Motorcycle tire pressure: the complete guide

February 20, 2019

On a motorcycle, the contact surface with the road is infinitely small. For reasons of safety but also of driving comfort, it is crucial to take care of your tire. Checking the inflation of a motorcycle tire is a golden rule. A regular check-up makes it possible to observe the wear of the tread and the rim, to detect if a nail has not caused deterioration, or to check the balance of the wheel.

Motorcycle tire pressure: the complete guide

When should you check the pressure of your motorcycle tire? ?

Whether they are inner tubes or tubeless, as most of them are today, motorcycle tires tend to naturally deflate.

The quality of the rubber can play a role, but regardless of the brand, Dunlop, Michelin Pilot, Continental or Bridgestone, even the best tires tend to slowly lose air..

It is therefore recommended to check the pressure every 1000 km or every 15 days on average and each time before long journeys. If you only use your two-wheeler occasionally and it spends more time in the garage than on the road, it is better to take a look before each use.

The simple act of supporting the weight of the motorcycle when parked, especially if it is positioned on its side stand, is enough for a loss of pressure.

Be careful, rapid loss of air usually means that there is slow puncture. The tire is probably punctured, but the air leak is not immediately felt.

What is the risk of driving with an under-inflated tire ?

Driving with an improperly inflated tire will have several effects. Most notable is the over-consumption of fuel. To compensate, the motorcycle tends to require more energy. Under-inflated tires increase fuel consumption by up to 10% on average.

On the other hand, the motorcycle becomes heavy. The tire no longer has the optimum strength to withstand it and tends to overheat. This phenomenon can cause the tire to burst and therefore fall.

On two wheels, the tread works a lot. Unlike a car, the entire surface of the tire is used on a motorcycle. On a curve, it is the sidewall of the tire, also called the fear band, which will be called upon. Improper inflation is therefore one of the main risks of motorcycle accidents.

To a lesser extent, the under-inflated tire will affect the handling : The rider will feel a heaviness in the steering, especially on the angle. The suspensions will be impacted more violently and the braking distance will be increased.

Of course, tire wear will be accelerated, because under pressure, the footprint increases on the sidewalls, which deteriorates the carcass of the tire.

Conversely, an over-inflated tire no longer guarantees the handling of the two-wheeler or its good grip on the road, especially in a bend..

How to Correct Motorcycle Tire Pressure

To find out the optimum tire pressure, refer to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer if the tires are fitted as standard. The maximum permissible pressure is indicated on the sidewall of the tire and must never be exceeded.

Note that the pressure is expressed in grams, Bar or Psi:

  • 1 bar = 14.5 psi
  • 1psi = 0.0689 bar

It is worth remembering that a tire’s pressure varies depending on its type. A sports tire or a track tire does not have the same longevity as an enduro tire for example. Likewise, it all depends on use.

The pressure will not be the same depending on whether you are driving on a track, on the road or on the motorway, but also alone or in pairs, empty or with luggage, because the load affects the inflation.

Finally, the type of driving has a major influence: the rapid acceleration and braking combinations wear out the tires more quickly.

Also note that a rear tire deflates faster than a front tire.

As an example, for a road motorcycle, the front tire pressure is as follows:

  • 2 bars for 125 motorcycles;
  • 2.2 bars for motorcycles of medium displacement (500-600 cm3);
  • 2.5 bars for large displacement.

If you are about to perform a long journey, especially with a loaded motorcycle, even more on the motorway, over-inflate by 0.3 bar. If you ride in wet, overinflate by 0.2 bar. And since any manipulation of the inflation valve systematically results in a slight loss of pressure, over-inflate by 0.1 bar after each pressure check..

How to pressure a hot tire ?

The break-in, in other words the warm-up time, takes place after about ten kilometers. Add 200 grams to the recommended value to obtain the equivalent of cold pressing.

If the recommendations indicate a pressure of 2.5 bar, go to 2.7. In a heat wave, inflate your tires a little less as they will heat up more quickly.

How to make the pressure of a cold tire ?

It is strongly recommended to always check the cold pressure, because the temperature changes the internal pressure of your tires.

As a reminder, a tire is considered cold if you have driven quietly less than 3 km. If in doubt, wait twenty minutes.

As a general rule, avoid nitrogen to inflate your tires, as it is a cold gas that will prevent your tires from warming up properly..

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