Choosing the right tires for your motorcycle determines how your bike handles. This simple but crucial task is dependent on how you ride, where you ride, and above all, safety. It is more than just wanting black rubber hoops. Depending on your interests, all important information is written on the tire sidewall in alphanumerical or metric form.
If you’re lucky to enjoy the delivery of your new shiny ‘soulmate’, take note that the factory OEM fitment tires will need replacement sooner rather than later. Unlike other OEM motorcycle parts, the quality of factory tires is nowhere near the aftermarket tires’ even if the badge is exactly the same. This is because manufacturers can and will try and save money anywhere they can, tires being first on the radar.
Are you doing on your first hunt for quality tires? Here is what you should consider:
- Tread and pattern
Tread is the part that is in contact with the road. Patters are the grooves and channels cut into the tread. For a street tire, the patterns are made to prevent the tire from losing its grip when wet by channeling the water away. Smoother treads work better on smooth and dry surfaces while chunky treads work better off-road.
The profile is the shape of the curved tread section on a tire. When we talk about profiles, we involve the tire sidewall. It can be a gentle curve, broad at the center, or curved edges. For motorcycles, the profile of the tread should be rounded to enhance contact patch and keep traction when leaning through a corner. For race tires, the profile is more triangular which aids in extreme lean angle turning. If the sidewall is shorter, it means it is stiffer. Therefore, there will be poor bump absorption and difficulty in mounting.
The bead is the part covered heavily in rubber that mates to the wheel. It should snugly fit the wheel to prevent the wheel from rotating in the tire.
This is the material that makes up the tire. Sport tires need to provide tremendous sticky grip while at the same time uphold high-speed performance and mileage. This is possible through the use of soft compounds that can last only 100 miles. However, touring bike tires have a hard carcass which sacrifices grip for life span, reaching as high as 20000 miles.