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Nobody wants to have their tires replaced sooner than they need to. It can be expensive to replace tires, so it can sometimes be difficult to find a shop that will properly balance them. However, a motorcycle tire is an item you don’t want to neglect in its maintenance.
Safety is key to the operation of a motorcycle. Proper maintenance and prevention are essential for a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
What is the cause of uneven tire wear on a motorcycle’s tires? Tire wear that is uneven on a motorcycle can be caused by improper alignment, incorrect inflation, or improper balance. Normal tire wear occurs when the bike is being used safely and regularly. However, abnormal or uneven wear to tires can indicate that something else is wrong with the motorcycle.
Every time you take your motorcycle out for a ride, it is important to inspect and check the tires. They don’t always need a full alignment or deep inspection, but the conditions of your tires should be a top priority when considering the safety of the motorcycle, after all, it’s your tires that provide the traction to both accelerate and stop and without them you might as well be on ice skates.
Uneven Wear of Tires
Safety on a motorcycle requires that you wear proper protection and that your motorcycle runs smoothly. It is important to understand why tires wear unevenly on motorcycles.
Your motorcycle’s alignment has a lot do with how much wear the tire experiences. We’ve all heard of our cars needing to go to the shop to get an alignment maybe because the steering wheel isn’t straight, or maybe the car veers to the left or to the right.
This is true for our motorcycle as well, however, because we have only two wheels, it might not be as obvious as a car that a bike has bad alignment. The condition of your tires will show you whether they are in good or bad alignment.
Incorrect inflation is another reason why tires wear unevenly. We shouldn’t have to grab a tire gauge and measure our tires’ pressures every time we get on the bike, but we should always give the tires a visual inspection to make sure that they appear to be properly inflated.
Tires that are underinflated will have significant wear on the tire’s outside. If you examine the tire from either the front or the back of your bike, and not the sides, you’ll notice that the tire’s center will show less wear than the left and right. If the tire’s center is more worn than the right and left, it is likely that the tire has been overinflated.
Incorrectly balanced tires are the third most common reason for tire wear. All tires and wheels, no matter how perfectly round or even they may appear, are marked at the factory with indicators that show the heavy spot and the lightest spot.
To align the marks, the person placing the tire on the wheel must ensure that the heavy spot is in the same place as the lightest. It is then placed on a machine, spun and checked for balance.
You may have noticed tiny blocks attached to the rims, either on the inside or outside. These blocks keep the tire spinning evenly and prevent vibrations from reaching the rest of your bike. If your tires become out of balance, you will notice strong vibrations and patch wear. Patch wear just means that the worn sections of the bike don’t look constant, with some worn spots being larger than the other.
Uneven tire wear is not only something you can visually inspect. Tire wear unevenly on a motorcycle can be feltand we shouldn’t wait until we notice an uneven tire to diagnose the issue. These spots can be prevented, just like all aspects of rider safety maintenance.
How to Prevent Uneven Wear
Maintenance on a bike is about keeping it safe and functioning properly. Parts can fail if maintenance is not done properly, which can lead to costly and dangerous repairs. Replacing motorcycle tires isn’t cheap, so we should do everything that we can to keep our tires safe and healthy.
You can’t prevent tires from wearing out, and properly riding tires until they need to be replaced should be a badge of honor. It shows dedication and represents all the miles and smiles that you’ve had while on your bike, and in order to make sure your tires last as long as possible, you should follow these simple rules.
Checking the tire pressures of your bike is similar to checking oil.. Proper tire inflation is crucial to ensure your tires last as long as possible and prevent abnormal wear.
It’s hard to say exactly how often you should check the inflation of your tires, It is a good idea to check them each time you fill up at a station with gas. Although the process for checking tire pressure on a car is the same, what pressures should you be looking at are going to be very different.
The best place to find the proper inflation numbers is going to be in the owner’s manual, which is commonly found under the seat of the bike. You might also find the inflation numbers printed on stickers that you can stick to your bike or to your forks. If you’re missing the owner’s manual and you can’t find the sticker on the bike, you can probably hop on an internet forum that’s bike specific and go from there.
Generally, you’re going to have different pressures for the front and for the rear, and these pressures are going to be less than what is specified on the side wall of the tire. My 2006 Suzuki Vstrom DL1000 has a 33-inch front and 36 at the rear.
Another important step to preventing uneven tire wear is regularly checking to make sure that your bike’s chain is properly adjusted. Here in this article I won’t write about how to adjust a chain, but I will explain what aspects have the greatest affect on tire wear.
The chain adjustment on a bike involves shifting the rear tire forward or backwards on the swing arm depending on what adjustments are needed. How the tire wears will depend on how well it is set up.
Double-check that the rear axle sits at the same distance as the swing arm on the left and right. Bad rear axle placement will make it difficult to corner and can have serious consequences on the wear of the tires.
Other than these two factors, tire maintenance also has to do with the riding conditions in which tires are used. Are they used for track riding? Are they for track riding? These tires are on a bike you use for commute? What items on the bike’s suspension geometry are adjustable? These adjustments could affect the placement and alignment of the tires. These questions should be asked and researched. Understanding the tires and your bike will allow you to maintain the tires in good condition.
Is Uneven Tire Wear Dangerous?
Tires can be worn unevenly for a variety of reasons. Some are more serious than others. A motorcycle with a wrongly placed wheel on its swing arm can be dangerous. However, it is safer than riding a bike with underinflated tires. You put your life at risk by riding on tires that have been used to the max.
The biggest influence on vehicle braking distance is made by tires and maintaining even wear on a tire helps maintain a motorcycle’s safety. Tires that are worn unevenly can cause shaking at high speeds and jerky steering when cornering. Just one of these problems can directly put a rider’s life at risk, and Uneven tire wear shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Are Uneven Tires Possible to Fix?
Properly inspecting your tires can help you spot potential problems and repair them before you need to replace the tire.