Motorcycle Tire/Tyre Maintenance Guide

Motorcycle Tire/Tyre
Maintenance Guide
Motorcycle Tire/Tyre Maintenance tips to keep your motorcycle at peak condition.

Tire Sidewall Markings

The most important label is the sizing designation, which in this case reads “225/50R16V.” This label indicates section width (225mm), aspect ratio (50 percent), speed rating (V), construction (R), and wheel diameter (16 inches). This tire has a speed rating of “V” or more than 149mph, and is a radial (R) construction. Following the size label is an additional marking defining the load rating for the tire. In this case, “92” indicates the total load carrying capacity is 520 pounds.

Tire Conversion Charts

Motorcycle Street Tire Size Conversion Chart
Front Tires
Rear Tires
Motorcycle Off-Road Tire Size Conversion Chart
Front Tires
Rear Tires

Size Types

Motorcycle Speed Ratings

Speed SymbolMax SpeedSpeed SymbolMax SpeedSpeed SymbolMax Speed
J62 mphK68 mphL75 mph
M81 mphN87 mphP93 mph
Q99 mphR106 mphS112 mph
T118 mphU124 mphH130 mph
V149 mphW168 mphY186 mph
Scooter62 mphFlotation50 mphZ149 mph

Load Indexes (L.I.)

L.I.lbs. L.I.lbs. L.I.lbs.
33254 49408 65639
34260 50419 66661
36276 52441 68694
37282 53454 69716
38291 54467 70739
39300 55481 71761
40309 56494 72783
41320 57507 73805
42331 58520 74827
43342 59536 75853
44353 60551 76882
45364 61567 77908
46375 62584 78937
47386 63600 79963
48397 64617 80992
811018 821047 831074
841102 851135 861168
871201 881234 891278
901323 911356 921389
931433 941477 951521
961565 971609 981653
991708 1001764 1011819


A neglected tire can be a deadly one. The simplest and most important thing you can do for your tires’ health and your safety is keep them, inflated to the designated pressure.

1. Air It Out: Check tire pressure every chance you get. There’s probably no simpler procedure that’s more important and more ignored by bikers of every stripe. The air, not the carcass, supports the bike, and underinflation is a tire’s number one enemy. (Make sure the tires are cool when you take the reading.) For a better tractrion in wet conditions, increase pressures by about 10 percent. Unsure of what the pressure is supposed to be? Look for a sticker somewhere on the bike. It is also probably on the VIN (serial number) plate hear the steering head with the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) information.

2. Step in Line: Pay close attention to alignment–shaft drive bikes have no adjustment, but if you have a chain or belt, check the position of your tires. Proper alignment ensures better handling and longer wear.

3. Steady, Now: Although it primarily affects handling, improper balance can also shorten a tire’s life. Check it after 500 or 1000 miles of use.

4. Top It Off: The valve stem cap should be securely fastened on the stem, because it’s an important part of your tire’s sealing system. It’ll give you extra security at high speeds, when centrifugal force can conspire to open the valve inside the stem.

5. Soap It Up: Most tire manufacturers recommend that the only substance used to keep rubber shiny should be good old soap and water. Many alleged protectants actually promote premature cracking and finish deterioration. Make sure you wipe off any lube, brake fluid or gas promptly, too.

6. Look Before You Crank: Before you saddle up, take a moment to visually inspect your tires. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out screws or nails before a ride, thus preventing almost certain tire failure. Once you’re on the road, it’ll be too late.

7. Stay Smooth: This is common sense–avoid potholes and sharp objects on the road that can compromise your tire’s integrity. The same goes for curbs.

8. Don’t Mix and Match: Never run two tires of differing construction. We can’t stress this enough, and this rule applies to bias-plies vs. radials as well as tubeless and tube-type tires–even bias-ply vs. bias-belted tires. The results can be disastrous.

9. Scuff ‘Em Up: Optimal grip is obtained only after the tread surface has been ridden on, so go into those first few twisties with a bit of caution. The suggested break-in distance is usually 200 or so miles. After that, check the tire’s pressure again!

10. Don’t Scrimp: If you replace your tires, make sure you replace the tubes, too. Some manufacturers even recommend that you change both tires at the same time, even if they wear differently.


Credits: Special thanks to Bridgestone Motorcycle, Maxxis International


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