Advice: Why have my tyres worn so quickly?

Published: 24 August 2010

Why have my tyres worn so quickly?

Q. I’ve been using the same make and model of tyres on my bike for a few sets now, but the last pair seemed to have worn faster than before. Both the front and the rear are showing signs of extensive wear about 700 miles earlier than before. Do you think they have changed the tyres’ construction?
David Bayes, Epping Forest
 
A. There are four main factors that affect tyre wear. The compound is one of them, but I doubt very much that the tyre firm have changed its construction in a negative manner like that, but it could be something has changed on your bike.

Tyre pressures are one. If tyre pressures are out by +/-10% your tread life will reduce by 4%. If your pressures are out by +/-16% your tyre life will reduce by 10%.

Get further away from the recommended pressures and there is a significant increase in wear. 20% out reduces tread life by 23%. A 20% lower rear tyre pressure would be common for some tyres on a track day (42psi road down to 33psi track), but those poor mileage figures should stop most riders from using track day pressures on the road.

The next is suspension. Poorly set up or worn suspension will accelerate tyre wear. If your bike is still on its original suspension, has it been set up to be overly-stiff? Or are the dampers wearing out, so that the suspension is loading and unloading the tyre more, so that it increases in temperature and accelerates tyre wear?

Finally, throttle control. If pressures and suspension set-up can be eliminated as contributing factors in low mileage on a particular tyre, then it comes down to throttle control. If you are the type of rider that parks it in the corner and twists the throttle hard as you stand the bike up on the exit you will always get worse tyre wear than a smoother rider who carries more corner speed.

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