Tire pressure is the most easily adjusted variable on your motorcycle and also one of the most crucial. But the vast majority of us are guilty of neglecting it and, even if we do check it regularly, failing to take full advantage of the benefits adjusting it brings. Here's 5 things you need to know about motorcycle tire pressure. 1. Check Pressures RegularlyOpinions vary on how often, with many manufacturers suggesting once a week and some safety experts stating every day.
Just factor in how you're using your motorcycle. Commuting every day in fairly stable weather conditions? Once a week will serve you just fine. In the middle of a big Adventure trip with variable loads on your bike, conditions ranging from highway to single track and hitting a bunch of sharp rocks? Once or, if conditions are particularly severe, even twice a day may be best. 2. Check Them While ColdThe suggested pressures in your owner's manual are for cold tire pressures.
That means after your bike's been sitting for 20 minutes or more, don't wait until winter. Heating tires up by riding on them can increase pressures by over 10 percent. The MSF actually recommends waiting three hours from your last ride before attempting to ascertain a correct cold pressure. That sounds like overkill to us, use your judgement. 3. Use Your Own, High Quality GaugeI've seen the gauges at gas station forecourts read-off by up to 30 psi over my own gauge that I carry with me everywhere.
Even a variation of just a few psi can alter your motorcycle's handling and braking abilities, so it's important to use an accurate gauge. They're cheap, so no excuses. 4. The ExtremesWhat's the worst that can happen if your tires are massively under inflated? Ultimately the tire could come off the rim if there's not enough pressure to force the bead into the wheel. More likely, you'll simply experience sluggish, unstable handling, slow steering and you could damage the tire or wheel, particularly if you're riding off-road.
Over inflated? The size of the contact patch is reduced and the ride worsened. Too much pressure can cause your tires to quickly overheat, reducing traction. 5. Going Up And Going DownOn-Road: Stick to your manufacturer recommended pressures. Even if you're spending all day Sunday on The Snake trying to get that ultimate elbow down shot, dropping pressures will just slow your steering. Modern performance tires are designed to work at stock pressures unless you're on a track.
Off-Track: If you're on road rubber, start at 30 psi front and rear and monitor your tire wear through the sessions. Your tires should look scrubbed, but not marbled. If the sides of the tread do begin to marble, reduce pressures a few psi until they're happier. If you're on race rubber, you likely know what you're doing already. Off-Road: Lower pressures equal more traction off-road, but the compromise is potential damage to your rims or pinch flats caused by the tube getting "pinched" between tire and rim.
I like to take the big ADV bikes down to around 17 psi front and rear, which seems to be a good compromise between traction and puncture-proofness. Experiment to see what works for you. I've taken dual-sports as low as 8 psi in particularly challenging terrain, but doing so put me at undue risk of punctures. Make sure you pump them back up before you get back on the road! Don't go up or down in other circumstances.
Stock pressures work.See Also: Craigslist Ms Motorcycles
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What are the correct tyre pressures for your motorcycle and do they vary for any reason? The answers are varied and complex. You should check your tyre pressures every time you go out for a ride or it can result in bad handling, increased wear, fatigue cracking, and decreased grip and braking performance. The first and most important point is that you should follow the pressures stated by the motorcycle manufacturer for any particular motorcycle.
You can find them in your user manual or on the placard attached to the bike. Usually there are two recommendations, one for solo and one for two-up with only 1-2psi difference, usually higher on the rear. Varied tyre pressures have less to do with providing a cushion of air for support and more to do with heat. Tyres need to warm up to an optimum temperature where their grip level is high and wear is low.
To achieve the right temperature, the tyres have to be inflated to the right pressure. If you change to a different brand of tyre, then check the tyre manufacturer’s advised pressures. Lower pressures can wear out tyres Lower pressures Some riders prefer lower pressures because they believe it gives them more grip as the tyre spreads and creates a larger footprint. Others like the better ride comfort of a lower pressure.
However, lower pressures than recommended (even by a very small margin) can increase the amount of heat generated within a tyre, even after short riding distances. This can affect the compound and accelerate wear on the tyre. These lower pressures also affect the shape and contact area of the tyre under load, dramatically affecting performance and handling, even over short riding distances. So lower pressures are not recommended for performance and safety reasons.
Over-inflating tyres is also not recommended. It doesn’t increase load-carrying capacity, but results in a hard ride and accelerated tyre wear in the centre of the contact patch. Don’t over-inflate tyres Manufacturers’ recommendations The issue of correct tyre pressures becomes a bit more complex when you look at it from the point of view of the tyre manufacturers. While motorcycle manufacturers tend to simplify their recommendations, some tyre manufacturers can supply a variety of pressures depending on maximum speed, maximum load and sometimes even ambient temperature.
This is more important in places such as Europe where roads can be icy and autobahns can have very high speed limits. In normal use, tyre manufacturers’ recommended pressures won’t vary much from motorcycle manufacturers’ recommendations. If you are an aggressive rider who corners hard, carries heavy loads or rides at sustained high speeds, you may consider slightly higher pressures than the motorcycle manufacturer recommends, but make sure they are no higher than indicated on the tyre sidewall.
To measure tyre pressures, always check them cold prior to riding. Once the tyre heats up from use, the pressures will rise, so the reading will be inaccurate. Recommended pressures in your user manual are always presumed to be taken when the tyre is cold. Check your gauge You would think service stations would have accurate gauges on their air hoses, but investigations by automobile clubs and our own checks have revealed substantial inaccuracies.
More than a third of the mechanical units are from 5% to almost 20% inaccurate. Whereas up to 95% of the electronic units are within 5% accuracy. Instead, use your own gauge. Digital tyre gauges are often more expensive and seem like better quality, but they can lose correct calibration over time and run out of battery. Analogue or physical dial gauges are often more accurate for longer. I like the simple and cheap pen-sized gauge that members can get free from the RACQ.
They are accurate and very small. The most accurate I have found is the Rocky Creek Designs MotoPressor gauge ($25). It also comes with a short length of tube so you can attach it to rims that can be difficult to access with most garage air pumps. Rocky Creek Designs MotoPressor tyre gauge Track tyre pressures Track riders say they lower their tyre pressures when they hit the race track. However, if they are using street tyres – even very sporty tyres – pressures should remain the same as for road use.
The reason is that all of these street tyres are designed to work their best and within their application, design and construction parameters at normal manufacturer recommended pressures. If you lower pressures you will see the same reduced performance and increased safety concerns results as on the road. However, if you have special track tyres w=you will see that they are recommended to be run at lower pressures, anyhow.
Track pressures same as road pressures for road tyres Thankfully there are now many sports and touring tyres that overlap in their capabilities. For example, the Pirelli Angel GT is not only a very good touring tyre with long wear and high road grip, but is also very capable for track work. However, you still need to stick to the recommended pressures. Purpose-made race tyres have a completely different construction and are designed for maximum grip, rather than long wear and will have specific guidelines for pressures.
It’s a black art that race engineers have studied for years. There is no simple rule. Go and experiment. Mud requires lower tyre pressures Off-road pressures As for off-road use, dropping tyre pressures is often recommended, but over-simplified. For example, a lower pressure on a gravel road might give you better grip, but it also exposes the sidewalls to sharp rocks which can damage and deflate the tyre.
In this case, drop the pressures marginally and try to retain the integrity of the tyre wall shape. However, soft and slippery surfaces such as mud and sand, require much lower pressures. Sand requires the lowest pressures, sometimes down to about 12psi, however, be careful that non-tubed tyres don’t pop the bead or roll off the rim. Stories You May Also Like