One of the most basic aspects of motorcycle maintenance is checking your motorcycle’s tire pressure. Even those of you who like to go to the mechanic for basic oil changes or topping off the coolant should know how to check your own motorcycle’s tire pressure. In fact, this should be considered one of the most basic things you do when you head out on the road, along with putting on your helmet and making sure that the shiny side of your motorcycle is sticking up and the rubber side of your motorcycle is sticking down.
At its most basic, checking your motorcycle’s tire pressure is as simple as using a motorcycle tire pressure gauge. However, checking your motorcycle’s tire pressure is so important that we are going to spend a little bit of time enumerating on the art.
Why Should I Check the Tire Pressure on a Motorcycle?
First of all, with some bikes you can tell that the tire pressure is off even before you ride off on it. If the tire pressure is off on your bike, some bikes let you know right away by treating you to a ride that feels overly squirmy in nature. Of course, some bikes are more sensitive to this than others. In some cases, you may not even notice that the tire pressure is off unless you specifically check it.
Basically, if your tire is under-inflated, several maladies can occur. For example, an under-inflated tire can result in a tragically bumpy ride, bad steering, a shorter life span for the tire, and can even cause the tire to come apart from the rim. Having your tire over-inflated is no better. Over-inflated tires can end up reducing the amount of surface area the tire can grip the ground with, making the ride much more precarious. Additionally, over-inflated tires often end up giving a very bumpy ride.
On the flip side, having properly inflated tires means that your bike gets better gas mileage, a smoother ride, and that your tires last longer and stay in better shape.
Basically, having incorrect tire pressure can make your bike uncomfortable and unsafe. This is why checking your tire pressure frequently is so very important.
When should I Check for the Recommended Motorcycle Tire Pressure?
You should always check for proper motorcycle tire pressure when the wheels are still cold, or when the bike has been parked for at least three hours. This gives you the most accurate gauge. This is also why most riders check their pressure before they start off in the morning. Where you store your bike is also important. The tires should be at ambient temperature, meaning that if you parked your bike in the hot sun on black pavement, your pressure reading may not be accurate even if you have not ridden the bike for several hours.
Checking your motorcycle tire pressure should be part of your “T-CLOCKS” routine, or everything you should be inspecting every single time that you get on your bike. “T-CLOCKS” stands for “tires and wheels, controls, lights, oil, and stands.” All of these things obviously need to be in working order prior to getting on your bike to ensure a safe ride.
What Should the Tire Pressure Be on a Motorcycle?
Unfortunately, there is no singular answer for this question. Different bikes have different needs where tire pressure is concerned. You should check your owner’s manual to get the recommendations for your specific motorcycle. Additionally, the sidewalls on your tires should indicate the correct tire pressure the manufacturer recommends. Tire pressure is measured in PSI, so somewhere on your tires it should state “42 PSI” or whatever the recommendation is.
When you are checking your motorcycle tire pressure, make sure that you take into consideration whether you are riding solo or with a partner, or if you are going to be having a lot of cargo on your bike. There may be different tire pressure recommendations depending on how much weight is going to be on the ride.
So How Do I Check the Tire Pressure on My Motorcycle?
Fortunately, checking the tire pressure on your motorcycle is very easy and only requires one piece of equipment: a motorcycle tire pressure gauge. These are typically the size of ballpoint pens, and it’s recommended that you have more than one of them as it’s very easy to misplace them. Fortunately, they are very cheap.
To check the tire pressure on your motorcycle, first make sure that you understand what the PSI should be. Again, this is noted on the side walls of the motorcycle tires and should also be in the manual that came with your bike.
Once you understand what the PSI should be, you want to go to the first of your two tires (doesn’t matter which one) and remove the valve cap. Don’t worry, this doesn’t cause any air to escape your tire.
This is when you need your motorcycle pressure gauge. One end of it should have an opening that fits over your valve stem, and the other end is either a digital gauge or potentially a manual one. Slide the motorcycle pressure gauge over the valve stem and push down to release a quick burst of air. This allows the motorcycle pressure gauge to evaluate how much air is in the tire.
Once you have this reading, replace the valve stem cap and then go and check your other tire. Always check both of your tires at the same time.
Once you have this reading you can adjust the tire pressure if necessary. If you do not wish to invest in a personal compressor for your home, a simple bicycle pump can help add or remove a few PSI from your motorcycle tire.
Ensuring that you have appropriate tire pressure helps make sure that your tires and your bike serve you Faithfully for thousands of miles to come. It also helps make sure that your motorcycle tires have the grip they need to provide you with a safe and secure ride. Fortunately, there are a variety of motorcycle tire pressure gauges on the market to fit all needs and budgets.