Tires are crucial when it comes to determining the quality of a ride. Old, worn-out tires can affect the traction and performance of your motorcycle, making it dangerous. But most owners don’t know how long the tires on their motorcycle actually last.
In this article, we will talk about how long motorcycle tires last and the things that affect their longevity.
How Many Years Do Motorcycle Tires last?
Motorcycle tires generally last about five years, after which you should think about replacing them. Most leading manufacturers do not set their longevity at more than six years, though several factors affect the duration of your tires.
How Many Miles Do Motorcycles Tires Last?
Depending on the bike, an average user can ride anywhere between 3,000 – 15,000 miles. The front tire tends to outlast the rear tire. This is because the rear tire is in charge of sending all the engine’s power on the road. Since they hold half of the bike’s weight, they wear faster. It’s always best to change both tires at the same time.
Miles on a Sports Motorcycle Tires
You can change Low CC motorcycle tires every 50,000 miles if this comes before the five-year mark. For sports motorcycles, the tires may need to be changed every 3700 miles to 6300 miles, while the rear tires can last 1800-2000 miles.
Sports motorcycles are made for better performance, balance, and maximum grip. Their tires are produced with a soft rubber compound that wears faster than normal tires. These motorcycles also run at a higher speed and are often hard cornered.
Sport motorcycles are subjected to more pressure, acceleration, skidding, and harder road conditions, causing their tires to wear faster.
Why You Need to Change Your Tires
Tires do not have an actual expiry date; they only start to deteriorate and affect a biker’s riding experience.
A study revealed that 14% of motorcycle accidents are caused by personal failures of the riders, such as lack of proper maintenance. Some people admit to being using their tires for eight to nine years, but this is far from safe.
Tires are made of rubber components that oxidize with time, making them hard. Hardness means that the tires will become less flexible and have increased brittleness leading to tearing and accidents.
Other Factors That Can Affect Tires
While age and mileage are key to determining how long motorcycle tires last, there are other factors to consider:
If you often drive at high speed, your tires may wear faster. Speed leads to heated pressure in the tires, which will increase the tread wear rate.
Servicing and pumping your tires increase their lifespan. You can also do this in line with the season. For example, cold tire inflation may help extend tire life.
Manufacturers design and construct tires to match the bike type. For example, dirt bikes have softer tires with more grip for instant cornering, but these soft tires don’t last as long as touring bike tires made with harder compounds.
Everyday low CC bikes are sticky and provide great grip, but some tires sacrifice grip to get higher mileage.
A commuter’s motorcycle will have better tire life than a sports rider’s tires. A bike’s tire life expectancy can change depending on whether the rider is a long-distance freeway cruiser, commuter, or dual sport adventurer.
Punctures can suddenly happen on the road, causing your tires to lose air. This will require you to immediately change your tires even if they are new.
A rider who lives in an unpaved area with potholes will have to change his tire earlier than a biker in an urban area with finely traveled roads. You need to consider the quality of the road upon which you’ll ride your bike consistently.
Weight on the Bike
If you are a heavier rider or you use your motorcycle to give rides, or for dispatch, your tires will wear faster than a single commuter’s tires. Always pay attention to the weight you put on your bike, as the weight will impact how well you enjoy the ride over time.
Do Storage Conditions Affect Tires?
Storage conditions affect the longevity of a tire. If a tire is stored in a safe, controlled space after manufacture, it will remain visibly good, but if it’s left in an open place where the sun can easily touch it, chances are that the tires will deteriorate faster.
While tires are ordinarily made to withstand heat, keeping them under direct sunlight can cause heated pressure, which will result in tire expansion, early wear, bursts, or cracks.
Plus, when tires are kept in direct sunlight for long, the oil used during manufacturing may dry out, leading to cracks. This is not to say that tires kept in good storage conditions do not expire; they simply take longer and consume from the inside.
When buying from a dealer, you can expect that the tire is well stored, but you should still check for the age before purchase. If it’s under one year, you can consider the tire as good as new. If the tire is between two and three years old and you still want to purchase it, ensure that you beat the price down first.
How to Check for the Age of Your Tires
If you didn’t get your bike directly from the manufacturer, you could check the age on the side of the tire. Usually, the age is written on the sidewall with the acronym DOT. The last four digits of the number tell you the age. The first two represent the week of manufacture while the last two stand for the year.
For example, if the last four digits are 2619, the tires were made in the twenty-sixth week of 2019. You can divide the number of weeks by 4.3 to determine the month it was manufactured. So the tire, in this case, was produced in June 2019 and will need to be replaced by June 2023.
How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Tires
While tires will deteriorate one way or the other, there are certain precautions you can take to keep them of premium quality until it’s time to change them.
Inspect your Motorcycle Regularly
How long your motorcycle tires last depends on how much work you put into maintaining them.
You have to check your tires for damage often and note any changes. While it’s impractical for you to check your tires every time you need to ride, ensure you do it whenever you get the time.
When inspecting your tires, here are a few things you should check for:
A nail or a sharp object can get into your tire and leave it with a hole when riding. This hole often leads the tire to lose pressure. If you notice a puncture, you can apply a safety patch until you take your motorcycle to the repair shop.
Fractures, Cuts, and Cracks
Fractures are indications that your tire is failing, while cuts can be a direct result of road impact. Cracks can develop on the sidewalls or tread of your tires, and they are a sign that your tire is aging.
Feel of the Motorcycle
If your motorcycle starts to feel different when driving, it could indicate that your tires are worn out. For example, if your bike starts to vibrate when driving on a smooth straight road, you should head to the repair shop to have your tires professionally checked.
Most people tend to notice under-inflation when it has reached its extreme. If you use your bike to carry a passenger, you should consider a higher cold pressure. Avoid exceeding the recommended pressure on the sidewall.
Avoid Hard Braking Often
Hard braking can adversely affect the lifespan of your tire because you will drag your tires as you pull on your breaks with force. This will automatically mean more friction between the tires and the road, which will eventually lead the outer layers of the tire to wear out sooner.
Maintain a Good Pressure
Your tire pressure should be kept stable at all times. Check for both under-inflation and over-inflation, buy a home pump, or visit a service shop to have your tires pumped when the pressure is low.
Avoid Wheelies and Other Stunts
Stunts are unavoidable for a pro-biker, but there’s no reason to show off your skills too often if you are not one. Wheelies involve breaking and pressure, and because there’s excessive load, it wears out the back tires faster than normal.
Are Patch Kits a Safe Option?
Patch kits are often sold at motorcycle shops as a quick fix to cuts and wear. It’s advisable to carry a patch kit in case you run on a nail or have a sudden puncture. Patch kits are not meant to replace a tire change.
Unlike four-wheelers, motorcycles are not designed to be ridden with a patched tire for long.
How long motorcycle tires last depends on several factors. Typically, they last about five years, but you should still be conscious of wear and tear and the kind of motorcycle you own.
With proper maintenance, it is possible to extend your tire expectancy to seven years or even longer. It’s best to have regular checks and inspections if your tires last this long, as this is unsafe and can lead to accidents. A tire of up to 10 years must be disposed of immediately.