The only thing between the hard unforgiving pavement and you is your. Best that you know, understand, respect and learn how to treat them well. Keepping your tyres correctly inflated offers a lot advantages to the rider.
Tip: Keep a low pressure tyre gauge (0psi - 80psi) in your bike tool bag at all times. Try to remember to check your tyre pressure everytime you fill up for gas. Keep your tyres correctly inflated. A tyre that is very under-inflated generates a lot of heat which can lead to a blow out. Tyres that run too hot also wear out more quickly. The most common motorcycle breakdown is for tyre damage.
Purchase a pencil-type tyre gauge and use it regularly until you instinctively 'know' what your tyres feel like correctly inflated. Use of the gauge and visual inspections must become second nature. Replace your tyres sooner rather than later. If tread depth is 1-2mm it is time to replace your tyres.
Dry Rotting- or "cracking." Usually means that the tyres are old and/or the bike has not been in covered storage. Real "light" cracking may be ok, but basically if there is excessive dry rotting, you should get new tyres.
Tyre Care and Tyre Tips
Tyres on motorcycles, like any vehicle, play a vital role in the performance, handling and safety of the bike. Many times we tend to ignore the necessary maintenance needed to keep the tyres safe. With motorcycles, there are only two small contact patches for the rider to rely on, so it is extremely important to keep the tyres in top condition.
Any tyre, no matter how well constructed, may fail in use as a result of punctures, impact damage, improper inflation, overloading, or other conditions resulting from use or misuse. Tyre failure may create a risk of property damage, serious personal injury or death. To reduce the risk of tyre failure, we strongly recommend you read and follow all safety information contained in this brochure.
It is recommended that riders do a periodic inspection of their tyres and have any imbedded objects removed by a qualified service person. Serious personal injury or death may result from a tyre failure. Many tyre failures are preceded by vibration, bumps, bulges or irregular wear. If a vibration occurs while riding your motorcycle, or you notice a bump, bulge or irregular wear, have your tyres and motorcycle evaluated by a qualified service person.
It is not often that a properly maintained tyre will "blow out" while you are riding. More commonly if air is lost, it will be gradual. If you do experience a blow out or sudden tyre failure, the following information should be helpful: When the failure occurs, slowly decrease the amount of throttle, hold the handlebars firmly, and steer to maintain your lane position. Once the motorcycle has slowed and is fully under control, apply the brakes gently. Gradually pull over to the shoulder and come to a stop.
Tyre Inflation : Always keep the motorcycle manufacturer's recommended air pressure in both tyres. This is an important requirement for tyre safety and mileage. Your motorcycle owner’s manual will tell you the recommended cold inflation pressure. On some motorcycles, the recommended front and rear tyre pressures will be different. The pressures stamped on the sidewall of the tyre are only for maximum loads. On some occasions, these pressures will also be the manufacturers recommended settings as well.
Riding on tyres with too little air pressure is dangerous. The tyres will build excessive heat. This can cause a sudden tyre failure that could lead to serious personal injury or death.
Underinflation may also:
- -Damage the tyre leading to tyre failure
- -Adversely affect vehicle cornering
- -Reduce tyre life
- -Increase fuel consumption
- -Fatigue cracking
Riding on tyres with too much air can be dangerous. The tyres are more likely to be cut, punctured, or broken by sudden impact. Serious personal injury or death could result. Do not exceed the pressure indicated on the tyre sidewall. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended inflation and other tyre information.
Never inflate a tyre unless it is secured to the motorcycle or a tyre-mounting machine. Inflating an unsecured tyre is dangerous. If it bursts, it could be hurled into the air with explosive force resulting in serious personal injury or death.
Valve Stems, Cores & Caps
Old or damaged valve stems and cores may cause air loss. Replace them when mounting new tyres. Use caps (finger tight) on the valve stems to keep dust, dirt and moisture away from the valve.
Checking Tyre Inflation
-Check your tyre air pressure at least once a week and before long trips. Be sure to use an accurate pressure gauge.
-Check your air pressure when the tyres are "cold." The tyres are "cold" when your motorcycle has been ridden less than a mile at moderate speed or after being stopped for three or more hours.
-If you must add air when your tyres are hot, add four pounds per square inch (4 psi)(28 kPa) above the recommended cold inflation pressure. Recheck the inflation pressure when the tyre is cold.
-Never release air from a hot tyre in order to reach the recommended cold tyre pressure. -Normal riding causes tyres to run hotter and inflation pressure to increase. If you release air when your tyres are hot, you may dangerously under inflate your tyres.
-If your tyres lose more than two pounds per square inch (2 psi)(14 kPa) per month, the tyre, the valve, or wheel may be damaged. Consult your local dealer for an inspection.
-Use valve caps to keep valve cores clean, clear of debris and to help guard against air leakage.
