With potholes blighting the nations roads, TyreSafe, the UKs leading tyre safety organisation, is reminding bikers that they can reduce some of the problems associated with damaged roads by ensuring their tyres are properly inflated. When tyres are run at incorrect pressures, they are more vulnerable to damage from angular objects such as the edges of potholes or kerbstones. This damage can result in dangerous bulges in the sidewall, or cuts that render the tyre illegal.
The harsh winter has created an enormous number of potholes, particularly on rural roads, which can be a real danger for bikers heading out this spring, comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. By making sure that tyre pressures are at their correct levels before setting off, riders can reduce the likelihood of suffering from dangerous impact damage to their tyres when they hit a pothole.
Potholes can also lead to wheel balance issues for motorcyclists, causing a distraction and making riding uncomfortable. Wheel balance weights can become dislodged from the rim if the wheel hits a pothole, which can then cause vibrations through the bike. Riders experiencing wheel vibration issues should visit their nearest motorcycle tyre specialist to carry out a wheel balance check.
According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, 80 percent of local authorities reported that their roads were badly damaged by this years winter storms and it will take more than 11 years to catch up on the backlog of repairs at the present rate of funding. Last year more than 1.4 million potholes were repaired across England and Wales, at a cost of £103 million.
As well as helping to avoid pothole related problems, correct tyre inflation pressure is vitally important for the safe handling of motorcycles as it helps to maintain the best contact patch with the road surface, leading to better grip, braking and handling. Prolonged under-inflation causes excessive flexing of the sidewall, deterioration of the casing and rapid wear on the edges of the tyre. Riders may also experience increased fuel consumption. Over-inflation may result in an uncomfortable ride, a reduced contact patch and accelerated wear in the centre of the tread.
We recommend that motorcyclists check their pressures at least once a week, when the tyres are cold, continues Jackson. If riders are not sure how to do this or would like some extra advice about their tyres they should visit one of the many dealers offering free tyre safety checks as part of Aprils bike tyre safety month.
For further details about motorcycle tyre safety, including a free downloadable information leaflet, riders should visit www.tyresafe.org.
TyreSafes 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 pressure recommended in the manufacturers handbook
Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread
Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately
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
Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal
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 motorcycle to an approved fitting centre and speak to a qualified professional