Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be killed in an accident than passengers in cars. With the safety risks already so high, the last thing a motorcycle owner needs is an extra hazard. Having the wrong tires or worn down tires in poor condition can have detrimental effects on the driver. The only thing able to stop a motor vehicle from moving is the friction between your tires and the road. Because motorcycles only have two wheels, it is even more important that they are the right fit for your bike. There are several factors that go into selecting the appropriate tires that will be discussed in this article.
There are a handful of different types of tires that can be installed on bikes. It will depend on where and how you plan on riding to decide which ones are right for you. The options you have are pretty self-explanatory and go as follows: race tires, sport tires, off-road tires, cruising tires, and touring tires. The biggest difference between race and sport tires is endurance. Race tires are for high performance situations that require tight cornering and intense acceleration. Sport tires are built more for everyday use and handle well in the rain and for sustained use. Off-road tires are similar to that of trucks in that they will be built with knobby surfaces and will be locked to the bikes wheel to prevent slippage. Cruising tires are the all-around road tire. They provide great grip for sandy and wet roads and are good for use on those long distance journeys around the country. Finally you have touring tires, these are much like cruising tires but are built exclusively for longer treks providing a high level of control for the bike.
Tire size is also important for specific bike types and riding conditions. There isn’t just one number associated to this however. Tire size is measured in width, aspect ratio, speed rating, tire construction, and the rim diameter. Tire width is measured in a straight line from the tires outer edge to the outer edge of the opposite sidewall. Wider tires will offer better balance. The aspect ratio is a comparison of the tires height to its width. The speed rating for motorcycles follows a letter coding specification ranging from the letter J to Z with a few alphanumerics in between. The speed ratings range from 62 M.P.H. up to 150 M.P.H. Another letter designator is assigned to the tires construction. This will allow you two options each, with its own pros and cons. The first is “belted tires” which have a B designator. These tires are laced with Kevlar or fiberglass to give the tire added strength and pressure. The other option is to go with radial tires. These are designated with the letter ‘R’. Radial tires can give you better control and tend to last longer on the road. There is a give and take with each of these options to consider.
A safety option you may want to consider is picking between tubed and tubeless tires. If one of your tires goes out on your bike you are almost guaranteed to wreck it. Tubeless tires have a considerable advantage over tubed and may end up saving your life. They also have a tendency to stay better connected to the rim, avoiding them being shredded off of the tire. Tubed tires are cheaper to purchase and replace, so that is a decision you will have to make when considering the tires for your bike.