How To Select The Best Motorcycle Tires?
Buying the right set of motorcycle tires can save a lot your money and keeps many unnecessary tire troubles at bay. Does not matter the type of riding style you have and irrespective of the kind of rider you have, only the correct and best motorcycle tires will keep you rolling, literally!
Whether you want to replace a worn-out pair of tires or upgrade for performance improvement, it is crucial that you understand what tire specification specifications with the tires you want to buy.suits your motorcycle perfectly and how can you matchthese specifications with the tires you want to buy.
Finding the best motorcycle tires
It does not matter if you are looking for the best touring motorcycle tires or the best motorcycle tires for street and track; you need to know the basics of the tires you are investing in.
A basic motorcycle tire anatomy consists of the tread, the part that touches the road. Various different tread patterns are available for you to select according to the way you intend to use it.Carcass, made of fiber or steel cords lies directly under the rubber tread where the cords are laid bead to bead either connecting the sides (radial tires) or at a particular angle (in bias ply).
The other parts of a tire are its bead and sidewall. Bead mounts the tire on the wheel because of the numerous inlaying steel cords that fit snugly to the wheel and this ensures zero leakage in tubeless tires. All vital data about the tire is embossed on the sidewall. In addition to being an information indicator, the sidewall design virtually bears the entire load and also determines motorcycle’s handling.
What features need to be considered?
To get the ideal set of tires for your vehicle, there are two major steps that could be followed:
- Determine the right tire size
- Select the correct tire type according to your requirements
If you can correctly interpret the alphabets and/or numbers written on the sidewall of a tire, you will understand the standard tire sizing. Either written in an alphanumeric or metric format, this data reveals almost everything that is there to know about a tire.For instance, a typical alphanumeric size is MT 90 – 14LoadRange B.
Here, the letter M stands for Motorcycle and the second alphabet represents the section or width. The number succeeding section width represents the diameter percentage or aspect ratio. The number after the hyphen is the size of wheel later by load index or load rating.
Whereas, in a metric representation, such as 120/80 B 14 67 H, the first number is “section width” or in simple words tells you that the tire is 120mm wide. The number 80 depicts the aspect ratio of the sidewall, which means the sidewall is 80 percent tall with respect to its width.If the aspect ratio is low, the sidewall will be shorter if there is no change in the section width.
The alphabet ‘B’ stands for Bias-Ply carcass design and Radial is represented by the letter R.The number after B is 14; this is the diameter of the wheel in mm where a tire will fit. The final number, here 67, represents the designated load index. There is a pre-defined chart that explains the highestpossible load capacity equivalent to this number; in this case, it is 661 lbs. Thelast letter in this alphanumeric tag, in this case H, shows the maximum speed limit that a tire can handle which is 130 mph for H.
Choosing the right tire type: Radial or Bias?
As you are deciding about the tire size necessities, another obvious thing to remember is that you should never put a tubeless type of tire on a tube type wheel. In these situations, there will be leakage as they would not seal completely.
There is another option to choose from when it comes to advanced technology tires. Generic tires were made as bias ply only, meaning that the carcasses had body cords directionally angled. On the other hand,in present times, radial designs have become common in most of the best motorcycle tires; in these tires, bead to bead carcass connections are made. So which out of these should you select?
- The sidewall of radial tires are flexible than bias-ply, because of this there is better contouring with the road that improves the surface area in contact with the tread or section.
- Radial tires are more durable as they wear slower due to better heat dissipation.
- Whereas, a bias-ply tire has its own advantages. Due to sidewall stiffness, these tires are preferred for touring bikes, heavy cruisers and bikes that carry luggage and/or passengers.
You should choose the best motorcycle tires depending upon the type of motorcycle you ride. Is it a dirt bike, ADV/sports bike, street or cruiser?
Selecting one out of these categories is the easy part. Things get confusing when you have to think about more specific details such as speed rating, compound, brand etc. To assist you in this whole process, we have inscribed these guidelines so that you can buy the right fit for your motorcycle.
What are your options?
So after understanding the numbers imprinted on the sidewall of a motorcycle tire, you need to know the good options in the market. There is a different set of tires for every motorcycle and every rider. We have compiled a list of some of the top most options available for you. Some of the best sportbike tires till 2016 are listed below, you can select according to your preferences.
Dunlop Sportmax Q3
The Sportmaxtires by Dunlophave CFT (Carbon Fiber Technologies) which enables good cornering stability even at huge lean angles. It has precise, responsive steering characteristics and smooth transitional, predictable, and impressive steering performance in normal dry conditions. Whereas, in wet situations,the cosecant-curve tread pattern with lesser grooves provides longer and enhanced track proven performance. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best motorcycle tires for road and track available out there.
- Durable with high-quality grip•
- Keep good traction in case of downshifting and had acceleration as well
- Stick to the road and offer great handling
- Wet condition performance could be improved
- Stable but a little slow on turns• Faster wearing at higher speed
The Sportmax Q3 incorporates multi-tread expertise that provides a long-wearing, cool-running center compound for excellent traction, improved straight line steadiness, and long tread life. The sides provide agile grip composite that enhances traction from small to big lean angles. The tires are Blackwall Tubeless, W rated for 168+ MPH speeds. It could prove to be a great buy for people looking for sports tires for daily track or road rides.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II is one of the most loved street-racing tires in the market today. This tire is designed as bi-compound which means you will experience better grip at maximum possible lean and greater on-road mileage. The EPT or Enhanced Patch Technologies by Pirelli enhanced grip by optimizing the patch of contact. Another notable feature is the FGD (Functional Groove Designing) that basically optimizes riding behavior on wet roads. Before buying, be completely sure of the size you require for your motorcycle wheels.
- High quality and great grip on the road
- Provides excellent mileage and traction
- Relevant price tag
- Better than OEM tires
- Sizing problems as there have been complaints about the size not being accurate
- Some balancing issues requires more weight than you would anticipate
Setting new trends, the Diablo Rosso 2 by Pirelli comes with updated features, meaning that it is capable of providing enhanced confidence, mileage, and excellent tire grip. It has W-rated speed limit which is up to a maximum of 168 mph. These are the best motorcycle tires for fast road riding as they have a well bred grip and the dual rubber compound definitely helps a lot.
Michelin Commander II
Michelin tires are known for following all automobile guidelines and producing top quality products.The size of every front Commander IItiresis made in such a way that they can deal with handling features of different bikes due to their combination of casing and profile designs. The rear Commander II has Aramid belts replacing the cheaper fiberglass, there is control over the growth of centrifugal force on this tire which allows large contact area, excellent wear, and traction.
- Great riding in wet or rainy conditions
- Good handling, tracking and cornering
- Works great on uneven and graveled tracks also
- Not much suited for snowy or muddy conditions
- Could be a little low priced
- Less mileage coverage
All Michelin tires are tested and developed for and by American motorcycle riders. On American roads, test riders have logged in half million miles and even more with Michelin tires. These are one of the best sportbike tires for cruisers with an H speed rating pointing to a maximum speed of 130 mph.
For stable handling and a compliant drive, polyester carcass ply is replaced with Rayon. Good prediction and turning performance make it a great touring and city tire. Easy precise steering and comfortable highway rides can be expected with these tires.
Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra
The only recent metric tire addition by Metzelerprovides high mileage combined with handling and performance. The ME 888 Marathon Ultra is specially developed for touring custom bikes and their technology offers consistent performance through the entire life of these tires. They have outstanding smooth stability and low and high-speed stability which makes them one of the best sportbike tires of 2016. They offer great all-weather effortless handling.
- Excellent effortless handling and good mileage
- Work well in all types of weather conditions
- Attention needs to be paid to sizing while purchasing these tires; they are a little different as compared to 880.
- A little extra stiff sidewall requires better balance understanding
The Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra range tires bring the benefit of wear regularity updates and mileage increase. These are the best sportbike tires for cruisers that are priced a little high but on the other hand, they provide great mileage in all types of weather conditions. These specifically formulated cruiser tire provides a comfortably enhanced ride with excellent handling both on highways and uneven tracks.
AVON AM26 Roadrider
The AVON AM26 Roadrider tires provide a large patch of contact that ensures great grip on the road at all possible angles of leaning.These tires have specifically formulated rubber compound that ensures incredible grip and a center groove that is interrupted for track resistance. The speed rating for this product is V which enables a maximum of 149 mph for touring bikes. This is a solid tire with tread design capable of good prediction on curves and confidence boosting in wet road situations.
- Great handling in wet conditions
- Provides good traction on curves and turns
- Could use better mileage and durability as they do wear out a little early
- Some tires have reportedly developed significantly visible and troublesome cracks at a very early age
The AM26 Roadrider by AVON are bias-ply sports tires, the traditional bias construction should be preferred for touring bikes and heavy cruisers as the stiff sidewalls are capable of providing the additional support required by such motorcycles. This product is tubeless and ensures good credibility.
Understanding the details related to the tires you are considering to buy is vital. The tires you fit onto the wheels of your motorcycle should be the perfect ones that enhance the overall performance of your vehicle and at the same time keep the rider comfortable and happy. Without a doubt, the Michelin Commander II is one of the best motorcycle tires in the market and in this list as well.You can leave your valuable comments and reviews. If you find this article helpful in any way, share it with your friends and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts.