How to run in new motorbike tyres

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Motorcycle tyres are complex things of beauty and that’s never truer than when they are brand new.

Arguably, they never look prettier than when they’re shiny and new but the start of a motorbike tyre’s life is also the most treacherous for riders.

Why are tyres tough to handle in the beginning?

Brand new motorbike tyres are usually shiny and glossy. While that makes them look even sweeter than your pair of trusty old rubbers, it makes handling more difficult.

So it’s fair to ask why on earth manufacturers make tyres that are tough to cope with before any wear and tear has taken place.

The reasons for tyres being so slick early on in their career are not entirely to do with looks but rather the manufacturing process.

The manufacturing process

When tyres are being moulded, their surface is coated with a release agent to make sure it comes out of the mould without any issues.

As you’d expect, this release agent is non-stick and while that coating is on the tyres, they can be slippery when used on the road.

Additionally, some chemicals are used during manufacturing to make the tyres smooth and avoid any surface defects.

Again, the result of these chemicals on brand new tyres is a slightly slippery, glossy surface.

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That’s why you need to scrub your tyres in

Because of a brand new tyre’s slippery properties, they need to be ‘scrubbed in’ when they are first fitted to your bike.

The best way to get rid of the gloss on new tyres is to heat them up and to do that, they really need to be ridden.

But before you get out on the road on your bike your tyres should, as Bridgestone calls it, be buffed, with a dry cloth.

After you’ve buffed (rubbed with a dry cloth) it’s time to get out on the road and scrub them in.

Riding for the first time on new bike tyres

Tyre manufacturers advise riders to ride cautiously for at least the first 100-125 miles on a new tyre.

This means riders should not accelerate suddenly and harshly, should not apply maximum braking force or corner hard.

Gentle riding for the first 100 to 125 miles allows the rider to get used to the tyres and how they feel, as well as getting rid of the greasy surface chemicals.

After this initial ride, it’s worth checking your tyres for any uneven wear.

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Don’t be tempted to weave

If you watch any motorbike racing, MotoGP, WorldSBK or whatever, you’ll notice that riders weave quite a lot on their sighting laps.

The reason riders do this is to warm their tyres up and get them up to temperature before they have to accelerate, brake and corner hard.

Obviously, they’re not out there for 100 miles warming their tyres so you might wonder why you have to get through 100+ miles before you should start accelerating hard.

Well first things first, you’re not Valentino Rossi and you’re not as skilled at handling a bike at speed, no matter how good you think you are.

Second, racers will have tyre warmers on for a long time before they get out on track. That means their tyres will be up to temperature before they get on track.

You don’t have that luxury – so I’m afraid it’s 100 or so miles worth of gentle riding for you.

Next page: Motorbike tyres – what you need to know