Should You Replace Both Motorcycle Tires at The Same Time?

Any motorcycle rider knows that taking good care of it is going to help you stay safe while cruising out there. From selecting the right type of tires to understanding when it’s time to change your tires;  there’s only so much that a motorcycle rider has to know about!

To understand everything related to tires, let’s go meticulously over some critical matters.

Are the tires worn out or not?

Your tires are worn and need replacement when you judge by the measurable physical wear. You should replace the tires when tread depth gets to 1/16″.

However, most tires do come with tread wear indicators (TWI’s), which are the physical indicators of the maximum wear. TWI’s are a block molded in an open tread area, and it’s going to flush once you reach the maximum wear.

Some TWI’s come as symbols on the outer circumference of the tire. Once the open tread gets to the symbols, it means that the tire is at maximum wear.

TWI’s placed near the tire’s center is going to be the first one to reach, as one cannot reach all TWI’s at the same time.

Side note- When you keep on riding on tires that reached the minimum tread depth already isn’t going to be all obvious in regular riding. The situation changes when you’re riding on wet conditions as water may not be purged from the tire’s contact surface the right way. Riding on a slippery surface is going to lead to risky hydroplaning.

As you’re checking your tires, look for the uneven wear as well. Continuous straight-line highway driving is going to wear the centerline of the tire, but the outer edges may still look good. Even if the tire can look ok on the sides, if  you’ve reached the TWI’s in the center already, you should replace the tires at once.

Another form of wear is “Scalping.” It’s a series of weirdly placed wear areas around your tire. A worn out tire has great scalping, especially if you also sense other vibration. Take a look at the suspensions as well- they can be a significant cause of the poor tire condition.

You also need to check for the physical damage (slashes or punctures). Only a professional may repair a straight-on hole (90 degrees to the tire’s surface). Screws and nails typically cause the leaks. Most of the time, the object is going to remain embedded in the tire until you get it fixed.

You cannot repair any slash cuts or damage to the sidewalls. You need to replace the tire if that happens. Peeling of any sections of the tread isn’t safe to drive on so replace the tire asap.

Do tires come with an age limit?

Rubber compounds are going to oxidize after some time which translates into higher brittleness and less flexibility. As it’s a developing process, tires do come with a limited lifespan, no matter if you use them or not.

Every tire comes with a “DOT” code- it contains four digits. The code shows the week and the year of manufacture. For the format “WWYY,” 2318 means that the tire was manufactured in the 23rd week of the year 2018. You always begin the countdown from this date.

A tire manufactured last year is considered to be new by tire standards. The safe limit for a tire is up to 5 years from the date of manufacture. in other words, the tire’s rubber compounds are supposed to be reliable up to the expiry date.

Once the tire ages and goes past five years, the oxidation process may not be that visible anymore. Very old tires are shiny, hard and present sidewall cracking as well.

Warning: you should never ride a motorcycle with obviously cracked tires as they can cause a disaster in no time.

Should you replace both motorcycle tires at the same time or not?

The short answer is NO. When the front presents enough tread life, you don’t need to replace it with the rear. However, if there is physical damage or the tire is over five years from the manufacture date, you should replace them both.

Many seasoned touring riders typically replace the front every second rear tire change.

In the case of normal usage and operation, the rear tire is going to wear out almost twice as fast as the front. The rear tire sends all the engine power to the road, taking more than half of bike’s weight. Therefore, it makes sense that the tire wears out a lot faster. However, when you have to replace the rear tire, you should also check the front one too. Replace the front one only if you need to.

You should consider switching the front as it’s a good thing to have the same brand and the same model for both tires. Mixing manufacturers brands may lead to strange handling issues. Therefore, if you want to switch to another model/brand, you should begin with replacing the rear. If the handling is ok, don’t stress about replacing the front too.

So you got new tires. Now what?

You also need to break in the new tires, even in the case of best motorcycle tires. Check to see the best tires in 2019 at DrivrZone so you can decide which fits your motorcycle the best way. Apart from tires, you can find out which are the best selection of products for pretty much everything a driver may need. From the fluids, rims, electronics, and organization for your vehicle, the store includes so many categories of items that one may need. You can also check the tools and equipment for driving, but it’s not a bad idea to also take a look at the clothing &footwear and so much more.

Back to breaking in the new tires, keep in mind that they’re rather hard and slippery. You need to do some scuffing on the surface until you get it all functional. You should merely drive around as-if the road is wet for 50-100miles. Don’t force the braking, turning or acceleration.

Once the tire is entirely scuffed, it should look dull across all contact areas.

Even if you’re going with identical units, new tires are going to present some specific characteristics. You should be patient about it and get used to them. Remember that bias-ply tires may even give a settling-in period as it’s not based on radials.

Don’t forget that cold tires pose some risks. In cool weather, you should go slow for the first couple of miles. You should do it no matter if your tires are new or used.

Author: Brandon Park