How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

Motorcycle tires differ from car tires, requiring special attention to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Understanding tire life and tire wear is essential for every rider. Factors such as riding habits and tread patterns influence how quickly you’ll need to consider tire replacement. Recognizing signs of wear and maintaining your tires can extend their lifespan, keeping you safe on the road. This quick guide will help you understand how to assess your tires and take proper care of them.

How Motorcycle Tires Wear Out

As you probably know, riding on motorcycle tires wears them out. Little by little, the thick rubber tread will get worn away whenever your tires hit the road. Every stop, every turn and especially every vroom that happens when your song comes on in your motorcycle Bluetooth headset wears your tread down slightly. 

For any pair of tires, it’s only a matter of time before the tread surface becomes worn enough that it no longer gives you safe traction on the road. However, the rubber in motorcycle tires won’t last forever, even if you don’t ride as much. 

That’s because rubber, like many other materials, experiences the natural chemical process called oxidation. As your tires oxidize, they become harder and more brittle, which reduces their traction and other performance factors. 

So, How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last? 

There’s no hard and fast rule on how long a pair of tires will last on your bike. However, a tire over five years old is generally no good, even if nobody’s been riding on it. We’ll talk about how to identify an old tire shortly.

As for how long a tire will last, it all depends on how much you ride and your riding style. Someone who rides at high speeds with aggressive cornering and acceleration will wear out their tires faster than a more relaxed rider. By the same logic, someone who rides a lot will obviously go through more tires than a weekend rider.

Note that rear tires tend to wear out more quickly than front tires since they provide most of the motorcycle’s power and control. Many motorcyclists change rear tires twice before they have to replace their front tire. 

Explore the Road with a Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset

Are My Motorcycle Tires Still Good?

First, you should find out whether your tires are more than five years old, especially if you just bought the bike. There’s an easy way to determine this, and you just have to know how to read a motorcycle tire to do it. 

  • Look at your tire’s sidewall and find where it says “DOT” followed by a long string of numbers. 
  • Check the last four digits of that number series to find the year and week that your tire was manufactured. 
  • The first two digits represent the week of the year that the tire was made, from 1-52. For example, the number 27 means that the tire was made in the 27th week of the year.
  • The second number represents the last two digits of the year the tire was made. For example, the number of 18 means the tire was made in 2018. 

Any tire over five years old needs to be replaced. Don’t assume that tires are brand new, even if you bought them from a dealership.

Understanding Tire Pressure and Its Impact

Maintaining the correct tire pressure is beneficial for the performance and safety of your bike tires as well as longevity. Proper tire pressure ensures that your tires wear evenly, extending their lifespan and preventing issues like uneven wear. Using a tire pressure gauge, regularly check your tires to ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended PSI. Overinflated or underinflated tires can lead to poor handling, reduced traction and increased risk of blowouts. Adjusting tire pressure based on riding conditions, such as road type and weather conditions, can also enhance your riding experience.

Incorrect tire pressure can cause various problems, including bulges and reduced performance — even in tubeless tires. Riding on tires with improper pressure can accelerate tread wear and compromise your bike's stability. Regular checks and adjustments help maintain optimal performance and safety. Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and provide a smoother ride, making your motorcycle safer and more enjoyable to ride. Keep an eye on your tires to avoid costly repairs and ensure a longer, safer ride.

When Should I Replace My Motorcycle Tires?

There are reasons other than age to replace a motorcycle tire. Get a new tire on your bike immediately if:

If only one tire on your motorcycle needs replacement, replacing just that one is usually fine. However, riders who are switching to a new brand or style of tire will usually want to replace both to avoid the potential handling issues of a mismatched tire set. 

Tips and Tricks for Motorcycle Tire Care

For proper maintenance and care, follow these helpful tips:

  • Before each ride, check your tires for cracks or punctures. 
  • Make sure your tires are always inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. 
  • Avoid storing your motorcycle (or your tires) in direct sunlight if possible, as this can reduce the lifespan of tire rubber.
  • Go easy on a new pair of tires and give them some time to break in without hard cornering or excessive revs.

Choosing the Right Tires for Your Motorcycle

Choosing the right type of tire for your motorcycle is essential for supporting performance and safety. Different motorcycles and riding styles require specific tires, ranging from sport tires for high-speed performance to off-road tires designed for rugged terrain. Consider your usual road conditions or other driving environments when selecting a tire. The tread depth and tread pattern are crucial factors — deeper treads provide better grip on loose surfaces, while slicker tires offer more contact with paved roads. Additionally, deciding between tubeless and tube tires depends on your preference for convenience and puncture resistance.

When purchasing a new set of tires, keep in mind the tire size and tire age. Even a tire with minimal tread wear can be unsafe if it's too old, as the rubber degrades over time. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific motorcycle model, including the ideal size for long motorcycle rides. Regularly inspect your tires for signs of wear and damage caused by varying road surface conditions. By selecting the right tires and maintaining them properly, you can enhance your riding experience and ensure your safety on the road.

We love the ride at Cardo Systems, and we love to make your ride better with our selection of Bluetooth helmet intercoms. For more tips on keeping your bike in great shape, see our ultimate guide to motorcycle maintenance

Motorcycle Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide