Air plays an extremely important role in motorcycle design. The headwind generates air resistance and various forces acting on riding dynamics and this plays a major role in the chassis technology: Air pressure in tubes or tires is the force that determines the distance between the motorcycle and the asphalt. It goes without saying that this air quantity and thereby pressure – plays a decisive role in riding characteristics. It is clear that any deviation from the recommended pressure will have a negative effect on the riding behavior.
With increased air pressure, the comfort decreases. Despite this factor, motorcyclists should always use the manufacturer's maximum recommended air pressure. Higher air pressure can also have a positive effect on fuel consumption. Faithfulness to the correct specified pressure is rewarded with more security in the extremely vital area between the asphalt and the rim and applies to all types of motorcycles.
Exceptions to the recommended air pressure only make sense and should be used carefully in a few cases:
Example off-road: The air pressure is usually lowered to increase the footprint for better grip. However, to prevent a tubular tire from twisting and tearing off the valve, tire holders must be installed in the rim when the air pressure is reduced. Before returning to the asphalt, the air pressure must be immediately increased to the specified value in order to avoid tire failure.
Individual air pressure values are also used on the racetrack. Optimal tire pressures cannot be recommended. This depends on ambient temperature, road surface texture, type of motorcycle, chassis setup, riding style etc.
Every racer will optimize the ideal “sweet spot” of cold and hot tire pressures to suit their individual style and needs. Continental's racing tire flyer provides good advice. If street tires are used on the racetrack, the inflation pressures can be lowered slightly to increase grip. Then, be sure to reset the pressure to the specified value.
A pressure loss of up to 0.1 bar per month is normal. For added safety it is recommended to invest in a floor pump with a pressure gauge. These are available in solid quality for around 30 euros in shops.