Why do motorcycle tires wear out so much faster than automobile tires? The idea may be new to car drivers. But for us motorcycle riders, we know that our tires wear out faster.
A lot of things influence the tire’s lifespan. But speed is the biggest culprit. When you ride at higher speeds, your tires produce a lot of friction. All that friction tears at the tread pattern and wears it down. This is also why sports bike riders keep changing their tires a lot.
But that’s not the only culprit. Too much weight will produce more drag and can potentially reduce your tire’s lifespan. Likewise, if your tire has too much or too little pressure, it won’t be in the best condition.
Aside from that, there’s wheel misalignment, weight imbalance, and tire type. The list goes on. Here’s why motorcycle tires wear out and what you can do to prevent that today.
Why Do Bike Tires Wear Out So Much More Rapidly Than Automobile Tires?
Quality and Type of Tires:
The most common cause of motorcycle tires wearing out is the quality and type of tire. Depending on your needs, you may opt for three categories of tires:
- Sports tires, made to last about 2,000 to 5,000 miles.
- Sport-touring tires last between 4,000 and 7,000 miles.
- Touring tires, made to last between 5,000 and 12,000 miles.
This doesn’t have much to do with the tire itself but rather the application. A sports tire will wear out faster since it’s being used for sports.
But even then, many manufacturers reduce the quality of the tire to fit the application. So, making a sports tire that is durable isn’t economical. This means that, even if you’re not using the tire for sports, it will generally have a shorter lifespan.
Type of Motorcycle:
Why do motorbike tires wear out so much faster than automobile tires? We already know that the quality of the tire decides its durability. But did you know your motorcycle also has an impact on the tire’s lifespan?
Heavier bikes put a lot of pressure on the tires. So, it’s a no-brainer that the heavier the bike, the more the tires will wear and tear out. To be more specific, heavier bikes create more friction and drag against the road. This will eventually wear the tread of the tire out, rendering it useless.
But lighter weight isn’t always the best either. A lighter motorcycle will travel at higher speeds, which will eventually wear out the tread. This is the main reason why motorcycle tires wear out faster than automobile tires. They’re a few pounds lighter than cars and must be ridden at lower speeds.
Aside from the bike’s weight, your riding habits significantly influence how fast the tread wears out. People who like to ride at top speed will usually notice that their tires are wearing out faster. And those that ride at slower speeds will hardly require tire changes, and that too only for punctures.
The reason is right there. The faster the tire turns, the more times it makes contact with the road. And if it’s making more revolutions against the road, there will be more friction and drag. This results in the tread ultimately losing its form.
Age is the next most likely cause of tire wear if you’re not riding too fast or too heavy.
But why do motorbike tires wear out so much faster than automobile tires if the tire is aged? The rubber that makes up tires tends to harden under sunlight and exposure to oxygen. Hardening reduces its tensile strength, resulting in more wear while on the road.
What’s more, is that the weight and speed threshold of the tires decreases with age. That means that even if you don’t ride them too fast, old tires won’t be able to handle as much speed as their newer counterparts.
Much like your riding habits, the road condition also plays a vital role in your tire’s lifespan. Simply put, rough roads will wear out your tire faster than smoother roads.
If you like to venture off-road and do a bit of dirt-riding, then reconsider your choices. There’s a reason why they make special tires for off-roading. Roads that have a lot of grit and gravel will create more friction and heat.
However, riding on open freeways or empty roads isn’t any better. It allows you to ride your bike at higher speeds, which wears out your tires.
Lack of Maintenance:
Maintenace is important. We can’t stress this enough. A bike that isn’t being taken care of can and will wear out in more ways than you can count.
Don’t leave your bike standing for too long. The friction will be concentrated on just one spot, which will lead to significant performance issues.
Additionally, don’t leave the bike out in the open. Tires hate sunlight. You’re only inviting trouble if you don’t store the bike in a garage or use a cover. And lastly, maintain proper tire pressure.
