How To Fix Motorcycle Tire Cupping

You might have heard about tire cupping for the first time, no? “How do I fix motorcycle tire cupping” is a troublesome question for many people because they don’t know about it. But this guide will help you resolve the issue.

Tire cupping is the uneven tire wearing over time. Misaligned tires might cause it. But why is it so confusing to understand so many riders? Well, because it gets confused by other types of tire wear.

Therefore, you need to be very careful about your tires and make sure you examine them frequently. It will enable you to notice any wear before time and solve the issue before it gets worse.

In this guide, we will see what tire cupping is, its causes, and what you can do to tackle this issue in the short and long run.

What is a Motorcycle Tire Cupping?

Motorcycle Tire Cupping

So, what this motorcycle tire cupping is? Like we have mentioned above that it’s uneven tire wear and occurs in patches from three to four inches across. This kind of tire wear is noticeable, but it gets easily confused with other tire wear types.

In most cases, this cupping happens because of tire damage. If you need to be sure it’s the tire cupping you are dealing with, you need to run your hand across your bike tire and feel uneven patches. If there are these patches, you are dealing with the issue of motorcycle tire cupping.

The problem with tire cupping is it causes inconsistent contact. The tread of these tires stays in connection with the road at all times. If these tires get cupped, the tire contact becomes erratic and creates patches with different high and low contact points. It can significantly reduce traction and might result in a loss of control over your vehicle.

Causes of Motorcycle Tire Cupping

You might be thinking about the cause of this uneven tire wear. Is it improper air pressure, bad suspension, misaligned tires, or something else? The thing is that various factors might cause the issue of motorcycle tire cupping.

If you are thinking about “How do I fix motorcycle tire cupping,” you need to divert your attention towards the causes and try to eliminate these. It will help you to avoid any inconveniences and unwanted costs as well.

Motorcycle tire cupping can occur due to suspension problems. You need to fix these issues to avoid any extra castor repair. Some of the common problems associated with tire cupping are:

Misaligned tires

Misaligned tires

The most common cause of tire cupping is misaligned tires, resulting in uneven contact with the road. Your tires don’t roll straight and wear unevenly. Due to these uneven stresses that the road conditions inflict on your tire, begin to show tire cupping signs. There might be a sawtooth-wearing pattern right at the edges of your tread. This type of weaning is referred to as heel to wear in engineering terms.

Worn out shocks and suspension

Old shocks and suspension

Another common reason for tire cupping is worn-out shocks and suspension. Different suspension components, including struts, shock absorbers, and bushings, tend to wear out as you travel miles on your bike.

This might result in a tire that cannot roll smoothly on the road but begins to bounce slightly. With this bouncing, uneven tire pressure points occur, and it ultimately results in tire cupping.

Unbalanced tires

And then, there is the issue of unbalanced tires due to an uneven distribution of weight across the tire circumference. If this weight distribution is severely uneven, then an off-balance condition might cause different tread sections to contact the road with different pressure and force. With uneven force and exertions of the contact, points wear uneven, resulting in erratic tread wear or tire cupping.

Low-quality/cheap tires

Different tires have different qualities. Some manufacturers use lower quality materials in the construction of their tires. They might use steel belts to provide less tread support, or they might have low-quality rubber. Such tires are more prone to cupping if they are on a vehicle with worn-out suspensions and imperfect wheel balance.

Signs of Motorcycle Tire Cupping

So, what are the different signs of motorcycle tire cupping? Before you get to the part “how do I fix motorcycle tire cupping,” you need to identify any signs to avoid a hasty decision. The symptoms that your motorcycle will show are listed as follows:

Shaking and vibrations

Shakes and vibration

A possibility of tire cupping and unbalanced tires is there if you notice seat or wheel vibration or shaking. When you see vibration through your bike’s handlebar, the uneven wear is in the front wheel. Vibration in the seat means the rear wheel has uneven tire wear. If you notice shaking and vibration through the handlebar and the seat, both your tires are uneven.

Tire noise

Tire noise

Another sign you will notice when dealing with tire cupping is getting a lot of tire noise. The tires are very noisy, particularly when you are going at those highway speeds. If you notice your tire speed is increasing, you need to get them examined by a professional right away.

Bike veering

With misaligned tires, your bike might drift right or left, or it may behave unexpectedly. This can be directly attributed to tired upping. And if you notice this kind of behavior, you need to get your bike to an experienced professional for an examination.

Visual signs

You can easily see any signs of wear on your tires. If any uneven scooped patches or worn-out treads on your tire, you need to replace them immediately.

Preventing Motorcycle Tire Cupping

So, how can you prevent motorcycle tire cupping? You need to be very watchful when riding on your bike. And the first thing is to avoid tire cupping because of the only area where your bike is in contact with the surface underneath. It will also allow you to keep your repair and maintenance costs under control.

Finding the answer to the questions like “how do I fix motorcycle tire cupping” is one thing, but you need to avoid it in the first place. Timely maintenance is a must to keep your maintenance cost low and your bike in optimal condition. To keep your tires in the best shapes, you need to bear in mind the following rules:

Air pressure

Tire air pressure

You also need to check your tire pressure regularly. It will allow you to identify any issues with your tire before they can happen. Driving uninflated tires is not great for traction and performance either. It also increases tire wear which includes cupping.

Balancing and rotating

Have your tires balanced and rotated frequently, and they will continue to perform for a long time to come. Usually, you need to rotate your tires every 5000 to 8000 miles and balance them on every other rotation, and they will be in their best condition.

Suspension and alignment

You need to keep a check on your suspension and alignment as well. Check any annual reduction by making sure that your tire rolls smoothly. You have to make sure your tires remain in contact with the surface underneath at all times. Any unevenness will cause tire cupping.


Why do rear motorcycle tires cup?

When you apply brakes on your front tire, the entire load is transferred, initiates over-flex, and it significantly increases your tire’s tendency to cup and wear unevenly. Another cause of rear tire cupping is under inflation as well as overloading along with hard braking.

Is it bad to drive on cupped tires?

It’s not safe to ride your bike if it has copper tires because they have indentations in them. So with each rotation, there are many spots on your tire that are not touching the surface underneath. It means there will not be much traction, and your bike will possess a lesser ability to turn and stop. It is not recommended to ride your bike if it has cupped tires.

Will tire cupping go away?

Tire cupping will go away if you continue to ride your bike without changing its bushings, suspension, or shocks. Your cupped tire will eventually smooth up to some extent. But it would be better for you to replace your tire and not wait for it to smooth out on its own. That will cause your tire to lose its traction entirely as all the tread will wear out.

Is motorcycle tire cupping dangerous?

Cupping is not that tough to deal with, but it makes your overall riding experience quite unsafe. So as soon as you notice cupping, make sure to replace your tires and repair your suspension and shocks.

Will a burnout fix cupped tires?

Yes, it might help to some extent, but you will soon need a new pair of tires. If you can’t get hold of replacement tires immediately, you can go for this temporary solution.

What do cupped tires look like?

Cooper tires have scalloped treadwear noise as well as pattern. Its tread looks like it has been scooped in small bits all across the tire. The scoops might occur on the edge or right in the middle. This occurs because the tire is not in touch with the surface evenly.


So, the answer to “how do I fix motorcycle tire cupping” is to avoid it at all costs by keeping your bike’s shocks and suspension in optimal condition. You need to keep a close eye on your bike tires and see if they need a replacement.

Cupped tires need to be replaced as soon as possible. They don’t provide you with enough traction. They are unsafe because some of your tires are not in contact with the surface underneath.