When to Replace your Dirt Bike Tyres
Judging when you should replace the tyres on your off-road bike isn’t quite as simple as a car, where you can simply gauge when their life is up by the wear indicators in between the tread pattern.
When it comes to dirt bike tyres, your judgement and knowledge around wear and tear are the only indicators of when you need some fresh rubber on your motorcycle.
In this guide, we will take you through the common signs to watch for that indicate your tyres are up for replacement so that you always have a good grip on race day. Maintaining adequate inner tube air pressure will reduce pinch flats and can also reduce tyre wear.
Rounded or torn knobs:
One of the first and most obvious signs you need to replace your tyre is rounded or torn knobs.
Now knobs start to wear and round off as soon as you hit the dirt, and depending on the surface you’re riding, this can happen sooner if it’s hard-pack or it can be more progressive if it’s soft sand.
So how can you tell when the knobs have become too rounded?
Well, when dirt bike tyres have reached the point of replacement due to rounding knobs, they’ve usually significantly lost their sharp ‘edge’ - the majority of the knobs around the middle of the tyre will look fairly worn down and ‘lifeless’ even when regularly riding on soft terrain. Depending on your riding style and cornering technique the side knobs on the side of your tyre may also begin to round over time.
Dual sport and enduro riders may experience wear in the middle of the tyre after riding on roads for long periods of time.
Another key sign your tyre is up for replacement is torn and missing knobs usually on the rear tyre, which can come as a result of old and hard rubber, or the type of dirt your riding on.
Usually, it’s a combination of the two, as a new tyre can withstand the hard surfaces, while a tyre that’s gone hard - and could still have sharp edges - will ‘chip’ and completely tear off knobbies.
Cracking and discolouration:
Cracking and discolouration is also an indicator that it’s time to put a fresh set of tyres on your bike.
Just like torn knobbies, cracking and discolouration comes from old rubber - it could’ve been stored poorly, or, the tyre is just simply old.
Cracking can appear at the base of the knobs around the tyre, and is usually more apparent on the sidewalls of the tyre - this is a clear sign of replacement, as continuing to ride with a cracked tyre could lead to further damage, or worse, an accident. Discolouration is another side effect of age or poor storage, and it’s an obvious indicator that can help you determine that it’s time to upgrade your rubber.
A discoloured tyre will generally look quite faded and grey in colour - just like a faded black t-shirt! If you continue to ride with a discoloured tyre, it will likely end up cracking and tearing knobbies, which means you’ll be up for a replacement anyway.
Tyres are the only contact between your bike and the ground, and that’s why it’s important to always ensure your rubber is an adequate level to go riding, allowing you to have a better experience hitting the track or trails, and preventing any further damage or possible injury.
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