When you buy a motorcycle, it can be tempting to give the tyres little more than a cursory glance. They are, after all going to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. But tyres for motorbikes come in many different forms and choosing the right type for your bike is essential in order to improve performance, to ride safely in all conditions and to get the most from your riding.
So, here are the basic types of motorcycle tyres to consider kitting out your motorcycle with.
Touring or ‘road’ tyres are likely to be the variety of tyres that a new motorbike purchased for road riding comes with, as standard. They have a lot of tread to ensure maximum grip, even in wet conditions. They also have a low operating temperature – the temperature they need to get up to in order to perform at their best – meaning you get reach peak performance sooner. Although it is important to remember that they are not suitable if you want to use your motorcycle anywhere other than the highways.
If you ride your motorcycle both on the roads and off them, a mixed-use tyre is probably the best option. These tyres have wide treads to maximise grip on loose surfaces. However, this broad tread does mean that on roads, they have less surface contact with the ground, compared to road tyres, so don’t have the same grip capacity in comparison to those designed for road use only.
As the name suggests, this type of tyre is designed to be as effective as possible across a number of different surfaces. They typically come with studs embedded into the rubber to enhance grip, making them especially suitably for dirt, gravel and sandy surfaces. The presence of the studs means they are not particularly suited to road use – and in fact certain forms of mixed-use motorcycle tyres are prohibited from being utilised for road journeys.
Primarily intended for use in sports competitions on roads, this variety of tyre is made of a softer rubber than touring or mixed-use tyres. That means that they have more surface area in contact with the ground than those other types of tyres, but they also have a minimal amount of tread, meaning they can make handling more difficult in the rain. They can also wear out more quickly than their road counterparts.
Sometimes referred to as ‘competition tyres’ or ‘race tyres’, these are the softest of the available options for your motorbike and are a step up from sports tyres. Originally designed for bikes taking part in races, the soft composition of the rubber helps the tyre remain in maximum contact with the track even when subjected to the extreme mechanics of racing – hard braking, fast acceleration and so on. They can be slick or with a tread for wet conditions.
So overall, track tyres are good for performance, the downside being that they tend to wear out quickly. Also be aware that many track tyres are outlawed from use on the roads. There are a few varieties that have a minimal amount of tread and have been authorised by the Department of Transportation – check for the legend ‘DOT’ on the tyre if you want to use this type on the roads.
If you’d like more information on the range of motorbike tyres and tyre fitting services available here at Universal Tyres, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. With 90 years’ experience in the industry we have an excellent reputation so you can put your trust in us and make the most of your motorcycle!