Tyre Pressure. Is it really that important?
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Tyres at the incorrect pressure are the leading contributer to AVOIDABLE accidents here in my opinion. Of course lack of concentration, ability, spatial awareness and experience all contribute to the carnage. What i am referring to is the rider doing their best to stay safe and ride responsibly but unknowingly are riding on incorrect tyre pressures.
If you could see a tyre in slow motion under braking you'd see the tyre flatten out to create a wider contact patch on the road surface which provides the added grip necessary for optimal braking performance. This is true also when cornering, on uneven road surfaces and under acceleration. Tyres at the incorrect pressure simply let down the performance of the bike generally.
Tyre pressures can reduce slightly over time with leaks so minimal that they are undetectable. Mostly though under inflation is the result of a puncture. A big one and the tyre is flat immediately but with some just a very slow leak. Either way to maintain performance its important to have the tyre repaired as soon as possible.
Most punctures are quick fixed with a plug which can still result in a slow leak but will get you home or to a garage for a proper patch repair. Tyres under inflated accentuates tyre wear and if very low will ruin the tyre completely. Fuel consumption is significatly higher also. Generally riders will only realise the tyre pressure is low when the bikes handling is affected and by then handling in all aspects and tyre wear have been compromised.
OVER INFLATION The bigger risk though is when you realise the tyre is a bit low and the tyre guy on the street inflates the tyre for you. Rarely do they have a guage and even those that do don't know the correct pressure for your bike. I check my customers tyre pressures regularly and quite often they are extremely over inflated. In the event of a heavy braking application the over inflated tyre will slide not grip and away goes the front end resulting in an unnecessary accident. Front wheel washout is the cause of most accidents i see here. CORRECT tyre pressures for a Nouvo for example is 33psi front and 36psi rear measured COLD. A few pound either way is acceptable. Other scooters may vary slightly but not by much. A simple google search will find whats right for your bike.
Drop by my shop and I am happy to check your tyres and adjust them to the correct pressure free of charge. For 200K you can purchase a guage and it should be used weekly to check pressures to maintain braking and handling efficiency. For 1.2M you can purchase a rechargable electric pump which has a guage and a light and for 150K a plug kit to be completely in self sufficient and in charge of your own destiny.