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Motorcycle Tire Flat in Middle – Safe To Ride or Not?

Motorcycle tires do not last forever. They can get too worn to ride safely, or they can get too old to reliably hold air and increase the risk of a sudden blowout while riding. 

But why do they wear flat in the middle? When can you consider a tire to be too worn in the middle to be safe to ride?

Why Is My Motorcycle Tire Wearing In the Middle?

Motorcycle tire wear in the middle is completely normal since the middle of the tire is in contact with the road 70-80% of the time you’re riding on the streets. 

Usually, scalloping or uneven wear on the sides of the tire happens due to worn-out or poorly adjusted suspension. If that’s not the case, and your tires are worn straight in the middle, then there’s nothing to worry about. 

Now, you should be getting at least 6000 miles out of your tires before they wear flat in the middle, but there are a few factors that could make your tires wear out faster:

  1. Overinflated tires. There are two reliable sources of information on the correct tire pressure for your specific motorcycle – the owner’s manual and the infomation plate on the swingarm or frame. The PSI on the sidewall of the tire only shows the maximum pressure that the tire will handle and not the exact PSI your motorcycle requires. Always inflate your tires to the specifications listed in your motorcycles owner’s manual to minimize tire wear in the middle.  
  2. Soft rubber compound. Sporty motorcycle tires are usually made of a softer rubber compound that provides better grip. On the other hand, softer rubber wears out much sooner and causes the tire to wear flat way faster. Keep that in mind when buying new tires. 
  3. Riding Two-Up. It’s simple – the more weight you have on your motorcycle, the faster the tires will wear out. Don’t forget to lower the tire pressure when you’re riding solo, as overinflation will wear the middle out prematurely.

Is Riding With a Tire That’s Flat in the Middle Dangerous?

As long as the tire has at least 2 millimeters of tread left or the tread isn’t worn down to the tire wear indicators, then the tire should be safe to ride. Otherwise – it’s time for new tires. 

Motorcycle Tire Tread Wear Indicator
Tread Wear Indicator

When the tires are worn in the middle, it becomes more difficult to lean the bike over, and when you do lean it over you can feel the tire overcoming the flat spot with a distinct shift in lean angle. It’s quite difficult to describe in words, but it’s very unintuitive and quite scary when it happens if you’re not expecting it. In short, it makes the motorcycle slightly more unpredictable on corners.  

Now, if that’s the case with your tires, then it’s time to consider buying new ones. You will be surprised how different and agile your motorcycle will feel on fresh round tires. 

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