Are your tires looking worn but still seem to have a decent grip?
Knowing when to replace dirt bike tires is not rocket science, really.
You should replace your dirt bike tire when the tread depth is less than 2mm, there are visible signs of damage or cracking, there are bulges or blisters on the sidewall, or the tire is over 2-3 years old.
It’s always better to err on the side of caution and replace the tire sooner rather than later if you suspect it’s no longer safe or effective for riding.
Now, let’s take a closer look (no pun intended) at our dirt bike tires.
What to Look for When Inspecting a Dirt Bike Tire
There are a few common signs that it may be time to replace your dirt bike tire:
The most common sign that it’s time to replace your dirt bike tire is when the tread has worn down to the point where it’s no longer safe or effective for riding.
Check the depth of the tread by measuring the distance from the top of the tread to the bottom of the groove.
If the depth is less than 2mm, it’s time to replace the tire.
Cracks or Damage
Check the tire for any visible signs of damage or cracking, which can occur due to age, dry rot, or impact damage.
If the tire has any visible cracks or damage, it’s time to replace it.
Bulges or Blisters
If you notice any bulges or blisters on the sidewall of the tire, it’s a sign that the tire has developed a weakness and should be replaced immediately.
Even if your tire has plenty of tread depth and no visible damage, it’s important to remember that all tires have a lifespan.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing dirt bike tires every 2-3 years, regardless of how often they’re used.
How to Calculate Tire Wear Based on Mileage
I actually hear this question a lot in the dirt bike community.
Personally, I don’t like giving “it depends…” type answers but in this case it really depends.
Calculating dirt bike tire wear based on mileage can be difficult, as tire wear can vary depending on several factors, such as riding style, terrain, and tire pressure.
Do you take on rocky mountain tracks or like doing wheelies on the nearby beach?
Do you like to rip up some MX tracks or is a relaxing ride in the forest your thing?
Do you inflate and deflate your tires according to the terrain, or just set-and-forget?
However, you can estimate tire wear by measuring the tread depth of the tire before and after a certain distance is covered.
To do this, use a tire tread depth gauge to measure the depth of the tire’s tread grooves.
Then, ride your dirt bike for a specific distance, such as 500 miles, and measure the tread depth again.
The difference between the two measurements will give you an estimate of how much tread has been worn down.
Keep in mind that this method is only an estimate, and there are many factors that can affect tire wear, so it’s important to inspect your tires regularly and replace them when necessary.
Honestly, I wish I could give you a formula but it would simply be unreliable.
How to Choose the Right Replacement Tire
So, you’ve inspected your tires and they do in fact need replacement.
Now we need to get a replacement, and choosing the right replacement tire for your dirt bike is important for safety and performance.
Here are some tips for making that choice a breeze.
Consider the type of terrain you will be riding on.
There are different types of dirt bike tires designed for specific terrains, such as soft, intermediate, hard, and sand.
Consider your riding style and skill level.
There are different types of tires designed for specific riding styles, such as motocross, enduro, and trials.
Make sure to choose the correct tire size for your dirt bike.
You can find the tire size information on the sidewall of the tire or in your dirt bike owner’s manual.
Brand and model
Choose a reputable brand and model of tire that is known for durability and performance.
Check reviews and ratings from other riders to find a tire that fits your needs.
Consider your budget when choosing a replacement tire.
Quality tires can be expensive, but they are worth the investment for safety and performance.
Make sure you have the right tools and expertise to install the tire properly.
If you are unsure about the installation process, seek the help of a professional mechanic or tire dealer.
With the right tire, you can take on the world!
But first, we need to install it.
Tips for Installing New Tires
Installing new tires on a dirt bike is similar to installing tires on a regular vehicle, but there are some differences to keep in mind.
Here are some tips for installing new tires on a dirt bike:
- Prepare the wheel. Before installing the new tire, make sure the wheel is clean and free of any debris. You can use a wire brush to clean the rim and sandpaper to rough up the surface of the tire bead.
- Mount the tire. Use a tire mounting machine or tire irons to mount the new tire onto the wheel. Make sure to lubricate the tire bead with a tire mounting paste or soapy water to make the process easier.
- Balance the tire. Balancing the tire is not always necessary for a dirt bike, but it can help improve performance and reduce wear. You can use a tire balancing stand or bubble balancer to balance the tire.
- Install the tire on the bike. Use a torque wrench to tighten the wheel bolts or axle nut to the recommended torque specification. Always tighten in a criss-cross pattern to ensure even tightening.
- Check the tire pressure. Inflate the tire to the recommended pressure specified by the tire manufacturer. Use a tire pressure gauge to verify the pressure.
- Test ride. After installing the new tires, take the bike for a short test ride to make sure everything feels and sounds normal.
I have replaced dirt bike tires in my garage many times, and I will recommend this for people who have the right tools and the right time.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of the installation process or simply can’t be bothered (yes, it does take some effort and time), just ask your local bike mechanic or tire dealer who has experience with dirt bikes.
Tire replacements are usually quite cheap and your dealer might even do it for free as part of the package.
Here’s a great tutorial on how to do this yourself.
By now I hope you have a much better idea of when to replace a dirt bike tire.
We discussed things to look for when inspecting your tires, such as tread depth, condition and age of the tires.
Although there is no formula to predict your dirt bike tire wear, you can come up with your own by experimenting on different terrains and recording the results.
You can totally install the tires by yourself, or get it done at your local mechanic for a small free.
Safe riding, my friend!