Buyer's Guide to Motorcycle Tires

Created Thursday, March 07, 2013
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Welcome to the new Buyerís Guide on Motorcycle.com.  Everything you need is right here, from product reviews by our iconoclastic MOron writers to the showcase of manufacturers and retailers. 

So letís get you started on finding new tires for your bike!

First of all, do you need new tires?

Maybe youíve recently entered a second childhood or just been hit with a newfound desire to burn some rubber on the old SV650 thatís been sitting in the garage for the last 5 years. You changed the tires on it before you put it away last time you rode (5 years ago), so they should be fine, right? Wrong! Rubber loses its elasticity over time and youíve likely lost a lot of traction.  Best to consider tossing those treads.

So the shopping begins, and here are some tips to get you through the gates:

    1. Tires vary depending on what riding you do, what surface your on, etc.  Primarily a street rider?  Go for standard sport tires.  Racing tires (while they sound cooler) wear out more quickly. 
    2. Want traction?  Go for softer rubber, itís soft and grips the road, although on the downside it wears quickly and takes longer to warm. 
    3. Thinking mileage?  Get firmer rubber, this way you can plan multiple road trips without worrying about how your buns will stand up.
    4. Buy new, not used. Your tires are the interface between your bike and the road Ė this is no place to pinch pennies, cheapskate.

In the world of tires, Size Does Matter.

Be absolutely positive you are buying the right size tires for your bike!  Some models only fit a certain size, and unless you need a new swing in the backyard for your kids, the wrong size could leave you with a useless piece of rubber. 

Bigger isnít always better...

Just because you can squeeze on a wider tire doesnít mean it has a proper fit, a situation in which the tire profile is forced to be altered from its natural position. Also, wider tires almost always result in a less nimble bike Ė a fat tire may look bad-ass, but it comes with penalties.

A Note on Hot Air

Once youíve got your new tires, keep track of the air pressure.  Most riders donít maintain their tires - but donít be like most riders!  Keep the p.s.i. at recommended levels and your tires will last longer and provide the optimum performance. After all, replacing or purchasing tires is an investment for all riders Ė you may as well get the most mileage for your money!

Warren-who?

Putting some thought into your tire warranty might save headaches in the future.  Whether itís a manufacturerís warranty or a store-bought one, find out the details to decide if itís worth the extra cost for the additional peace of mind.

 

Here are a few articles about tires weíve worked with in the past:

 

Metzeler Sportec M-1

Pirelli MT-21 MX Tires

Michelin Pilot Power 2-CT

 

And for articles on how to ruin your tires:

Yet Another Story on How to Ruin Tires

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