Any keen biker will know that other than their crash helmet and leathers, their tires keep them safe while out riding. Any defects could mean the difference between a safe ride on the roads, or a trip to the hospital. Checking your bike before you ride is common sense, and a good practice to get into. When it comes to checking your tires, here are three things that you need to check before going for a ride.
Firstly, the tires need to be inflated to the manufacturers recommended level for the type of road conditions, and the frequency of use. Daily road riding is very different from occasional dirt track riding, and while the same bike can be used for both activities, the pressure needed is likely to be very different. The pressure also keeps the tire bead pressed against the rim. In extreme cases, low pressure can lead to the tire coming away from the rim.
Check your tire pressure when your tires are cold. Checking them after you have been on a ride will give you a higher reading, as the air in the tire can expand by up to ten percent. Either check the pressure before you run your bike, or give at least 20 minutes of cooling off time after you have been out.
Much like the pressure, the tire tread can vary depending on what you are doing and where you are riding. The first thing to do is carry out a visual inspection of the tires, getting up close to check for general wear and damage. All tires now come with wear bars built into them. They are not visible on new tires, but as the tread wears away over time, they become more prominent. When the level of tread matches the wear bars, it is time to get the tire replaced. Riding on tires that do not have enough tread can lead to accidents and blow outs.
Using a penny is another common way to check the depth. The penny should be partially covered by the tread, covering part of Lincolns head. If all his head is visible then the tire should be changed.
Another visual check should be between the tread of the tires, to make sure there are no small objects wedged into them. Small stones, glass, or screws that have become lodged in the tire can affect its performance, and even cause an accident.
There are two main types of tire, radial and bias. The difference is in the construction. A radial tire has the internal cords at a ninety-degree angle to the rubber, while a bias tire has the cords running diagonally. These tires behave differently under force, so acceleration and breaking can be affected by the tire type. Bikes are usually manufactured to use one type or the other, so when replacing your tires, it is important to use the correct ones. Your local tire shop will be able to advise you to make sure you stay safe on the road.
If you need any further advice or want your tires checked professionally, give us a call.