If you have been riding bikes for some time now, you would know that the one thing that affects the performance and stability of a motorcycle is certainly the tires. The tires make a huge difference to your bike on how effectively you can go around the corners or ride safely in any kind of terrain. Without appropriate tires and their routine maintenance and inspections, you will end up risking your safety. But, why is it so? It is because the tires are the only thing that can connect the power of the motorbike to that of the ground. It is therefore very important that you choose the best motorcycle tires for your bike along with the terrain you ride.
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Worn out and bad tires can not only result in a poor performance but can also prove to be extremely dangerous. It is for this reason that you need to know quite a few things about tires.
How to Purchase Best Motorcycle Tires
Listed below are a few things that you should keep in mind as they will help you in finding the best tires for your motorcycle.
Your chassis and engine performance are only going to be good when the tires that put the power to the ground is good and keeps you planted to those corners. No matter what your riding style is: ultra-fast bikers to heavy baggers, all you need are the correct tires so as to keep moving.
For instance, if you have been using the tires for a long time you would notice that the tread is starting to wear off and this can limit the effectiveness of the tires in providing traction. This is when you should consider getting new tires. Here are the key points to keep in mind when you look at the treads on a tire:
- Treads help in increasing the grip with the road.
- On rainy days, treads helps in moving water from under the tires thereby increasing the grip with road
- Tires with wider treads are mostly used for off-roading.
- Wider the tread, lesser the contact on the flat road, hence lesser grip.
- If you ride on flat roads, where it doesn’t rain much, you should go for tires with smaller/lesser treads
- Superbikes in MotoGP have almost treadless tires because the race track is completely flat-road and flat tires give the most traction on those tracks. Similarly, motocross bikes have large treads for greater grip on uneven/off-road surfaces.
While you are learning about the tires also read about what makes your bike lose traction in Riding Basics.
In case you are planning to upgrade your tires for better performance or are just replacing the worn-out ones, it is essential that you know the specifications of your bike as well as the tires so as to ensure that you can get the best motorcycle tires suited for your bike.
Anatomy of a Tire
Listed below is the anatomy of a tire that you must know.
This is the part of the bike that one gets to see more often as this is where the rubber meets the road. There are several tread patterns available and you can choose one depending on the type of riding you do. Follow the above-mentioned points to judge which tires are best for your bike or riding style.
This is what is present just underneath the tread and is the tire’s backbone. The carcass is usually made up of fiber cords or steel. Each and every tire has either got to be a radial ply or a bias ply which is basically a major distinction. The radial plies are laid from side to side whereas the bias plies are laid at a certain angle in a particular direction. Both of them have their own benefits. If your tires are worn out and have “gone bald” change them asap. You should never be riding on tire carcass, they are not meant for riding. If you can visibly see the carcass on the sides, it’s time to change the tires.
The sidewall is where the information related to that of the tire is displayed. Also, all of the load support, as well as a lot of handling, are determined by the design of the sidewall virtually.
The bead is the position where the tires mounted to the wheel. Several steel cords are usually attached in this area so as to make sure that the tires have been fit snugly and that there is absolutely no leakage present in the tubeless tire.
Bias or Radial: What to Choose?
Along with the chassis and the engines, the tires have advanced too. Conventionally the tires of the motorcycles were bias ply which meant that the carcass was made with body cords at a directional angle. However, talking about the present times, you would be able to notice radial designs in most of the tires. Here the plies are laid from bead to bead and have several advantages. When confused between bias or radial tires, go for Radial as they are much more advanced and offer a lot more advantages over Bias.
Flexibility of the Sidewall
The sidewall of the radial tires isn’t as stiff when compared to that of the bias-ply tires. This aids the sidewall to contour the road in a better way and improves the surface area to that of the tread or the section. Which eventually helps in getting you higher stability & traction in the corners and rough terrain. The lacking flex on bias-ply tires makes it the best option for carrying passengers and luggage i.e. heavier weight on bikes. So depending upon your bike, you can decide which one to opt for.
The sole purpose of tires is to provide traction or friction with the road so the vehicle can move forward. Now, wherever there is friction heat will be generated. In our case, this heat is generated at the tires. When you ride a bike at long distances non-stop, your bike’s tires will heat up a lot. While most times nothing bad will happen because tires are designed to withstand that much heat.
