How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

Written by donna thacker
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How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
(1995 Yamaha Virago - Donna Thacker)

How long do motorcycle tires last?

There are many factors that determine how long motorcycle tires will last. Under varying riding conditions and rider performance, one cannot say that any certain tire will last X amount of years. In judging how long a tire will last, one would have to consider the type of tire, the type of motorcycle, and most of all--the type of rider.

How is the bike ridden?

If the rider is prone to ride fast and hard, a softer sport tire is probably his preference. These type of tires will not last as long, but are better suited to holding their grip on the road. Leaning hard into curves and taking off at greater speeds than necessary will wear the tire down faster.

Some motorcycle riders stick strictly to highways and interstates for their choice of riding. Their tires will last longer than someone who is riding on winding, curving country roads. How often the motorcycle sits idle will also be an indicator.

If the motorcycle has been left unattended in a garage for a lengthy period of time, the tire could develop dry rot. This is an unsafe tire, no matter how many miles it has on it. If the motorcycle tire has gone flat while sitting, the weight of the motorcycle could cause the sidewall to crack.

There is no exact science for determining how long the tire will last. One must take into consideration how the motorcycle is ridden, what type of roads and what type of tire was chosen. Obviously, a motorcycle that is only ridden occasionally will not need the tires changed near as often as a motorcycle that is ridden daily.

How aggressive is the rider?

The motorcycle who's owner enjoys doing burnouts and driving fast will probably require the tires to be replaced quite often. A sport bike requires tire changes more often than a cruiser. This again is due to the way the different types of motorcycles are ridden. The same is true for the different types of riders.

You could take the same type of motorcycle, with the same type of tires, and add two very different riders. How fast the riders accelerate, brake or lean into curves will have an impact on how fast their tires are worn down.

Rear tires generally wear out before the front tire, especially if the rider enjoys the occasional burnout or accelerates too hard after stopping. That's where the old term "laying rubber" came about: You leave a bit of your tire behind when you squeal out.

The best way to know how long your motorcycle tires are going to last is to visually inspect them. Always make sure tires are inflated to the manufacturer's guidelines, and check to make sure there are no cuts or nicks anywhere. If the motorcycle is to be stored, it's a good idea to move it occasionally so it's not sitting on one area of the tires the entire time.

Your tire dealer can help you by suggesting the best type of tire for your motorcycle, and your riding style. After that, the rest will depend on you. The harder you ride, the harder it is on your tire.

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