Why do motorcycle tyres square off?

Is it your riding style or defective tyres that are causing your motorcycle tyres to square off?

The tyre sidewalls and tread may square off on long journeys on straight roads, partly caused by incorrect pressure and riding style. When your tyre squares off, you will feel as if you lose traction when cornering.

The best way to prevent squaring off is to change the profile of your journey if possible and ride on roads where corners are more frequent.

What causes a motorcycle tire to square off?

If you can’t afford to use motorways or long dual carriageways daily for your commute to work, then you will invariably, at some point, square off your tyres.

However, if you ride your motorcycle on winding roads that make you corner and scrub up your tyres, the phenomenon of squaring off is less likely to occur.

It’s a dangerous situation. If you ride on long straight roads and then switch from an A road to a B road, you can find yourself with less grip when cornering.

Clearly, less grip when cornering is a potential accident waiting to happen.

Can you prevent your tyres from squaring off? You can maintain your tyres, visual inspect your tyres, particularly if you have winterised your motorcycle, look for dry rot and cracking.

Use OEM tyre pressure recommendations. If you have a pillion passenger add an extra two psi to the rear tyres. The same goes if you are carrying luggage.

Be aware under-inflation of your tyres and over-inflation are both terrible for your tyres and your riding experience, with the potential for losing grip in the corner increasing due to your negligence.

Why do motorcycle tyres need to be balanced?

Tyre manufacturers try hard to produce a uniform tyre in weight all around, but that is a pretty tricky proposition, so we end up with new tyres that are always a touch out of balance.

The concept of balancing your tyres is to equalise the weight of a spinning tyre. It does not take a lot of imagination to visualise the effects of an unbalanced tyre and its effect when you are riding.

Unbalanced tyres can at best cause vibration through the handlebars, almost making your motorcycle impossible to ride.

An unbalanced tyre will manifest itself at a given speed. You can experience vibration at 50 to 60 mph, and after or before this speed, the tyre can feel okay.

An out of balance tyre amplifies with speed. You can imagine your tyre spinning eccentrically, and the forces of centrifugal forces at speed can be hazardous to an unsuspecting motorcycle rider.

The remedy is easy, take your offending tyre to a specialist shop and get the tyre and wheel balancing.

Be aware that a balanced tyre can become unbalanced at any time, and your tyre could flip an insecure weight off when riding. If you hit a pothole, this could also cause your tyre to become unbalanced.

Why do motorcycles have wider rear tyres?

It’s all about grip, and the more surface area of rubber you have on the road, the more grip you will have.

If you ask an avid motorcyclist the two critical factors for riding, you will be told riding comfort and grip.

If you’re new to riding, don’t be under the illusion that you will always find both of these attributes on a motorcycle straight from the factory.

Often changing your rear tyre to a wider tyre will make a big difference in how your motorcycle handles and feels on the road.

Just to be clear at this juncture, placing a wide tyre on a low CC engine bike is only going to affect your wallet and not the performance of your motorcycle handling.

If your bike has a rigid frame, swapping your rear tyre for something broader will increase your comfort.

Larger tyres also absorb some of the shocks from the road surface that rigid frames don’t deal with. By absorbing the shock acting like additional suspension, your riding experience will be enhanced.

Obviously, if you have a rear tyre with more meat on it, the bike’s acceleration will be faster due to the extra grip. Entering a corner and banking at higher speeds becomes possible as your confidence levels increase with the extra surface area in contact with the road surface.

Let’s not forget the extra rear-wheel braking capacity a wider tyre gives. You will still have 70% of your braking force from your front tyre, but with more rubber, your stopping distance will become less on the road at the rear.

If you ride in all weathers, then a wider rear tyre is almost essential. A wider tyre will disperse more water and help to prevent skipping.

If you are looking for an excellent factor for your motorcycle, then the addition of a wide rear tyre will make your motorcycle’s appearance stand out in a crowd.

You can see there are many benefits to swapping your stock rear tyre to a broader, sportier tyre. Your riding experience will be far better, and your comfort on long-distance cruises will also increase. 

Why do motorcycle tires only wear one side?

When road surfaces are laid, the asphalt is marginally higher in the centre of the road and slopes gently toward the curbside. This is for rainwater to run off the road surface. It happens to all of us and is unavoidable in most cases.

This gentle sloping is known as camber, so in the UK, you will scrub out the right-hand side of your rear tyre first.

Other factors for uneven tyre wear are poor maintenance, out of balance wheels, misalignment of the wheels, and a plethora of combinations.

Maintain and keep your tyres balanced to prevent premature wear on your tyres.