Tyres are a very important part of any vehicle. No matter how powerful and technologically advanced motorcycle you have, you would still rely on the tyres and the small, maybe 2 square inch contact patch. All that power will be delivered via that small contact patch and you should make sure it is in perfect health. It would also make a huge difference in braking. Traction control, ABS and technologies like these are a waste without a tyre in healthy state. A lot of commuters tend to ignore the importance of a good tyre and the consequences are not good.
Tyres can be tubeless or tube type. While in case of tubeless tyres, you just have to worry about the tyres and the visible inspection would tell the whole story. In case of tube type tyres, along with the tyre, you also need to make sure that the tube is perfect. Even a healthy tyre is no good if the tube has worn out. You need to take care of these little things so that you don’t run into issues. The tyres should not have any cuts or bruises. It should also have a sufficient amount of tread so that you don’t run short of grip.
To make sure that your tyres remain healthy, you need to inspect them regularly. The thread depth can be measures using a gauge or a coin. For normal street tyres, a decent tread depth is very important for good grip. The braking distance would go up with the tread on the tyre is insufficient. The grip would suffer even more on wet roads. Firstly because of the reduced friction due to worn out treads and secondly because the low depth of treads won’t push water out through them. A healthy tyre would direct water outwards through its treads so that at high speeds, the tyre doesn’t just skim through the surface of water. If the depth of tread isn’t sufficient, it is time you should find a new set of tyres.
Apart from tread depth, you should also notice how it has worn out over time. Obviously the wear would be more at the center and less near the edges but you might also notice unusual wear patterns in some cases. If you notice something like that, it is possible that you have done very long distances on low tyre pressure. It might also be because the front and rear tyres aren’t in alignment with each other. In that case you should ask the service guy to address the issue with the alignment.
It is not only the tyre wear that would decide if you should replace your tyres. The rubber of tyres tend to harden over time and it is very well known that harder rubber means less grip. Even if you haven’t clocked a lot of miles on these tyres, it would be advisable to replace them as they have aged. At high speeds, the temperatures go really high and you don’t want to be riding on these old tyres in that case.
Along with all these factors, you should also look for minor cracks or bubbles in the tyre. They can cause blowout when you are doing high speed on your motorcycle. Look for these cracks in the sidewall of the tyre. This is a sign of ageing and if you spot something like that, you should immediately get a replacement. If you are not very good at spotting these signs, ask your regular mechanic to take a look from time to time. Make sure when you replace the tyres, you go for the manufacturer recommended tyre size. The performance and efficiency would suffer with a wider tyre and a leaner tyre would not provide enough grip.