All rubber tires wear down over time, whether they're on a motorcycle or automobile. However, you want to watch out for uneven or excessive wear, both of which can cause serious problems for motorcycle riders. If you pay attention to the following causes of excessive and uneven wear, you will extend the life of your tires and keep yourself safe:
1. Improper Tire Pressure - We have all heard about the importance of maintaining proper tire pressure at all times. Improper air pressure in your tire is a big reason for many tire problems and failures. Be sure your tires have the recommended pressure in them at all times.
2. Humped Roads -- Most roads are "humped" slightly in the middle or banked away from the center to allow rain and water to drain off. However, this hump can have a dramatic effect on one side of your motorcycle's front tire because the side of the tire closer to the center of the road will wear faster. There's not much you can do about this, and it can become very visible if you ride a lot. So be aware of this phenomenon and check the left side of your front tire often.
3. Disproportionate Cupping -- Cupping is a normal phenomenon on rubber tires that occurs when the brakes are applied. However, excessive use of the front brake can produce disproportionate cupping, when one side of the tire is more cupped than the other. Using the front brake will naturally put more pressure and force on the front tire to make it stop, thereby using up more rubber.
4. Wheel Alignment - While this problem is not as common on motorcycles as it is on cars, it causes uneven tire wear. Any number of things can cause wheel misalignment on motorcycles, including getting into a fender bender, riding over potholes, jumping over sidewalks and curbs, etc. It is a good idea to have your wheel alignment checked out at least once a year to make sure that a misalignment isn't unevenly wearing your front tire.
5. Shock Absorbers -- A bad shock absorber can wreak havoc on the handling of your bike and promotes uneven front tire wear. So make sure your shocks are in good shape.
6. Improper Loading -- The final major problem to keep in mind is improper loading of your bike, which causes your front tire to wear unevenly. Proper weight distribution is essential to being able to handle and steer your bike safely. Loading down one side of your saddlebag with tools or equipment can keep you from riding as vertically as possible, creating uneven tire wear.
So check your tires frequently, and keep these causes in mind if you begin noticing excessive or uneven front tire wear. Having the knowledge and taking the proper precautions will not only make you a safer rider but will prolong the life of your bike's tires.
Jeff Sinason aka Tools - is the owner Bikerwares.com. Being an avid biker, he spends most of his time working on his web site and touring the country.