Essential Tire Maintenance Tips from Harley-Davidson Motor Company Experts

3Check-Tire-Pressure-with-an-Accurate-GaugeBelow is the low down on low pressure and tired tires.

A patch of tire rubber no larger than a credit card is what connects a motorcycle to the road, and maintaining those tires is critical to motorcycle performance and to the safety of your ride. The motorcycle tire experts at Harley-Davidson have put together the following tire-care tips for all riders.

1H-D-Tread-Depth-Indicator1. Dial In Tire Pressure:

A number of factors can influence the rate of motorcycle tire wear. One of the most critical is also frequently overlooked by riders: maintaining proper tire inflation pressure. “Checking tire pressure is one of the most important tire-maintenance functions a rider can perform,” says Steve Bindl, H-D Product Portfolio Manager. “Properly inflated tires wear longer, and correct pressure promotes better braking, better fuel economy, maximizes traction, and reduces the risk of tire damage or failure.”

Tire pressure should be checked before every ride as a part of the pre-riding checklist in the motorcycle owner’s manual. Pressure should be checked when the tires are cold (before riding), and adjusted to the pressure listed in the motorcycle owner’s manual or on the tire information sticker located on the motorcycle. Use a high-quality gauge intended for motorcycle use when checking your tires. The Harley-Davidson Digital Tire Pressure Gauge provides accurate pressure readings in 0.50 psi increments up to 60 psi, and features a 12-inch braided line and 90 degree angle chuck for easy access to valve stems.

SERVICE TIP: Pressure gauges can become inaccurate over time due to wear and tear and should be replaced or checked against a gauge with known accuracy.

2H-D-Digital-Air-Pressure-Gauge2. Loaded for Trouble:

Exceeding the load capacity of any motorcycle can lead to loss of control and sudden tire failure, either of which could result in an accident. The load capacity of the motorcycle should always be considered when adding accessories, a passenger, or luggage to the bike. Check the motorcycle owner’s manual or the information label on the motorcycle’s frame down tube for the load capacity and never exceed the maximum load.

Another factor that can greatly impact load capacity is trailers and sidecars. Trailers should never be used with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Pulling a trailer will void both the motorcycle and the tire warranty. Sidecars are appropriate for some motorcycles but should not be fitted unless approved by Harley-Davidson.

SERVICE TIP: For every 4 psi a tire is under-inflated, you could lose up to 80 pounds of load-carrying capacity.

3. Replace Those Tired Tires:

After checking and adjusting the pressure, give each tire a careful inspection for cuts, gouges, or foreign objects that may cause punctures and loss of air pressure. If any damage or excessive wear is noticed, contact an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer immediately, says Bindl.

Worn tires can adversely affect motorcycle control and traction, and are more prone to road damage. Most tires have tread wear indicator bars that will appear between the tread block when tire tread depth reaches 1/32 of an inch, which is the legal limit. It is best not to wait until the tread is at the bare minimum. Once a tire gets to 2/32 of an inch or below, tires should be replaced. The pocket-size Harley-Davidson Tire Gauge Tread Depth Indicator Tool provides a precise tread depth measurement, and also has an air-pressure gauge.

4. Get the Right Tires:

Motorcycle tires are integral to the dynamics of the bike, so choosing a replacement tire is an important decision. Harley-Davidson has partnered with Dunlop and Michelin – two of the premier tire brands in the world – to create Harley-Davidson co-branded tires which are exclusively designed, tested and approved to deliver optimal performance on each Harley-Davidson motorcycle model. These tires can be identified by the bold “Harley-Davidson” script on the sidewall and are available through authorized Harley-Davidson retailers. Harley-Davidson advises its customers that it is essential to use only Harley-Davidson service replacement tires that are the approved fitment for each individual year and model motorcycle. Using non-approved tires or mixing approved tires from different manufacturers on the same motorcycle can adversely affect stability, which could result in death or serious injury. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website

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16 Responses to “Essential Tire Maintenance Tips from Harley-Davidson Motor Company Experts”


  1. 1 HD Rider Feb 22nd, 2014 at 9:26 am

    If tire pressure was do important why did they make it so gawdawfull difficult to check on the 2009 later touring bikes.

