Tires being among the most vital parts of a motorcycle must always be kept in good condition. A simple act like keeping a motorcycle parked for long with its whole weight resting on its tires might mean bad news for you when you finally need to ride.
This might cause the tires to develop flat and rigid patches known as “flat spots”.
Flat spots may cause your motorcycle to vibrate and give a rough and uncomfortable ride.
Tire flat spots are deformities that form along the curvature of the tires of a motorcycle. As the name suggests, they are flat and hard surfaces that take away the natural perfect circular look from the tires.
This hinders the motorcycle from performing to its optimum best as it may get a little bit of imbalance from the tires, which may also compromise its stability and comfort.
Flat spots are formed when a motorcycle is parked and left on the same spot for a long time, with its tires resting fully on the ground.
The part of the tire that is in contact with the ground would tend to flatten and harden up due to the motorcycle’s body weight that acts on them and the cooler temperatures. It would then adapt more to the new shape as time goes by.
The severity of tire flat spots also depends on other factors that are shown below:
- Amount of load: Heavy load acting on the tires causes them to flatten up more at the point of contact with the ground. Therefore, the heavier the load on the stationary bike, the bigger the flat spot.
- Temperature: Cooler temperatures would make the tires stiffer, giving them the tendency to easily cause a flat spot that is rigid.
- Amount of pressure: Tires with little pressure flattens up more at the point of contact with the ground.
Having the tires inflated to the recommended PSI is advisable to avoid this.
With all this said, flat spots are pretty rare and likely won’t happen to most riders, unless you leave it unmoved for years, or if your garage’s room temperature gets to -20°F or below for a couple of months.
Yes, there is no need to fret. Flat spots eventually disappear with time as you ride more. In the beginning, you will feel more of their effects on your motorcycle, but they usually go away after some miles of riding depending on how severe they are.
The explanation of this is that as the motorcycle moves and as the wheels rotate, the temperature rises in the tires due to frictional heat that is generated. This makes them more flexible and therefore are molded back to their original circular shapes, which are slowly restored.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. You are better off preventing an unpleasant encounter with problems that are brought about by flat spots on your tires than trying to make them disappear. Therefore, if you plan to go on a long vacation or leave your motorcycle parked for a very long time, here are a few important steps on how to prevent flat spots on motorcycle tires.
- The absolute best way of preventing flat spots is by lifting the motorcycle completely off the ground by use of motorcycle stands. The center stand will do the job, but if your motorcycle doesn’t have one, then you can find front and rear motorcycle stands at most motorcycle part stores. By lifting the motorcycle up above the ground, you will completely eliminate the posibility of flat spots appearing.
- Can’t use motorcycle stands? You can still prevent flat spots by regularly rotating the tires, say after every two weeks. This will prevent them from resting on the same spot for a long time.
- Inflating the tires to the recommended PSI is also a great idea. This is because when it is cold, the air inside the tires will compress which will eventually result in low tire pressure. You must also regularly check the pressure and avoid over-inflating the tires.
- Place a rubber mat on the points where the tires touch the ground and let them rest on the rubber instead. This is to prevent moisture that is attracted by the concrete floor of your garage from slowly eating away the tires over time.
- Avoid placing bulky items on top of your motorcycle when it is parked for a long time. The more weight pushing on the tire, the more chances of flat spots to appear.
- If you have a home heating system, you can have your garage heated up especially during the winter months. This will keep the motorcycle tires warm at all times and hence help keep flat spots at bay.
Unless a motorcycle is parked for years, flat spots will not cause permanent damages to the tires. The only thing that will be of concern is the overall discomfort that it causes when riding. This, however, will get cured as you ride your motorcycle after some time, over some distance.
Therefore, it is safe to say that flat spots shouldn’t be a cause for great concern for the health of your motorcycle tires.
Jake is the site’s primary contributor.
Motorcycles and automotive repair have been a big part of his family for generations, therefore it’s only natural that he decided to become a heavy-duty diesel tech.
Outside of work, you’ll find Jake restoring and riding rare street bikes and ATVs.