Why Do Motorcycle Tires Cup?

Motorcycle tires are important to overall performance and safety. If your motorcycle tires have fibers or cracks, they will wear out quickly.

Even the best tires, and tires with the sturdiest treads, can succumb to a problem called cupping. Cupping is defined as the tire’s tread surface being deformed in such a way as to cause it to bulge rather than be flat and evenly rounded. It’s most often caused by poor inflation pressure, or when the tread is worn unevenly, and can be avoided with slightly thicker tires, and tires that have a better rubber compound.

What do motorcycle tires cup? Cupping is caused by the tire gripping the road and stretching the tire. This becomes noticeable as an uneven wear of the tire. Turning sharp or braking hard will cause the tire to cup faster.

When you turn a corner on a motorcycle, you turn your tire in the direction of the curve. This will cause the tire to grip the road. This grip causes one side of the tire to lift up. When tire is gripped by the road surface, it is called “cupping.” This cupping causes one side of the tire to wear faster than the other.

What Causes Cupping in Motorcycle Tires?

The tires on your vehicle are what convert engine power into forward motion. This power is controlled through the car’s suspension, which is in turn connected to the tires. The tires allows you to steer and control your vehicle.

Too much cornering

Motorcycle tires have tread patterns that are designed to hug a corner, and because the tire isn’t rubber it’s harder to wear than a normal tire. However, when cornering hard the tire does wear differently, and motorcycle tires cup more in the corners than normal tires do.

A cornering that is too lean causes a motorcycle tire to cup. Cupping is when the tire turns inside out, causing an uneven tire wear that is most pronounced near the sidewall. Cupping can also weaken the tire, causing it to lose air more readily and requiring more frequent tire changes.

Varying tire pressures

The effects of varying tire pressure in motorcycle results in cupping is a common problem when riding on the street, especially with newer motorcycles and more powerful motorcycles. The most common effect is the inside of the tire’s sidewall being raised up and the outside of the tire being lower. The cause is from the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the tire when you are riding on the street.

Cupping is caused when the tires do not inflate evenly. This causes the tires to lift or sink, causing uneven tread wear. If left uncorrected, cupping can lead to tire failure, which could lead to an accident.

To avoid tire cupping, keep tire pressure at the recommended tire pressure. Tire cupping is a problem that you’ll have to deal with at some point. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a squishy tire. The simple act of keeping tires properly inflated can eliminate cupping with a minimum of fuss.

Hard breaking can cause uneven tires

The problem of cupping is not entirely new to motorcycling, but it is getting more prevalent as the popularity and usage of bicycles, particularly on the street, increases. Hard braking on a bicycle can cause the tire to flatten, and the pressure that builds up in the tire can cause air to escape; this makes the tire cup and deform. A tire cup can be caused by a combination of factors including a loose rim, poor puncture protection, and flat tires; the consequence of these factors is the same, a flat tire.

When you brake hard, the tires get stretched. The harder you brake, the more the tires stretch. If you brake hard, the tires will stretch and cup. Braking hard will cause your front tires to wear down differently than the rear tires. The force transferred over the front tires is much greater, causing the tire to wear away from one side.

In conclusion, the brakes force the tire to change from being a curve shape to a flat shape and in this case the flat surface bends in towards the center of the tire. This is one of the hardest braking forces a tire sees in normal riding.

Are cupped tires safe?

Riding a motorcycle witch cupped tires could be dangerous, or at least uncomfortable. When people ride their motorcycles on a cupped tire, they risk injury from the uneven terrain. It’s also not uncommon for riders to hear a loud pop from their motorcycle when they lose traction on a cupped tire.

Motorcycle tires will wear out faster if tires are not properly maintained. This can result in a cracked rim or punctured tire. Because cupped tires are uneven, this can cause your motorcycle to lose traction, which can cause the tire to pop.

How do I keep my motorcycle tires from cupping?

Rubber is one of the most versatile and durable materials we have used to make products since the beginning of time. With the advancement in technology, rubber has also been used extensively in the manufacturing industries. It is even used in the making of tires for our motorcycles. However, rubber is a natural material and is subject to degradation over time through wear and tear.


If you have to brake sharply while turning, then you will risk cupping off the tire, meaning you will be losing surface from the road. You can minimize this by riding slower and steering sharper. Also, always avoid braking hard while turning a motorcycle. It risks cupping off the tire.


Keeping the air pressure of your tire at the recommended level or higher is one of the best ways to help prevent cupping. As extreme pressure is being put on the tire, it will deform and deform differently depending on the amount of pressure that is applied.


While cupped tires does occur, if you simply buy a better tire, you will avoid the problem. If you are in a situation where you have to purchase new tires, however, you should consider one with a rounder tread, or one that has a harder rubber compound, as these will resist cupping more.

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