last third of its life to warrant throwing it away?

  18. checking air pressure at least once a week? Jesus, I check mine every six month, and the longer I wait, the higher the pressure is in my tire

  19. Been riding for a year and a half! Wouldn’t say I’m anywhere close to a seasoned rider…but I will say I bought my bike second hand and this video might have saved me a lot of money or even my life! Never too late to learn guys!

  20. All though this is top notch advice, I must admit one thing that i'm guilty of, and that is, that trough out my 2 years of riding and buying imported and used second hand tires only, I've seen that a tire that's about 5 to 8 years old is the best tire for my financial possibilities, because it's definitely cheaper at that age and is last a whole lot longer. I've had a 20 euro rear tire last me upwards of 3000kms until the thread showed, and not only once. And when i did get newer tires on the rear, say 2-3 years old, they were indeed much softer but lasted a whole lot less. Of course I would buy new tires if i could, but what i'm saying is that i can hang with some fast guys in my area while having cheaper tires. Now i don't knee drag, but my chicken strips are quite thin, and i do accelerate pretty good even at lean with these older tires. I know it's a gamble, but if the pavement is dry, for a beginner and intermediate rider i would say that older tires can work pretty well if you can't really afford new ones but love to ride AND don't corner as if you're on the track.

  21. My pirelli angel gt got 5210 kms only why is that? Set the tire psi at 33 front and 36 rear as what it is indicated in my versys 650 manual.

  22. A wealth of information contained in this presentation. Thank you very much for your eloquent explanation relevant as much to you guys on your side of the swamp as it is to us over here in the United Kingdom. Tyre grip has seen the greatest advance in the 45 years I have been riding. And to put it in perspective, in the 135k miles that I rode in my first 3 years on 4 different motorcycles, mainly on rural country roads, I never wore out a set of tyres, nor had a puncture but I ran out of grip on corners twice in the dry and probably a dozen times in the wet. I have covered about 40k miles in the last 5 years on 6 different motorcycles, have had 3 punctures, replaced 7 rear tyres and 3 front ones but have never run out of grip in the wet or dry.

  23. Good stuff. I bought a used bike with Michelin pilots 10/18 and it is now 05/19 and still not needed to add air. Wtf? Baffled….

  24. You sir are a fantastic example of a MASTER, I hope your video saves a young riders life as you show and educate the rider as to what and why the product is WHAT IT IS!
    PS please keep up your video asI believe your channel is fantastic and intrinsically asks and answers fundamental questions:)
    Thank you.sir you are as you know a cut above the asshole and I love you for this!:)

  25. Great job on the straight forward, logical, real world data, when, why, how to collect it and it's relevance.

  26. Just an FYI…'s what your viewers are seeing when they (I) clicked on your millage calc. link…….

    We're sorry, you are not allowed to proceed

    Your request looks suspiciously similar to automated requests from spam posting software or it has been denied by a security policy configured by the website administrator.

    If you believe you should be able to perform this request, please let us know.

  27. Very good content 😀. Do you know if it’s okay to put on performance tires on a sport touring bike to get more grip ?

  28. As usual, excellent advice.
    I did not figure that even an half-worn front was as aged (all in all) than the fully worn-out rear…
    Additionally, changing a full set prevents from sticking to the same exact tyres model, if so you wish. And to benefit of frequent promotional offers that usually come for pairs only.

  29. Since I live and ride in an area with lots of curvy roads, my tyre tend to wear out more on the sides than in the middle. Here is a short clip of the tyre:

  30. I ride a lot and when I mean a lot I mean a lot I ride through the rain sleet snow it doesn't matter what time of year I ride and I usually go through two back tires to every front tire

  31. Thanks so much for yet another helpful video. It's been a few years since I was on the track, but I ride daily and I always enjoy your videos. Really good content, with lots of helpful counsel to learn new things, and refresh on things too. Awesome channel.

  32. Thank you guys for doing the great job. I'm planning to buy a motorcycle again . Last time I was driving motorcycle it was before 10 years ago. You have no idea how much this and other videos that you make help me. Thank you guys
    Wish you a best 😉

  33. I just found a cut about 3 inches long on the side of my 180 5517 2010 cbr600rr can the tire fall apart on me if I ride it like that

  34. Thank you for your lesson🤗🖤💖im thinking of buying a motocycle and need to know lots before riding you just helped me and you just saved my life by teaching me all this I ow you my life MAN!! FOR REAL!🙏✊🙇

  35. Angel GT tires are zero mile tire for me. Would never use them again. Front braking = no grip and as they wear the front gets real funky

  36. My FJR1300 beats up the walls of front tires. Even though there is tons of tread left, the handling goes to mush after 4,000 miles.

  37. Can i change the sides of the tires …. like the grip of the right side is low so can i change the same tire to side by side

  38. I bought my 848 evo used and the original owner somehow lost the manual so i cant find the proper tire pressure for the tires. Ive done some digging online and cant find a consistant safe number. Any info would be greatly valued.

  39. “The use of wide tyres causes another difficulty when the bike rolls because the contact patch moves further and further from the bike’s centreline and from its steering axis. The taller the tyre section the more pronounced these effects are; lower sections minimize them, for a given width of tyre. There are several effects. It reduces the camber thrust for a given angle of lean. Ironically, a bike with a higher centre of gravity or with the centre of gravity shifted in towards the turn, will require less angle of lean to balance its centrifugal force.”
    I took it off John Robinson’s book, Motorcycle Tuning Chassis second edition under the section of contact area in tyres.
    Perhaps maybe you could do a video why wider tyres need more lean angle to turn and narrow tyres use less. And how how centrifugal force is actually needed to turn with the same bike but different width tyres. Perhaps you can mention why did MotoGP used 16.5 wheels and why some asian drag bikes used bicycle sized wheels on their drag bikes.
    Thank you in advance

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