When you buy a new, or new to you motorcycle, there is usually this love-affair, honeymoon period, where you think you have found the mechanical replacement for that empty hole in your heart . After the first season, or even the first mud-hole, this beloved beauty usually loses some of her sex appeal until you have an excuse to pretty her up again. A shiny new set of shoes for her, usually gets you all smitten again. But wait, don’t go prancing her around town until you break-in those high-heels a bit, here’s why.
Chemicals & Compounds
You would have thought that for the price you paid for these rubber roadsters, that everything would have been done at the manufacturing plant and you could take off speeding into the sun. Well there are a number of chemicals and compounds used to make up a set of motorcycle tires. These work better together, and as the tire heats up all the chemicals have the chance to work as a team. Check the specifications of your tire, though somewhere around 165-degress for about 10-minutes, is usually the basic starting point before even riding a normal day on your tires.
Traction & Grip
Fresh off the shelf, a new set of motorcycle tires generally looks glossier than the eyes of protesters at a 420-rallay. This is generally to enhance sales appeal, as you’re more likely to buy a new bike with shiny new tires, or even just grab a new set off the shelf if they look shimmering clean. Opposed to the less appealing honest look of just coming out of a sea can from half-way round the world. This glossy look is great until you actually want to drive somewhere and not dump your new machine on the asphalt. A minimum break-in period at slow speeds and zero aggression of about 100-miles is a good place to start. This will wear off the gloss and scrub up the surface to allow for more traction on the road.
This actually hold true for you and the tire. Naturally if you go screaming into the streets on a set of slippery slicks, you might find yourself pushing up daisy’s sooner than you’d hoped for. Really though, if you break-in your motorcycle tire effectively by riding them on the highway, for example. They are going to last longer than in improper break-in like hand scuffing or sanding them that could result in uneven tread wear patterns. Your tire manufacture likely spent a lot of research dollars trying to decide on the best tread for that tire, so don’t go and screw it up!
To scrub, or break-in you next favorite set of Pirelli, Dunlop, Michelin or what have you, there are a few good guidelines. Run them on the highway for a nice 100-mile day to heat up the overall tire and inner compounds. Then drive slow figure 8’s in an empty parking lot to wear them a little. Also do it all on a warm sunny day with no chance of rain, no point in adding insult to injury by riding slick tires on a slippery surface. Whatever tire you choose, read the manufactures recommendations, then take your time. It will probably take more time to fix a broken fender, then it will to rack up a 100-mile ride.