10 Critical Signs Of Low Tire Pressure In Motorcycles

10 Critical Signs Of Low Tire Pressure In Motorcycles
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The significance of tire pressure is very crucial for particular types of riding conditions ( track, offroading, stunt riding, commute ).

Tyre pressure affects things like stability, stiffness, ride quality, handling, traction, comfort, and tread wear ( lines on your motorcycle’s tire or tyre for European riders vocabulary ). Nitrogen air is highly recommended to be used to fill up your tires. Nitrogen increases the tire’s life and doesn’t heat up as it is considered a cold gas.

Tires are going to deflate overtime on their own, so weekly inspection is necessary.

So, here are 10 signs of low tire pressure in your motorcycles you should lookout.

1. Consistent Hard Revving Of The Engine 

If the tire pressure is significantly low the engine has to do more work to overcome the same amount of friction as compared to the appropriate tire pressure recommended by O.E.M. ( Original Equipment Manufacturer )

If the psi of the front or back tire drops down to 50% from its recommended psi, then the engine has to do a lot of work due to the friction and drag. A drop of 3 to 5% of psi in the tire is not concerning unless you’re getting ready for track racing/training.

Stunt riders who perform various types of stunts like drifting, wheelie, stoppie, and various other balancing acts usually keep lower psi in their tires than average. Lower the psi larger the contact patch on the asphalt. Since stunt riders perform stunts in confined spaces which are directly dependent on balancing the motorcycle/bike, low tire pressure works as an ally to them.

But if you are a regular rider, who’s going for a daily commute or even practicing on a track, recommended tire pressure is a must and safe practice.

2. Lower acceleration And Torque While Riding Or Launch

If you feel your motorcycle’s/bike’s acceleration or performance suddenly dropped compared to the last time you rode, a quick way to find the reason for this issue is to check tire pressure.

If you’re going on a daily ride or on a long haul, consistency in performance which includes acceleration and torque is a prerequisite. You might feel a little instability during launching your motorcycle if the tire pressure is really low ( i.e around 50% or lower ).

While riding your motorcycle firm grip of the tire on the road at higher to moderate speed should be necessary to avoid any accidents. As you know, traction plays a huge role in motorcycles acceleration or any vehicle for that matter. A firm grip of the tire’s surface on the road at a higher speed during cornering or even slight turning of the handler bar is crucial.

So if you want to accelerate your motorcycle at 50mph/80kph for example purposes, recommended tire pressure is mandatory. 

3. Lower Mileage/Average On Moderate To Long Rides

If the engine rpm is higher then the heat generated by the engine is more, therefore the efficiency of the vehicle reduces which results in lower mileage.

If your motorcycle is in good condition and suddenly out of nowhere you are experiencing a drop in your mileage, you should check your motorcycle’s tire pressure. You should avoid any kind of drag on the motorcycle as much as possible. If the engine has to work twice or thrice as hard as usual to carry the given weight, a drop in the motorcycle’s mileage is inevitable.

Note: You will experience a drop in mileage when the psi of the tire is dropped to 50 to 60%.

Motorcycles/bikes have to carry the load for a longer period of time at a consistent speed limit on long rides. Especially if you’re getting ready for a long trip, proper tire pressure is a must, 3 to 5% less air in the tire is not an issue ( Ex. Rear tire psi level – 35 psi. If it drops to 33.25 that’s a 5% drop ). 

Recommended psi levels for your specific type of motorcycle is a necessity for smoother long rides. Do your best as possible guys without being lazy to check the tire pressure!

4. Motorcycle Wobbles When A Passenger Sits

If the tire pressure is not appropriate, the motorcycle wobbles naturally as the tire is the only thing contacting the motorcycle with the ground.

Not to be confused with the tank slapper, speed wobble, or the death wobble. This kind of wobble is subtle and becomes prominent with a passenger on the back seat.

You will feel the motorcycle will lose its stability slightly on the bumps and pits on the road. You will feel unsure while making sharp or fast turns, as tire grip plays a vital role. The motorcycle will fail to keep itself steady on a linear path and tend to wobble slightly from left to right consistently. The wobble will become prominent during turns or while avoiding any kind of obstacles. ( Ex. Increased lean angle, Off-road terrain, etc )

The same rule applies here too. Tire pressure has to be fairly lower to experience this kind of situation.

5. Engine Heating More Than Accepted

When tire pressure is low the engine has to put more effort to overcome the friction which is generated between the tire and the road.

Keep in mind that as the tire pressure decreases, the contact patch of the tire touching the road increases. If the contact area of the tire surface gets bigger it will create more friction between the two surfaces ( i.e Tire and Road ).

It’s not ideal for regular every day riding or even for commute or track riding purposes. The Dragging action due to low tire pressure will cause the engine to overheat, which can lead to engine damage over time.

If you are a stunt rider practicing your wheelie stoppie and other fancy stuff, you will probably do it in a confined space. This will not hurt the engine to the extent if the motorcycle is taken on a long ride with low tire pressure ( which can be around 50 to 60% drop ).

6. Motorcycle/Bike Losing Its Traction While Cornering 

While cornering the tires of the vehicle experience centrifugal force. This may lead to uncontrolled cornering and may lead to lethal accidents

While cornering the motorcycle at relatively moderate to high speed, you have to apply a lean angle to counter the centrifugal force ( outward force ). A proper amount of tire pressure is crucial to complete this action successfully without getting into an accident.

During cornering the motorcycle will lose its traction due to the unsteady and wobbling nature caused by the low tire pressure.

7. Motorcycle Not Stopping In The Straight Line While Braking

If the vehicle does not have adequate tire pressure, the motorcycle won’t be stopping in a straight line.

Keep in mind that the velocity cannot be carried continuously in a forward direction if the tire is not stiff enough. It tends to cause instability when acceleration and breaking are experienced.

Simple as that guys, you don’t want a flabby tire when performing intricate tasks on your motorcycle.

8. Difficulty In Manuring The Motorcycle

Naturally, when the motorcycle has low tire pressure, it feels heavy because of the high traction produced between the wheel and the road.

For instance, rolling a 10 kg ball is easy. But if the object is not a proper circle it is difficult as the contact area is more compared to the ball.

You will feel difficulty while parking and pushing the motorcycle if tire pressure is critically low ( 60 to 70 % drop ). If psi drop is around 15 to 25 %, you will surely feel while attempting a corner or finding stability on bumpy pavements.

9. Motorcycle Fishtails While Going At Moderate To High Speeds Or Cornering

Motorcycle fishtails when the back tire breaks away or skids from side to side because of losing traction. It mainly occurs on wet surfaces ( i.e Ice, water, oil spills) because finding the grip on these types of tracks is harder for any kind of vehicle.

If you are negligent and fail to inspect your tire pressure, this can lead to fatal consequences. Any kind of surface imperfections can cause tires to lose their grip. And if your motorcycle has a low tire pressure, these imperfections on the road cause instability in the bike.

Tires with low pressure lack stiffness while creating a larger contact patch ( tire’s surface contacting the road ), resulting in bumpy and unstable rides while cornering or even at high to moderate speed.

10. Tank Slapper Caused By Lack Of Stiffness In The Tire

Handlebar moving violently from side to side, causing the motorcycle to lose its balance can become a very common incident if the tire pressures are low.

Imperfections on the pavement or the motorcycle’s front tire tiring to find the grip will cause tank slapper aka death wobble, speed wobble.

Low tire pressure will contribute to this action, as the tire’s lack of stiffness and sturdiness will cause instability. Lack of consistency in the ( contact patch ) between the tire and road will make the tire and the motorcycle work harder to find grip and stability. Any kind of imperfections on the road might lead to the motorcycle losing balance.

If you’re popping wheelies for fun, you know that the front tire should land in a straight path. If you fail to do so, the motorcycle’s tire will try to find grip and correct its traveling path, this action can lead to tank slapper aka death wobble, speed wobble.

So keep the motorcycle’s tire pressure at recommended levels but don’t let it drop too low ( i.e 50 to 60% ).


So guys if you are doing stunt practice which you’re likely to do in a confined space, a little less tire pressure than recommended is not a problem. But recommended tire pressure is a must for an everyday ride or track practice/race.

Don’t let the tire pressure drop to 50 to 60 % from its recommended psi. And if your motorcycle is in perfect condition but somehow you feel uncomfortable while riding, these are the quickest ways and obvious signs you can look out for.

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