There is an old saying among riders, “keep the rubber side down”. Although there are many factors that help us do that, tires are a critical component of a motorcycle.
Manufacturers spend a lot of time and science figuring out which tires to put on each of their models. Although we can sometimes “upgrade” the quality of tire, the size has effects on handling and so it is best to adhere to the manufacturers recommended size.
Once we ensure that our tires have good tread, it is very important to ensure that you are running the correct tire pressure. Pressure being off as little as 5psi, low or high, can affect the handling of a motorcycle. Riding on tires with incorrect pressures can also cause the tires to wear out more quickly. As with cars, there is writing on the side of the tire which typically reads “Max pressure 42psi”. However, the recommended pressure may vary so checking the owner’s manual specifications is best. There is usually also a sticker on the swingarm or chain guard that gives the correct pressures to run. Often the stickers, or owner’s manual, will indicate a different pressure to use when carrying a passenger or cargo.
Much like new sunglasses and windshields, new tires give us a short lived warm and fuzzy feeling. But if well maintained, motorcycle tires can give us many thousands of trouble-free miles on the road.