Correct Harley rear tire pressure is critical, not only for safe motorcycle operation, but also for longevity of your tires. Harley Davidson factory service manuals recommend setting front tire pressure to 36 psi and the Harley rear tire pressure to 40 psi. Tire pressures should be checked cold unless having an issue while on the road. Setting tire pressure when warm, or shortly after riding, will give you an inaccurate reading (usually a higher reading).
It is important to match tires, tubes, rim strips, and air valves to their intended wheels. Miss-matching can lead to tire damage, allow for wheel slippage, or cause tire failure, which can result in serious injury. If ever unsure of the correct tire(s) for your Harley, we highly recommend contacting a dealership for the correct information.
Using the correct tires for your Harley is even more important for ABS models. The ABS system monitors rotational speed if the wheels through the front and rear wheel speed sensors to determine the correct application of ABS function. Incorrect diameter wheels or tires can alter the wheel’s rotational speed which, in turn, can alter ABS calibration. It can even adversely affect the ABS ability to detect and prevent lockups.
Tires not only need to be properly inflated, they also need to be correctly balanced, be free of damage or imperfections, and have adequate tread depth as specified by the dealer or tire manufacturer. It is of utmost importance that tires are inspected regularly. Riding with excessively worn, unbalanced, improperly inflated, overloaded or damaged tires, can lead to premature tire failure, and adversely affect the motorcycle’s handling or performance. Never use liquid tire balancers or sealants in solid aluminum rims. Using these types of liquid inside your tires can cause rapid corrosion of the rim’s inside surface, which can cause an air leak.
As we get older it can be difficult to get down on one knee to find an air valve or simply inspect tire condition but it will always be one of the most important pre-ride inspections. If you cannot do it for yourself, call your local independent shop to set up an appointment for a quick inspection.