In order for your new tyre(s) to provide optimum performance, tyres should be ridden very cautiously for the first 100 miles in order for the tread surface to be “Scuffed-In” and work properly. Directly after new tyres are mounted, sudden acceleration, maximum braking and hard cornering must be avoided. This will allow the rider to adjust to the “Feel” and handling characteristics of the new tyre and for the new tyre to be “Scuffed-In” correctly in order to achieve optimum grip level.
Riding your motorcycle in an overloaded condition is dangerous. Overloading causes excessive heat to build up in your tyres. This can lead to sudden tyre failure and serious personal injury or death while the tyre is overloaded or at some later date.
Consult your motorcycle owner's manual for the motorcycle load limits and proper tyre inflation that applies to your motorcycle and tyres.
Never exceed the maximum load rating stamped on the tyre sidewall of your tyre or the maximum vehicle load rating, whichever is less. Before a trip, determine the total weight of luggage, equipment, and rider(s) to be added to your vehicle.
Never exceed the accessory restrictions and motorcycle load capacity found in the owner's manual, or the maximum load molded on the sidewall of the tyre.
Pulling trailers behind your motorcycle is not recommended by Bridgestone/Firestone as trailers may contribute to motorcycle instability and overload.
Riding on damaged tyres is dangerous. A damaged tyre can suddenly fail causing serious personal injury or death. Have your tyres regularly inspected by your local dealer for damage.
Spotting Damaged Tyres
After striking anything unusual in the roadway, ask your local dealer to demount the tyre and inspect it for damage. A tyre may not have visible signs of damage on the tyre surface. Yet, the tyre may suddenly fail without warning, a day, a week, or even months later.
Inspect your tyres for cuts, cracks, splits or bruises in the tread and sidewall areas. Bumps or bulges may indicate a separation within the tyre body. Have your tyre inspected by a qualified tyre service person. It may be necessary to have it removed from the wheel for a complete inspection.
Inspect your tyres for adequate tread depth. When the tyre is worn to the built-in indicators at 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimeters) or less tread groove depth, or the tyre cord or fabric is exposed, the tyre is dangerously worn and must be replaced immediately.
Inspect your tyres for uneven wear. Wear on one side of the tread or flat spots in the tread may indicate a problem with the tyre or vehicle. Consult your local dealer.
Inspect your rims also. If you have a bent or cracked rim, it must be replaced.
Minimum Tread Depth
Excessively worn tyres are more susceptible to penetrations and road hazards. Always remove a tyre from service once the wear reaches the tread wear indicator bars (indicating 1/32 of an inch of tread depth) located in the grooves of the tyre.
Riding on an improperly repaired tyre is dangerous. An improper repair can cause further damage to the tyre. It may suddenly fail, causing serious personal injury or death. To be safe, go to your local dealer for proper tyre repairs.
Before having a tyre repaired, tell your local dealer if you have used an aerosol fixer to inflate/ seal the tyre. Aerosol fixers could contain a highly volatile gas. Always remove the valve core outdoors, away from sources of excessive heat, flame, or sparks and completely deflate the tyre before removing it from the rim for repair.
- -Never repair a tyre with less than 1/32nd inch (0.8 millimeters) tread remaining. At this tread depth, the tyre is worn out and must be replaced.
- -Never repair a tyre with a puncture larger than 1/4 inch (6.4 millimeters) in diameter. Such tyres cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced.
- -Repairs of all tyres (radial and non-radial) must be of the plug and inside patch type. Using plugs alone on any type of tyre is not a safe repair.
- -Never repair a tyre with a puncture or other damage outside the tread area. Such tyres cannot be properly repaired and must be replaced.
- -Any tyre repair done without removing the tyre from the rim is improper.
- -Tubes, like tyres, should be repaired only by a qualified tyre service person.
- -Never use a tube as a substitute for a proper repair.
A tyre's speed rating is void if the tyre is repaired, retreaded, damaged or abused, or otherwise altered from its original condition. Thereafter, it should be treated as a non-speed-rated tyre.
Speed should not exceed 50 mph (80kph) in the first 24 hours after a repair is made and the repaired tyre should never be used at speeds above 80 mph (128 kph).
Removing and Replacing Tyres on Rims ( Tyre Mounting)
Always stand well clear of any tyre mounting operation. This is especially important when the service operator inflates the tyre. If the tyre has been improperly mounted, it may burst with explosive force causing serious personal injury or death.
Removing and replacing tyres on rims can be dangerous. Attempting to mount tyres with improper tools or procedures may result in a tyre explosion causing serious personal injury or death. This is a job for your local dealer or other qualified tyre service location only.
Serious personal injury or death can result from:
-Failure to select the proper tyre and rim. The tyre must match the width and diameter requirements of the rim. For example, when mounting 16-inch diameter tyres, use only 16-inch diameter rims.
