Tech Tip Tuesday: Dirt Bike Tire and Tube Tips

Dirt Bike Tire

The warm weather is here. The rocky trails, shifting dunes, and dusty tracks beckon. Riding season is upon us in full bloom. How are you tires and tubes holding up? Here’s a few tips to keep your tires in good shape this summer as you hit the dirt.

Tubes
For any dirt bike or motocross tire, heavy duty inner tubes should be used to prevent flats. The only exception or reason to use regular tubes would be for bikes smaller than 125cc or those converted just for street use where the heavier tube would rob it of some needed power. If you experience flats often, you may want to go with an ultra heavy duty tube (extra thick) or look at a foam type inner tube. To help protect the tube from moisture, use duct tape around the rim instead of the standard rubber rim strip. The psi should match the terrain you ride in, but in general less equals more traction, more eq. For harder terrain (Clay, Churt, Dry Dirt) use more psi (14-12), for intermediate terrain (Loamy Soil, Some rocks) use medium pressure (12-10), and for soft terrain(Sand, Mud, Rocks) use lower air pressure (10-8). If you ride hard and do a lot of jumping, you may want to bump up your air pressure a few psi to prevent pinch flats. It’s a good idea to carry a flat repair kit with you  because even ultra heavy duty tubes are not immune to flats. If ride in the desert where thorns are a problem, Slime type tube sealant usually has good results (it does not prevent pinch flats though).

Tires
It’s a good idea to inspect your tires periodically. Doing so can help you avoid a flat that may be imminent. Inspect the sidewalls for damage and deterioration. Also check for cracking and dry rot and any nails, holes, or damage to tread. Damage to tread could be caused by a loose or improperly adjusted chain, or misaligned tires. If your tires need replacing choose a good brand that will fit your riding. Tires should match the terrain you ride in the most. For soft or muddy terrain, choose tires that have tall lugs that are widely spaced so they dig in better and stay cleaned out. For hard packed terrain choose lower profile knobs that are closely spaced with more surface area. For the best traction in sand use a paddle tire in the rear. There are hundreds if not thousands of options for tires, so start with tires that are available in your bikes size and then narrow them down by the type of terrain you’ll be riding in. Pirelli, Dunlop, and Bridgestone are a few popular tire brands to start with if you don’t know what to look for.

If you simply decide tires aren’t for you, you can always ditch them for a track system. Have a tech question you need answered? Email us at techtips@gearhead.com

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