Hey there! Here’s part two of your motorcycle tire guide. Let’s jump right in, with…
Dual Sport/ADV Tires
There are a bunch of options for dual sport and adventure touring fans, and the tires you choose can vastly affect performance. How much off road vs. paved surfaces will you be riding on? there are 80/20 streets, 50/50s, 80/20 off roads and others.
Off Road Tires
Off-road tires come in many sizes, tread patterns and compounds, and you’ll choose which ones to buy based on what type of dirt you spend most of your time in!
The manufacturer’s sizes provide the maximum traction and performance, so adhere to them for better cornering and traction on straights. Also maintain the suggested tire pressure to make them last.
Off-road compounds are key when selecting a good off-road tire. Will you be on soft, intermediate or hard terrain?
Tube or no Tube?
If your motorcycle wheels have spokes like a bicycle, you probably need tires that take an inner tube.
Got cast wheels? Then you’ll probably need tubeless tires.
And yes, some of the above categories slip into this one!
Radial or Bias?
Bias ply tires are made from overlapping plies of synthetic rubber and a composite mesh.
This provides a balance between weight-carrying capacity and a comfortable ride.
Radial tires are a more recent invention, and have more flex, which is great for cornering. They absorb bumps better, too.
However… older cruisers were designed for bias tires! Motorcycles that can use radials have different frames and suspension setups, so you’ll choose bias or radial based on the bike (and specified in your manual!).
Common mistakes to avoid when choosing tires?
Here we go!
1. Switching from radial to bias-ply or vice versa
Yes, some manufacturers put out motorcycles with a mix of bias front and radial rear. But generally speaking, you won’t want to try switching them to the other type.
2. Putting a tubeless tire on a spoked rim
Nope! Don’t do it, man (or girl).
3. Reusing old tubes on new tires
Since rubber hardens as it heat-cycles (goes from being cold to hot and back again), this isn’t recommended. Tubes that need to be soft and pliable can get brittle and crack with use. They’re cheap, too, compared to tires, so they’re easy to replace each time anyway.
4. Running Michelin motorcycle tires in the front and Pirellis in the back
It’s always a good idea to follow the tire manufacturer’s recommended match front or rear. But there are rare exceptions when the OEM tires are mixed brands! The lesson? No free-styling—the differences in tire handling and performance can make your bike act in weird, unpredictable, and frankly unsafe ways.
MOUNT A TIRE YOURSELF, WITH ZIP TIES
Curious to know if you could mount your own tire? Check out this method:
And this one:
WHERE TO BUY YOUR TIRES
You can find great motorcycle parts online.
Can we recommend a particular tire?
Yes! If you’ve got a sports bike, the Michelin Power RS is the latest sport road rubber that suits everything from 300cc A2 licence machines to superbikes and the fat-tyred Ducati Diavel.
(Available in 110/70-17, 120/60-17 and 120/70-17 front; 140/70-17, 150/60-17, 160/60-17, 180/55-17, 180/60-17, 190/50-17, 190/55-17, 200/55-17 and 240/45- 17 rear)
It was one of Motorcycle News Magazine’s top motorcycle tires for 2017.
I agree that it rocks.
Actually, all Michelin motorcycle tires are awesome, pretty much.
You can find a whole range of them, including the Power RS, by clicking the above links.