Have your motorcycle tires started appearing too shiny in the hot sun? Have you observed a steel cord line in the center of the tires? If yes, that means your motorcycle tires have gone bald. The question is why are motorcycle tires bald? Is it a good sign or something to worry about?
Tires change their appearance according to usage and the effects of usage can be seen in the form of wear and tear that could lead to baldness.
If you are looking to find out more about motorcycle tires going bald then continue reading this post.
Why are motorcycle tires bald?
One of the main reasons for motorcycle tires getting bald is the disappearance of tread patterns due to too much wear and tear.
Motorcycle tires are susceptible to balding because of their relatively thin tread that is lost with the process of too much running.
Some of the other causes include aging of tires, improper inflation levels, mediocre maintenance, and bad road conditions that make a tire lose its tread grip and go bald prematurely.
To keep the tires long-lasting one must know the causes of baldness in detail and ensure proper precautions are taken on time to avoid dangerous consequences.
Too much wear and tear
Motorcycle tires or any automobile tires are manufactured with a tread pattern that is important to withstand various road obstacles and environmental challenges. The design of the pattern varies according to the type of tire and brand but the purpose remains the same.
The importance of tread patterns cannot be underestimated as they are instrumental in providing proper grip, control, and traction to a tire.
With time and usage tires are bound to show wearing signs which are normal. However, uneven or premature wear and tear on tires is a result of various causes and some of them include misalignment or unbalanced tires, faulty wheel parts, and uneven tire pressure.
Excessive wear and tear due to the above causes make the tires weak. The impacts of wear and tear are not limited to the strength of a tire but extend further damaging the depth and thickness of tread lines.
When you continue using tires under such conditions, it doesn’t take long for these wear and tear symptoms to break and abolish the tread lines completely making a tire look bald.
Regular inspection, periodic maintenance, and balanced tire pressure are always important to keep the tires and their material in good shape.
Wheel balancing and alignment should be part of periodic maintenance so make sure the process is accomplished without any loose ends.
Faulty wheel parts pertaining to rims, suspension, and rotation should also be replaced under regular maintenance so ensure this is taken care of every 6 months or the number of miles recommended by service stations.
Too much running
Many motorcyclists misconceive the wearing symptoms and diminishing tread patterns of tires. They tend to take it lightly due to their unawareness or simply neglect the signs deliberately delaying the process of repairs/replacements.
Eventually, the tread line and grip of tires persist to degrade with continuous running. When too much running starts to expose the inner steel cords of a tire it is actually the breaking point for a tire replacement.
Continuing to run the motorcycle on an excessively worn tire is very dangerous. Since the tire has already lost its tread line, it simultaneously loses the grip and ability to retain heat which means low traction and less control that could lead to falls and accidents.
To be on the safer side, one must avoid riding on worn tires and initiate the process of repair or replacement (recommended) immediately upon noticing the breaking point of baldness.
Age of the tire
Every tire is manufactured with a specific age or running limitation by the manufacturers. It is better to replace the tire with a new one as soon as that age or running limit is crossed.
A majority of reputed tire brand companies recommend using a new set of tires for 5 to 6 years as a standard thumb rule.
However, one must also consider the factors such as the usage frequency, road conditions, maintenance performed, and appearance of the tire’s shape and material.
It is important to check the tread depth and wearing symptoms of the tires and replace them before the completion of their normal age, if necessary.
Improper inflation levels
Keeping your motorcycle tires properly inflated means half the job done. It is a proven fact that motorcyclists who are serious about maintaining their motorcycles first look at the pressure levels of their tires.
Underinflation is a major problem when it comes to the wearing of tires. With low air pressure tires have to work harder to maintain the friction levels and absorb heat as both are required to regulate the traction with the road.
The difficulties of running with low pressure cause uneven wear and tear on the outside, and side of the tires. Similarly, if the tire is overinflated it causes early wearing on the center of the tire.
Improper inflation levels are destructive for tires as it results in the weakening of tread depth leaving the inner lines exposed.
Unbalanced tire pressure is more of a self-created problem. It doesn’t require you to use the pressure gauge each and every day but a casual glance at both tires before starting your journey is enough to get a fair idea and take appropriate action.
Uneven weight distribution
You cannot ignore the importance of weight distribution if you are a frequent rider. To keep weight equally distributed wheel balancing comes into the picture.
If the wheel balancing process is avoided for a long time it can have an adverse effect on the shifting of weights.
Courtesy of uneven weight distribution one of the tires from the two has to face the brunt of lifting heavy loads. In the course of time and with load capacity breached, the impacted tire will have pressurized contact with the road than the motorcycle structure.
This pressure becomes the main reason for wearing and making the tire slick very fast and go bald.
It is, therefore, necessary to maintain proper balance while riding and ensure to perform wheel balancing once every six months or before if required.
Is riding a motorcycle on bald tires dangerous?
Absolutely. Riding a motorcycle with bald tires can be dangerous and can lead to fatal consequences.
Tires go bald when they lose tread depth which is important to maintain grip. In the absence of proper gripping, the motorcycle lacks stability making it prone to accidents.
Furthermore, a lack of stability means poor handling. Bald tires decrease the traction with the road which makes steering and stopping difficult.
All these factors increase the risk of slipping, skidding, and losing control which can cause serious injury and in some cases even death.
Related Read: Why are new motorcycle tires slippery?
It is highly recommended to check the tires regularly and replace them immediately if any of the wearing patterns and baldness is found.
Why do MotoGP bikes use bald tires?
MotoGP uses slick tires which are often mistaken for bald tires because of their smooth appearance. The difference between a slick tire and a bald tire is the visibility of tread patterns.
While a bald tire has minimum to no tread pattern due to excessive wearing a slick tire on the other hand has a full-fledged tread pattern in the form of a smooth and plane appearance.
General street tires are made with grooving tread patterns to comply with the conditions of the road and wet weather.
Motorsport bikes are equipped with slick tires that have plane tread patterns without any gaps so that they get more grip and a larger contact patch with the road while racing in dry weather.
Motorcycle tires do wear at a certain age and running. It makes sense to replace the tires when you notice wear and tear on an aging tire.
Apart from aging, make it a habit to keep an eye on the health and performance of tires regularly. This will help you notice and detect the signs of wearing well in advance which can avoid impact on tread patterns and prevent baldness.
Nonetheless, if the tires have reached the stage of baldness where internal cords are visible do not take risk of riding on them for too long. Simply replace them for a safe and secure ride.
Moreover, always keep the tires properly inflated, perform timely maintenance of the bike and give special attention to the tires.
Rest assured, I am sure you are now in a better position to handle the baldness of tires by reading this post.