Author Topic: Air/Nitrogen Tire pressures  (Read 1301 times)

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Offline the english toff

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Air/Nitrogen Tire pressures
« on: February 08, 2011, 03:14:15 pm »
I have a Concours which I keep in Florida and another which I keep in England.  The Florida dealer inflated my tires with nitrogen whereas my british bike is inflated with air.  Cold pressures are 42 front and rear but I notice that when I have been riding in England the pressures can reach as high as 45 whereas in Florida they barely move.  Now presumably Kawasaki know that 42 cold can reach 45 or higher when ridden hard and are happy with this state of affairs.  How can this be reconciled with the fact that my Florida pressures don't move?  Does it mean that in Florida I am riding with pressures that are too low?  Or is it all a red herring as the rubber warms up just the same and the pressures don't matter.  Any thoughts you technical guys.

Offline MBrew

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Re: Air/Nitrogen Tire pressures
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 12:15:51 pm »
Interesting question. As an aircraft mechanic, I've serviced tires and accumulators and the like with nitrogen for many years. The reasons are that as you've noted; its more stable (not as susceptible to changes in pressure due to temperature changes), typically dryer, and in some cases is reputed to decrease the likelihood of tire fires. That last one is a situation that is unique to high performance aircraft and does not apply to cars or bikes.

My overall opinion is that I would service my vehicles with nitrogen provided I wasn't paying anything extra for it, other wise I'll stick with air. With that said, some riders say they can notice a difference in handling with just a couple of pound change in tire pressure.  If you notice a difference in handling and or wear with the nitrogen, I would say that you could probably safely increase the cold setting by about 5%. That is my opinion and nothing else. I've never seen a manufacturer recommend a different tire pressure for nitrogen although I've seen some recommend using it if it was available.

Me - I run my pressures somewhere between the vehicle manufacturers rating and the sidewall maximum pressure. I never exceed the sidewall max.

Happy Motoring,
Mike Brewster
'01 Kawasaki KLR 650
'00 Suzuki DR-Z400
'95 Kawasaki Concours
Former  '82 Yamaha XJ650R Seca       '74 Kawasaki H1 500