Finally, if there are any obstructions near the tire, they will generate friction and wear it out. So, anything that touches the wheel-well or the wheel’s fender will wear out your tires. Remove any accessories that get in the way, including cargo and bags.
5 Tips To Increase Motorcycle Tire Lifespan:
Now that you know why motorcycle tires wear out so much faster than automobile tires, here’s how you can prevent it:
1. Keep Regular Checks on Your Tire:
While keeping regular checks on your tires won’t increase the lifespan, it will save you from an uncomfortable ride. Check your tires on the regular before each ride. Look for any signs of wear and puncturing.
2. Maintain The Right Pressure:
Tire pressure has a huge impact on how fast your tires wear out. Low pressure in the tires will affect your suspension and put a lot of the bike’s weight directly on the rubber.
But that doesn’t mean that high pressure is any better. Instead, you want to keep the pressure nominal. Keep it preferably within the manufacturer’s recommended range.
3. Check The Alignment:
While wheel alignment is more or less related to handling, it can affect the tires’ performance and durability.
There are a few different kinds of misalignment, and each has its test. But you can mostly eyeball it if it’s that severe.
4. Check The Balance:
Much like improper alignment, an unbalanced bike also puts more pressure on just one tire (or one side of the tire). Make sure the weight on your bike is equally distributed.
5. Go A Little Easy on The Brakes:
Finally, avoid hard braking. Hard braking exposes your tires to immense friction in a concise time frame. Hard brake only when the situation calls for it (as it could save your life).
What Is The Average Life of Motorcycle Tires?
The age of the tire isn’t measured in time but rather in the distance traveled. The lifespan depends on riding conditions, exposure to the elements, and the type of tire. It’s quite hard to estimate this since, even if you neglect all the other factors, the type of tire still weighs in.
If you own a sports bike, the tire will last on average about 3,700 miles. For sport-tour bikes, the average tire lifespan is about 6,000 to 10,000 miles. And that for touring bikes is well over 20,000 miles. Some can even go for as long as 75,000 miles.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Motorcycle Tire?
The list is too lengthy to note down here, but here are a few tips to help you get started:
Firstly, consider the type of tire depending on your application. Will you be using your bike for touring and commuting? Then buy a touring tire. For sports and racing, buy a sports tire. And for sport-touring, consider a sport-touring tire.
Radial Vs. Bias Ply:
When choosing the tire size, you may have noticed an ‘R.’ This means radial construction. The other type of construction is the bias ply. A radial tire provides a better grip at the cost of durability. And a bias-ply tire offers lesser traction but more durability.
Choosing the right tire size is tricky. It’s recommended to stick to your manufacturer’s recommendations. Reading the tire size is quite complicated, and many newbies make mistakes when finding the right size.
Should I Replace Both Motorcycle Tires At The Same Time?
No, it’s not always necessary to replace both the tires at the same time. The reason being that each tire has a different load and hence, in many cases, wears out at different rates. If the weight is unevenly distributed or the wheels are misaligned, the tires will wear out at different rates.
Is It Okay To Mix Tire Brands on A Motorcycle?
For most sports applications, it’s not recommended to mix the tire brands. The main reason is that each tire has been designed with a different lifespan. But for off-roading, different tire brands, and even sizes and qualities, are quite commonplace.
What Causes A Motorcycle Tire To Blow Out?
Too much pressure, not enough pressure, bad terrain, age, and even bends in the rim and misalignment. These can cause a motorcycle tire to blow out (either by going flat or bursting).
Is Driving Fast Bad For Tires?
Driving fast wears down your tires faster. There’s a lot of heat and friction being generated at high speeds. This results in your tread wearing down and losing its grip on the road.
A worn-out tire is a fatal accident waiting to happen. Luckily, you can mitigate that risk and keep your tires safe from wearing out.
So, why do motorcycle tires wear out so much faster than automobile tires?? Everything from speed, lifespan, and weight distribution influence the tire’s lifespan. The general idea is that motorcycles can run faster than most cars, and hence the tires wear out faster.
But don’t worry; tire wear is natural. And with the right knowledge and precautionary steps, you can get a better grip on the road!