How do I check my motorcycle tyres tread depth and carry out tyre safety checks?

By Julia Freeman

It’s important to monitor your motorcycle tyres regularly. Not only are their penalties for improperly maintained tyres, especially those that fall below the legal tread limit, but degraded or damaged tyres can be dangerous. Tread depth is especially important, as this can affect handling and braking. Fortunately, it’s easy to check your motorcycle tyre tread and it’s a good time to perform a few other safety checks while you’re at it.

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Generally speaking, tyres should be checked each week, including tyre pressures. Tread is the best place to start. There are laws around tread depth and penalties for breaking them. Motorcycles over 50cc must have a tread depth that’s at least 1mm around the entire circumference. For under 50cc machines, the grooves from the original tread must remain visible around the whole tyre.

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Checking tread depth

You’ll notice depth indicators inside the grooves of your tyres. These are small areas raised to the minimum 1mm tread depth. As soon as the tyre wears down enough to get near to these markers, it’s time to take action. To make the job even easier, depth gauges are widely available. These come in either analogue or digital form and will read the depth of your tread simply; it’s very easy to do this yourself.

Damage and uneven wear

Tread depth isn’t the end of the story though, there are a few other tyre safety checks that you should perform. Keep an eye out for any signs of uneven wear. This can be a symptom of incorrect pressure, or even a more fundamental vehicle problem like misaligned steering. Similarly, although tyres are robust, they aren’t impervious to harm. Search for any signs of damage including deformed beading, instances of tyre rubber separation, or areas of corrosion.


Punctures are usually easy to recognise, but if it’s a slow puncture this isn't always the case. If your tyre is losing pressure, look for a tiny puncture that could be the culprit. Tyre age is a contentious issue, as many riders are understandably reluctant to change tyres that appear to be in good condition simply because they’re old. That said, it's important to keep a record of how old your tyres are. If you’ve had them for more than 5 years, it’s advisable to get them checked annually by a professional. Once a tyre hits the 10-year mark, it is definitely time to get a replacement.

The local garage you can trust

It’s vitally important to always choose high quality tyres. Manufacturers like Pirelli and Dunlop are trusted and well known. Their tyres will be more durable, less likely to wear down and capable of taking more punishment from the road.
If you’re worried about the condition of your tyres, it’s always a good idea to have them checked over by an expert. Our tyre professionals have years of experience in identifying and repairing tyre problems; we are always here to help. You can book a motorcycle tyre check for free on our website or give one of our friendly garages a call to discuss your tyres with an expert.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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When should I change my motorcycle tyres?
Tyre health is one of the most important factors on any vehicle and because motorcycles have two, they are twice as important. Even if you hardly ride your bike, tyres age and not many remain sound beyond ten years old. In terms of wear, good quality tyres can last 50,000 miles but most will last a lot less. In our experience, damaged or degraded tyres are one of the leading causes of failed MOTs and accidents. Have them checked often.
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