Tyres are a crucial part of your motorcycle therefore, it is important to select a tyre for your motorbike that truly fits it and is right for you. In the market, you will find a huge variety of tyres ranging from dirt bike tyres, high mileage tyres, wide and narrow tyres and the like. None of them will be useful if you don’t have a basic grasp of how to pick motorcycle tyres.
The right tyre will help you to get an optimal experience. So how do you select a tyre for your motorbike? We’ve broken down the basics for you, so let’s get started!
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Types of tyres
To start your journey to select a tyre for your motorbike you need to understand the difference between Tube tyres and Tubeless tyres.
Tube tyres perform the best when it comes to gripping the road surface, due to the soft compound which they are composed of. Before you select a tyre for your motorbike you should know thatThey have a thin rubber tube inside. This rubber tube is responsible for maintaining the air pressure inside the tyres and makes them hard from the outside. As the air is filled inside the tubes, these tyres don’t have an airtight grip around the wheels, and hence are supported up by spokes. To summarize, here are a few benefits if you opt for tube tyres-
- They offer a better grip
- The initial cost is low
- They do not overheat easily
- There are no issues of air pressure loss.
When you select a tyre for your motorbike you should keep in mind that tubed tyres are known to flatten or get punctured easily.
Tubeless tyres have an overall longer life as compared to tubed tyres. The air is directly filled into these tyres, as opposed to being filled inside a tube. Tubeless tyres are available in hard and medium compounds, depending upon your usage. Hard compound tyres are well-suited for high-performance motorbikes. With tubeless tyres, it becomes crucial to forming an airtight seal around the metal wheels to prevent air from escaping. There are two major types of tubeless tyres-
- Radial tyres
Radial tyres are made up of multiple different parts which act as independent entities. The sidewall in these tyres is completely free from the crown. Radial tyres are often used in sports bikes. These tyres trade high performance for a shorter life.
- Bias-Ply tyres
These tyres have multiple layers of the same material. The sidewall in these is thicker and dependent upon the crown. Bias-ply tires offer a softer, smoother ride and last long.
In summary, here are a few benefits of using tubeless tyres-
- Easy to maintain
- Do not puncture easily. Even in the case of the puncture, they do not lose all the air quickly.
- They have a longer life.
- Well suited for high-performance bikes.
When you select a tyre for your motorbike you should keep in mind that tubeless tires are initially more expensive than tubed tyres.
What size Tyre size should I use?
Tyre sizes can be quite complex. Alphanumeric and metric are two of the most popular systems in use for rating tyre sizes.
- If your tires read something like 170/60R-16, then your tire size is in the metric format. Here, 170 represents the width of your tyre in millimetres. 60 represents the aspect ratio of your tyre. 16 is the rim size of your tyre in diameter. The letter ‘R’ stands for radial tyres, ‘B’ would stand for bias-ply tyres.
- If your tyre size reads something like MU85B16, then your size is in the alphanumeric format. MU85 represents the width of your tyres. ‘B’ represents that it is a bias tyre. 16 represents the rim dimensions.
In addition to these basic size readings, other factors to consider include your tyres load ratings, speed ratings, thread type etc. It’s always recommended that you go for the tyre size of your factory or OEM wheels. Even if you experiment, stick to the approximate variations and go for a tyre that tightly fits the rim of your wheel.
Things to keep in mind
A few things you should keep in mind while you select a tyre for your motorbike are –
- Pay attention to the tyre inflation
It’s important to maintain the right level of air pressure inside your tyres. Under inflating or over-inflating tyres negatively affects their load, grip and wear and tear.
- When in doubt, go OEM
If you are confused about which tyre is best for your bike, stick to the manufacturer’s design. However, if you are confident, it won’t hurt to experiment with a few different tyre styles.
- Keep the weight off your tyres when it’s not in use
Keep your bike supported by a stand or a wall when it’s not in use. This is especially useful if you don’t use your bike daily. Keeping the weight off your tyres will help you to prevent flat-spotting.
- Break them in gently
Whenever you change your bike tyres for new ones, ride them at a slow and steady pace for at least 100 dry miles. Make sure to take routes which allow you to apply pressure on both sides of the curved tyres.
- Take care of your new tyres
If possible, keep your bike and tyres out of the way of direct sunlight. Washing your tyres with soap and water is fine, but make sure to avoid their prolonged contact with oil and gasoline.
We hope that you’ve gained an insight into the world of motorcycle tyres. It might not be an easy task to select a tyre for your motorbike, however, with the right tools, it becomes simple. We hope we were able to help you in your hunt for the right tyre for you. Keep your budget and your purpose in consideration while choosing it and in no time you’ll be ready to fly with the wind on your motorbike again!