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How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

Nothing lasts forever. Buildings can fall into ruin. Mountains can be eroded by rain and wind. Even stars will die one day, though their expected lifespans are measured in billions of years. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that the moving components of complex machines are no exception to this rule, meaning that interested individuals need to be prepared to either repair or replace them if they wear out. One excellent example would be motorcycle tires. Unfortunately, there isn't a single figure that interested individuals can use to determine whether they should change their motorcycle tires or not. Certainly, there are general estimates such as a maximum of five years. Furthermore, manufacturers of motorcycle tires will often offer their own estimates for their own products. However, the fundamental fact of the matter is that general estimates aren't applicable to every single case out there.

Still, just because general estimates aren't applicable to every single case out there, it doesn't mean that general estimates are useless. Generally speaking, people can get decent results by following the five-year rule. However, they should also keep a watchful eye out for signs that their motorcycle tires are wearing out. For example, U.S. regulations require a 1/32" to 2/32" tread depth, so if a part of the motorcycle tire has less than that, it is time to switch them out. Similarly, it is possible for defects to start showing up in the motorcycle tire, with an excellent example being sidewall cracking. Of course, interested individuals might also notice something feeling off about their motorcycle when it is in use, though that could be a sign of some other problem instead. In this as in other things, if they aren't sure, they should seek out a technician for a professional's opinion on the matter.

Some people might assume that their motorcycle tires will last as long as their car tires. This is a bad idea because the two have different expected lifespans in spite of their similarities. After all, motorcycle tires are made out of softer rubber than car tires. This is necessary because they have relatively small contact patches. If the rubber is too hard, there is an increased chance of the wheel slipping and sliding, thus making it that much more difficult for the rider to stay on the motorcycle. In contrast, softer rubber offers more grip, thus making for a much safer and much smoother experience. Unfortunately, the downside is that softer rubber will experience increased wear and tear whenever it comes into contact with the road as well as other surfaces, meaning that motorcycle tires tend to wear out faster than car tires.

As such, interested individuals should expect their motorcycle tires to last them for about five years. It is possible that their motorcycle tires will remain usable past that point. However, if interested individuals choose to stick with their current set of motorcycle tires, they should take them to see a technician from time to time to make sure that they are still safe for the road. If they manage to hit ten years, well, suffice to say that it is common to see recommendations for said motorcycle tires to be switched out even if they still seem fine.

What Are Some Factors that Influence the Useful Lifespan of Motorcycle Tires?

Moving on, general estimates aren't applicable to every single case out there because there are numerous factors that can influence the rate at which motorcycle tires accumulate wear and tear. As such, if someone is concerned about the expected lifespan of their motorcycle tires, they need to look into these factors. By doing so, they can figure out if they are both able and willing to make changes that will enable their motorcycle tires to last longer. To name an example, mileage is one of the most important factors. After all, different people use their motorcycles at different rates, meaning that time doesn't actually give a very good indication of how much someone has been using their motorcycle tires. Mileage isn't quite perfect as a representation of that, but it is still much better than time in this respect. Unsurprisingly, more mileage means more use, which in turn, means more wear and tear.

Having said that, the way that motorcycle tires are being used is important as well. As mentioned earlier, motorcycle tires wear out faster than car tires because they have smaller contact patches, which is on top of there being two of them rather than four of them. Furthermore, motorcycles tend to be faster than cars, not least because their smaller profiles result in less wind resistance. Similarly, their light weight means that they have less momentum, thus enabling them to both accelerate faster and brake faster than cars. Thanks to these factors, there are ways that interested individuals can use to extend the useful lifespan of their motorcycle tires. For example, they can drive at slower speeds, thus exerting less force on the soft rubber of their motorcycle tires. Similarly, they can choose to avoid both fast acceleration and hard braking, which will have much the same effect. Furthermore, interested individuals should also avoid putting too much weight on their motorcycle, whether that means actually loading down their motorcycle or attaching a trailer to their motorcycle.

Of course, just because people can reduce the wear and tear that they cause for their motorcycle tires, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will want to. At the end of the day, every single rider will have to decide how hard they want to use their motorcycles, which in turn, will determine how often they will have to seek out repairs and replacements. There is nothing wrong with either approach so long as interested individuals are prepared for the associated pros and cons. Having said that, it can also be a good idea for them to speak with their technician on said topics. Expertise and experience matter in this kind of thing, so it is wise to benefit from them whenever possible.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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