  2. 2 Mr Dick Feb 22nd, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Oh wow HD, how could we ever survive w/o you? My CVO Ultra went in for a rear tire at local HD shop 4 years ago. Long story short, saddlebag fell off half way home, tire had 24lb. not 36 or 40. This was the one and only time that I didn’t check the bag pins before leaving. I thought if a HD shop can’t put them back right, who can? Harley sell your bikes and piss off telling us about tires!

  3. 3 LoneRider Feb 22nd, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    How much of a kick back does the company get for ever endorsed hd tire sold?

  4. 4 Pinhead Feb 22nd, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    HD – have a good day and ride safe.
    Internet people – screw you harley don’t tell me what to do!

  5. 5 Sharrack Feb 22nd, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    HD TIRE PRESSURE GAUGE – DRINK MORE KOOL AID !

  6. 6 Rodent Feb 22nd, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Don’t buy HD inscribed tires is the answer.

  7. 7 Harlan Schiilinger Feb 23rd, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Thanks for the good information and reminders. This apply’s to ALL tires.. Look at it that way…

  8. 8 Jusmecuz Feb 23rd, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Here’s an essential tip: steer clear of those oem h-d dunlops.

  9. 9 Bill Kniegge Feb 23rd, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I think their message is on the money… they just can’t help themselves when it comes to anything HD branded. Now… without trying to sound commercial… checking tire pressure is a PIA for sure… Using a Wheel Jockey makes the job much easier… which means it gets done more often. It’s also a way find ugly looking debris stuck in your tire…

  10. 10 Terence Tory Feb 23rd, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I’m waiting for H-D branded air to put in them there gen-U-whine tires.

  11. 11 JackS Feb 24th, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I for one love the performance of the HD Dunlops on the late model touring bikes. For me, there are better tires if I only rode twisties; but for overall performance, these tires rock! They track well on the highway, handle well in the sweepers and twisties, and perform admirably at speed in heavy rains. And now I get ~19K miles on the rear and ~26K miles on the front.

    Having said all that, I do wish HD and Dunlop would raise the load capacity of the tires and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating on the touring bikes. Although the recent new designs raised the load capacity (by 45 lbs I think), when you put a fully geared-up rider and passenger on a bike and send them packed for a trip, whether over night or cross-country, they are hard pressed not to exceed the bike’s GVWR and load capacity.

  12. 12 Shanedrive Feb 24th, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Terence,
    You can’t be gettin’ that gen-U-whine air from an independent shop though. HD doesn’t want their dealers selling to us anymore. Probably cuz we tend to do a better, more thorough job than the dealers do so the mothership is trying to squeeze us out of the picture via their NRSP (non retail sales policy). all I can say to HD is…….good luck w/that. I don’t rely on HD that much and all the policy is doing is driving the aftermarket to step up to the plate more and more. ;)

  13. 13 Terence Tory Feb 24th, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Follow the simple rules when checking tires.Only check pressures when cold.They don’t want you messin’ with their hot air.

  14. 14 X H-D Rider Feb 24th, 2014 at 11:49 am

    How do you know the gage is accurate. Most if not all pencil ones are way off. Gage ones seam to be closer to being right on.
    I check mine the first of every month and they do loose 2 to 3 pounds. When the temp gets into the mid 90’s and higher the tire will loose 2 to 3 pounds in ten days.
    So if you want longer life out of your tires get down there and check your air

  15. 15 tom anguish Feb 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I cannot believe the amount of cry babies!! Why did you buy your Harley? No really? I`ve had nothing but great experiences with my `05 FLHTC,and with my dealership! The Dunlop tires are perfect for my riding.The air gauge could be at a 45 degree to be easier,but than how do you guys do any maintenance while boo-hooing?? Trade it in and get a scooter,and quit your crying!!!!

  16. 16 Dave Smith Feb 26th, 2014 at 11:47 am

    As Seen on Cyril Huze Post !

    Your bike will ride much smoother if you use a Harley-Davidson Digital Backlit pressure guage (with Bar & Shield logo) to check you tire pressure and it can be yours today for just $39.95, complete with batteries and Quick Start Instruction Manual.

    BUT WAIT! Come in to your Harley-Davidson dealership today and get a second guage absolutely FREE! (pay just the $39.95 for the logo). Just imagine the amazement on your friend’s faces when you use one for the front tire and a second one for the rear.

    And these genuine Harley-Davidson guages come complete with a Certificate of Authenticity.

    But remember, to be the envy of your riding group, you must come in before 5 pm today!

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