-Failure to inspect both the tyre and rim. The rim must be free of cracks, dents, chips, and rust. -The tyre must be free of bead damage, cuts, and punctures.
-Exceeding the maximum bead seating pressure. The tyre service person must never inflate a tyre beyond 40 pounds per square inch (psi)(276kPa) to seat the beads. Be absolutely certain beads are fully seated before adjusting inflation pressure to the level recommended for vehicle operation.
NEVER MOUNT PASSENGER CAR TYRES ON MOTORCYCLE RIMS.
Mount only “tubeless” tyres on “tubeless” rims when the rim manufacturer recommends this fitment. Some rims require tubes. A “tubeless” tyre must be installed on a “tube type” rim when the appropriate tube is inserted.
Do not install non-radial tubes in radial tyres. Insure that the tube marking matches the radial tyre marking before installation to rims that require tubes.
A new valve must be installed on the rim each time a worn out motorcycle tyre is replaced.
Never put flammable substances in tyre/rim assemblies at any time. Never put any flammable substance into a tyre/ im assembly and attempt to ignite to seat the beads.
Rim Size It is extremely important that the proper size of rim is used for your tyres. Be sure to match your tyre size to the size allowed on the rim. Improper rim width may affect handling and stability. Consult the sizing information of the tyres you want to install for rim width allowances. Be sure that there is proper clearance between the tyre and swingarm and any fender areas.
Tyre & Wheel Balance
To avoid vibration and accelerated tyre wear, it is essential to balance the tyre & wheel assembly before use and each time the tyre is removed or replaced on the rim. Also, check the rim for any imperfections as they could affect the overall balance.
Tyre Size Selection
All motorcycles should be equipped with the tyre size specified by the motorcycle manufacturer as found in the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website. Be sure to equip the bike with radial tyres only when they are required by the bike manufacturer.
Front and Rear Tyre Matching
For optimum performance, it is very important to correctly match your front and rear tyres. Riding your motorcycle with an improper mix of radial construction tyres with bias or bias-belted construction tyres is dangerous. Your motorcycle’s handling characteristics can be seriously affected. You could have an accident resulting in serious personal injury or death. Consult your owner's manual or your local dealer, for the proper tyre replacement.
-Mount tyres marked " Front Wheel" on front positions only and tyres marked "Rear Positions" on rear positions only.
-Never mix Radial construction tyres with bias or bias-belted construction tyres.
-Some motorcycles may be equipped with Radial tyres. Consult the motorcycle manufacturer before equipping replacement Radial tyres to insure the proper specification and combination for your motorcycle.
-A new front tyre equipped on a motorcycle with a worn rear tyre may cause instability.
When fitting a new tyre on a rim requiring a tube, a new tube should be fitted at the same time. Old tubes may become stretched and cause a crease which could make the tube fail. Check the size markings on the tube to ensure the tyre size appears on the tube. Do not fit tubes in radial motorcycle tyres, nor fit radial tyres on rims requiring tubes, unless it is specified by the tyre manufacturer.
Riding at high speed is dangerous, and can cause a motorcycle accident, including serious personal injury or death.
Regardless of the speed and handling capabilities of your motorcycle and its tyres, a loss of control can result from exceeding the maximum speed:
(a) allowed by law or
(b) warranted by traffic, weather, vehicle, or road conditions. High-speed riding should be left to trained professionals operating under controlled conditions.
No tyre, regardless of its design or speed rating, has unlimited capacity for speed, and a sudden tyre failure can occur if its limits are exceeded.
Never use race only tyres on public roads. Race tyres are constructed in such a way that they are very unstable under normal street riding conditions. These tyres also require higher operating temperatures for proper performance. These temperatures cannot be obtained within legal speed limits.
Do not use a tyre on the road that has been subjected to motorcycle dynamometer testing. The stress from this process may result in tread compound degradation and possible tyre failure.
Tyre Speed Ratings
Some tyres bear a letter "speed rating" designation indicating the tyre's design speed capability. This speed rating system is intended to allow you to compare the speed capabilities of tyres.
When purchasing or replacing speed-rated tyres, make sure to:
Use the rankings in the chart below to compare the speed ratings of all the tyres, and
follow the motorcycle manufacturer's recommendations, if any, concerning the use of speed-rated tyres. To avoid reducing the speed capability of the motorcycle, replace a speed-rated tyre only with another tyre having at least the same speed rating. Remember, it's the "top speed" of the "slowest" tyre on the vehicle, which cannot be exceeded without risk of tyre failure. The letter symbols and corresponding design speeds are: Speed-Rating Symbol Speed Category*
Spinning a tyre to remove a motorcycle stuck in mud, ice, snow, or wet grass can be dangerous. A tyre spinning at a speedometer reading above 35 miles per hour (55 km/h) can in a matter of seconds reach a speed capable of disintegrating a tyre with explosive force. Under some conditions, a tyre may be spinning at a speed twice that shown on the speedometer. This could cause serious personal injury or death to a bystander or passenger and extensive motorcycle damage. Never spin a tyre above a speedometer reading of 35 mph (55 km/h).
