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Your Helpful Guide to Buying Motorcycle Tires

So many times you have been told that some part of your bike or your gear is an absolute necessity; “You can’t live with out it,” they will say. When it come to your motorcycle’s tires, though, that statement is certainly true. You simply cannot ride without rubber around your wheels – you will go nowhere. Locating and purchasing the right tires for your motorcycle can be an involved process if you are looking for something better or something different. However, for your simple replacement, you already have most of what you need to make a decision. If you need some help figuring all of this out, please read further.

Do you need new tires?

If your bike is brand new, just off the showroom floor, you probably already have a well-built set of tires. However, if you have had your motorcycle for some years, it may be time to replace your rubber. Oftentimes, tires will have ‘wear bars’ integrated into the tread. This will be a raised plateau of rubber inside a groove in the tire, often located near the tire’s centerline. If the tread around this is worn down to where it is even with the wear bar, you need a new tire. If there is no wear bar, the so-called ‘penny test’ - where you take an American penny, turn it upside down and place it in the rain grooves – is a useful diagnostic tool. If the tread does not cover Abraham Lincoln’s head, you need a new tire. One other factor plays a role here, though, and that is time. Tires will ‘dry out’ over time and loose their all-important elasticity; they need to be replaced when this happens since they will have almost no traction left in them. The amount of time a tire may last depends on many factors – weather conditions where you live, type of tire, manufacturer of tire, model of tire, tire use – and it is best to consult with the manufacturer to get the correct information. However, if your tires are more than five years old, you definitely need a new set.

Gather information

Get the proper sized tires. Some motorcycle models have very specific requirements, and you need to either look at what is already present or the bike’s manual. If in doubt, you can check tire websites or contact a tire specialist at your local dealer and ask some questions. The best move is often to simply use the same size tires for which your motorcycle was designed – the stock dimensions. Also, remember that changing a tire’s profile by shoehorning a larger tire onto a wheel for which it is not manufactured can have adverse effects on the bike’s handling. Of course, the other way – choosing a smaller tire – can also cause issues, but it may give your bike slightly better handling. In all cases, when moving to different sized tires, check with the experts before you buy your new tire. Once you have decided on the dimensions, now you need to figure out which brand or type of tire to purchase.

Choosing the right tire

First of all, tires vary greatly depending on the application; sport tires are made for the street or track only, dirt tires are often only for off-road riding, sport-touring tires are made for the roads but also for long tread life. Pick the right tire for the right ride. Next, if you are looking for superior traction, find a tire with soft rubber. There are even multi-compound tires, where they put softer rubber along the edges, which you use less often, and harder rubber in the center, where you will spend much of your riding time and where power is put to the road. Those types of tires are designed to provide long life with good traction throughout. Look around at the various types and choose one which suits your bike. Of course, race-specific tires have an exceptional amount of traction, but they do not last very long. And, finally, never ever buy used motorcycle tires! Saving money on your rubber hoops is a fool’s game.

Care and feeding

Once you do buy and mount your new tires, make sure to take good care of them – after all, you just spent serious money on them, you certainly want them to last. Keep a close eye on air pressure; the single best prevention you can do is to keep your tires properly inflated. This will also let your tires keep you happy since performance is always better with tires that are well maintained. Lastly, think about a road hazard warranty, if it is offered. The cost of this varies significantly from place to place, so compare what you paid for your tires and how long you expect them to last with the warranty cost. That should tell you whether a warranty is worth the expense, but do some online research first to see if you can find some reports from those who have bought one previously to see if the buy was worth it to them.

Now, take a look at the tire reviews here and find the perfect tires for your bike!


bridgestone bt-016
Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart II ....Dunlop is selling the Sportmax Roadsmart II as an appropriate choice for every sport-oriented motorcycle from a 600 middleweight sportbike up to a two-up-and-luggage-hauling inline-six sport-oriented mile-muncher... read more

Michelin Pilot Road 2
Michelin Pilot Road 2 ... is a very responsive tire on the road, inspiring confidence in the bike and coping with all conditions (after scrub-in, of course)..... read more

Avon VP2
Avon VP2 ....Avon claims improvements across the board with the new technology; better stability, durability, grip, and both wet and dry riding confidence.... read more

Metzeler Sportec M5
Metzeler Sportec M5 ....The Sportec M5 uses a unique tread pattern based on the character representing the mathematical concept of pi. This also serves to enhance traction as the pattern is designed to deform.... read more

Avon VP2
Shinko Stealth ....shinko created the Stealth with the purpose of being used for both club-level and professional road racing, but it is also a perfect tire for track day junkies and sportbike riders .... read more

Dunlop Sportmax Q2
Dunlop Sportmax Q2 ...A rider can push the Q2 beyond what they are used to and not risk being bitten by a nasty get-off due mostly to the forgiving nature of Dunlop’s rubber compounds.... read more

Bridgestone Battlax BT02
Bridgestone Battlax BT02 ...the tread pattern used on the Battlax BT-023 is of course designed for improved handling, traction and a long tire wear life. Bridgestone cut a V-shaped pattern .... read more

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