Which is more critical – getting the right engine or getting the best motorcycle tire – that question may be a difficult to answer or an impossible decision to make for some.
Both items are required to have to peak operation and safety. You want the superior acceleration and the best handling. Both of these items are necessary to achieving the quality of ride you desire from your motorcycle. Choosing the right motorcycle tire is no exception since it is just as important for the reasons mentioned above and many other reasons.
The motorcycle tire tires you pick must be matched to your bike, simply getting the right size is not the only concern. Items such as tread style, tire bias, tire materials and other common characteristics should all be designed with the riding type – and therefore the bike category – in mind in order to get the optimum tire.
Unlike most car tires, your motorcycle tires need to be different for the front and the rear of the bike. Each motorcycle tire is has been designed with the specific location in mind on the bike and each tire has differing engineered goals to accomplish. Power – acceleration is provided predominantly by the rear tire, and the front tire supplies more of the braking power than is required by the rear tire – this could be up to an 80% difference in requirements for motorcycle tire braking.
Obviously the front motorcycle tire turns left and right to accommodate direction desired, while the back motorcycle tire is subject only to the lean of the bike, and that too must be taken into consideration in design and choices of motorcycle tires. Since the back tire carries the bulk of the weight, this will alter the design requirements and specification requirements.
Motorcycle Racing Tires
We now venture into a unique class of motorcycle tires – Racing tires. Having their favorite tires, professionals want exceptional contact with the surface at extreme leaning angles, this is invariably an essential quality desired. Cornering at tight angles, extreme acceleration from a standing position or coming out of a turn, and prolonged stress at maximum speeds all induce the need for special engineering for motorcycle racing tires.
Many hours of extreme and constant abuse on the motorcycle race track as well as the requirement to be nearly puncture proof under off-road conditions make these special motorcycle tires indispensable. Having to be able to meet expectations immediately upon installation these motorcycle tires seldom get the standard recommended 100-mile run-in period before they land on the track.
Sport Motorcycle Tires
Referred to as sport bias motorcycle tires, these usually have a radial-style tread patterns that give it a larger tire “footprint”, (contact with the road surface). Sport bikes are usually made to be run hard on the road, and maybe even do some off-road duty. Proper adherence to the surface contact with the ground and excellent cornering are required for this style of road bike. Having to perform in various weather environments is an issue of concern too.
To give these tires better grip in both wet and dry environments there must be an overall Increase in the tread-to-void ratio . Maximum tread life is desired for sport bike riders as well. Over the last twenty years unique tread compounds have been discovered and this has increased both features, those being increased grip and improved wear resistance.
Cruiser Motorcycle Tires
Manufacturers of the most popular motor cycles such as Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and others all compete to be the best motorcycle in this particular category. Part of the standard equipment that helps put particular bikes on top is the tire they choose as original equipment for their cruiser bikes.
Regardless of weather conditions superior grip on every road surface such as asphalt, concrete, chip seal and others, is essential. Design is always consists of a delicate balance between maximum tread life and superior grip. Grip is usually at the expense of tread life. Tires must be soft to stick to the road but harder tires get superior tread life. This is a problem for the engineers.
Dunlop, and other tire manufacturers have accomplished that, and Dunlop offers the defacto standard for most of the best bike manufacturers. Tread designs now offer superior water evacuation for the front and rear motorcycle tire.
The motorcycle tire bias-ply design, including overlapping ply’s of synthetic rubber and composite mesh. This will provide the motorcycle with a good tradeoff between weight-carrying limits and ride comfort.
Tire design with center grooves that are offset on the motorcycle tire give it improved straight-line stability as opposed to designs from the past. This helps keep the bike upright with minimal input from the rider.
Touring Motorcycle Tires
Racing motorcycle tires have fewer tread grooves giving ultimate grip, and these tires have a tall arch and tall crown in order to steer fast. There is a trade off here; this makes the tire offer less stability. By comparison, the touring motorcycle tires need the precise opposite handling characteristics.
Touring bikes are usually constructed to allow a very comfortable, stable ride over prolonged distances in various kinds of weather conditions. Having less grooves could make the motorcycle tire perform rather poorly in wet weather conditions. Motorcycle touring tires need to give absolute premium stability so that the motorcycle rider will remain upright with less personal effort. All focusing on being upright by giving constant small body and steering tweaks to the center of balance – will quickly tire out the motorcycle rider.
Racing motorcycle tires also have an extra ply and tighter internal winding, and this makes the motorcycle tire stiffer. Here is a time when less ply layers are going to be safer and achieve a more comfortable ride. The less ply layer count in touring motorcycle tires supply a smoother ride over roads that are not smooth. These motorcycle tires achieve a less bumpy ride and these tires are more inclined to stay in contact with the road better, and especially around hard turns.
How those layers or ply’s are constructed can also a large factor. Tires that have the overlapping ply’s will give an excellent side grip, but those constructed with a joint less belt configuration tend to give a more stable and soft ride for the motorcycle rider.
Heat always has to be accounted for in the motorcycle tire design. Racing motorcycle tires are exposed to high heat environments, because of the relentless high friction they endure while making rapid twists and decelerations. Touring motorcycle tires might also see extreme temperatures from the continual long trips on hot asphalt. But since the heat environment profile is not the same, and the motorcycle tires are designed with this in mind.
A touring motorcycle tire intentionally designed for longer miles before encountering excessive wear, they are also more stable, and offer a greater degree of security while riding in various environments and conditions. It will keep those same engineered characteristics during more heat cycles and will offer a more comfortable and enjoyable ride over the upcoming road conditions.