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What's a Break-In Period?

What’s a “break-in period?” Why do tire manufacturers recommend them? Our resident tire expert, TJ, gives you the scoop.

Break It In

Consumers are often unaware of the break-in period for new motorcycle tires. Others choose to ignore it completely. If you’ve made it past the first 100 miles on your new tires without any mishaps, count yourself blessed. In my 30+ years of selling and servicing motorcycle tires, I've heard too many horror stories about bikers going down after putting new tires on their bikes.

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Like New Shoes

Breaking in a new set of tires is a lot like breaking in a new set of shoes; even the same brand feels different when it's new. Ask any lady in your life: buying shoes for looks without regard to fit is painful. The same goes for motorcycle tires. Fat tires may look cooler than the stock size, but you'll face adverse effects.

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"But Why?"

During manufacturing, a waxy substance called mold release is applied to tires. This keeps the tread grooves from sticking to the mold. Often, manufacturers add antioxidants to protect the tires from oxygen degradation. The break-in period gives this substance a chance to wear off, which is critical, as it affects handling.

Some manufacturers opt to use thin film separators or highly polished segmented molds instead. For example, the Conti Road Attack 2 by Continental takes pride in not using mold release. They also pre-scrub their tires for extra grip. However, this isn’t the industry standard.

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The 100 Mile Rule

Upon mounting new tires, use caution. Until the tread surface is worn enough to achieve optimum grip (approximately the first 100 miles), avoid sudden acceleration, strong braking, and hard cornering. Allow time to adjust to the feel and handling characteristics of the new tires, too. As always, obey speed limits, traffic laws, and enjoy your ride.

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