Every rider knows how to care for the tires. Without good tires, you can’t enjoy your motorcycle.
Tires are made of rubber, and they deteriorate over time. How fast they lose value depends on several things, including the process of manufacturing, how you ride your bike, where you ride your bike and what you do with your bike.
Of course, the kind of bike you ride also determines the longevity of your tires. Before going into details of how long your tires should last and if you should already plan to replace the pair you’ve got, we can go through some interesting facts about your motorcycle tires.
The motorcycle’s rear tire gets worn out earlier than the front tires. This is probably due to the extra weight it carries as the heavier part of the motorcycle tilts toward it.
Regardless of how “new” your tire looks, it has an expiry date. Even if not used at all, a tire can still expire.
Sports motorcycle tires wear out faster than other tires because they are made with a softer type of rubber.
You can know the manufacturing date of a tire by simply looking for a four-digit number printed on its sides. The first two numbers represent the week of the year, and the last two digits represent the year. For example, “3219” would mean the tire was produced in the “32nd” week of the year “2019.”
Before buying your tires, be sure that the production age isn’t more than a year old, as it would deteriorate faster.
There is a recommended tire pressure for your bike, which, if not maintained, may affect the lifespan of your bike.
Every motorcycle also has a maximum load rating which must not be exceeded for the health and lifespan of your tire.
Now to the real business. Every rider knows that the tires have to be in good condition. By “good condition,” many riders only assume the pressure has to be right! But that’s not all. Sometimes, it’s not just about the pressure; it may be about the tire’s age.
You may look at your tire and believe it is still good enough. But a quiet question that goes through your heart may be, “how long do motorcycle tires last”? And for how long should I use them before replacing them?
Or do you, like many others, look at the threadings and assume they are still healthy enough to keep using. Yes, some laws say how deep your tire tread should be to remain usable, but the problem is that tires do not wear off evenly, and you may be deceived by healthy threadings at one point while missing the apparent tear in other points, especially at the very center of the tires.
You must have heard once or twice that every tire should be replaced after five or six years. But this often depends on the recommendation of the manufacturer.
So, how long should motorcycle tires last? It depends on many things which we shall explore. But first, how old are your tires?
Why should you care about your tires’ age?
The age of your tires says everything about their health. We’ve all been trained to look at a tire’s health from its threading.
However, this may be an inaccurate way of finding out the truth. The actual health of your tire is determined by its age. And your tire is born on the same week of its manufacture. So, we want to know how old a motorcycle tire can be and still be safe.
First, there are different types of tires, and they all have different lifespans. They include
Cruiser motorcycle tires
Touring motorcycle tires
Sports and performance motorcycle tires
Off-road motorcycle tires
Dual sports motorcycle tires
All these different tires have different lifespans, with the sports/performance type having the shortest of the lot.
You should care about the age of your tires because they tend to deteriorate with time. It is essential to know how old your tire is before purchasing it in the first place. Even if unsure, it is not advisable to buy a tire that has been produced more than a year before the purchase. Indeed, whether a tire is used or not, it eventually expires.
Although they tend to have a good shelf life, especially when kept away from heat and sunlight, a new tire would have become bad ten years after its week of manufacture. That means that, even though the threading is still intact and it still looks new, it is no longer good!
It would be an excellent time to check for your motorcycle’s age today if you’ve never done so before. Look for the four-digit number on the sides to know how old your tires are. Knowing the period is essential because the older your tire is, the worse it performs. Remember, the condition of the road, the power of your bike, and the weight you carry can worsen the condition of your bike.
Still, the manufacturers often recommend replacing a new tire after five to six years. Regular front tires last longer than the rear tires.
When a tire has aged, you will notice wear and tear, a higher frequency of punctures, cuts, and less grip when the brakes are applied.
So next time, before paying for a new tire, confirm its age.
Factors Influencing Tires’ Lifespan
Now that you know about the age of tires and how they affect their performance, let’s look at the factors that influence the lifespan of a tire.
No matter the tire’s age, certain factors make it lose efficiency quicker. Here are some of them.
Storage and maintenance
Storage and maintenance here refer not just to the user but the seller as well. Despite having a good shelf life, Tires deteriorate more quickly when they are exposed to unfavorable conditions like heat and sunlight before being sold. But the greatest care should be taken by the owner of the tire.
Proper maintenance of tires involves checking the pressure always to retain the appropriate recommended pressure ensuring the wheels are appropriately aligned. When the bikes are not well aligned, the edges are likely to wear faster. Also, make sure always to park your bike away from the sun. That way, you can keep your tires for longer.
Type of tire
Tires used for sports and other performances tend to wear faster than other tires. They are made of a softer kind of rubber that allows for a firmer grip on the roads.
While normal touring bike tires can last as long as 10,000 miles, high-performance tires last only for about a quarter. Usually, the higher the tire’s performance, the fewer miles it will get.
Type of motorcycle
There are different types of motorcycles that directly affect the tire’s condition. The heavier the bike, the easier the tire wears. Tires on lighter bikes are more long-lasting. Naturally, the type of bike you ride would determine the lifespan of your bike.
Condition of road/terrain
The surface condition on which you ride your bike is also critical in determining how long your tire will last. Since most high-performance bikes often ride on rougher terrains and most lighter touring bikes spend more time on smooth surfaces, tires on lighter bikes last longer because the terrain is smoother.
How you ride
Your riding condition goes a long way to determining how long your tires will last. If you ride smoothly, your tires will last longer. If you’re always fond of doing hard brakes, your tires will wear off sooner.
Naturally, tires perform better in colder climates because hot weather deteriorates the tires faster.
How to Check The Tire Condition
You can check your motorcycle tire conditions by checking these three things.
There is a legally approved threading for a motorcycle tire tread (1.6 mm). Once you notice the groves of the treads aren’t as deep as they should be, your tire isn’t healthy anymore.
Check for the pressure of your tires. Once they keep losing pressure, they may have reached the end of the road. Literally
Bulges or cracks
Run your hands around the edges for signs of bulges or cracks in the sides. If it is discovered, change the tires.
Also, once your tire keeps getting punctured deflated, it may be time for a change.
When Should You Change Motorcycle Tires?
When people ask, “how long do motorcycle tires last” they want to know when the tires should be changed. Once you see signs such as frequent deflation and punctures, cracks, bulges, or poor treading, your tire is due for a change.
But even if your tires still seem good enough but have spent about five years, or a maximum of 10,000 miles (depending on the type of bike), you need to change them.
Also, if your tire is still relatively new but the manufacturing date is as old as ten years old, then it’s time to replace it.
Knowing how long motorcycle tires last helps in keeping the biker safe. Replacing “expired” tires is life-saving and critical to maintaining an excellent grip on the road.
This article has explored various factors that can guide a rider on the best time to change the motorcycle tires.
Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.