Motorcycle tire wear, bulges, deformation, punctures… If your tires are marked by wear or impact, is it already necessary to change them? Read our tips and find out what warning signs to look out for to stay safe.
When to change motorcycle tires?
Tires in poor condition can ruin your vehicle's performance and even endanger your safety or that of your loved ones. It is therefore recommended that you do a monthly inspection to check:
- The state of the tires
- Wear indicators
- Any damage due to impacts or any sign of unusual wear
- The tire pressure
When making visual checks, pay particular attention to the tread area and the sidewalls. Look for unusual, excessive, or uneven tread wear, foreign objects, bulges or deformation, signs of penetration, cracking of the rubber or any deterioration or damage.
If the tire has a puncture
Tires are durable and are designed to withstand a certain number of impacts, but they can sometimes get a puncture. In the event of a flat tire, the tire should be inspected by a professional. Only he will be able to confirm that the tire's interior chamber hasn't suffered any irreparable damage.
If the legal tread wear limit has been reached
Motorcycle tire wear occurs for all tires over time. Care should be taken not to exceed the legal wear limit.
The wear indicators on the tire are 0.8 mm high. This height is strictly the same for all tires.
Although the wear indicators provide information on the level of wear, it is important to know that this is an indicative value which does not always reflect the legislation. Indeed, the official legal limit may vary according to the legislation of each country. For example, in France, the legal limit is 1mm, whereas in Switzerland it is 1.6mm.
How to identify motorcycle tire wear indicators?
A Michelin Man symbol on the upper side of your tires means that they feature a tread wear indicator. Similar to little bumps, these can be found at the bottom of the main grooves.
1 - Identify the Michelin Man symbol
2 - Find the closest motorcycle tire wear indicator in a main groove
Once the remaining rubber has worn down to this level, the tire has reached or exceeded its legal wear limit. Although Michelin tires are designed for performance made to last, we strongly advise you to change your tires before reaching this point. Past this point, your safety cannot be guaranteed, nor can grip or performance, particularly on wet surfaces.
If tires show signs of ageing
It is difficult to predict a tire's lifespan because it bears no relation to its manufacturing date. Tires that have never been used, or have only been used infrequently, may still show signs of ageing. Many factors can affect their lifespan: weather conditions, storing and usage conditions, load, speed, tire pressure, maintenance, riding style...
Michelin recommends that all riders regularly dedicate a few moments of their time to inspecting their tires in order to pick up on any external signs of ageing or wear: deformations or cracks in the tread, on the shoulders or sides...
You should also have your tires checked by a professional who can assess if they should be replaced or not.
How long do motorcycle tires last?
After 5 years of use or more, tires should be examined every year by a professional. If the tires need to be changed, follow the manufacturer's recommendations with regard to replacing original components. As a precaution, all tires that have not been replaced after ten years should be changed, even if they appear to be in a generally good condition and have not reached their tread wear limit.
If the tire is damaged
Pavements, holes or blunt objects can seriously damage tires. All tears, cuts or deformations should be carefully examined by a professional. Only a professional can confirm whether the tire can be repaired. As a general rule, don't ride on damaged or flat tires.
When is a tire damaged beyond repair?
A tire cannot be repaired in the following cases:
- Punctures to the sides of the tire (repair is only possible in the T area, which is 3/4 of the width of the tire)
- Visible beads
- The tread rubber becoming unstuck or deformed
- Degradation showing parts of the interior of the tire
- Damage due to oils or corrosive substances
- Cracking of the rubber due to ageing of the tire
Here are some examples of damage requiring professional intervention:
If the tire shows an unusual pattern of wear
Unusual motorcycle tire wear on the treads - localised in certain places, in the centre or on the shoulders - is often a sign of an incorrect tire pressure. An overinflated tire will cause more wear in the centre of the tire, while an underinflated tire will cause more wear on the shoulders, which can damage the carcass inside the tire over time. To avoid this, check your tire pressure regularly so that it corresponds to that recommended by the manufacturer.
Another cause of irregular motorcycle tire wear and tear may be that of a mechanical problem (worn shock absorbers, transmission, fixings…) or very sporty driving.
If you have any doubts, contact a professional.
If you have the wrong tires for your vehicle
Choose your tires in accordance with legal requirements and manufacturer's homologations.
For optimal performance, preferably use the same brand and range of tires at the front and rear. Never fit a vehicle with one radial tire and one non radial tire unless specified by the manufacturer. The best way to ensure you have the right tires is to follow the manufacturer's homologations.
When the time comes to change your tires, check out our tire selector below to be sure you make the right choice or ask a professional for advice.