Getting in the Mindset of Tire Safety

Rodney found this article in the GWRRA newsletter that he thought should be posted here especially with the hot summer months upon us.

This month we are going to focus on the three most important things on the bike. The two contacts (tires) and the one under the helmet. Everything we do rides on the tires. We need to train ourselves on the importance of checking and maintaining our tires. Protection against avoidable breakdowns and crashes, improved vehicle handling, better fuel economy, and increased tire life. Just a few reasons to check your tire pressure EVERY day.

Here is a safety checklist:

  • Inspect tires and rims for cracks, trauma and chips
  • Look closely at the tires, check for uneven wear patterns
  • Remove items in the tread pattern
  • Make sure you have valve covers or caps
  • When riding on a long ride check tire pressure more than once per day
  • Make sure if pulling a trailer not to overload the bike and take precautions for proper tongue weight

Check the tread depth, all tires made have wear indicators built into the tire

Let’s look at tire pressures and the differences of opinion; under inflation compared to over inflation. The biggest reason tires wear out is due to under inflation. Under inflated tires build up more heat, have softer sidewalls which cause the tire to flex more, which then gives the bike that squirrely effect, and which causes more blow outs. It also makes it harder to steer, and sluggish handling. Over inflation in my opinion only has two effects; it gives us a little rougher ride and less contact patch on the road. As for the proper pressure, the recommended tire pressure that is stamped on the tire is the one we should use. Also, consult your owner’s manual. Always check your tire pressure cold. Tires do go through heat cycles which will affect the tire life.

When you do need new rubber, always replace the tire valve stem with the new tire if it is the replaceable type.  As for the balancing portion, I recommend balancing beads; they are far superior to weights and also perform better. On the bike tires they require only two ounces of the beads, it is important to weigh them out and no need for extra. I have used this product for years and my tires last longer, wear better, and the ride is better. On new tires remember they are new and have been known to be a little slick at first, so take it easy for a while. Always be careful when the temps are colder out as tires need to warm up for max traction.

Something to keep in mind when buying new tires; buy from someone who sells a lot of tires.  The tires have codes stamped on them to show when they were produced. Fresher tires mean better tires. So let’s get in the MINDSET of checking our tires and doing it EVERY day not just sometimes.

As in the trucking business; Keep the Rubber Down and the Shiny Side Up.