We’re talking cruisers, people – heavy bikes with loads of torque to stress rear tires right off the line, many of them modified to make even more torque, and high horsepower. We want long mileage, we want stability, we want a high load rating, some of us want sharp handling. We want good looks maybe more than anything, and we need tires in a wide range of sizes to fit all the many different-sized wheels cruisers and customs appear in – from 21-inch skinny fronts to 300-aspect ratio fatties out back. Oh yeah, we want it cheap. Here you go.
Built in an entire potpourri of sizes to fit all sorts of bikes from V-Rod to Triumph Rocket III to Goldwing – also available in up to 300/35-18 rear for customs and choppers – these are great do-it-all tires and cool too. Many sizes are available in white wall, with the standard blackwalls sporting unique “snakeskin” etched sidewalls to go with the cobras snaking around the tread pattern. The absence of a center line on the AV72 Cobra decreases negative handling effects over rain grooves, and the rounder profile helps turn-in. Special construction is designed for heavy loads, with excellent stability.
Round, black, and rubber, the Exedras use purpose-built rubber compounds and tread patterns to enhance water evacuation under cruiser and touring bikes while providing long mileage. A unique wide profile supports a bigger contact patch for smooth touring and a comfortable, stable ride.
Continental is another fine German brand that builds everything from tires to electronic sensors, like the IMUs that now control high-end sportbikes. The Conti Tours, though, are all about slightly more sedate touring on big American-style cruisers (they’re also available in fitments for Gold Wings and heavy BMW tourers). “Mileage Plus Technology” and that solid tread around the rear’s centerline are designed to significantly extend these tires’ lifespan; a reinforced carcass provides a comfortable ride despite heavy loads and delivers predictable handling.
Dunlop’s best cruiser/ touring tires would be its Elite 4, available in all kinds of sizes to fit hundreds of heavyweight bikes and cruisers, and its American Elite is optimized for big American V-Twins. Multi Tread tech in the rear, meaning a harder center and softer sides, are said to provide high mileage and great grip, and Dunlop’s proud of the fact that these tires wear evenly from new to almost used-up. That computer-designed tread pattern is also superb for channeling water away and maintaining traction in the wet.
The latest cruiser tires from Metzeler lean more toward the performance cruiser side of the equation than most, with a pointier profile for quick handling and more rubber on the road when heeled over. Compared to traditional cruiser tires, these are more about grip than long wear. The rear is a dual-compound, though – harder rubber down the center for longevity and softer, chewy sides for great traction when blasting out of corners. The Cruisetecs come in a bunch of sizes, 16- to 21 inches, to fit many members of the genus Cruiser.
Another high-tech looking and functioning tire from the continent, these use Michelin’s Amplified Density Tech to give your machine premium handling and responsiveness, wet or dry – also great stability even at high speeds. Aramid tread plies resist centrifugal growth, reduce weight and provide excellent stability, while Improved rubber compounds are claimed to provide remarkable wet grip without compromising durability. The main claim to fame, though, is longevity: Michelin says its Electra Glide test mule gets nearly 25,000 miles per rear Commander, and many online testimonials back that up.
Shinko used to be Yokohama. These are designed in Japan, manufactured in South Korea, and have plenty of great reviews. Specifically designed for cruisers and available in a multitude of sizes, the 777s use a rubber compound formulated for great grip and comfort, a tread design grooved for superior traction in wet or dry, and confidence-inspiring traction that’ll unleash the handling potential of you cruiser motorcycle, says Shinko. White walls are a few dollars more, but far cooler than that are the 777 Reflectors, with a reflective band incorporated into each sidewall that’s only visible when light shines on it.
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