When to Replace Dirt Bike Tires (Front and Rear)
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One of the most significant factors in how a dirtbike handles is the condition of its tires. However, tires aren’t cheap and they’re easy to put off or forget about. Therefore, knowing when to replace dirt bike tires not only improves handling and performance but also can save you money.
If haven’t had the experience of riding with a set of new tires on your dirt bike (front and rear), after riding with worn-out tires for a while, you’re in for a treat.
Riding with good tires makes a serious difference, on and off-road.
With all of that in mind, here’s when to replace a dirt bike tire and everything else you need to look for.
What Causes Tire Wear
Again, there are three main factors that will determine how long dirt bike tires last:
- Style of riding
- Tire pressure
As mentioned, the rider plays a large role in preserving or wearing out a dirtbike’s tire. If you are putting around on a trail bike, enjoying the scenery, and not trying to improve any lap times, you can expect your tire to last quite a while.
On the other hand, if you’re ripping around on a 450cc roosting your buddies every time they creep up on your tail, your tire isn’t going to last too long.
Since there are several different types of terrain (hard, soft, medium, sand, etc.), you can’t expect one tire to do it all. Therefore, the type of terrain plays a significant role in the lifespan of a tire. Just as you wouldn’t put some aggressive mudding atv tires on a motocross quad, you also need to pair your dirtbike with the correct tire type.
More often than not, hard terrains like asphalt, gravel roads, and packed clay eat up tires rather quickly. On the other hand, riding only on soft and clean dirt will allow the tire to last fairly long.
Incorrect Tire Pressure
Granted, tire pressure may not seem too important at first, but it is. Running your tires at the recommended PSI will not only make them perform well, but it is also a critical “to-do” if you want to get the most life out of your tire as possible.
Generally, you should run your tire at 12 PSI, but of course, you have a little wiggle room. For example, some may have their go-to motocross tire pressure in addition to a PSI they run on rocky or rooted trails. In the end, there are a few ways to approach this.
When to Change Dirt Bike Tires
Tire wear is inevitable. As long as you are riding your dirt bike, and even if you aren’t, your tires will wear out eventually. Yes, tires can wear out just sitting in your garage.
However, one of the main reasons dirt bike tires wear out is the terrain they’re ridden on.
While we all hope and aim for tacky, clean dirt, we usually spend a decent amount of time riding on gravel roads, hard granite, and even some pavement. All of these cause tires to wear out quicker than we’d like, even if we’re running some of the best tires for gravel roads and hard-packed surfaces.
Riding a dirt bike with worn-out tires is not only dangerous, but it is also a lot more work and the bike never performs as well as it should.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Dirt Bike Tires
There are a handful of different signs or symptoms of a worn-out tire. Even if you don’t notice the lack of traction while riding, there are still signs to look for. Here’s how to know if a dirt bike tire is worn-out:
- Missing or damaged knobs
- Rounded corners on knobs
- Sun/weather damage – cracks, fading, etc.
- Weird wear patterns
As mentioned, a dirt bike tire should last around 1,000 miles, plus or minus depending on terrain and riding style. With that in mind, we know how long a dirt bike tire should last before it needs to be replaced: 25-40 hours.
How Often Should You Replace a Dirt Bike Tire
It’s not uncommon to see guys replace their rear knobby three, four, five times, or more before they replace their front tire. This can be a mistake. If you’re one of those guys (I used to be) you will be blown away at how much better your dirt bike handles and turns with a new front tire.
Of course, you should keep your rear tire fresh as well. But I probably don’t have to convince you of that.
The normal lifespan of a dirtbike tire depends greatly on how aggressively you ride and on the terrain. However, if you are curious as to how long a dirt bike tire lasts in a typical setting, here you go:
Dirt bike tires typically last for 25-40 hours before needing to be replaced. This equals roughly 900-1,600 miles of riding, depending on the terrain.
For details on how I came up with the conversion above, here is the hours to miles chart for dirt bikes.
How to Make a Dirt Bike Tire Last Longer
Just as riding on a hardpack can cause your tires to wear quickly, sticking to motocross tracks and groomed, clean trails will help a tire last longer.
However, that isn’t always an option and doesn’t sound like fun for a trail rider. If you’re into riding trails (I am) then you’re going to be riding on many different types of terrain. With that in mind, here are a few other ways to make your tires last longer:
- Pick the right tire for the terrain
- Maintain proper air pressure
- Use quality pressure gauge (don’t trust those cheap gauges)
- Flip your tire around (if it isn’t directional)
Replacement Tires for a Dirt Bike
As you can see, proper tire maintenance and care are vital to a long-lasting tire. However, picking the correct tires for you and your dirt bike is just as important.
To pick a good tire, you not only need to consider the type of dirt bike you have but also the type of riding you will be doing. For example, you would put hard-terrain, less-aggressive tire on a dual sport than you would on a motocross bike.
I’ve outlined a list of the best dirt bike tires here, but you should know that there are different types of tires for each of the different terrains. For instance, the best soft terrain tire is not the same as the best hard terrain tire. You really do need to pick the right type of tire.
How to Replace Dirt Bike Tires
Here are all of the recommended dirt bike tire tools that you’ll need to do the job correctly. Note, in addition to all of the different spoons, rim protectors, etc., you may also want to look into picking up a dirt bike tire changer stand.
They aren’t super-cheap, but they do pay for themselves after you’ve used them enough.