Motorcycle Tires and Nitrogen

Can you use nitrogen in motorcycle tires ? The answer is yes, but will it benefit the average rider ? This is a never ending question.

The air we breath contains 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other gases.If you go to your local filling station and put air in your tires the compressor is drawing air out of the atmosphere and you are actually putting 78 percent of nitrogen in your tires.So why put 100 percent nitrogen in your tires?

The two main reasons for using Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen is believed to stabilize the pressure in your tires,due to the fact that Nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules, therefore the tire is less susceptible of losing pressure

  • Pure Nitrogen contains no moisture, which in theory, eliminates the chance of  condensation in your tires, which can damage steel rims, and the pressure will have minor fluctuations.

The reason tires loose pressure is because the oxygen molecules actually seep through the rubber. Oxygen molecules are smaller than nitrogen molecules.

A motorcyclist is more likely to check the air pressure in their tires, than a person driving a car. Studies have been taken, and show that fewer than 60 percent of drivers rarely if ever check the inflation of their tires. Most of the time the only reason they do check their tires, if they notice one of their tires looks low, and needs air.

Nitrogen isn’t free The average cost to purge a motorcycle tire and fill it with nitrogen is five dollars. If you do have to add air to your tire, chances are you won’t be near your motorcycle  dealer, and depending how low your tire is you are going to pull up to a gas station and fill your tire to the recommended PSI and  reintroduce moisture back in the tire.

Nitrogen maintains better tire pressure, keeps tires 20% cooler, That’s why nitrogen has  been used for decades on commercial and military aircraft, NASCAR, Formula 1 and Indy cars, as well as heavy mining and construction vehicles. Also, the advantage of nitrogen being more stable and less prone to changes in pressure due to heat in the tires seems of little benefit to average drivers. Race teams use it because they can change the handling of the car by adjusting individual tire pressure by as little as a quarter pound. So having a gas that’s ultra stable has real benefits when dealing with such small degrees.

The advantage of nitrogen being more stable and less prone to changes in pressure due to heat in the tires seems of little benefit, for the average rider. Some people claim that nitrogen will not degrade the interior rubber of the tire or corrode the wheels, since it contains no oxygen or water vapor — both present in the atmosphere we breathe and pump into our tires, But in all reality when using Oxygen the average motorcycle tire will wear out on the outside before the moisture will affect  the inside of the tire.

Happy Riding


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