The motorcycle season gets under way every spring, always bring a crop of new two-wheeler enthusiasts with it. Here, we consider the different types of motorcycle tyres available, as this is when many existing owners may start to consider racing with their bike, for instance.
Superfact motorcycle racing tyres, huge chopper tyre models, dynamic motocross tyres, or even slower classic tyres - all of these variants provide riders with great levels of pleasure and excitement when used correctly. You should always remember that it is your safety that should be considered above anything else, so the right tyre choice is vital.
One tyre option is never the same as another, with the wide range on the market today offering plenty of possibilities. Motorbike tyres often differ in terms of their profile, as well as the rubber compound from which they are made.
Naturally, for some, the visual aesthetic is of great importance, such as where the white edge brings out the charm of a good old classic model, or of a chopper shining in the sunlight. However, the main emphasis should always be on the way such tyres are to be used.
Some drivers travel on choppers, others may use touring bikes and others may be in need of tyres for a classic motorcycle. Racing riders, on the other hand, need sport tyres suitable for the racetrack, but also approved for use in regular traffic. Further niches can be found with off-road enthusiasts, who will often prefer enduro tyres and motorcross tyre products.
The right choice of tyre will help to ensure your safety, which is always a high priority when driving on just two wheels. Let this article, therefore, expand your knowledge on the subject of motorbike tyres.
The right motorbike tyres will depend on your driving needs and the motorbike in question.
Your choice of tyres should depend, among other criteria, on your preferred driving style. A general analysis of driving trends in Europe shows that the leading type is radial tyres, closely followed by diagonal tyres.
Because of the tyre construction involved, radial tyres often offer better performance. This is especially true when riding at high speeds.
Tyre vendors offer customers a wide choice when it comes to different types and rubber compounds. Because of the variety available, it is vital to obtain expert advice before buying such products.
A professional salesperson, for instance, will take into account the driver’s style when selecting a tyre. They should also include additional circumstances, such as whether the customer is planning a long-distance trip. In this instance, the bike’s load will be much heavier than normal, which will prove a significant factor.
Of course, this isn’t all that goes into the tyre selection process. You should also consider additional important issues, such as corner handling and emergency sharp braking. The pleasure of driving should be a secondary factor behind the extremely important issue of safety, not the other way around.
There are many factors to consider before choosing your motorcycle tyres.
Compared with other types of motorbike tyre, touring tyres probably have the widest range of uses. Of course, we should not expect too much from these products, as they provide an optimum performance at speeds below 124 mph.
You should be aware that, with this type of tyre, it is necessary to compromise somewhat on sport riding characteristics, as the capabilities of the product in this area is reduced to improve all-round performance in other areas.
Touring tyres are designed to enable driving on the widest range of road surfaces, thus performing the role for which they are intended. They offer good drivability, a long driving time and a high level of driver comfort. Manufacturers are also aware that riders will be out in a wide range of weather conditions, so rainfall should not cause any significant problems for a touring tyre.
As usual, it should be kept in mind that real safety can be only be achieved when there is a very good harmony between all of the factors relating to motorcycle riding. In this regard, many people appreciate touring tyres for their balanced performance.
Chopper and cruiser tyres
With cruiser models, also commonly known as chopper tyres, high speed performance is not the most important factor. Instead, the main focus here is on offering a long continuous running time, good grip on turns and an optimum silencing of the tyre at turns beneath a heavy bike.
In contrast to the sporting parameters of tyres designed for racers, in this case the emphasis is very much on offering an “easy rider” experience.
Thanks to being designed as reinforced tyres, a typical product in this category will offer a very high load index, enabling an extremely stable and safe driving experience. The side profile of these tyres plays a very significant role.
Besides the popular white edges, a wide variety of designs are available and extensive information on this can be obtained from the various manufacturers producing these tyres.
As the name easily suggests, off-road tyres are designed with a very clear purpose in mind - off-the-road, all-terrain driving.
When most people here the term “all-terrain”, it is easy to think of meadows, forests, stones, gravel and other typical outdoor environments. As a result, these tyres have a very strong construction and need to be equally resistance to all of these external factors.
Gravel and snow, or the well-known M+S (mud and snow) conditions, are not just abstract symbols. Any claim that a tyre is suited to driving on a loose surface makes it obligatory to ensure excellent drivability in such tough conditions.
As the name suggests, off-road tyres are the best motorcycle tyres for all-terrain surfaces.
A good level of grip will help guarantee that, in a critical situation, the bike will not behave like a panicking horse. Tightening corners, or on turns taken at a high speed on a less than solid surface, require high levels of grip on the front tyre, as most riders are able to at least cope with the sliding of the rear wheel.
Unfortunately, as in the case of various other tyre types, there is no universal tyre profile suited to all conditions. As a result, before deciding on a purchase, it is worth obtaining expert advice, taking into account the particular types of surface your off-road tyres will most frequently be used with.
To make the best use of a motorcycle racing tyre, you should ideally be a licensed racing driver. A sport tyre is more demanding than a normal tyre and is typically not intended for use on public roads, as its tolerance limits are very narrow.
Tyre pressure, tyre temperature and various other driving parameters need to harmonised for a competitive, high-speed environment. As such, a driver riding on such models needs to be aware of how far these tyres can be taken.
Various subtypes of sporting tyres can also restrict the range of manoeuvrability even further, such as in the case of slick tyres, which are only suitable under specific weather conditions.
Many sports tyres are also designed for use on public roads, which are specially marked as such, although their usability is also limited to particular types of surface. These generally tend to be radial tyres which - at the cost of wider usability - provide excellent contact with the surface if they are used in precisely defined conditions.
Sports tyres are not as well suited to the road as other motorcycle tyres, but they have better parameters for competitive racing and track environments.
Current trends among riders and users of superfast motorbikes suggests that it is worth investing in these tyres, provided that such a purchase is made with common sense. No matter how dynamic or exhilarating the riding is, it should preferably take place on an even, dry surface, as this is what these tyres are specifically designed for.
More advanced users of sports tyres often carry infrared thermometers, so that when the tyres have warmed up to an appropriate temperature - taking into account other factors as well - they can enjoy a sporting style of riding with greater confidence.