The motorcycle tires can make-or-break your riding experience. The tires are the only thing that connects the bike’s motor power to the ground, and it absorbs the shock when riding on bumpy road surfaces. This is why you need the best motorcycle tires for your motorbike.
Choosing the best tire does not provide you better performance. Still, it does mean prioritizing your safety. Bad or worn-out tires offer poor performance, which can cause danger, particularly during poor weather conditions.
This best motorcycle tires buying guide covers aspects of motorcycle tires, including the types of tires and how to check tires.
There are many types of motorcycles, and you must know the best tires for your specific bike, irrespective if you are replacing old worn tires or upgrading to enhance performance. It will help you make the best out of your ride.
It will be handy to know how to compare the bike specifications against the specifications of the tires.
Table of Contents
What Is the Anatomy of a Motorcycle Tire?
Do you know what the essential parts of every tire are? Let’s start with the tread, which is part of the tire seen on the outside. It is part of the rubber that touches the surface of the road. The patterns of the tread differ according to the type of the tire and its purpose.
Next is the carcass. It is the part that goes beneath the tread and is considered the motorcycle tire’s backbone. Its material is either made of steel cords or fiber cords, which go from bias to bias. The tire can be bias or radial ply, and this is a significant difference. Radial plies go directly from side to side, and the bias plies are utilized at an angle.
Another part of the motorcycle tire is called a bead, where the tire is mounted to the wheel. The bead has steel cords placed in it to make a tight fit against the tire.
Then there is the sidewall, where the printed markings or information about the tire. The tire’s sidewall also carries all of the load support, and its ability to support depends on the sidewall design.
Parts of the tire include:
OUR BEST PICK
Michelin Pilot Power 3 Sport Bike Radial High-Speed Motorcycle Tire (120/70ZR17 Front)
* Tread design provides efficient braking and handling in wet conditions.
* Designed to last up to 20% longer than the Pilot Power 2CT.
* Offers exceptional grip on wet and dry surfaces.
* Features an optimized profile and improved rubber compound.
* Pilot Power 3 from Michelin!
What’s the Difference Between Bias-Ply Tires and Radials?
The bias ply motorcycle tires are also known as the old-school tire design because earlier traditional motorcycle tires were all bias ply.
With the modern technologies and many innovations, there are now better-designed tires to match the current and high-performance bikes. Nowadays, it is common to find radial-ply tires because this kind of tire design offers many advantages.
Heat dissipation: The radial design displaces the heat much better, and because of this, the tires last significantly longer.
Sidewall flexibility: The sidewalls on the radial-ply tires are not as stiff as the bias-ply tires’ sidewalls. Because of this, the sidewalls can contour to the road much better.
Unlike the bias-ply tires, it is still around and has stiffer sidewalls. The lack of flexibility works great with bikes that are made to carry passengers and luggage.
So, if you are riding a heavy cruiser, the bias-ply tires are a better choice.
How to Read the Sidewall Markings or Information?
Now that we know all about tire construction, let’s see how to decipher the sidewall data. Most of the information you need to know about the tire is molded directly into the sidewall. It can be in metric or alphanumeric.
In the metric sidewall information, the first number represents the tire width at its widest point. The second number represents the tire height. Next comes the letter, which can be R or B and refers to the construction type. R stands for radial and B for bias.
The third number that comes after the letter indicates the wheel size (the wheel’s diameter in inches). The last number stands for the load rating of the tire. It informs you about the maximum load capacity of the tire.
The letter that comes after the last number is for speed rating; for what speed the tire is suitable.
Alphanumeric is similar to metric. The difference is that there is always a letter M at the beginning, which stands for “motorcycle.” The second letter represents the width. After that are the numbers for aspect ratio and wheel size, and the last letter stands for load rating.
Tire Sidewall Markings Sumarized
- The first number represents the tire width at its widest point.
- The second number represents the tire height.
- The third number that comes after the letter indicates the wheel diameter.
- The fourth number stands for the load rating of the tire.
- The letter that comes after the last number is for speed rating.
OUR 2nd CHOICE
Michelin Pilot Power 5 Radial Sport Bike Motorcycle Tire 120/70-17 (120/70ZR17 Front)
* Increased wet surface grip over previous Michelin Power tires!
* Advanced silica compound offers excellent traction in all conditions!
* Tire design delivers smooth handling and cornering!
* New sidewall designs feature a brand new style for sportbike tires!
* With Michelin Tire pressure gauge and keychain
Why Is Motorcycle Tire Air Pressure Critical?
Air pressure is frequently overlooked by many people, although it is essential for motorcycle maintenance because it can compromise your driving safety. Over or under inflation can be extremely unsafe and can affect the handling and decrease the millage.
If your tire is over-inflated, the middle section of the tire will wear faster. If it is under-inflated, the side sections will wear disproportionally to the middle section.
Here are helpful, practical tips to ensure the safety and longevity on the road.
- Use the pressure as suggested on the sidewalls.
- Add a little bit of pressure if you are carrying a passenger or luggage.
- Get a good gauge
- Always check the pressure when the tire gets cold.
- Check it frequently
What Is a Tube-Type Motorcycle Tire?
Some bikes come with a tube-type tire, which means it has an inflatable tube that holds the tire’s air. This situation is quite common for motorcycles which are intended for off-roads biking such as dirt bike.
If your bike comes with tube-type tires, it is crucial not to try to fit the tubeless tire on it. The wheel is not made for tubeless tires, and it will never work correctly. This will cause leakage.
Remember always to install a fresh tube whenever you are changing the tire!
OUR 3rd CHOICE
Shinko 777 Rear Tire - Whitewall (130/90-16 Reinforced)
* Specifically designed for cruiser machines.
* Available in a multitude of sizes.
* Will fit many V-twin and metric cruiser models.
* Higher mileage and load capacity.
* Tread compound designed for traction and mileage.
When to Replace the Motorcycle Tire?
It is important to remember that the tire doesn’t have to be bald to be worn out. Most of the manufacturers put wear bars across the tread.
A good time to replace the tire is when the wear bar is leveled with tread. If there are no wear bars on your tire, then you can test it by putting the penny in the tread. If the head of Honest Abe is partially covered, you still have some life in the tire.
The age of the tire is also one of the factors to consider. The lifespan of your motorcycle tire should not be longer than five years.
Always check for cuts and punctures on the tire. If you see any, it is time to change it.
If your tire is losing pressure rapidly, it can be because your bead is worn out, causing the tire is leaking air.
Sometimes you can feel that there is something wrong with the tire while you are riding. Any strange vibration or pulsation during the ride can be an indicator that there is something wrong with the tires.
OUR 4th CHOICE
Continental ContiMotion Sport/Touring Motorcycle Tire Rear 160/60-17
* Brand new concept radial for the entry-level market.
* Safe and reliable feedback on both dry and wet roads.
* Value for money mileage due to new formulated polymers in the compound.
* 0° Steel-belt construction on the rear for excellent stability and ride comfort.
What Is the Best Type of Tire for My Motorcycle?
Now that you know the anatomy of motorcycle tires, the next question is how to choose the best tire for your bike?
The simplest and the best answer is to stick with the type of tires that come with the bike. Most of the motorcycles are designed for the specific size of the tire. Altering the size, ply style, or any other specification can affect the handling and therefore make your bike unsafe.
Remember, your safety always comes first.
Best Selling Motorcycle Tires on Amazon:
Best Motorcycle Tires Article Conclusion
Many thanks for taking the time to read my article on motorcycle tires. I trust this article has been of help to you in your research. If you would like to ask a question, please feel free to contact us.