Street Motorcycle Tires and Off-Road Motorcycle Tires
- Tips For Buying Cheap Motorcycle Tires For Your Street Bike Or Off-Road Bike
Decemeber 18, 2012 - San Diego, CA
If your street bike or off-road bike just doesn't seem to grip like it used to, it might be time to look at the wear and tear on your tires. If you can spot any wire or fabric showing through on the tires, it's time to get new ones immediately. The longer you go without getting new tires the higher your chances of your tire bursting mid ride. Read on to learn tips for buying inexpensive (but not cheap) motorcycle tires for your street bike or off-road bike.
First, regardless of what kind of bike you have, make sure that you are checking the tread on your tires periodically. The tread, or tread pattern, is the outer most part or the tire that hits the road. Each type of tread pattern is specially designed for a particular type of environment.
The wetter the conditions, the more tread is needed for safe riding. As this tread wears down over time and use, the tire becomes thinner. In order to measure your tread depth, it is easy and inexpensive to pick up a tread gauge from your nearest automotive shop. However, an even easier (and cheaper) method is to use a penny instead to measure how much rubber you have left - just put the penny inside the tread head side down, and as long as part of Lincoln's hair is still covered by some rubber, your tires are at a decent thickness.
If you find that you are in need of new tires it's always best to consult your motorcycle repair manual as to what kind of tires to buy. Not all tires are created equally. Or rather, not all tires are created in the same way. So you want to make sure you are buying the type of tires that your bike was made for. Trying to switch up the tires will most likely lead to more disadvantages than improvement in ride quality.
Street Motorcycle Tires
When it comes to street bike tires, it's important to consider whether you want more mileage out of the tire or more traction. Although a firmer rubber will provide more mileage it won't supply as much traction, whereas a softer robber will provide better traction but won't last as long. Additionally, matching your front and rear tires is important for peak performance and handling. Pairing a new tire with a worn tire is never a good idea as it can cause instability while riding.
Off-Road Motorcycle Tires
For off-road it isn't as important to have matching tires, but you'll want to know exactly how you'll be using your tires and what kind of tires you should have before buying any - hard terrain, intermediate terrain or soft terrain.
Each terrain tire type has certain characteristics that make it best for that type of riding. A tire that is made to be ridden in hard and rocky terrains will be made of a specific rubber compound. This compound is typically a lot harder and more resistant and allows your tires to tear over sharp rocks and tough terrains without actually tearing, pinching or flat out failing. Hard terrain tires will typically have a denser tread as well. Tires for intermediate terrain are just that: intermediate. They tend to have a medium compound and their tread is less dense than tires for a hard terrain and yet more dense than tires for soft terrains. These tires are good for both intermediate terrains as well as going back and forth between hard and soft terrains. Soft terrain tires are slightly more complicated. These tires will have more spread out knobs that will allow for sand and mud to evacuate from the tread faster and allow your tire to grip soft ground all the way through turns.
Dual Sport Motorcycle Tires
Dual sport tires can get a little bit more complicated since you'll be trying to find a tire that gives you the best ride for not only the off-road riding you'll be doing but for the street riding you'll be doing as well. Not just any off-road tire can be used on a dual sport bike. If you'll be doing any street riding, you'll have to have a tire that is also street legal. From there, you'll need to decide how much street riding you'll be doing compared to how much off-road riding. If you'll be on them equally as much, you should get a tire that is made for 50% street and 50% off-road. If your ratio skews one way or the other, your local OEM parts dealer can make a recommendation as to which dual sport tires to buy. And if you're not sure what your street to off-road ratio will be, it's probably best just to stick with a 50/50 tire and track how much you ride both so that you'll know for your next set of tires.
Remember, just like a pair of new shoes, new tires are going to feel a bit different than the old worn in ones when first changed out. It's usually a good idea to give new tires approximately 100 miles to fully break in. Until you've really gotten a feel for how the new tires affect how your bike handles try not to push the performance of your bike.
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