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Winterizing Your Motorcycle Tires

Have you ever wondered about preparing motorcycle tires for winter? Hardcore motorcycle riders with a passion for two-wheeled adventure think about our bikes all the time—and we do everything we can for them. We never neglect to care for the tires before storing our motorcycles for the winter months – right?

Like the rest of your motorcycle, its tires can wear out over time, even when you aren’t regularly using it. When springtime rolls around, you don’t want to delay your motorcycle trip because of tire repairs or replacements. Prepping the tires before winter storage will keep them in great shape for the next riding season. 

Pre-Storage Motorcycle Tire Preparations

Depending on where you live in the U.S., you could face four to five long, harsh winter months. Many motorcycle owners (especially in the Northern United States) can’t ride due to icy road conditions and freezing temperatures. Some may stash the bike and riding gear, knowing there won’t be a nice day for riding until late March or April. Others get busy preparing motorcycle tires for winter.

If your area’s winter season is rough, you’ll need to consider long-term storage options during the fall. Think about the best place to store your bike and the necessary steps to prepare it for hibernation mode. Part of this essential process is preparing your motorcycle tires for winterization.   

Pre-storage tire preparation isn’t a complicated task. However, following specific preparatory measures will help your tires stay in excellent condition all winter long.

Inflating Tires to the Max

You might think, “Isn’t it bad to inflate your tires to the maximum pressure level?” The answer is yes, except in certain circumstances. Winterization is one of those circumstances.

Inflating your motorcycle tires to the max will help protect them when not in use. To avoid popping them, always follow the maximum PSI recommendations listed on the sidewall of your rear and front tires before inflating them. It’s a bad idea to ride with the above-normal tire pressure, but it won’t hurt during long-term storage.

Lifting Tires Off the Ground

Cold-weather climates can be unkind to your motorcycle tires. If you winterize your bike, it will probably sit in the same position for a long time and put constant weight on the tires. This continual weight can damage your tires over time and shorten their lifespan.

To maintain long-lasting, rideable tires during the winter, we recommend lifting the motorcycle tires off the ground. This will prevent uneven tire wear and avoid flat spots from prolonged pressure on a single section. A center stand or other motorcycle stand might seem expensive at first, but they can save you from costly repairs and tire replacement in the future.  

Rotating Tires Periodically

Flat spots and uneven tire wear are common issues for winterized motorcycles. Your number one option is to lift the tires to reduce the amount of strain. However, we realize this can be pricey and impractical for many motorcycle owners.

If you can’t lift your tires off the ground, consider rotating them every so often. This simple step can protect your tires while in storage and ensure they last as long as possible.    

Proper Storage for Your Motorcycle Tires

Preparing motorcycle tires for winter involves more than many motorcycle owners realize. Yes, you should lift, rotate, and inflate your tires to the maximum pressure level before storing your motorcycle—but that’s just part of good tire care. Several other aspects of winter weather can damage your motorcycle tires.

Temperature Fluctuations

During the wintertime, temperatures can drop significantly at night and increase the following morning. These fluctuations can affect the rubber in your motorcycle tires, causing them to contract and expand. The more this occurs, the faster your tires will wear out.

Don’t let temperature fluctuations ruin your bike tires and postpone your road trip. You can regulate and maintain steady temperatures by storing your motorcycle in a climate-controlled environment. Some popular indoor storage options include:

  • Garages attached to a house
  • Storage units in a storage facility
  • A room in your home

Moisture Problems

Moisture problems are another common concern. If your storage area has a damp, humid environment prone to mold and mildew, it can quickly ruin your tires. However, you’re not without options.

Choosing a dry environment is the best way to protect your motorcycle and keep its tires from corroding while in storage. The next-best solution involves modifying your current space. You can place a rug, plastic sheet, or plywood under your motorcycle to prevent excess moisture from affecting the tires.

Other Factors

How do you prepare motorcycle tires for winter? Find the right storage location. Outdoor storage might sound better and more convenient, but it won’t protect your motorcycle from vandalism and the elements.

Some motorcycle owners (typically those in regions with mild winters) like to store their bikes outside in a popup shelter or carport. They throw on a fitted motorcycle cover and wait for a sunny day. However, your motorcycle tires could still face damage from the following:

  • Snow, ice, and rain: You can’t control the weather outside as you usually can indoors. When it snows a lot, rains hard, and creates ice patches around your motorcycle, rubber surfaces may deteriorate faster. The spokes and metal wheel frame will likely also rust.
  • Fallen tree limbs and debris: If your property has large trees with rotting limbs, it could spell disaster for your motorcycle. Ice storms and heavy snowfall can snap branches and knock down trees. These mishaps can damage your entire bike, but especially its tires.
  • Vandalism: Unfortunately, some people might vandalize your motorcycle if you leave it outside. They could slash your tires and leave you without a ride.

Final Reminders

Preparing motorcycle tires for winter isn’t something to blow off or be careless about. You’ll want to care for the tires before storing them, inflating them to maximum PSI levels, lifting them off the ground with a stand, and rotating them periodically. In addition, you should find a dry, climate-controlled place to winterize your motorcycle and keep it safe during the long months between riding seasons.

Next, we take a look at the things you can do to winterize your battery. 

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