The Association of Tire Manufacturers (Afane) took advantage of Vive la Moto, the motorcycle show in Madrid under the umbrella of the employer Anesdor, to examine more than 5,000 motorcycles and their tires.
One of the pillars of safety when riding a motorcycle is the condition of the tires. No doubt this is obvious, but do motorcyclists really care about the state of their tires? Afane, the Tire Manufacturers Association (the former Tire Manufacturers Commission) made up of the main premium producers in the market -Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli- took the pulse of this question and carried out an on-site verification during the Past Vive la Moto, the trade show for the sector under the umbrella of Anesdor (the employers' association of two wheels) held in Madrid from March 31 to April 3, with several thousand motorcycles as a sample.
As part of its 'Motero, the tire comes first' campaign, Afane organized activities that included the random analysis of the motorcycles that rested in the Ifema car park and voluntary braking tests on the track created ad hoc to check the differences in behavior between new and worn tires.
The universe of the motorcycle sample was 5,425 motorcycles and the evaluations were left hanging, one by one on the handlebar, in a brochure with the state in which they were. Afane's technicians analyzed the depth of the tread, the cracks, the presence of damage and whether the wear was regular or irregular. After the examination, the monitors verified that almost 92% of the 5,425 motorcycles checked were in good condition. Although it can be improved without a doubt, this data is good news.
The most common failure was low tire tread depth, followed by uneven wear, cracks and finally damage. In the case of depth, 87.5% of the tires evaluated were correct, only 233 motorcycles were below the appropriate level and 441 required revision in this regard.
In the case of the wear surface, only 3.55% of the analyzed tires had a very irregular surface, 6.9% had a slightly irregular surface and 89.55% had a smooth regular wear and were suitable for use. .
Regarding the presence of cracks, only 1% of the motorcycles circulated with tires with an excess of them, 3% had few and 96% were free of them.
Finally, with regard to visible damage, the technicians found that 28 motorcycles were running with severely damaged tires, 51 motorcycles showed some type of damage and the majority, which represented the remaining 5,346, had no visible alterations.
"Proper tire maintenance contributes to a considerable increase in safety. The fact of not replacing worn or damaged tires, due to haste, laziness or trying to save money, can have serious consequences in terms of safety", recalls José Luis Rodríguez, general director of Afane and general director of the Industrial Rubber Consortium.
Well, the first thing is that roads are unpredictable places, sometimes with the presence of sharp elements or potholes that can damage the tire, so it is vitally important to inspect the damage that any impact or any other circumstance may have caused. indicate possible damage.
Another essential aspect is to maintain the correct pressure, above all, to reduce the risk of losing control. Driving a motorcycle with tires at a lower pressure causes instability, makes it offer greater resistance to movement and thus consume more fuel (if it is gasoline) or energy (if it is electric), and will increase the heating of the rubber with the consequent decrease in the useful life of the tire.
In the extreme case that the pressure is well below that recommended, the possibility of suffering an undercut or a blowout is multiplied and with it the risk of suffering a fall, especially when cornering. At the other extreme, a higher than recommended pressure will mean that the rubber does not absorb the imperfections of the road, making driving uncomfortable and, in addition, increasing the braking distance.
In terms of wear, as Afane correctly pointed out, "Spanish regulations indicate that the tread pattern must be visible, since otherwise it produces a significant loss of grip, fundamentally when used on wet pavement, as well as vibrations in the steering"... And be subject to sanction if the competent authority stops us. On motorcycles, it is very important to check that wear occurs evenly in the central part and on the shoulders (the part of the tire in contact with the ground that serves as a link between the sidewalls and the tread and provides support and grip to the tread), since these play a fundamental role in the layout of the curves.
Last but not least, the tire can suffer damage that is visible from the outside and that indicates a possible failure or deterioration of its composition, which affects safety when driving and can range from a broken casing or damage localized -such as cuts in its structure- or cracks in the rubber, the latter, an unequivocal sign, for example, of a tire past its expiration date.
Rodríguez recalls that "it is essential that consumers periodically check their tires, and also that they are regularly inspected by specialists or, immediately, if they detect any damage or irregularity".
Therefore, be very careful with 'low cost' brands. Although it is true that they all comply with the legal regulations, they are usually 'asked' for more than they can give and that is why it is better to invest (than not spend) on safety, comfort, the environment, etc., acquiring a premium tire. The better the tire, the greater this safety, the comfort... And the savings in the end.