Our motorcycles will go nowhere without those round black rubber buns. Most of us are concerned bout about traction, handling and such.
But tyres do need some care, although not intensive. Sadly, we tend to forget about our tyres once they have been mounted. Here are a number of tips to keep your tyres in good condition so that you continue to stay safe and happy with riding.
Proper break in
It starts from the moment you install a set of new tyres.
A good workshop will tell you to take it easy for the first 300 to 500 km. Firstly, this allows you to scrub away the mold release (that shiny layer) on the surface. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it allows the heat generated from riding to stabilize the different components and compounds in the tyre progressively.
Being too quick to push on the tyres results in the compound hardening before it returns a good mileage. This is the main reason why some riders complain about their tyres. Tyres have “memories” of you treated them from when they were new.
Pressure is everything
The most important aspect of tyre care is inflation pressure. If you only ride on the road without hitting the track of trashing it out in the rough, just stick your motorcycle manufacturer’s recommendations.
Under-inflation causes the tyre to overheat and wear out quickly, in addition to causing higher fuel consumption and sluggish handling due to increased rolling resistance. On the other hand, over-inflation wears out the centre of the tyre quickly. Besides that, traction and comfort will suffer as the tyre could not conform and absorb irregularities on the road surface.
Granted, different tyres have different constructions, thus they feel different from one another: Some are harder, while some are softer. But the recommended tyre pressures are what the manufacturer deems as necessary to support the weight and performance envelope of the bike. You may of course increase the pressure should you carry heavy loads, but do so within the recommended spec.
The best way is to buy yourself a few good tyre pressure gauges so you can leave one at home will carry another with you on the bike. The correct habit is to check the pressure everytime before you ride, but once every two to three days is fine too. Do check the pressure and inflate when the tyres are cold.
- Inspect the tyres
This should ideally be carried out every time before you ride, at the same time you check the pressure. Look for punctures, foreign objects, cracks or unusual wear patterns. They must be dealt with immediately.
- Cleaning the tyres
What we meant by “cleaning” is getting the gunk off the tyres’ sidewalls. You do not need to clean the tread as dirt will be scrubbed off when you ride.
Cleaning your bike’s tyres allows you to spot deformities and damages. But do clean them with specific tyre cleaner products. Do not use harsh solvents such as petrol, kerosene or diesel, as they will cause the rubber to harden. Consequently, your tyres will not grip like they should.
Take care after cleaning your tyres and scrub off the cleaning product by leaning into corners progressively.
- Puncture repair
If you have tubeless tyres, it is best to visit a reputable workshop and have them remove the tyre and patch it. Keep in mind that using a puncture repair kit (rope repair kit) is a temporary measure to help you ride to the nearest workshop.
There is no other way to repair a punctured tube other than to remove it from within the tyre, or better yet, replace it with a new one.
So, there you go, just five simple tips to ensure that your tyres last their intended lifepans. Remember that keeping your tyres in good condition not only provides you with maximum enjoyment and saves you money, but also ensures your safety.