According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 400 deaths and 78,000 crashes occur each year due to tire failure. To steer clear of becoming a statistic, you must understand some basic tire safety principles and how bald tires cause serious accidents. Avoid waiting too long to get your replacement tires for motorcycles by knowing what to look for when you’re inspecting your tires.
How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
Every rider and machine are unique thanks to different riding styles, frequency and terrains. A person who takes a cruiser bike out on the highway a couple of weekends a month may experience slower tire wear rates than an individual riding a street bike for the daily commute or a motocross racer hitting the dirt during open riding sessions every weekend. Add in the smaller contact footprint and high power-to-weight ratios and you can see why it’s difficult to estimate the average lifespan of a motorcycle tire.
The Risks of Running on Bald Tires
Your tires’ tread performs the critical function of providing traction, especially on slick, hard or soft surfaces. It can also channel water away from each tire. Without it, you have nothing to grip the road and your wheels could spin out of control. This loss of control impacts your ability to safely steer and ride your bike. Bald tires present a higher accident risk in several ways:
- Excessive heat buildup
- Loss of air pressure
Proper tread is also key to keeping your tires cool since its grooves also allow airflow to cool the material. Without it, excessive friction generates more heat and weakens the tire’s surface. The lack of tread and grooves also leads to hydroplaning, since there’s nothing to redirect water away. Bald tires offer less surface area, preventing reliable grip on snow or ice. Finally, bald tires lose air at a much faster rate. Underinflated tires can cause skidding, making it harder to control your bike.
When Should I Replace My Tires?
As a responsible rider, you should regularly monitor the condition of your tires. Tread depth is the best indicator of a tire’s health and performance capacity. Replace your tires when their tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch.
If you haven’t bought a tire depth gauge from your trusted cheap motorcycle parts supplier, the easiest way to check this is with the “penny test.” Simply insert a penny into one of the tire’s grooves. If the tread’s surface doesn’t meet or cover the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, you need new tires right away. Don’t forget to check for other signs such as cracking, punctures or pressure loss. Keep in mind that tires over five years old are unsafe to use regardless of the amount of remaining tread.
Safety Comes First on Your Bike
It’s common knowledge among most powersports enthusiasts that riding on bald tires is extremely dangerous. Yet it’s easy to underestimate just how unsafe bald tires are. Now that you’ve armed yourself with good information, check out your powersports parts supplier for dependable replacements.