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Tires are often overlooked, but they are one of the most critical safety features on any motorcycle. With a car, you can get away with an occasional air pressure check and visual inspection. If you suffer a tire failure on a car, it is usually not a big deal. You pull over to the side of the road and change the tire or call for roadside assistance and you are on your way again.
Unfortunately, the “no big deal” mentality that we treat our car tires with often crosses over to our motorcycle habits. Tire failure on a motorcycle is a big deal and too often, a catastrophic event.
The demands and trust we place on our motorcycle tires are much greater than those that we place on our car tires and should not be taken for granted. This is especially true for winter time riding. Riding a motorcycle in the winter makes tire safety even more important.
Before each ride, make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressures for you make and model motorcycle. Inspect the tread depth. If your tires won’t channel water away from the contact patch, you should not ride. One of the easiest ways to measure tread depth is to take a penny and place the edge in your tire groove with Lincoln’s head facing downward. If Lincoln’s head is partially covered than you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread. You should do this in several locations around your tires. If at any point, Lincoln’s head is fully exposed, you do not have enough tire tread.
If the tread looks good, make sure to visually inspect your tires for cupping, cracks, nails and damage to the tread and sidewall areas before each ride.
In addition to increased moisture, there is usually more debris and other road hazards to deal with during the winter. Carrying a high quality/ easy to use tire repair kit with you and using a tire sealant like Ride-On to prevent flats in the first place are excellent ways to reduce the risk getting a flat or getting stranded by a flat. The Cruiser Customizing Staff has had excellent luck with Ride-On Tire Sealant and we highly recommend it.
Ride-On also offers a roadside assistance program for $16.95 per year that would pay for itself the first time you need it and provide you with added piece of mind. This is a great option if your motorcycle insurance program does not offer roadside assistance.
Do not take your tires for granted. They are one of the most critical safety features on your motorcycle.