Choosing the right tires for your motorcycle is essential to your enjoyment of your bike and your safety while you ride.
Choosing the right tires for your motorcycle is essential to your enjoyment of your bike and your safety while you ride. You can usually find the best motorcycle tire deals online at reputable dealers, but it is up to you to know which ones you need for your bike. To help you make the best decisions for your purchase, we’ve put together a crash course in motorcycle tires and replacements. Let’s dive right in!
Motorcycle Tire Types
Choosing the correct type of tire for your bike is essential to how your motorcycle handles. To find the right kind of tire, you must examine your bike and understand your riding style. Generally speaking, there are four motorcycle tire designations: street, cruiser, dual-sport/ADV, and dirt.
You should choose the tire family reasonably quickly; the specifics are a little more tricky. Tire specifics such as brand, speed rating, compound, etc., are also part of the decision-making process.
Size Matters When Choosing A Motorcycle Tire
When speaking about motorcycle tires, size does matter. To choose the correct size tire for your bike, you must be able to decipher the codes printed on the sides of the tire. The three different methods manufacturers use to designate tire information are metric, alphanumeric, and standard inch, with the industry-standard being metric.
The metric system uses five main components that are printed on the sidewall of the tire. Some of these measurements are more strict than others, and some are codes for other information.
- Section width measures the width of the tire tread from one side to the other and is usually a three-digit number.
- Aspect ratio is the ratio of the bike's tire width as a percentage of its height and is typically a two-digit number.
- Rim diameter measures the rim in inches from one lip to the other.
- Load rating is a code designating the weight the tire can safely bear, which ranges from the low 20s to the high 80s.
- Speed rating is an alphabetical code that designates the speed a tire is designed to operate when adequately inflated and loaded safely.
Helpful Tips For Choosing The Right Motorcycle Tire
If you doubt what tires are suitable for your motorcycle, it is good to replace them with the same size currently installed or suggested by the bike’s manufacturer. Also, only purchase tires for your motorcycle from reputable sources to ensure they are manufactured to the highest standards.