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Tire Wear

Don Dagg

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I ride a Yamaha R3. I am on my second set of Micheline Pilot street tires. I changed my first set after 13,000 km. The rear tire was very worn and the front not so much. My problem is that now after 8000km the front tire is almost bald and the rear still has life in it. So what has changed? Two things that I can think of. One I adjusted my preload to reduce rear sag. I went from 3 (stock setting) to 5 which feels right to me. The second thing I have been doing different is working more on trail braking. Actually corner after corner for hours on end. Also many hours of the quick flick drill back and forth. I thought it might be a suspension problem causing the front to wear faster but I have to say that the bike feels great the way it is set up.

I just want to know if this is normal wear on the front tire considering what I have been doing. I am hoping that someone can share their expertise with me so that I can understand. Thank you 

Front Tire.jpg

Rear Tire.jpg

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Introducing more trail braking will absolutely increase your front tire wear, and on a lightweight, relatively low horsepower bike like yours it is certainly possible to have the front tire wear out first (compared to the rear) just from this change in riding style/habits. It makes sense, of course; by trail braking you are considerably increasing the load on the front tire in the corners, and instead of the braking forces being applied primarily with the bike upright, you are now putting braking forces on the tire while leaned over. So now the front tire has to handle steering/cornering load AND braking load on the sides of the tires, and that is where the wear is showing in your photo above.

Additionally, that change in style could affect when and how hard you are applying the throttle in the corner, and how much you are, or are not, leaned over when driving out of the corners, which would change the wear on the rear tire - potentially decreasing it if the trail braking is causing you to delay your roll-on. There is not a lot of wear on the sides of the rear tire in your photo which would imply that the gas is not being rolled on very much while leaned over.

I have a 250cc bike and at one point I tried doing a lot of trail braking on the track; I was racing other riders that were doing it a lot (in nearly every corner), so I decided to try that and see how it worked for me. I was very surprised at the change in my tire wear; as you just experienced, my front tire wore out first, and much more quickly than expected, where in the past the rear would wear out first.  After that little experiment I changed back to using trail braking in the corners where it was appropriate but NOT in the ones where it wasn't needed, and I went faster and was a lot less worried about crashing. Most of the other riders  I was seeing on track were WAY overusing trail braking, braking too long and too much for most corners.

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