Your tyres are your motorcycle's only contact with the road. Correct tyre pressure has a direct impact on tyre life, driver safety (road gripping surface) and fuel consumption. Studies have shown, for example, that if tyre pressure is 25% lower than required, the life of that tyre is reduced by 55%.
Measuring is knowing, so check your tyre pressure every two weeks to be sure you ride with the correct pressure. You can do this easily at home with a tire pressure gauge.
Check before the ride
Tire pressure is best measured before the ride, with cold tires. Usually, the correct pressure is indicated on the motorcycle, in the manual or on the tyre. When in doubt, use 2 bar at the front and 2.5 bar at the back. This is a good setting for safe road use.
If for any reason you have to check the pressure of your tyres after or during a (longer) ride, remember that the pressure will be 0.3 bar higher than the actual cold tyre pressure. The air in the tyre gets hot and expands while you're riding.
In addition to the tyres warming up due to riding, the distance travelled and the ambient temperature also play a role, as does your riding style and the total weight pushing down on the tyres. Going off-road on soft ground is easier with lower pressures, which provides a larger contact patch and allows the tyre tread to perform optimally.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of high tire pressure?
High tire pressure means lower fuel consumption, less tire wear and better cornering. However, high tire pressure is less comfortable because the suspension is reduced. In addition, the temperature of the tyre remains lower, which means that in cold weather, the tyre has less grip on the road. Be careful with too high an inflation pressure. Applying a tyre pressure over 3 bar can make the tyre lose contact with the road at the slightest bump.
Some pros and cons of low tyre pressure
If the pressure is too low, the opposite is true. Under-inflated tyres mean more fuel consumption, faster wear and tear, but can also mean more grip and comfort, in certain circumstances. Tyre pressure below 1 bar is downright dangerous, possibly causing the tyre to come off the rim.