However, when it comes to types of tires, the radial tires are known to dissipate the heat in a better way which in turns increases the longevity of your tires. When multiple factors like worn out tires, bad surface, high heat conditions combine you can experience a flat or a tire burst while riding.
Even though the radial tires are getting quite popular, Bias-ply tires can still be found and for a good reason. As these tires have a stiffer sidewall, they are the standard ones used for many touring bikes and heavy cruisers.
Stick With OEM Sizing
Now you must have understood a lot about choosing the best motorcycle tires. However, the types and kinds of tires available in the market can make it quite overwhelming to choose the best one for your bike. The motorcycles were built and devised to be fitted with a certain size of tire. Therefore amending or making adjustments to the load rating or the ply style might prove to be dangerous. Check the sidewall info before you purchase one. Sticking with OEM Sizing would be the optimal solution.
See below the list of best tires you can buy in the market. If you are keen to learn about your buying decisions it’s a good idea to read about below tires. A lot of new advanced features are offered by many brands which can help you in deciding what to buy for yourself. You may also scroll down below after the following section to learn about tire maintenance.
Best Motorcycle Tires to Buy
Listed below are a few motorcycle tires that you can choose to buy when you are thinking about replacing them.
1. Michelin Commander II Reinforced Motorcycle Tyre Cruiser Front 130/90-16
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For these tires, an amplified density technology and Silica rain technology has been used. With the rain technology, silica has been integrated into the tire treads compound so as to prevent any kind of uneven wear. This highly dense casing is far more rigid than it was ever before and this has led to much better handling and an increased feedback.
The amazing build of the bike comes with high-density, rigid carcass that enhances maneuverability while on the other hand; the aramid fiber crown ply of the tire improves the lightness and resistance for wonderful stability. Having been designed for the cruise market, these tires have always been able to prove themselves. This can also serve as ideal racing tires and all of these make it one of the best motorcycle tires.
2. Pirelli Diablo Rosso II Rear 180/55ZR17 Motorcycle Tire
This tire is perhaps the most versatile and sportiest road-oriented tire presented by Rosso. The tire is suitable for all weather conditions and the grip has been improved by EPT that optimizes the contact patch for an enhanced grip. The radial has been made in such a way that it is perfect to ride it in all weather conditions.
The shoulder area of maximizes the grip at full lean that boosts the performance. The maximum contact patch area complements the handling power of motorcycles of today’s generation. You can tilt your bike towards the side and still get an amazing grip. The tire is very durable and can give you over a couple of hundred miles in a day.
3. Continental Motion Tire Set 120/70ZR17 Rear
4. Bridgestone Exedra Max Front 90/90-21 Motorcycle Tire
The tire has a contemporary pattern design which has been created specifically for the cruisers. The central grooves present around the tire offer enhanced water evacuation properties thereby creating excellent riding comfort and wet grip. Exedra is considered as one of the best motorcycle tires and is available in several sizes and all of the three basic structures: bias, belted bias and radial, making it one of the most favorable choices when it comes to tires. The grooves present on the left and right offer ideal linear handling and rigidity.
The tread’s center has a wide contact area which increases the water resistance and traction overall. The Bridgestone Exedra Max is made up of a unique rubber compound which makes it ideal for the cruisers. Its unique build also offers extra mileage.
Learn all about Motorcycle Road Types and How They Influence Your Riding
5. Shinko 705 Series Dual Sport Tire
This tire has been designed for 20% trail and 80% street riding. It has a rather versatile tread pattern fort wonderful wet and dry weather adhesion. This ensures that it runs smoothly on the runway. This is great for those who want to purchase quality tires which are perfect for on and off roads on a budget.
It has a rubber compound which resists tearing when using it off road. The front and rear indicate that the tire can easily be placed either in the front or the rear of the bike. The amazing grip and long lasting tread life make it worth investing in. Considering the price that it is available for, the tire would undoubtedly last you for a really long time.
6. Kenda Cruiser K671 Motorcycle Street Tire – 170/80H- 15
Taking your beast out on the challenging roads? Then Kenda Cruiser tires are the perfect company for your bike!
Kenda Cruiser has been considered as one of the best motorcycle tires for the owners of smaller cruisers. The tire has excellent traction as well as performance due to the aggressive tread design. The 6-ply rating carcass makes the tire durable and perfect for your races.
Also, it offers outstanding water dispersion and wet-weather traction from offset and deep treat sipes. The matched front and rear pattern offer maximum handling and superior stability. The tires can remain flexible even in the toughest of the roads. The tubeless construction means that it is the perfect tire for cruiser and touring bikes.
7. Dunlop D404 Tire
This tire is considered as one of the most popular cruising tire presented by Dunlop. The tire’s tread compound offers amazing grip and mileage. This tire has proven to be excellent for heavy-weight metric cruising touring bikes. The tire handles amazingly well in both dry and wet conditions because of its tread pattern designs which deliver outstanding water evacuation. The bias-ply construction is designed so as to deliver excellent load-carrying capacity.
The rear tires also have a lot of deep treads along with a bit of spinning. The offset center grooves offer amazing straight-line stability. The spines open up when the tire flexes in the corner which in turn offers even more friction. Also, these tires are available in a variety of sizes making them rather popular as they can fit various bikes. The price is also quite economical for a wide range of motorcycles. It is for all of these reasons that the Dunlop D404 Tire is considered as one of the best motorcycle tires.
Now that you know some of the most popular tires, let’s see a few other things which can be rather useful in getting the best motorcycle tires.
Importance of Proper Tire Pressure
Listed below are a few tips and tricks that would ensure your safety and that the tires last for a really long time.
Purchase a Good Gauge
Invest in a quality tire pressure gauge that would always help you in knowing the accurate pressure. The performance of the tire is largely related to its pressure and just a few PSI can also drastically affect the handling. The pressure must always be checked when the tire is cold and not immediately when you get off your bike.
Use Suggested Pressure
Always ensures that the pressure is as has been indicated on the sidewall of the tire. In case you are planning to carry a lot of luggage, a little bit more pressure can be added. However, in no situation should you let the pressure exceed that what is mentioned.
Checking anywhere from daily to weekly basis is a good idea (depending on how much you ride). The amount of time and the road conditions should determine as to how many times you should check the pressure.
Tube Type Tires
Most of the bikes these days come with tube type tires and therefore it becomes essential to install a new tube every time you change your tire. Finding the right size of the tube is a simple process if you are aware of the size of the tire. The tube sizes are often mentioned like 120/80 in metric sizing wherein the first number is the width and the other number is the aspect.
For example, Alpha: MP75; where the letter ‘M’ denotes motorcycle while the second letter is the section width and the number resembles the aspect’s ratio.
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When to Replace and How to Spot a Worn Out Tire
As a biker, you should know when to replace the strength of your bike- the tires!
Listed below are a few things that would help you in understanding when to replace and how to spot a worn out tire.
You must know the fact that it has always been said that the active life span of a tire should never exceed five years. However, some people also say that it’s okay to use it for 10 years
Wear bars are included by the manufacturers that run across the tread. It is time to replace the tires when the wear bars are flush with the tread. There should be a minimum of 2/32” in any of the areas.
Frequent Pressure Loss
If you notice that a tire is losing pressure quite frequently, it might be possible that the bead is worn out and thereby is leaking air
Cuts and Punctures
Before going for a recreational ride do look out for punctures and cuts! After all, you don’t want to be stranded on a highway!
Tires aren’t immune to sunlight and tend to crack if are exposed to the sunlight for long time periods. Cracking can mostly be noticed along the sidewall or on the tread.
Use your hands to spot a worn tire. If while riding, you notice any kind of unusual pushing, vibrating or pulsating, it might be your tires.
Even over inflation of tires can be a big issue. So never ignore them as it can lead to uneven wear.
Regardless of your riding style, correct tires are what you require so as to ensure that you can make the most out of your ride. It is essential that you are well aware of what are the best motorcycle tires for your specific motorbike. You must also know the correct way to compare the specifications of the bike as compared to that of the specifications of the tire.
Consider what your budget is and what tire would be best suitable for your motorcycle model. This would help you in choosing the best. By following all of the above steps you would be able to get the best motorcycle tire for yourself that would last for a really long time.
We talk about safety first! Check out Riding Basics – Reference Points and Motorcycle Safety