Dunlop, Michelin or Pirelli Tyres for your Harley-Davidson

Harley Tyres – Care & Maintenance

So, in our ongoing efforts to bring valuable riding and maintenance advice to our customers, I thought it would be a good idea to document a few fast facts regarding Harley tyres.

There are many factors that influence tyre wear, handling ability, life and stability on the road. Most of these are unknown to the average bike rider and if ignored can be extremely dangerous.

Firstly, tyre pressures on most Harley’s should be roughly 2.6 kPa in the front and 2.8 kPa at the rear.

  • This should be measured cold i.e. after a nights parking and would depend on the weight of the bike and the passengers as well as luggage to be carried. So, the smaller bikes could be 2.5 kPa front and 2.7 kPa rear while the bigger bikes that lug heavy loads should be closer to 2.7 kPa front and 2.9 kPa rear.
  • You need to remember that atmospheric pressure i.e. altitude influences tyre pressures so this means that if you were to pump a tyre 2.8 kPa at altitude i.e. Johannesburg the same tyre would be 2.5 kPa at sea level.
  • Another important factor is ambient temperature, the warmer the weather i.e. at 40˚C a wheel pumped to 2.8 kPa would be around 2.6 kPa while at 20˚C and 2.5 kPa at 10˚C. So, remember to adjust pressures with temperature and altitude.
  • The harder the tyres the longer they last. A heavy bike with a heavy load used with under-inflated tyres will deteriorate the tyre condition rapidly. Cracks, perishing, uneven thread wear, surface cuts, etc. are only a few conditions to look out for.
  • Very often a bike that has been parked for a month or two will also have lesser pressure than before it was parked, sometimes as much as 0.5 kPa less. This often catches riders out and a short ride of 500km with under-inflated tyres would deteriorate a tyre as much as a normal 5000km. This phenomenon is much like a rugby ball that was pumped hard that lays outside on the grass would be flat within a week while it would stay inflated indoors for up to a month.

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It is, therefore, a no-brainer that tyre pressure is of utmost importance on your Harley and should never be neglected regardless of how difficult it becomes to check or pump.

Then, also follow the Harley tyre care & maintenance tips listed below.

  • Regularly have your bikes wheel alignment & tyre balancing checked to avoid excessive tyre wear and handling problems.
  • Make sure your valve cap is secure to avoid losing tyre pressure during high-speed travelling.
  • Use only soap & water or Harley approved tyre shine products as many oils can enhance premature cracking & tyre deterioration.
  • Inspect your tyres for screws and or nails before you leave on your ride to avoid tyre failure while on a trip.
  • If you hit a pothole, sharp object or kerb inspect your tyre regularly thereafter to ensure there is no damage. This is important as damage might be internal and only show up a day or two after the actual event.
  • Never run two tyres with different compositions (tyre makes or tread patterns).
  • Take it slow for the first couple of km while braking in new tyres. The ideal grip is only achieved after the tread surface has been ridden on for about 100km to 200km.

Ask one of our service advisors about a tyre pressure monitoring systems for your Harley.

Available Harley-Davidson Tyres:

Dunlop D207, D401, D402, D407, D408, D427, K591, Etc.
Dunlop American Elite
Michelin Commander & Scorcher
Pirelli Night Dragon

(Wide White Wall, Medium White Wall & Narrow White Wall options offered on select tyres)

Click on the following links for more interesting pages:

Harley wheel bearing maintenance
Harley Davidson Check over
Harley Davidson brake maintenance
Harley Davidson battery