Motorcycle: Which tyres can I use?

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Motorcycle: Which tyres can I use?

In comparison to a car, the right tires have a significantly greater influence on the driving characteristics of a motorcycle. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are safe on two wheels.

Basically, the motorbike has to be considered
Check the tire pressure before every motorcycle tour
Replaces old tires regularly
Note the new regulation for motorcycle tires manufactured after 2019
The tyre pressure must be correct
The right and correct tire pressure is a decisive factor for the general driving comfort, the driving stability of the motorcycle as well as the operating temperature and the wear of the motorcycle tire. The information required from the manufacturer for the intended inflation pressure values for the motorcycle tires can be found in the operating instructions, on the stickers on the swing arm, on the frame or under the seat.

Basically, the motorcycle tires of most street bikes should have a front tire pressure of 2.5 bar and a rear pressure of 2.9 bar. Other pressure values are advisable for enduro bikes and special machine types as well as special applications. Tire pressure values ??that depend on the load are rarely specified. If you deviate from the manufacturer’s specifications and use a lower tire pressure, you can improve the driving and traction properties of the motorcycle depending on the application and weather conditions. This is noticeable when driving at very low temperatures. But the same applies here: No experiments, get information directly from your tire manufacturer.

According to the manufacturer’s specifications, you should always check the tire pressure on cold tires before every journey. This is useful if your motorcycle has not been moved for a few days or weeks. You can use small pressure testers as handheld devices for this. In addition to the tire pressure, you can check the general overall condition of the tires. This includes: What is the current status of your profile? Is there greater wear and tear? You should also keep an eye on it – if the tire pressure drops sharply within a few weeks, by around 1 bar, you absolutely have to examine the wheel and the valve carefully for possible leaks.

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Sufficient tread depth is particularly important on wet roads and at higher speeds. A tread depth of at least 1.6 millimeters is required by law. However, this limit should not be exhausted. So it is advisable to swap the tires at the latest when they are two millimeters wide. Most tires have the TWI (tread wear indicator): Small ridges in the tread base help you to find the right measuring point. There the tread depth is measured directly next to the small ridges. Falling below the legal limit not only represents a higher accident risk for you and other road users, but also a fine and three points in the Flensburg driving aptitude register.

The progressive aging of motorcycle tyres
Very often it happens that motorcycle tires get very old unnoticed. Especially if the motorcycle is seldom driven. Constant standing and unfavorable environmental conditions deteriorate the properties of your tires. You should therefore always pay attention to the age of the tires and the associated visible signs of aging. If you are unsure, you should definitely replace the tires for your motorcycle.

Significant signs of aging are recognizable discoloration and cracks. If you are unsure about the condition of the tires, a specialist can help. The tire age can be determined using the DOT number on the tire sidewall. All you need is the four-digit sequence of numbers at the end of the DOT number. The first two digits stand for the week of production, the last two digits for the year of production. Tire use beyond the sixth year is not recommended.

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Irrespective of the DOT number, however, hardening of the rubber compound can also occur earlier than after five years and become dangerous. This happens more frequently, especially with motorcycles that are on the road in wind and weather, in summer and in winter. In these cases, the tire change is definitely due earlier.

This also applies to tires with uneven wear patterns. Colloquially, bikers speak of “motorway plates”. But caution is also required in the event of damage to the tire flanks, which can occur when driving over sharp edges such as curbs. A tire never forgets. This means that even if nothing is visibly damaged from the outside, the motorcycle tire can disintegrate under particularly extreme conditions such as long, fast journeys in high heat at the exact spot that was already damaged.

Be careful with new tyres
Again and again, motorcyclists with new tires have accidents. There is a simple reason for this: motorcycle tires have a smooth surface due to production and must be broken in carefully for the first 20 to 50 kilometers. This is all the more important when the road is wet. Particular caution is therefore required when braking, accelerating and leaning in curves.

In addition, newly fitted tires can rotate on the rim under high loads, when braking or accelerating hard. The tire manufacturers are aware of the fact and are already trying to minimize the risks through various measures. Nevertheless, it is very important that every motorcyclist is aware of this situation after fitting newly fitted tires and adjusts his driving behavior accordingly.

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Our practical tip: Use the angle valves
Checking the tire pressure on a motorcycle is sometimes not that easy. The position and length of many straight snap-in valves often complicates . On the front wheel, for example, the brake discs interfere, on the rear wheel the sprocket or the brake disc. It is not uncommon for the rear wheel rims to be so wide that the tire valves are difficult or impossible to reach with the standard plugs of the gas station tester. Usually only air escapes during the pressure check and it is not possible to increase the tire pressure because the connector cannot be attached correctly.

Angle valves made of metal can provide the perfect remedy here. When changing tires the next time, when the standard rubber valve has to be replaced anyway, simply attach the new angle valve made of metal in such a way that access from the side is much easier the next time the tire pressure is checked. You have to make sure that the metal valves fit the valve hole and the rim contour. The angle valves do not have to be replaced with each subsequent tire assembly. The higher costs of the metal valves are worth it and you can recoup the costs the next time you mount a tire. It may be necessary to rebalance the rim after installing the metal valves.

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