When Do Your Motorcycle Tires Need To Be Replaced?

April 29, 2014 by

motorcycle tire with no tread

You’ve been driving your motorcycle for a while now and you are starting to notice that the tread on your tires is getting a bit thin.

“Do I need to get a new tire?” you think to yourself. “At what point exactly should I replace the tires currently on my motorcycle with new ones?”

Well, the answer to this question is going to vary from tire to tire, but generally you want to start thinking about replacing your motorcycle tires when the depth of the tread gets to be about 2mm (0.08 inches) or less.

Note: Every motorcycle tire is going to have a different recommended minimum tread depth, so be sure to check your specific type of tires to see what the recommended tread depth for those tires happens to be.

The problem with letting your motorcycle tires wear down is that as the tire wears, the tire itself becomes more susceptible to puncture and failure. In fact, an estimated 90% of all tire failures occur when the last 10% of tread remains on the tire. Or to say it differently, most tire failures occur after the tire has become 90% worn down.

And believe me… you don’t want to have one of your tires fail on you while you are out there on the road. Can you imagine having either your front or rear tire completely blow off your bike while you are driving at 65 miles an hour or faster? You wouldn’t stand a chance! And this is why replacing your tires before they get to that dangerous level of baldness is so incredibly important.

To measure the thickness of the remaining tread on your tires, you can simply use your eyes to estimate when the tire needs to be replaced, or if you want to be more exact about it, you can purchase a tire depth gauge, which will give you an exact calculation of how much tread you have remaining on the tire.

Other Notes About When To Replace Your Motorcycle Tires

  • The rear tire, because it is responsible for your motorcycle’s drive, is usually the first tire that needs to be replaced. The front tire usually lasts a lot longer than the rear tire, but you still may want to replace both tires at the same time.
  • Before you get on your motorcycle, be sure to visually inspect your tires for cracks and cuts. If the tread is low or you find any suspicious cracks/cuts, be sure to replace the tire(s) right away. Swelling or any other high spots in the tires indicate that there may be internal damage and that the tire(s) need to be replaced.
  • To increase the life of your motorcycle tires, be sure to remove any imbedded stones or other foreign particles from your tires and tread before each ride.

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2 Responses to “When Do Your Motorcycle Tires Need To Be Replaced?”

  1. Hamilton on November 23rd, 2011 11:59 pm

    From the looks of that tire the tread was dangerously low. Correct? Where is that depth measured from?

  2. Joel M Perez on March 14th, 2012 6:40 pm

    In the process of replacing front tire, due to dry rot, on my Honda Shadow 750 C2 cruiser.
    Can I use a 80/20 M/C 54H TT dual purpose replacement tire tread type?
    The OEM type calls for a 90/90 21 H TT.



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