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When Is It Time to Replace Your Motorcycle Tires? AP Photo/Steve Helber

Let’s talk about motorcycle tires. Many bikers out there judge the lifespan of their rubber by the tread that’s left on it. While that’s a tell-tale way to inspect the wear, it’s not the only thing you should be checking for during your inspection. In fact, motorcycle tires can be completely toast even if the tire tread depth is at 100 percent.

Knowing the condition of your tires is extremely important for motorcyclists. It not only affects the cornering ability, handling, and traction of the bike, but riding on old tires can also put you in quite a dangerous situation on the road. Similar to car tires, motorcycle tires have a shelf life, and we’ll go over all that information below.

How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

Tire manufacturers are aware that the rubber components have a tendency to break down. After being exposed to the elements for a certain period of time, oxidation and dry rot are common results. This hardens the tires, making them brittle, stiffer, and unable to grip the road in the way they were intended.

Because of this, tires normally have a useful life of five years. Tire replacement is highly recommended past this point, even if the even if the actual tread wear is minimal. If you’re unaware, there’s an easy way to check your tires’ age. On the sidewall of both the front tire and rear tire, you’ll find the acronym DOT and some numbers that follow it. The last four digits are the ones that represent the date of manufacture. The first two represent the week of manufacture, and the last two represent the year of manufacture.

As an example, let’s say the last four digits on the sides of the tire are 2119. That date code means the tire was made in the 21st week of 2019. Using the five-year standard, you shouldn’t worry about those rubber components breaking down until the year 2024.

If you’re past this date, you’ll know it’s time for a tire change. However, this is only one factor you need to consider while inspecting your bike tires. The tire life can also be evaluated by checking out the wear indicator/wear bars on the top tread. If they appear to be low, or show signs of any uneven wear patterns, it may be wise to invest in a new set of tires.

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Additionally, if you happen to get any type of puncture through the tire, you’ll want to think about getting some new tires. Those patches and plugs are only a temporary fix, because the structural integrity of that tire has been put at risk after that.

Remember, you should be inspecting your rubber before every ride. Ensuring they are at the right tire pressure also helps increase the longevity. Tires wear differently for everyone, depending on their personal riding style. Also keep in mind, more compact touring tires typically have greater durability than softer sport bike tires, so between inspecting the date on the sidewall and the physical tread wear, you should know exactly when you’re due for a new set.

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