Tyre pressures are the most important check that is plainly ignored when it comes to motorcycling. Do you remember when did you check your tyre pressure consciously? Do you know what should be the normal pressure of rear and front tyres of your motorcycle?
A lesser or over-inflated tyre does not only risk your motorcycle but can also be fatal to your life.
But no worries! We will go through the bare minimum that every bike rider should be aware of, particularly the long-distance tourers.
Considering the fact that the whole motorcycle runs on tyres, it makes extremely important to gauge the health of tyres timely. A less/over-inflated tyre may reduce the handling capability and loss of traction and in some cases bursting of tyres.
I will share my story, which made me realise how important tyre pressures are.
I was riding an Enfield Thunderbird 350cc loaded with around 190 Kilograms on the Yamuna Expressway. The 165 km stretch from Greater Noida to Agra is certainly one of the best roads in India to drag your motorcycle. The afternoon was very hot. I was lazy to check my tyre pressures before entering the expressway.
After some 50 odd Kilometres, I could feel the loss of traction while applying brakes. Pieces of tubes and tyres on the highway were frightening. So, I decided to stop at the next toll booth and check the pressures.
In the workshop, when the pressure of front tyre was checked it was around 35 Psi. Got it reduced to 32 Psi. And the pressure of the rear tyre was amazingly 55 Psi. Some few Psi and the tyre would have burst to bring me on the road. I asked him to reduce the pressure to 38 Psi.
It was the heat which increased the pressure. The concrete is responsible for the increasing number of fatal accidents on superhighways like Yamuna Expressway and Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
What happens when the tyre pressures are low
Lower pressures increase the traction, but the compromise is potential damage to your rims or pinch flats caused by the tube getting “pinched” between tire and rim. Ultimately the tire could come off the rim if there’s not enough pressure to force the bead into the wheel.
What happens if the tyre is over-inflated:
The over-inflated tyre, on the other hand, causes poor handling and braking as the contact point of the tyre gets reduced with the road.
Too much pressure can cause your tires to quickly overheat and may result in bursting of tubes.
What should be the normal tyre pressures for motorcycles
Some factors affecting the tyre pressures include the weight of the motorcycle, quality of tubes and tyres and climate of the area.
Also, one important point to take a note of is; the tyre pressures should only be measured when the tyres are cold. Possibly when the bike has not been run for more than 10 km or the tyres are at rest for at least 10 minutes after long riding.
Motorcycle tyre pressure for Solo Rider.
Front: 30 PSI or 206 kPa
Rear: 33 PSI or 227 kPa
Motorcycle tyre pressure for Rider And Pillion.
Front: 30 PSI or 206 kPa
Rear: 38 PSI or 262 kPa
Note: Above mentioned tyre pressures are general readings and it is advised to follow the recommended tyre pressures as mentioned in the motorcycle users manual or generally that information is mentioned on the chain cover or the swing arm of your motorcycle.
Why you should use a high-quality gauge to measure the tyre pressure
Cheap gauges tend to show faulty readings, sometimes as large as 30 Psi difference. Investing in good pressure gauge and a cheap air pump is a wise option. In India, somewhat okay pressure gauges are available in less than 600 rupees on the internet.
For the tourers, it is highly advisable to carry a pressure gauge and foot pump. And follow a morning ritual to check tyre pressures.
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