Watch Your Rear Tire!

I’m going to come out and say it, too many people let their tires get really bad.

Why am I thinking about this? Well I’m going to tell you a little story:

I was riding home last week and I looked behind me to see that a motorcyclist had caught up with me. This happens occasionally, I don’t take as many risks as some do with lane sharing, but that is another post. I let him past me and was glad I did since he was definitley was riding faster than I was through the cars.

However as often is the case I caught up with him when traffic slowed down and he was not moving as fast. It was then that I noticed something odd. Initially I thought he had something stuck to his rear tire, but I soon realized that nope, he had worn his rear tire down to the metal…

I caught up to him at a light and with some hand waving and pointing and yelling I think I got him to realize that he need to change his rear tire ASAP.


I see this thing way too often. I’m sort of a rear tire… um vigilante?  More than once, I have left notes on motorcycles by my work letting them know that their rear tires are close to being a danger. Letting your tires get to this state is obviously bad, and it hurts your braking performance and traction quite a bit.

I did not become this way for no real reason, it’s that I too have ridden a tire way past it’s safe life.

Look at that bald spot... no the one on the tire! Sheesh... poor guy's been hearing that joke for 9 years.

Look at that bald spot… no the one on the tire! Sheesh… poor guy’s been hearing that joke for 9 years.

The picture above was taken after my first road crash on about three months after I started riding. The crash wasn’t because the tire was bald, it was because I was a noob and blew the corner.

I learned my lesson though. I am much better about checking my tires and making sure they never get that bad again. It’s something you should do every time you ride. If you listen to the good people at the MSF,  it is part of the pre ride check list. In fact it is the first thing on the list. If you’re an everyday rider like me you should still be checking them every week at the very least. I’ve made a habit of checking every time I walk away from the bike. I’ve never had one look that bad (or even close) since.

Edit: A reader pointed out that tire’s don’t wear completely evenly all the time, so you could have a bad spot. If you think your tire is getting bad, make sure you roll the tire and make sure it’s not already looking like the above picture!


About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
This entry was posted in Ducati Monster 620, Motocycling, Riding and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Watch Your Rear Tire!

  1. Worn tyres are just as dangerous as a loose or worn chain drive. Often, you only see these with new riders that haven’t yet found a mentor to show them how to care for inspect and and inflate/ adjust correctly.

    • MotoCynic says:

      I would agree. I had no idea how long a tire would last when I first started riding. Its rather shocking to go from tens of thousands of miles on a set of tires on a car to just a few thousand on a sport rear. Things that often don’t get mentioned right away when you get your first bike.

  2. rjbuxton says:

    In the UK that tyre could get you a fine of 1000 GBP and points on your license. There is also no chance that that would be missed in the annual MOT test of road-worthiness. Anyone investigating your accident would have to conclude that the tyre was a contributory factor and you might even get further punishment for having a vehicle in such a dangerous condition.

    • MotoCynic says:

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say with your comment. It comes across as somewhat insulting and I’m hoping this wasn’t your intent. You are commenting on a tire that if you read my post you know was from an accident that happened years ago. I clearly have learned my lesson and am trying to prevent others from making the same mistake I made as a very new rider.

      • rjbuxton says:

        Yes. I’m sorry about the tone. Reading back it is a little clumsy. I was just trying to point out the severe penalties – quite rightly – that such a tyre can attract in this modern era. No disrespect was intended toward yourself. I enjoy your writing style enormously.

      • MotoCynic says:

        Thanks for Reading!!!
        No worries. I was a bit taken aback originally. So thank you for replying.
        Sometimes I do wish we took our driving a bit more serious in this Country. Most likely if caught with that tire by a Police Officer you would get a Fix-It ticket, which would be only a moderate fine if you did nothing, and if you fixed it and get an officer to sign off that you fixed it only a very small charge.

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