Motorcycles are awesome. They’re fast, they’re sexy, and they can be a lot of fun to ride. But a flat motorcycle tire can spoil the fun and can be dangerous too. Think of speeding on the highway and one tire just blows out. How can you prevent this from happening?
Punctures caused by nails or debris are unfortunate, but no motorcycle tire just goes flat out all of a sudden. You can always prevent that by taking good care of the tires.
Tips for Preventing a Flat Motorcycle Tire
Flat tires are the bane of any motorcyclist. They’re not only annoying, but they can also cause serious damage to your bike if they go unnoticed for too long.
We will discuss 7 tips that will keep your motorcycle tire happy and prevent sudden blowouts.
1. Check the Tire Pressure
Keep an eye on your tire pressure to ensure it is always at the right level for optimum performance and stopping power.
The correct settings for a motorcycle tire should be between 28 and 40 psi.
Low temperatures decrease the pressure of tires. So, if you ride in a lot of colder temperatures or have heavy loads on your bike, then it might be necessary to increase the pressure by 5-10%.
2. Pump Air into Tires When You Can
Don’t wait until the tire deflates or pressure drops. Check the pressure of your motorcycle tires with a gauge at least once every month, which is an easy way to prevent flat spots that can lead to blowouts and potentially dangerous accidents in the future.
If it needs pumping, take it to a mechanic shop for tire inflation. You can also use a portable tire inflator for emergencies.
A tire with low PSI will be prone to punctures because of the increased likelihood of contact with the road.
3. Look for Damage to the Tires
Routinely looking at the condition of your tires is crucial to preventing a flat tire. Check for any cuts, nicks, bulges, or deep scars in the rubber; if you find anything like that, get them repaired immediately before they can turn into a puncture.
Damage can also weaken the tire’s structure and cause it to rupture or blow out under pressure. So whenever you are pumping air into a tire, take a good look at it. Check the area around the valve stem. Also, make sure there is no damage on any part of the wheel or bike that might allow water or other debris inside.
Damage to tires will make it easier for road debris and other objects like nails to penetrate them, resulting in a puncture.
4. Replace Old Tires
You should also make it a point to check the tire tread frequently for signs of uneven wear or damage. If your tires are older than six years, then they might be past their prime and time for replacement, even if there’s no visible damage.
Replacing aging motorcycle tires will not only prevent punctures but also make sure your bike always handles well and provides you with the best braking power.
5. Watch How You’re Riding
This should be the most important thing on this list. Learning how to ride your motorcycle in a controlled manner is not just good for safety, it’s also good for extending the life of your tires and other parts.
The best way to prevent tire puncture is by avoiding debris on the road. If you’re driving in an area where there’s gravel, sand, or broken glass around, it may be a good idea to avoid picking up too much speed.
Also, keep your eyes open for nails and screws that can easily pierce through tires. Picking one up can be a very expensive affair. So, take regular walks around the bike to check for nails and other debris stuck in your tire treads.
If you identify any sharp objects lodged near the tire or rim, immediately remove them from there, as they could do some serious damage if not removed on time.
6. Be Careful in Wet Conditions
If riding in snow or ice, it is best to use studs for tires because they give a better grip on slippery surfaces.
Studs also have more tread than regular tires, so they don’t wear out as fast when driving off-road over gravel and rocks.
Avoid riding too fast when it’s wet outside because this will cause more friction between your bike’s tires and road surface, which can lead to a flat spot.
7. Use Puncture-proof Tubeless Tires
You can also protect your tires from punctures by installing a set of tubeless spoked wheels that don’t require inner tubes and do not go flat even when the air inside them escapes. These types of rims are called run-flat setups, so you should look for these on the motorcycle before buying.
Do your motorcycle not have spoked wheels? Don’t worry. You can still install tubeless tires if the spokes in your bike’s wheels link to the rim outside the air chamber. The design does not leave any spoke holes on the part of the rim that is underneath the tire.
The idea of a flat motorcycle tire is one that no rider wants to hear about, but it can happen. How you prepare for the unexpected will help keep your bike safe and in good shape. These tips will help you avoid flats by keeping an eye on tire pressure and taking other measures.
FAQs about Preventing a Flat Motorcycle Tire
What causes motorcycle tires to go flat?
Common causes of flat tires are nails, screws, and other sharp objects puncturing the tread; cracks or defects in the tire; and underinflated tires.
How often should I check motorcycle tire pressure?
Check your tire pressure before every ride. Cold tire pressure should match what’s recommended in your owner’s manual, typically between 28 to 40 psi for most motorcycles.
What’s the easiest way to prevent flat tires?
The easiest way is keeping tires properly inflated. Ensure tires are inflated to the correct cold pressure and check pressure regularly, especially before long trips.
Does tire sealant work for motorcycle tires?
Yes, tire sealant products like Fix-A-Flat can work for motorcycle tires to seal small punctures up to 3/16 of an inch. However, tire sealants are only a temporary fix and tires will still need to be replaced eventually.
Should I rotate motorcycle tires?
Rotating tires is not as critical for motorcycles as for cars since motorcycle tires wear more evenly. However, rotating tires every other oil change can help extend tread life, especially on touring bikes.
How thick should tread be on motorcycle tires?
Motorcycle tire tread depth of at least 3/32 of an inch is recommended. When tires reach 2/32 inch, they should be replaced to ensure adequate grip, especially in wet conditions.
What are the signs a motorcycle tire needs replacing?
Signs a tire needs replacing include uneven wear; visible cord or belt layers; significant cracking on sidewall; severe cupping or chunking of tread blocks; and obvious lump or bulge in the sidewall.