Tyre pressure – a lot of riders tend to overlook this important aspect about a motorcycle’s fitness before a ride. However, it is one of the most important things to check before the wheels can start rolling. Many among us fall back on visual inspection as a gauge when it comes to checking Tyre pressure, but that practice can cause more damage than we can imagine. So much so, it can lead to a fatal incident too. In the case of performance motorcycles which can attain really high speeds, it is all the more important to maintain optimum Tyre pressure. Anything over or under recommended levels can and will have an adverse effect on the bike’s performance, its ride & handling, wear and tear of components and overall rider safety.
Take the TVS Apache RR 310 for example. Since it employs relatively low profile rubber for performance and handling benefits, maintaining 32 Psi of recommended pressure is vital, as the air cushion between the actual wheel and the Tyre’s contact patch is lesser than that of a comfort oriented motorcycles. If the Tyre pressure is lower than the recommended levels, it increases the contact patch of the Tyres, which creates more drag. As a result, the engine has to work harder than it usually does, making it sip more fuel. Like a poorly inflated balloon, lower than recommended tyre pressure also makes the rubber softer, making it more susceptible to punctures. Moreover, since the cushion of air between the rubber and the wheel is thinner, any sharp impact on the tyres is easily transferred to the wheel, which can lead to wheel bending or damage.
On the other hand, more than recommended air in the tyres has its adverse effects on how your motorcycle behaves too. The tyre acts as primary suspension when your motorcycle encounters any undulations on the road, before the springs can come into action. The suspension of your bike is tuned to compress and rebound at its ideal rate, when a certain level of air pressure is maintained, which is also the recommended air pressure. Any additional amount of air makes the rubber stiffer, which results in the suspension having to work that much harder, and at a rate faster than ideal, resulting in increased wear and tear, and a bouncy ride.
A motorcycle like the Apache RR 310 is designed to go faster for a sustained duration. As air in the tyre expands due to heat caused by friction, the high performance rubber fitted on the RR 310 can expand to accommodate that additional amount of air caused by such behaviour. However, if the tyres are over inflated, that limit can be breached, leading to a sidewall bulge and uneven wear. Moreover, when a tyre is over inflated, the rubber’s stiffness makes it act as one with the wheel, as a result of which, any heavy impact gets easily transferred, causing a bend in the perfectly round curvature of the metal.
However, since the roads of our country are mostly in a shabby state, a high speed dunk into a pothole or any such sudden impact caused from the irregularities on the road, can lead to a bend in the wheel. This behaviour is perfectly normal though, as the wheel’s metal goes through numerous malleability tests just for this very reason. It ensures that the wheel soaks the maximum impact and bends, rather than breaking, acting as a fuse during such situations, without transferring too much of that impact energy to the handlebar and the chassis. This reduces the rider’s arms and wrists experiencing a massive jolt, which may even lead to a crash.
The Apache RR 310 is a track-bred motorcycle, designed to go fast on the tarmac. When encountering rough road conditions, it is recommended that you use discretion while riding over potholed roads, such that the tyres and the suspension don’t hit any irregularities in a violent manner. We recommend investing in a digital tyre pressure gauge of your own, so that you can check the levels yourself and get a precise reading, before every ride. If the bike’s tyres need a refill of air, ride slowly till the nearest tyre station and ensure that air is filled when the tyre temperature is cold. Maintaining optimum tyre pressure will increase the longevity of the tread, ensure your bike sips less fuel, and it will ride, handle and perform to please.