How to read motorcycle tire wear

Written by chris gilliland Google
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How to read motorcycle tire wear
Check your motorcycle's tires before every ride. (roue arriere de moto image by Christophe Fouquin from

The very nature of a motorcycle demands that strict attention is paid to its two tires. Tire pressure, road conditions, mileage and riding styles all play a part in deteriorating the tyre's tread, the grooved portion of the tire that provides a firm grip on the road. Eventually, the tires' tread will wear away, reducing the tyre's ability to maintain traction. Checking the condition of the tyre's treads before every ride will ensure that your motorcycle will keep the rubber on the road.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Find the tread wear indicator, indicated by the letters "TWI" or a triangle imprinted on the tyre's sidewall.

  2. 2

    Look at the tyre's tread in the area indicated by the tread wear indicator. Replace the tire if a raised area is visible and level with the top of tread's grooves, indicating that the tire is below the minimum safe tread thickness. Continue to Step 2 if the tread wear indicator is not visible.

  3. 3

    Inspect at the entire surface of the tyre's tread, looking specifically for an uneven tread wear pattern. Rotate the tire as needed to inspect the entire tread surface. Replace the tire immediately, if the one side of the tire is worn down more than the other, or if a flat spot is found on the tyre's tread.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a penny to help determine tread wear if you cannot find the tread wear indicators. Stick the penny, facing Lincoln's head toward you and upside down, between the tread's grooves. Replace the tire, if Lincoln's head is visible.

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