Motorcycle Tire Maintenance Part 2

Excessively worn tires are more susceptible to penetrations and road hazards. Always remove a tire from service once the wear reaches the tread wear indicator bars (indicating 1/32 of an inch of tread depth) located in the grooves of the tire.

Tire Repairs

Riding on an improperly repaired tire is dangerous. An improper repair can cause further damage to the tire. It may suddenly fail, causing serious personal injury or death. To be safe, go to your local dealer for proper tire repairs.

Before having a tire repaired, tell your local dealer if you have used an aerosol fixer to inflate/ seal the tire. Aerosol fixers could contain a highly volatile gas. Always remove the valve core outdoors, away from sources of excessive heat, flame, or sparks and completely deflate the tire before removing it from the rim for repair.

-Never repair a tire with less than 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimeters) tread remaining. At this tread depth, the tire is worn out and must be replaced.
-Never repair a tire with a puncture larger than 1/4 inch (6.4 millimeters) in diameter. Such tires cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced.
-Repairs of all tires (radial and non-radial) must be of the plug and inside patch type. Using plugs alone on any type of tire is not a safe repair.
-Never repair a tire with a puncture or other damage outside the tread area. Such tires cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced.
-Any tire repair done without removing the tire from the rim is improper.
-Tubes, like tires, should be repaired only by a qualified tire service person.
-Never use a tube as a substitute for a proper repair.

A tire’s speed rating is void if the tire is repaired, retreaded, damaged or abused, or otherwise altered from its original condition. Thereafter, it should be treated as a non-speed-rated tire.

Speed should not exceed 50 mph (80kph) in the first 24 hours after a repair is made and the repaired tire should never be used at speeds above 80 mph (128 kph).

Removing and Replacing Tires on Rims (Tire Mounting)

Always stand well clear of any tire mounting operation. This is especially important when the service operator inflates the tire. If the tire has been improperly mounted, it may burst with explosive force causing serious personal injury or death.

Removing and replacing tires on rims can be dangerous. Attempting to mount tires with improper tools or procedures may result in a tire explosion causing serious personal injury or death. This is a job for your local dealer or other qualified tire service location only.

Serious personal injury or death can result from:

-Failure to select the proper tire and rim. The tire must match the width and diameter requirements of the rim. For example, when mounting 16-inch diameter tires, use only 16-inch diameter rims.
-Failure to inspect both the tire and rim. The rim must be free of cracks, dents, chips, and rust. -The tire must be free of bead damage, cuts, and punctures.
-Exceeding the maximum bead seating pressure. The tire service person must never inflate a tire beyond 40 pounds per square inch (psi)(276kPa) to seat the beads. Be absolutely certain beads are fully seated before adjusting inflation pressure to the level recommended for vehicle operation.


Mount only “tubeless” tires on “tubeless” rims when the rim manufacturer recommends this fitment. Some rims require tubes. A “tubeless” tire must be installed on a “tube type” rim when the appropriate tube is inserted.

Do not install non-radial tubes in radial tires. Insure that the tube marking matches the radial tire marking before installation to rims that require tubes.

A new valve must be installed on the rim each time a worn out motorcycle tire is replaced.

Never put flammable substances in tire/rim assemblies at any time. Never put any flammable substance into a tire/ rim assembly and attempt to ignite to seat the beads.

Rim Size

It is extremely important that the proper size of rim is used for your tires. Be sure to match your tire size to the size allowed on the rim. Improper rim width may affect handling and stability. Consult the sizing information of the tires you want to install for rim width allowances. Be sure that there is proper clearance between the tire and swingarm and any fender areas.

Tire & Wheel Balance

To avoid vibration and accelerated tire wear, it is essential to balance the tire & wheel assembly before use and each time the tire is removed or replaced on the rim. Also, check the rim for any imperfections as they could affect the overall balance.

Tire Size Selection

All motorcycles should be equipped with the tire size specified by the motorcycle manufacturer as found in the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website. Be sure to equip the bike with radial tires only when they are required by the bike manufacturer.

Front and Rear Tire Matching

For optimum performance, it is very important to correctly match your front and rear tires. Riding your motorcycle with an improper mix of radial construction tires with bias or bias-belted construction tires is dangerous. Your motorcycle’s handling characteristics can be seriously affected. You could have an accident resulting in serious personal injury or death. Consult your owner’s manual or your local dealer, for the proper tire replacement.

-Mount tires marked ” Front Wheel” on front positions only and tires marked “Rear Positions” on rear positions only.
-Never mix Radial construction tires with bias or bias-belted construction tires.
-Some motorcycles may be equipped with Radial tires. Consult the motorcycle manufacturer before equipping replacement Radial tires to insure the proper specification and combination for your motorcycle.
-A new front tire equipped on a motorcycle with a worn rear tire may cause instability.


When fitting a new tire on a rim requiring a tube, a new tube should be fitted at the same time. Old tubes may become stretched and cause a crease which could make the tube fail. Check the size markings on the tube to ensure the tire size appears on the tube. Do not fit tubes in radial motorcycle tires, nor fit radial tires on rims requiring tubes, unless it is specified by the tire manufacturer.

High Speed

Riding at high speed is dangerous, and can cause a motorcycle accident, including serious personal injury or death.

Regardless of the speed and handling capabilities of your motorcycle and its tires, a loss of control can result from exceeding the maximum speed:
(a) allowed by law or
(b) warranted by traffic, weather, vehicle, or road conditions. High-speed riding should be left to trained professionals operating under controlled conditions.
No tire, regardless of its design or speed rating, has unlimited capacity for speed, and a sudden tire failure can occur if its limits are exceeded.

Race Tires

Never use race only tires on public roads. Race tires are constructed in such a way that they are very unstable under normal street riding conditions. These tires also require higher operating temperatures for proper performance. These temperatures cannot be obtained within legal speed limits.

Dyno Testing

Do not use a tire on the road that has been subjected to motorcycle dynamometer testing. The stress from this process may result in tread compound degradation and possible tire failure.

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