It is crucial to check your tyre pressures often and make sure they are set correctly to get a longer life out of them, increase performance and make them safer on the road.
What happens when you run the wrong pressures?
You may or may not notice that when you run incorrect pressures in your tyres it will increase wear on your tyre, increases your fuel consumption, worsen the handling of your motorcycle, decrease the grip your tyres have on the road, weakens the tyre by damaging the structure of the materials (also called fatigue cracking), and will also alter your braking performance. This outcome is a tyre that can let you down at any moment, making them very dangerous to ride on.
How do you know you are running the wrong pressures?
You will be able to notice if you are running the wrong pressures by looking at your tyres and noticing if they have either of the following.
-Tearing (or feathering) on the tyre: This can be from running your pressures too low and overheating the tyres, (hot tearing) or running your pressures too high and not letting the tyre heat up enough. (cold tearing)
-Accelerated or uneven tyre wear: If you can see that your tyres are wearing faster in the centre of the tyre then your tyres are most likely over inflated. If they are wearing faster on the outside and not so much in the middle, probably running those pressures too low.
As a tyre gets older and you get a few kms on it, it should retain its round profile. Good wear from correct pressures will result in a smooth finish with no squared off edges.
How do I check my pressures?
Firstly, you should always check your tyre pressures when the tyres are cold. This should be before your ride or at least half an hour or more after your last ride. You should always check the recommended tyre pressures listed by the manufacturer of your bike which will be listed as cold pressures. You can find these in your user manual or on some road bikes there may be a sticker on the swing arm you can use for a guide. The gauges at the service stations have proven time and time again through investigations to not always be correct and have been known to have quite substantial inaccuracies in some cases. The best way to make sure you get a correct reading is by using your own gauge.
How often should I check my pressures?
Depending on the amount of riding you do, most manufacturers will suggest once a week while some safety experts say you should be checking them daily. The best idea is to take into consideration how often you ride and adjust how often you check your pressures from there. Don’t forget to test and monitor your tyre pressures. The best way to check your tyre pressures are correct for you is to make sure they aren’t tearing or wearing unevenly.
What tools should I have?
The most important tool you can have for checking your pressures is a tyre gauge. They’re available in both analogue and digital so you can choose what suits you.
Having a bike tyre pump on hand can also prove useful to bump those pressures up if they are running a little low.
And if you’re finding it’s a bit difficult to access the valve on your motorcycle tyre, you can swap the tyre valves out for angled tyre valves.
Check out this link if you’re looking for a good deal on tyre gauges. Happy and safe riding!