When you hear the word “motorcycle tyre”, the first thing that comes to mind is: round, black, ride and drive. Simple enough, yes? Well… yes and no. Because the choice of a tyre does not only depend on its size; there are other factors in between that can determine the type of tyre you should choose for your motorcycle. In this little guide we will give you 5 tips to apply when you want to choose the tyre for your motorcycle.
1) The use of the tyre
The first step is simple: choose the tyre you need for your motorcycle / riding style. If you drive a cruiser or touring motorcycle, you’ll need tyres designed for longevity and a smoother ride. If you ride a sport bike, the sport tyres you need will be built with grip and handling in mind. As an added bonus, many sport tyres are very suitable for track use. They won’t be designed for longevity, but if you choose sporty touring tires, you’ll get more mileage.your motorcycle’s tire
2) The basics
The tyres are available in tubeless and tubeless models. The type of wheel your motorcycle uses will dictate the type of tyre you will need. The tread of the tyre is the part that comes into contact with the road, while the pattern is what channels the water so as not to compromise the contact surface. The pattern is the vertical shape of the tyre’s tread. It can range from something semi-circular to something slightly triangular. Because the weight distribution changes almost constantly, the contact area changes, making the tyres very crucial for handling. Although, strictly speaking, the tyres are not part of the suspension, it is useful to think of them as an extension, as they are flexible.
3) Dimensioning the fundamentals
Now we come to some difficult calculations. With the manufacturer’s name and the tyre model designation, all tyres will have some numbers on the sidewalls indicating their size, mounting and speed rating. The first number will be in the form of a fraction which will represent the section width of the tyre in millimetres in relation to its aspect ratio. The aspect ratio is the percentage of the section height of the tyre in relation to its width. Sometimes this number is followed by the speed index, which is indicated by a letter. Then by the rim diameter in inches. Other times, these two numbers are reversed. The last number, placed in conjunction with the speed index, is the load index, one of the numbers corresponding to the maximum weight allowed for a tyre.
4) Playing with size?
From now on, some people will adapt a slightly wider tyre to modify their behaviour. The important thing to remember when you do this is that the sidewalls of a larger tyre will get stuck. This means that the sidewall will be tilted, there will be more bending and more heat will be generated. In addition, the tread will bend more, which will change your contact surface. You may notice that your motorcycle will go from one side to the other more quickly, but you’ll probably lose traction and braking stability. If you feel compelled to experiment with a larger tyre size, think carefully about the consequences, then use an extra 10mm width for the rear tyre only. Keeping the front tyre size as standard will maintain the stability and front-end feel – which is what you really want.
5) From mouth to ear… or keyboard
If you know people who drive the same motorcycle as you do, you can choose their tyre choice. You can also try online forums and groups for feedback. Finally, if you read motorcycle magazines, pay attention to what they say about certain tyres and gather enough information before you go out and buy a tyre.
Last words: Tip
Never mount unsuitable tyres on your motorcycle (i.e. use the same make and model, front and rear). Never use shoe polish on the tyres of your motorcycle. Because the movement of a motorcycle depends so much on tyres, your riding experience also depends on them. Choosing the right tyres and maintaining them means making the most of everything.