It's easy to overlook your bike's tyres, as when the bike is performing well you don't even think about them – you're just enjoying the ride with a grin a mile wide.
But the more the do think about them, the more you realise just how important those two round, black and sticky hoops are. After all, there's only two contact patches the size of the palm of your hand between you and road, but those two patches make all the difference between you keeping on smiling, or bouncing down the road in an expensive and painful tangle of man and machine.
Maintaining the correct tyre pressure for your bike is essential to ensuring it handles correctly, and maintains optimum levels of grip whether you're accelerating, decelerating, cornering hard at a track day or simply cruising along.
On top of this, incorrect tyre pressures will mean your tyres will wear faster and possibly unevenly, costing you some serious money over the long term, and compromising your bike's handling.
You'll no doubt hear a range of claims as to what are the best pressures to run in your own tyres, but the best advice is this: simply follow whatever guidelines have been laid out by your tyres' manufacturer.
Pressures vary for road bikes' and scooters' tyres due to many factors, such as tyre construction and the type and weight of the bike. So listen to the experts – the people that made the tyre in the first place. The manufacturer's website is a good place to start.
When you know what pressures you should be running in your tyres, it's essential you maintain them. Check your pressures once a week, and visually inspect your tyres while you're at it to check for any cuts, tears or punctures – it's better you find out about them in the comfort of your own garage, than come to a halt stranded out on the road.
Make sure you check your pressures when the tyres are cold, and use a proper pressure gauge; it might set you back $20 or $30 (or more), but it'll be far more accurate than anything you'll generally find on a petrol station forecourt. You'll be able to purchase one at any decent motorcycle accessories outlet.