Unsafe tires make an unsafe ride, and on a motorcycle, you have even less of a safety cushion than someone in a car. You could just put on exactly the same tires that your motorbike came with, but as you’ve gotten to know your ride better, you might be interested in what different tires could do for it.
This type of tire looks dramatically different from others and is made to give you amazing grip on all kinds of paved surfaces while allowing you to eke out that last bit of speed. These tires are made with softer compounds than other tires, which allows them to get a better grip on the road.
If you’re planning on running your sport tires in rainy conditions, look for special rain sport tires. Whether you prefer Dunlop tires, Michelin, Bridgestone or another brand, you’ll be able to find specialty tires that let you ride your bike in wet sport conditions.
These are very similar to sport tires, but they have even less tread. This means they give you almost unbelievable grip on perfectly smooth pavement, such as you would expect on a racetrack, but are not at all forgiving when it comes to moisture or road debris.
Only get these tires if racing is what you want to do with your motorbike. As long as you run them on the right surface, they’ll be lightening fast and will give you the ability to take corners at the most extreme angles.
If you have a large bike made for plenty of riders and luggage, and if you take it cruising or touring, you want tires that are made for this activity. Cruiser tires are harder, so they take longer to wear down. They also have a heavy load rating so they can handle plenty of weight.
Touring tires of this sort are made to run in straight lines and not at terribly high speeds. They can handle highway speeds but not racing speeds, and they are not made to rush around corners. They are designed to give you grip on pavement under any condition.
Dual sport tires
These tires are made to perform decently on paved roads while giving you a great ride when you go off-road, too. If you’re planning on a long road tour, you’d want a cruiser tire; not one of these. If you drive your bike to off-roading locations, you want a pure off-road tire. But if you want to do both, get dual sport.
Dual sport come with ratings to help you choose based on how much time you plan to spend on road versus off-road conditions. If you see “80/20 street,” that means tires are meant to be 80 percent of the time on the street and 20 percent off-road. If you see “80/20 off-road,” the ratio is reversed.
When is it time to change my tire?
Tires are an investment, and it’s always sad when you have to pony up for the next set. Your safety, however, is absolutely crucial here, and it’s never a good idea to wait too long.
If the tread of your tires is worn past the safety level, it’s time to replace. Without enough tread, your tires present a serious hazard to you and everyone else on the road. Tire tread shouldn’t ever go below 1/32 of an inch.
You should also replace any damaged tires as soon as you notice the problem. If you don’t ride often and your tires are old, you may need to replace them even if they don’t have a lot of miles on them. Check with your tire manufacturer to see how long your tires are designed to last.