Choosing the right motorcycle tires for your bike is no brainer…well, neither is it rocket science. Since it is a fundamental part of your motorbike, it is necessary to choose the right type to ensure safety and better performance. While most riders go for the well known brands of tires, the quality affects the riding style and the comfort of the rider. So instead of buying a tire because of its ratings, choose a tire that gives you superior performance.
So how do you choose the right tire?
There are as many types of tires as there are different types of motorbikes, since each motorbike uses a different type of tire. For a new rider, choosing the right one is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. Relax. Here is a magnet to ease the search. Consider the following factors:
Tire age: Tires that are six years old and above, whether they are idling around in a shop or not, are a no, no. These are likely to blow out anytime therefore are a hazard not only to your life but to pedestrians and fellow motorists. In any case, newly manufactured tires will give you a higher performance rate compared to old ones.
Surface: Tires are manufactured for different surface use. A street bike tire is designed for use on Asphalt roads, dirt bike tires are specifically meant for rough roads while Dual sport tires can be used for both smooth and rough roads. Another thing to consider about surfaces is if they are wet or dry. It is important to ask your dealer to recommend the best tires for either surface.
Type of bike: Different bikes are installed with different tires. Dual sport tires are for dual sport bikes; bikes that are used on both smooth and rough surfaces. Motocross/ dirt bikes use dirt bike tires. These tires differ in terms of contact patch, grooves depths and even tread patterns.
Front/Rear: Motorcycles, unlike cars, use very different types of tires for the front and rear use. This is because they each perform different functions. The front tires are used for stability, handling, braking and steering. The rear ones are used for balance, cornering, angling and acceleration. Front tires are mainly narrower compared to their rear counterparts. Those used in front have tread grooves at the center while the rear wheels have theirs on the sides.
Tires Size: The size of your motorcycle tire is directly proportional to your motorcycle's speed which is mainly determined by friction. Small sized tires have less friction with the road, meaning your speed will be higher because you are not wasting much energy. However, this has its downside too. The less friction area you have the less wet traction you will experience.
Rubber Compound: Different tires are made of different rubber compounds. Soft compounds have good traction but are not durable and vise versa.
- A tire can either be of Bias construction allowing for a smooth ride on rough surfaces however it increases rolling resistance and less control and traction at higher speeds.
- Belted bias has a smoother ride similar to that of a bias construction, but has less rolling resistance.
- Radial, considered the best, provides longer tread life, better steering control, and lower rolling resistance but is difficult to steer and has lower grip ability at low speeds on dirt roads.
Every new motorcycle rider comes to this point once the tires that were installed by the manufacturer wear off. You have a check list to compare against during your next shopping trip. Ensure your tires are compatible with your bike. Finally, check that the size of the tire is the recommended one. You do not want to mess your tires by installing the wrong size. Maybe the biggest question on your mind should be: Do you want to go for extra grip, durability, performance or load carrying capacity? Go for the best fit, not the best brand.
Arlinew is a motorcycle expert affiliated with 4wheelonline.com, one of the country’s leading retailers of Shinko motorcycle tires, which include Dual Sport tires, Dirt Bike tires, Street Bike tires and Scooter tires. For more information contact them on 813-769-2451 or visit them along 6605 North Nebraska Avenue.
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