I used to be so tight on budget when I started riding…
When I bought my first bike and the previous owner mentioned the front tire will need to be changed soon…
I thought; how much longer can I make it last to save money on it?
Wait…how long do motorcycle tires last to begin with?
Spoiler…they don’t last long.
How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
Motorcycle tires last between 1,500 and 12,000 miles depending on whether the tire is designed for touring or street and track performance. Usually, the front tire of a motorcycle will last 2 to 3 times longer than the rear.
On top of that, a bike tire is good for 5 years after its manufacture.
There are of course motorcycle tires that will last a much higher mileage than average.
There are records of bikers claiming 25,000 – 28,000 miles before their rubber hit the trash pile.
Many factors will affect a tire’s lifespan due to wear but the most significant is;
”what the tire is designed for?”
Touring motorcycle tires tend to last the longest in terms of mileage since they are meant for long-distance traveling.
On the other side, street, performance, sports tires offer more grip due to a softer rubber composition. This is intended for more aggressive riding and motorcycle lean but at the cost of faster tire wear.
It is like comparing an RV camper designed for touring to a Ferrari supercar. They both are vehicles but with different purposes and it affects their mileage lifespan.
In an even more extreme example, track racing motorcycle tires are only good for a race or around 100 miles…
A good thing they aren’t street legal.
Why Do Motorcycle Tires Wear out So Fast?
Motorcycle tires quickly wear out due to their softer rubber composition than cars tires. The smaller surface contact patch of a motorcycle tire is also a reason why motorcycles tires don’t last long.
To put it simply; a softer rubber compound increases a tire grip on the road at the cost of durability.
It is a necessary evil for motorcycle tires since bikes need the best grip they can get.
A car tire that lost its grip on the road will make you flinch, but getting the handling of a 4-wheeler back compared to a motorcycle is easy.
A motorcycle tire that lost its grip by accident usually ends in the bike going down.
The smaller contact patch is also responsible for the poor durability of motorcycle tires.
Since the surface is smaller, the quicker the road will ”eat” or ”dig” through the rubber.
How Many Years Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
Motorcycle tires will last five years after they were built. After that time, they will be considered unsafe to ride by the manufacturer. A tire’s manufacturing date will be stamped on the side of a motorcycle tire in the form of a 4 digits code.
The first two digits represent one of the 52 weeks of the year.
Refer to this website to quickly know what digit means what week number.
In this case, we got week number 31; The first week of August.
The last two digits represent the year of the tire manufacture
So in this example, the number 20 tell us the tire was built in 2020
Fast forward to five years later in 2025 in August and that motorcycle tire needs to come off its wheel and be introduced to its retirement home.
Aka the trashed tires pile.
Five years is a motorcycle tire expiration date unless the manufacturer says otherwise.
When to Replace Motorcycle Tires Due to Wear?
A motorcycle tire need to be replaced if any wear indicator is leveled with the tire outer surface. A motorcycle tire also needs replacement before it reaches the legal limit of 1 millimeter of tread depth.
This is a tire wear indicator located inside of a tire tread.
As the tire wears out, the outer surface will get closer and closer to the indicator
When a tire reaches that stage…
That tire needs replacing since the wear indicator and the outer layer of the tire are levels with one another.
The Second Reason when To Replace Your Motorcycle Tire
If your tire tread depth only got 1mm (millimeter) or between 1/32 – 2/32 of an inch it needs replacement.
Otherwise, you are riding on a motorcycle tire that reached the legal wear limit in North America.
And you know…
Using a worn-out tire is kind of dangerous…
And double the risk for a motorcycle.
A Cars tire depth limit is 1.6mm or 2/32 inch.
If you need help on how to calculate your depth tread and how to spot your tire wear indicator I got a full tutorial on the subject to help you.
You can get to the tutorial by Clicking here.
Parting Words on How Long a Motorcycle Tire Will Last You
Motorcycle tires don’t last long and add to it that they are expensive…
For me, seeing my tire wear out is like seeing my money burn away XD
But as I said, it is a necessary evil that motorcycle tires need to wear out more quickly than other vehicles tires. This is the tradeoff for better grip.
Since I bought my first bike, I now consider my tires the most important part of my motorcycle.
It is the part of my bike that I will never neglect.
If you neglect your tires, you are asking for a crash.
On that happy note, take care.