If you are a motorcycle rider, you surely know that regular usage is the main and obvious cause of your motorbike tyres wearing out. However, you might not be fully aware of premature wear, which may have a number of possible causes and consequences.

This article presents various issues related to premature wear on motorcycle tyres. Find out what signs you should be keeping an eye out for and why particular changes can be a major cause for concern. We will also discuss how to prevent tyres from wearing out prematurely and what to do with part worn motorcycle tyres.

Worn motorcycle tyre close-up

What affects the wear on your motorbike tyres? 

First of all, you should be aware that there are a number of factors that influence motorbike tyre wear. The most important ones include:

  • Your driving speed. Reducing speed from 75 mph to 62 mph can increase the tyre mileage by around 30%.
  • The type of road surface. Heavier wear can occur approximately 30% faster when used on gravel roads.
  • The load on your bike. If you exceed the tyre load index and ride an overloaded motorbike, its tyres will, naturally, wear out too soon.

How to recognise premature tread wear

Abnormal tyre tread wear can be diagnosed when you notice that the height of the tread is lower in one particular area or when your tyre starts to display signs of premature asymmetric tyre wear. 

Side view of man on motorcycleKeeping the tyre pressure too low is much more damaging than too high.

What does it mean when only one part of the tyre is worn?

It might happen that you will find excessive wear only on one part of a tyre. Such a situation may indicate serious damage caused by an unbalanced wheel. Possibly, it may also mean that there has been some damage to the rim or to internal tyre elements.

These internal changes can influence the external shape of the tyre, as some areas may, in such cases, have more pressure applied to them. Consequently, these places will wear faster than others.

What are the causes of premature tyre wear?

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that could cause premature motorcycle tyre wear. The good news, however, is that if you are a careful, mindful rider, you will immediately notice when one of your motorcycle wheels suffers from tyre deformation. Being aware of the possible reasons of premature or excessive tyre wear will make it easier for you to act.

Such causes could be:

  • Too high tyre pressure
  • Too low tyre pressure
  • Mechanical tyre damage
  • Aggressive riding style
  • Overloaded motorcycle

Remember that premature wear is usually a result of something going wrong later on, rather than a factory fault.

Properly inflated motorcycle tyre

What can cause excessive or uneven tyre wear?

Your motorbike tyres may also experience asymmetrical wear, when the level of damage is not spread out as symmetrically as you would expect. This could involve, for instance, one side of the tyre wearing down faster than the other. 

In any case of uneven tyre wear, there are a few possible reasons you should take into account. The most common include:

  • Too little air pressure
  • Shock absorbers and suspension system not functioning equally
  • Uneven weight distribution, such as heavy panniers

All of these either shift weight to one side or apply uneven pressure to your bike tyre. This results in its one side having more contact with the ground than the other, therefore creating an imbalance in the intensity of the tyre usage and, ultimately, its lifespan.

Can I repair worn tyres myself?

In some cases, it is possible to repair a tyre yourself, especially when the damage is mostly external. For instance, if your tyre damage is caused by a thin object, such as a nail, causing a point puncture, then you could handle this yourself.

However, in the case of large holes or tears, there are no fixes that can restore the tyre to a suitable quality. The best option in these instances is to have the tyre replaced.

Examples of motorcycle tyre damage: pictures

Of course, the best way to understand various types of motorcycle tyre damage is to see their visual examples. Therefore, below we present a number of photographs that illustrate the typical signs of tyre wear, along with short descriptions and annotations showcasing how you can spot this damage.

A tyre with excessive wear in the central part of the tread

A tyre with excessive wear in the central part of the tread.

Front tyre with asymmetrical wear

A front tyre with asymmetrical wear.

Rear tyre with asymmetrical wear

A rear tyre with asymmetrical wear.

Tyre tread with asymmetrical wear

A tread with a tendency towards asymmetrical wear.

Hopefully, these examples should show you some of the more common situations many motorcycle riders find themselves in. If you see these signs, they are likely a sure sign of uneven wear and damage occurring to your tyres.