Reusing motorcycle tires: The dilemma
Should you put used tires on your bike? Not everyone has money to spend on brand new tires at any given moment, so you have probably asked yourself this same question. There is no sure answer for this one, but it is relative to many things. You should know that a tire has a limited amount of usability, this usability is measured by tire wear indicators (TWI) on the side and the tread of the tire. When the tread wear reaches the TWI, the tire becomes unsafe and dangerous for the rider. It is certainly possible to use a worn out tire that hasn’t yet reach its TWI limits, but this is not the only thing to have in mind.
Apart from reaching the TWI, there are other points to keep in mind. To use a used tire as safely as possible, you also need to look for consistent tread wear all around, deformations, cracks, flat spots, nails and if the tire has been kept under proper temperature and humidity conditions. Storage time also plays a part, since a properly stored tire can be used up to only five years.
Tire life can be measured by the mileage, or in competition tires, by laps. Tire wear will mainly depend on the driving style and treatment of the rider. It’s important to differentiate competition tires from street tires when considering used tires as both serve different purposes.
Reusing tires is very common on track or competition tires, since their tire life is very short when compared to street tires. Therefore, it is popular to use them various times to keep costs down. Normally, there is high wear control and observation that goes into competition tires. This meticulous observation is something any professional or amateur team should pay close attention to. There are tires that are used only for exhibitions and others purely for racing. For racing tires, it will depend on the compound and laps completed to be considered for reuse. This way, when the motorcycle goes on track, the team should record temperatures of the asphalt and compound, record its pressure, and at the end of the session count the laps completed. This information is often marked on the tire’s sidewall and the tire is stored for further use.
For street or road tires, things work very differently compared to track tires. On most occasions, when a street tire is installed it won’t be changed until it is no longer safer to use. It would only be logical for the rider to change its street tire when taking their motorcycle to a track and changing them for a proper track tire like the Continental ContiTrack. This way the street tires will be preserved for its intended purposes and the track tires will provide the grip needed to handle a track.
Something to keep in mind is the importance of water drainage and how essential it is when considering used tires. A slick track tire is never used on the rain and therefore it can always remain a slick. Unlike a track tire, a street tire must have grooves to evacuate water under wet conditions. The groove’s drainage functions can be heavily affected by the wear and treatment given to a used tire.
Fitting used tires on your bike is not the best idea and is not recommended by Continental. It is hard to know the treatment given and the storage conditions of a used tire. However, it is understandable if in certain situations availability and money are a factor. Although new tires are more expensive, safety and peace of mind is something worth spending that extra money.
Until next week!