Wheel Spokes / Wire Wheels
Regularly inspect the spokes of your motorcycle wheels. Broken or loose spokes may cause wheel wobble, which can lead to instability and premature tyre wear. Check rim tape condition. A protruding spoke can damage a tube and cause a tyre puncture.
Tyre and/or Vehicle Storage
Tyres and/or vehicles should be stored indoors in a cool dry place where water cannot collect inside the tyres. The tyres and or vehicles should be placed away from electric generators and motors and sources of heat such as hot pipes. Storage surfaces should be clean and free of grease, gasoline, or other substances, which can deteriorate the rubber. Improper storage can damage your tyres in ways that may not be visible and can lead to serious personal injury or death.
Oil, Grease and Gasoline
These items can deteriorate rubber when exposed to a tyre for any length of time. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove these chemicals from the tyre.
Use a mild soap solution to clean sidewalls, white stripes or raised white lettering, and then rinse off with plain water. Never apply any other materials, cleaners or dressings to enhance sidewall appearance. These items may degrade the rubber and remove inherent ozone cracking and weather checking resistance.
What do these terms mean?
- Metric designation:
- Example: 130/90-16 67 H
- 130 = Section width of the tyre (130 mm)
- 90 = Aspect ratio (90%) (Section height divided by Section width as a percentage)
- 16 = Rim diameter (inches)
- 67 = Load rating (A numerical code which corresponds to the total laod carrying capacity at the speed indicated by the speed symbol)
- H = Speed rating (see chart)
- Example: MT90-16 LOAD RANGE B
- M = Motorcycle code
- T = Tyre width code
- 90 = Aspect ratio (90%)
- 16 = Rim diameter (inches)
- LOAD RANGE B = Load range
- Example: 5.00 H 16 4PR
- 5.00 = Section width (inches)
- H = Speed rating
- 16 = Rim diameter
- 4PR = Casing strength (ply rating)
A neglected tyre can be a deadly one. The simplest and most important thing you can do for your tyres' health and your safety is keep them, inflated to the designated pressure.
- 1. Air It Out: Check tyre pressure every chance you get. There's probably no simpler procedure that's more important and more ignored by bikers of every stripe. The air, not the carcass, supports the bike, and underinflation is a tyre's number one enemy. (Make sure the tyres are cool when you take the reading.) For a better tractrion in wet conditions, increase pressures by about 10 percent. Unsure of what the pressure is supposed to be? Look for a sticker somewhere on the bike. It is also probably on the VIN (serial number) plate hear the steering head with the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) information.
- 2. Step in Line: Pay close attention to alignment--shaft drive bikes have no adjustment, but if you have a chain or belt, check the position of your tyres. Proper alignment ensures better handling and longer wear.
- 3. Steady, Now: Although it primarily affects handling, improper balance can also shorten a tyre's life. Check it after 500 or 1000 miles of use.
- 4. Top It Off: The valve stem cap should be securely fastened on the stem, because it's an important part of your tyre's sealing system. It'll give you extra security at high speeds, when centrifugal force can conspire to open the valve inside the stem.
- 5. Soap It Up: Most tyre manufacturers recommend that the only substance used to keep rubber shiny should be good old soap and water. Many alleged protectants actually promote premature cracking and finish deterioration. Make sure you wipe off any lube, brake fluid or gas promptly, too.
- 6. Look Before You Crank: Before you saddle up, take a moment to visually inspect your tyres. We can't tell you how many times we've pulled out screws or nails before a ride, thus preventing almost certain tyre failure. Once you're on the road, it'll be too late.
- 7. Stay Smooth: This is common sense--avoid potholes and sharp objects on the road that can compromise your tyre's integrity. The same goes for curbs.
- 8. Don't Mix and Match: Never run two tyres of differing construction. We can't stress this enough, and this rule applies to bias-plies vs. radials as well as tubeless and tube-type tyres--even bias-ply vs. bias-belted tyres. The results can be disastrous.
- 9. Scuff 'Em Up: Optimal grip is obtained only after the tread surface has been ridden on, so go into those first few twisties with a bit of caution. The suggested break-in distance is usually 200 or so miles. After that, check the tyre's pressure again!
- 10. Don't Scrimp: If you replace your tyres, make sure you replace the tubes, too. Some manufacturers even recommend that you change both tyres at the same time, even if they wear differently.