DO THIS… Go out right now and check your tire pressures on your motorcycle! We are willing to bet 90% of you will have bikes with incorrect tire pressures !

Tire pressures. The single biggest neglected item we see in our customers motorcycles. We go through our service dept often and just check what psi bikes have when they come in and guess what?? 9 out of 10 bikes, yes 90% have their tire PSI way too low!!

Now we get tire pressures are like oil brands, everyone will have an opinion… The following is just our findings over 25+ years of experience and a guideline, of course every rider, motorcycle and tire brand will have their own settings. We just want to give you some general ideas on keeping your bike safe and tires working well.

Many do not realize that tires lose air by just sitting, as much as 2-3 PSI a WEEK!  So if you leave your bike sit for a month, it can be 10 PSI too low! Low PSI is more dangerous than you think, the motorcycle depends on this pressure to “support” the tire. Often we get bikes in the shop for a “Suspension Set Up” because the owner feels his bike isn’t handling as it should. We always check tire PSI first and often we find they’re way off. Even 5 PSI low on the front will cause the bike to react, steer, feel very heavy and slow to turn. We often say jokingly, but true, if motorcyclists would just keep tires between 30 and 40 PSI they would be better than most! They lose pressure faster on cold concrete too (think garages!) If you let your bike sit for longer periods of time, CHECK BEFORE EVERY RIDE!
Tire PSI has a direct effect on handling and wear! Many times when people complain about their rear tire only lasting them “4000 miles.” We’ll ask what tire PSI they’re running and they often reply with “I don’t know.”
For most street bikes you are safe to run 35 PSI. Now there are of course some factors that will require you to adjust.
Some that we have found are as follows…
-Touring or HEAVY bikes. Think FJR, ST, CB, GS, Touring we generally find they like to run a bit more PSI for a few reasons. One; the most important is the weight, these bikes weigh a lot more and therefore need a bit more PSI to support the tire. Two; wear, these riders are generally more concerned with wear and longevity than outright edge grip.  For these bikes we typically find 35-38 front and 37-39 rear (some as much as 40 if riding two up and bags, etc) Again EVERY bike and tire will vary but these guidelines work well.
-Lightweight bikes. Think RC390, 250 ninja, SV650’s, due to low weight and lower power output, these bikes we have found like to run around 28-32 front and 30-34 rear PSI. Every rider, bike and tire may want their PSI a little different however these PSI we have used on many brands of street tire with great results.
-Sportbikes. Think GSXR1000, R1, Ducati Panigale, most 600’s, these riders are more concerned with grip and feel than their mileage. Granted new tire technologies are so good with multi-compounds i.e softer edges and longer lasting center sections, the days of “do i go for grip or mileage?” are over. Many of these bikes we recommend front PSI of 34-36 front and 30-34 rear, these bikes are by far the pickiest of all the bikes for pressure. We recommend you check your PSI often due to power they produce and given these bike’s general purpose.
Another issue we see is people running the tires at MAX RECOMMENDED PSI!  This is NOT what you want to run them at, it’s just what the manufacture recommends! We do not advice this, again some touring/big bikes will run close to this, to reiterate it’s just the recommended MAX PSI you can safely run the tire at.
Rule of thumb is always CHECKING TIRE PSI BEFORE EVERY RIDE!  This is not only keeps you bike handling well but also helps tire longevity! Manufacturers develop these tires to work in certain ranges (LW bikes lower, HW bikes more psi) For example, If you run over something on your last ride and puncture the tire, but make it home… it then sits and slowly leaks, you hop on the bike and are riding it with less than 30-35psi. Given the dangers, it takes 2 mins to check tire PSI… do yourself a favor and check it.
As for gauges, many worry about the price of theirs, that is fine. We recommend you get a GOOD gauge, keep it safely stored (do not lend out as buddies always drop/ruin them) but, if most riders just checked them even with a $5 stick pen psi gauge and kept their tires according to this cheap gauges 30-35 they would be better than 90% of the riders we see!
Racers and track day riders, you guys are a whole different topic and we will plan to address this in another blog for you. Tire PSI on the track is so vital and yet misunderstood by most. Stay tuned for this future blog on race track PSI.