Motorcycle Forums » Biker Chat

Tire wear

  • March 30, 2014 2:18 AM PDT

    Okay riders I've only been riding about 3 years now and was wondering how far down does everyone let their tire tread go before replacing the back tire ?

    • 5417 posts
    March 30, 2014 3:46 AM PDT
    Most what you read (motorcycle manual and tire warranty) state to replace with 1/32" of tread left, which is about what I do

    If I know I am going to be riding in wet weather or heading out for a trip and there is anything less than around 1/16" of tread I will change it.

    A lot of tires these days have tire wear indicators built in (see picture below).  If not you can use a sophisticated, high-tech electronic tread wear indicator… or you can check the depth of your tread with a penny! Just place a penny upside down into your remaining tread groove, and if you can see the very top of Lincoln’s hair, it’s time to shop for a new set of motorcycle tires (that is just about 1/32").
    • 1855 posts
    March 30, 2014 3:47 AM PDT
    I don't think most of us look at tread wear; at least I don't. There are so many other factors that come into play. One particular one that I can think of is front end wobble most commonly caused by a cupped tire. A good deal of it also is the bike you ride, the tires you use, and whether or not you keep your air pressure where it is suppose to be.

    On my '12 Heritage I am always on top of my tire pressure. I use Dunlop because they suit me well for the riding we do and because I let HD do the service and they won't put on any other tire; at least not where I go. But I will change rear tire at roughly 9K miles and front tire between 17K-20K.

    On my shovelheads it's 10K and 20K. Again, keeping up with the proper tire pressure is a must.

    Peace
  • March 30, 2014 12:08 PM PDT
    +1 on the correct tire pressure!!!!!!! Always check your tire pressure before your bike rolls out of the garage! You'll get the optimum milage out of them if you do! And after a few more years you'll start noticing things like a drift in the front, wobbles all kinda fun things... but always check your pressure, do a walk around your bike before you even ride!
    • 844 posts
    March 30, 2014 1:06 PM PDT
    Back tire I will let run down a bit more than the front. I usually go by what Lucky said, about 1/32" of tread left.
  • March 30, 2014 1:09 PM PDT
    The average is approximately 9 K +/- miles for the rear tire. Lucky is very accurate with the penny and wear marks. If your tire is without tread in dead center (bald) then it's time for a new tire.. Better to err to safety then slipping and loosing control of the bike.
  • March 30, 2014 1:50 PM PDT
    LOL I change mine when I see the last cord
    • 1855 posts
    March 30, 2014 2:17 PM PDT
    aquadave wrote...
    LOL I change mine when I see the last cord

     
    Good one Dave.  I remember those days when I was young and fearless and just rode on forever.  Tire changing?  It happened when it happened as you well know.  I don't think I'm all that fearless anymore ya know.   But I am a protectionist. 

    Peace

  • March 30, 2014 2:28 PM PDT
    Right before I change my truck tires I use them to pick up the leaves in the yard with the wires poking out
    • 2965 posts
    March 31, 2014 5:00 AM PDT
    Tire life varies greatly depending on the riding you do and the quality of the roadway.
    My front tires (dumwops) barely get 8000 before replacement,the rear usually is good for about 14000,tho I have switched over to a pirelli in the rear.So far I really like it,it is a lot more responsive of a tire then the stock dunnies.
    Tire wear looks fairly good. I have run my front tires down to a bald state before,showing cord even one time LOL remember dont do this!!! I was asking for trouble there!!!
  • April 1, 2014 10:03 AM PDT
    How important is changing the oil in the front forks? Some say, do it every year. Does this improve tire wear? My front tire looks bad, no cords showing, just looks like the left side is cupped in spots . Low oil in shock? I have read on here somewhere that the Dunlops wear on one side like that, and to change up the manufacturer, maybe a Michelin or Pirelli would last longer. Oh yeah, I'm on a 08 Fat Bob, fat tires...expensive.
    • 1855 posts
    April 1, 2014 12:28 PM PDT
    Fork oil has nothing, nothing to do with tire wear unless of course you've gon 90k miles without changing the fork oil and then I don't have an answer for you. Change fork oil every 20K regardless. Tires? You have to monitor that to determine your preference but I'd just stay with Dunlop unless you start getting less than 5k out of the front and less than 10k out of the rear. Geeeeesh!! It's just thing man. No one can tell you the right answer.
    • 2965 posts
    April 2, 2014 6:33 AM PDT
    How important is changing the oil in the front forks? Some say, do it every year. Does this improve tire wear? My front tire looks bad, no cords showing, just looks like the left side is cupped in spots . Low oil in shock? I have read on here somewhere that the Dunlops wear on one side like that, and to change up the manufacturer, maybe a Michelin or Pirelli would last longer. Oh yeah, I'm on a 08 Fat Bob, fat tires...expensive.

