Pillion passengers and luggage can add ‘pressure’ to biker safety
Motorcyclists are being advised by TyreSafe not to let their tyres land them in a whole ‘load’ of trouble as they set off on their summer holidays.
The extra weight resulting from a pillion passenger or pannier loads means that tyre pressures should be checked and adjusted accordingly against the bike manufacturers’ recommended levels.
Under-inflation (or overloading) over a long period may cause rapid shoulder wear, excessive flexing and deterioration of the casing, which can pose a serious safety risk for bikers. However, over-inflation may result in a reduced area of contact patch with the road and accelerated wear in the centre of the tread. The tyre could also be more susceptible to impact damage, as well as providing an uncomfortable ride.
Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: “Tyre safety is important for all motorists but perhaps even more so for motorcyclists, especially when carrying pillion passengers.
“Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that the tyres are correctly inflated, taking into account any additional loads, before heading out. The last thing anyone wants is for a holiday to turn into a nightmare just because the tyres weren’t properly checked.”
However, it’s not just the tyre pressure that should be considered as motorcyclists should also check for tread depth, plus look for any damage in the tyre such as bulges, cuts or lumps. If a foreign object is found embedded in the tyre then it should be removed. Any irregular wear patterns can also be a sign of problems with other components, set up or riding style.
“Before setting off on a biking holiday or even if just heading out for the day, bikers should make sure that tyres are properly inflated and in good working order. It could be the difference between enjoying the holiday or ride of a lifetime or ending up as a road casualty statistic,” warns Jackson.
Further information about motorcycle tyre safety can be found by visiting the dedicated motorcycle section on TyreSafe’s website at www.tyresafe.org, which includes a free downloadable motorcycle tyre safety leaflet
TyreSafe top tips for motorcycle tyre safety:
– Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge
– Inflate tyres to the level recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook
– Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded into the tread pattern and replace if necessary
– Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal
– If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately
– Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
– Replace old or damaged valve stems
– Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style
– Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern
– Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall
– When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube
– Make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly
– Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your bike to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.