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Tyre wear - n00b level guide

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. #1 robsalvv, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
    Taken from: The Basics: Motorcycle Safety Tire Wear Bars

    Full credit to Terry from the bikers garage website - looks like a new startup site - great start!

    Motorcycle Safety Tire Wear Bars

    May 28, 2012
    By Terry
    The tire below is worn out, it looks like there is still good tread, but, with over 12,000 miles on it, it’s done, and unsafe. A clear indication of this is that the tread is worn down to the wear bars.

    Tire Showing Wear Bars

    This is my own bike, and I should have never let the tire get to this point, but I did, no excuses, I wasn’t paying attention. I was half expecting a lecture when I brought my front wheel to my local tire dealer, Ken’s Tires, I guess I was spared because it was May, and Ken was so busy. Even if I had got the lecture about riding on such a worn tire, it would have not been as embarrassing as our first “talk.” I had brought my rear tire in because I knew it was worn and needed replacement, the center tread was gone completely, so it was time. When Ken brought my wheel out with the new tire mounted, he said, “You know you had some tire carcass showing right?” ”You’re kidding,” I said. He went back in to the shop and brought out my old tire, sure enough, you could see the beginnings of carcass threads. I knew my tire was marginal, but, I didn’t know it was THAT bad! Apparently it was, and if I had just rode another fifty, or sixty miles, I could have had a blowout! He asked me if I had not noticed my wear bars were gone, and I said, “wear bars?” I have been riding for well over forty years and didn’t know there were wear bars on motorcycle tires! Thus began my education about wear bars, and how to find them.

    On a new tire wear bars are almost invisible, only after the tire has some miles on it can you see them more clearly. If you look closely at the example below, you can just make out a bar in the long tread that starts on right hand side of the bike (your left) near the axle, follow the tread up, and you can just make it out a little way past the mid-point. If you still can’t make it out, click the image to zoom in.


    New Tire

    So, these things are hard to spot, but, the tire manufacturers make it a little easier for you by providing guides on the side walls. Most tire makers have some type of arrow on the side of the tire that points to the wear bars, I’ll show you on a worn tire so you can see the relation of the arrow to the bar.

    Side View

    I have circled the marker and wear bar in red so you can see the relationship of the two, having the arrow makes the bars easy to find. The bars and arrows are all the way around the tire spaced evenly. I would suggest you chalk mark a point on the tire and roll the bike forward to inspect all your bars, this way you can tell if you are getting uneven tire wear caused by an out of balance condition. While you are checking, be sure to look for other problems, cuts, suspicious bulges, nails, etc.

    Here is a similar view with my new tire, again, I have circled the wear bars and arrow in red.

    My New Tire

    While I had my bike up on the lift, I did a quick inspection of my rear tire which has about 7,200 miles on it, sure enough, it will be due for replacement very soon, rear tires, since they are drive wheel, wear at about twice the rate as the front. The mileage and wear rate can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and, the type of tire can be a factor, “touring” tires trade-off a little less grip for durability, where a “sport” tire will sacrifice longevity high performance traction. Riding style is also a factor, the more you abuse them, the less mileage you get, for me, and the way I ride, 7,000 miles or so out of my rear Dunlop E3 is about average.

    Your safety depends on your motorcycle’s tires being in good condition, make sure you check them regularly for proper pressure and tread wear, your life could depend on it.

    Words By: Terry Cavender
    Images By: Terry Cavender
    • Like Like x 15
    • Informative Informative x 6
  2. Thanks, good lesson.

    Pirelli usually mark the wear bars with a 3 letter acronym. I think it's Tyre Wear Indicator. Metzler use the little hephalump and Michelin use the fat boy.

    So, I guess it's just as well I changed these when I did.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. Um... Yes. LMAO!

    - - -
    Tapatalking loud, saying somethin'
  4. Your slicks are growing tread.
  5. i'll post a picture of my recent front tyre when i get home - scary!
  6. useful and informative (y)
  7. Metzeler z8's have the twi with an arrow.

    This is an awesome thread and I reckon it should be stickied.
  8. Here's my previous rear Bridgestone BT-023 after 12000kms.

  9. You guys are nuts, I wouldnt even let them get that low on my car!!!
  10. Being a complete novice (going for my Ls tomorrow and Thursday) reading this post got me thinking it would be a good idea to learn some basic maintenance. In Adelaide we have adult learning classes for all types of subjects via the WEA - check website. They run a motorcycle maintenance course - 5 weeks x 2 hours. One has just started but they usually run new courses every 3-4 months. Seems like a sensible thing to do. An $80 investment will probably be recouped many times over by having some understanding of what's required and what to look for.
  11. Me either, and on the car you've got three back ups if one fails.
  12. We check tyre tread almost everyday at work, one of the most (if not the most) important part to safety in my opinion, although I'm not an expert:p.

    Excellent thread though really helpful for me as I'm a newbie:)
  13. Worked in a tyre dealer for 5 years and never spotted the sidewall indicators. Even us old dogs can learn new tricks.
  14. It's good that this thread has had a slow burn and is sinking into people's consciousness. On a bike, tyres are bloody critical!
  15. Critical is right.

    Have to say, given just how critical they are I'm surprised by some peoples lack of the most basic knowledge of them.
  16. A lot of people get themselves into strife by assuming that 2000km of wear around town is the same as it is on a long trip. It's not. Hard riding at or above the posted limit will wear out your tyres much faster than the same distance pootling around the burbs

    Almost every long group trip sees at least one rider with a tyre down to the carcass (being slowly shepherded home by grumbling mates) because "it still had a couple of thousand k's on it when I left home". And it would have... if they'd stayed home.

    They wear even faster on Tasmanian roads.

    So, either replace a half worn tyre before your big trip, or if you must squeeze the last dollar out of it, try to order one to be at your outbound destination for when you arrive (prepay, obviously).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Since you asked, it's "Tread Wear Indicator"

    And I also think that tyre of yours was fine - I can only see one TWI, but there's clearly at least a millimetre before you gt to it!
  18. My rears always have carcas showing when their changed....

    I thought it was customary to send your old rear tyre to heaven with a massive burn out?

    (assuming you don't ride to the tyre shop and just bring the wheel :) )
    • Like Like x 3
  19. I guess when I put more tread on my rear tyre
    with an Angle grinder and got an extra 1000ks
    then that was BAD
    • Like Like x 1
  20. It certainly can be surprising how quickly a set of tyres can wear down if you're not checking them frequently. Also interesting sometimes to see how they wear. The last set I replaced on the GPX were worn to nothing in the centre on the rear, yet it was the edges that were the most worn on the front :-s (needless to say the heavy rain in the weeks before I got around to replacing them made the commute to work "interesting").
    • Agree Agree x 1