    I have discussed this topic on a lot of different motorcycle boards over the years,uneven front tire wear.Typically my left front tire wears faster on the left face,opposite the single brake rotor.Which I believe to be a major cause of this uneven wear pattern.
    Other ideas include making longer left turns,more friction from riding right side of road crown,bad wheel bearings,etc etc...a definitive answer has yet to be found to my satisfaction.It may be a combination of factors,yet low fork oil isnt high on my list of suspects from my research on the topic.
    I do find it highly unusual that you are riding a fatboy and having this problem,my past experience is harleys front tires in general wear evenly up front with high mileage,while their rears deliver half the life.The opposite of the metrics in general.
  • April 9, 2014 12:55 PM PDT
    thanks for the input !!!
  • September 1, 2014 11:57 PM PDT
    Thanks riders, the more information the better. I believe now, that the best countermeasure for unusual tire wear is proper inflation. The Dunlop tire is a super soft compound, (for better grip, I'm told) and tire pressure is very important. And if the roads are as choppy, potholed, patched, rutted and bumpy as they are around my area, tire pressure should be checked quite often. Oh and blurpebuzz, I'm on a FatBob.
    • 285 posts
    September 3, 2014 9:10 PM PDT
    Tires have built in Wear bars. They are inside the tread of the bike, when your tire and the Wear Bar are the same heights you are suppose to get new tires. That is when I start shoppin tires online and local and doing Cycle Tire Review sites.
    • 82 posts
    September 4, 2014 12:53 AM PDT
    I keep original tires on the bike. A little silly because they're real expensive over here. You'll pay around $400US for a Dunlop K591 balanced and installed on the rear at a Harley Dealer. Also get 8K-10K out of the front and couple of thousand more from the rear. I'm pretty conscious about keeping the tire pressure correct.

    I order a new front when I begin to feel the tire slip a little as it crosses the painted lines when changing lanes. The rear gets changed based on the wear marks. If I'm facing several months of bad weather riding I'll change a little early.

    Also, when I'm getting ready for a long run if there are more than a couple of thousand miles on the tires I'll replace both and hold onto them. Put them back on when the new ones are used up. Just like to leave with a fresh set on the bike.
    • 5417 posts
    November 10, 2014 2:13 AM PST
    I just noticed something a little out of the norm. I just checked my rear tire and it is gone at 7,000 miles. Same Dunlop I always run, pretty much the same type riding I do every year, but for some reason I got 2,000 to 3,000 less on this tire change.

    Don't know what caused it???
  • November 10, 2014 5:48 AM PST
    Trailer tow loads will cause a different wear on rear tires. Load is off of tire but tow traction is inceased. Don't try to be first or keep up with the Rabbits.. I leave early and take an extra day to enjoy the country air and fall colors.

    Maybe leave the hot tub and recliner at home or buy the beer after you arrive...
    • 5417 posts
    November 10, 2014 6:11 AM PST
    Don't think it is the trailer because I have been pulling it for the last three tire changes. Like I said, pretty much the same load with the same trips on this tire, but got a couple thousand less miles off it with the exact same riding habits.
  • November 10, 2014 1:13 PM PST
    Date code older tire? Tire storage history (got baked) before you bought it? Had a set of four on a car same age but one wore out twice as quick. ?????
    • 2965 posts
    November 10, 2014 4:28 PM PST
    Have just about 7000 on my front Dunlop, time to change it again its almost to the wear bar. It has become a annual chore now. This last time I purchased a tire from a local Honda shop in Berkeley best deal I found.Brought in the tire.They discount the mounting with the tire off the ride.

    Lucky, I personally think the difference was due to the rubber at the factory was not bonded properly or as well as usual. I have had similar experience with Dunns.The front Dunn from about two years ago wore out fast barely got 4000 out of it.
    • 82 posts
    November 10, 2014 5:27 PM PST
    Lucky wrote...
    I just noticed something a little out of the norm. I just checked my rear tire and it is gone at 7,000 miles. Same Dunlop I always run, pretty much the same type riding I do every year, but for some reason I got 2,000 to 3,000 less on this tire change.

    Don't know what caused it???


    Lucky, I had a rear tire wear out too quickly a couple of years back.  Same tire as always, same shop did the change and same riding conditions.  I got to poking around and found the rear tire very slightly aligned left of center as he wasn't aligning the axle properly when adjusting the drive belt.  (The mech was probably doing half a flat on either side and counting it as good.)  I made the little alignment tool as per the Harley Maintenance Manual and sure enough the rear wheel was not properly aligned. 

    From that day on I pull the tire and take it to the shop to get the tire changed.  When I replace it I make sure the belt is adjusted and the tire is aligned.  Never a problem with tire mileage since. 

    My $0.02.

     

    • 44 posts
    November 11, 2014 3:04 AM PST
    Just put on my third rear tire in 12000 miles went with a michillen commander 2 hear good things we will see 200/55/17
    • 5417 posts
    November 21, 2014 12:58 PM PST
    Lucky wrote...
    I just noticed something a little out of the norm. I just checked my rear tire and it is gone at 7,000 miles. Same Dunlop I always run, pretty much the same type riding I do every year, but for some reason I got 2,000 to 3,000 less on this tire change.

    Don't know what caused it???

    Well I went back to the same place for a new tire last Saturday and they had no idea either, but they did give me a partial credit toward the new tire.  I know they really didn't need to do that since there is never a milage warrantee, but it is really nice to see that some businesses still put customer satisfaction first.

    By the way, the shop is Grand Prix in Costa Mesa.