Best Motorcycle Touring Tires for Going Further

Pity the poor fool who’s got nothing to do for a week or two but roll around on his motorcycle – no job, no cares, no particular place to be. And if you’re fortunate enough to have all those things working in your favor, chances are you’re carrying around quite a bit of loot in the saddlebags and trunk of your Goldwing, Ultra Glide or big BMW K-bike – possibly even an accomplice. What you want on all of those bikes are tires that stick to the pavement, wet or dry, upright or dragging peg, carry a heavy load safely, and preferably wear like iron. Is that too much to ask?

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Burning Rubber: Best Sportbike Tires

The job of a sportbike tire is a tough one. Considering the performance – and variety – of today’s modern sporting machines, an ideal tire needs to be able to warm up quickly, offer good grip in both wet and dry conditions, transfer feedback to the rider, and provide good handling capabilities. Thankfully, all the major tire companies work tirelessly to improve their tires to meet these demands. Of course, longevity is a concern as well, but compared to a sport-touring tire a sportbike tire won’t quite measure up with all the other duties it has to perform.

Here, we’ve gathered seven different tires that are great at handling it all. We’ve focused on street-based tires, since that’s where the majority of sportbike riders spend their time, although all of the tires here are more than capable of handling the occasional trackday or two. If you’re the serious trackday/racing type, we’ll have a separate guide for you coming soon.

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MO Tested: Michelin Road 6 Tire Review

While magazine editors and track riders may wax poetic about the leaps in performance of the latest super-grippy sport and track tires, the vast majority of sport-focused street riders spend their money on sport-touring rubber. Why? Well, two reasons, actually. First, once you look beyond the arid Southwest where the bulk of the U.S. motorcycle industry resides, riders have to deal with rain, making the way tires handle in the wet of great importance. Then there’s the fact that sport-touring tires offer almost the same level of grip as their sportier siblings – at street temperatures – while offering significantly better longevity. (At lower temperatures, sport-touring tires can offer more real-world grip than even the stickiest of sporting rubber, which are designed to work their best at elevated temperatures.) With the release of the Michelin Road 6 sport-touring tires, Michelin claim an increase in both wet grip and wear characteristics when compared to their precursors, the Michelin Road 5.

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MO (Track) Tested: Michelin Power Cup 2 Tires

Tire manufacturers are getting bold these days, pumping out tires that barely pass the bar for what counts as street legal. Take the Michelin Power Cup 2, for example. If it weren’t for the scant traces of tread marks down the middle, you could easily mistake these tires for a racing slick. And with a 5% void ratio, clearly, that’s the point. Michelin also goes so far as to outright claim the Power Cup 2 as a 90/10 tire – that is, it’s made to spend 90% of its time on track and 10% on the street. The slight tread profile proves just enough for the Department of Transportation to deem it legal for use on public roads. With that endorsement, KTM – you know, being “Ready To Race” and all – have even found it fitting to slap the Power Cup 2 tires on the 890 Duke R – stock!

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Michelin Motorcycle Tires: Everything You Need to Know

In addition to being the largest tire manufacturer in the world, Michelin is also one of, if not the oldest tire maker, with a brand that’s known worldwide for much more than tires, and a mascot, Bib, who’s also instantly recognizable (even though he quit smoking cigars some years ago). Michelin’s road maps, travel itineraries, and hotel and restaurant guides have told people where to go ever since the miracle of internal combustion made it possible for them to go there. The fine dining industry lives and dies by the Michelin stars its Red Guide awards to restaurants for their haute cuisine. In fact it may have been Michelin that coined the phrase so many motorcycle riders have taken to heart: “Eat to ride, ride to eat.”

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Michelin Patents Rear Fender With Built-in Auxiliary Drive Motor

Swingarm-mounted fenders already pull double duty, serving as rear mudguard and license plate holder, but tire manufacturer  has an idea for a third use: as an auxiliary drive system.

Michelin has filed patents for an electric drive motor that can be housed within a tire-hugging rear fender that could assist in low-speed maneuvering – including in reverse.

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Best Dirtbike Tires

There are a dizzying array of options when it comes to dirtbike tires. From tread patterns, to compounds, to the brands themselves, it’s difficult to decipher what is the best tire. That’s mostly because deciding on the best tire requires a lot of input from the rider themselves. What kind of dirtbike are you riding? What kind of terrain are you riding on? Are you looking for longevity or for the most traction possible just to get through a hard enduro race? These are just a handful of the questions you need to answer for yourself before embarking into the deluge of different off-road tire choices. 

In an attempt to add some sort of clarity to the situation, here we’ve listed some of the top performers from a number of major tire manufacturers that skew toward the “hard” end of the spectrum.

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MO Tested: Michelin Road 5 Tire Review

When we consider sport-touring motorcycle tires, we typically envision clipping an endless series of apexes as we take a day’s ride (or two) through scenic countryside – perhaps with some soft luggage and a passenger on the back. Well, sport-touring tires have morphed over the years into something of a jack-of-all-trades tire made for the active motorcyclist who uses their bike every day. The sport-touring tire’s job description now includes frequent commuter duty plus the weekend fun runs to the local twisties in addition to more traditional sport-touring adventures. Michelin says the new Road 5 tire is up for the challenge.

Michelin Pilot Road 4 Review

Michelin Power RS Review

Michelin Road 5 Announced

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Michelin Road 5 Announced - Available January 1, 2018

Today, Michelin announced a new sport-touring tire, the Michelin Road 5. Although the Road 5 supersedes the Pilot Road 4, the Pilot has been dropped from the name in an effort to differentiate Michelin’s road-going offerings from the more hard-core sporting Power line. The primary change between the Pilot Road 4 and the Road 5 takes place in the tread’s siping and the incorporation of ACT+ technology seen earlier this year on the Michelin Power RS.

Michelin Power RS Review

Riders on Road 5s will notice the biggest improvements in wet performance, particularly when the tires are worn where, according to Michelin, they will outperform all other entries in the sport-touring tire segment. The company claims that Road 5 tires with 3,000 miles on them offer the same wet-road stopping power as brand new Pilot Road 4 tires. This is thanks to the XST Evo (X Sipe Technology), the third generation of XST found on Michelin motorcycle tires. (XST was introduced with the Pilot Road 3 and XST+ with the Pilot Road 4.) XST Evo sipes feature a patented teardrop shape as they get closer to the carcass of the tire. To understand why, we need to look at what a sipe does.

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Michelin Power RS Review

What if a tire manufacturer told you that their new street tire had the performance chops to take 3.5 seconds off the best lap of the previous-generation tire at Spain’s Circuito de Cartagena? That’d get your attention, right? It got mine, but then again, I was sitting in a press briefing in one of the pit boxes at the Losail International Circuit so soon after the first MotoGP of the 2017 season that the rider name boards were still in place.

The tire in question was the new Michelin Power RS which is slated to replace both the Michelin Power 3 and the Michelin SuperSport Evo. I can hear the questions now. Yes, we were testing a street tire, not a street-legal track tire, on a circuit known for its high cornering speeds – and that’s before we consider the 3504-foot front straight on which Jorge Lorenzo set a 351.2 kph (218.2 mph) record in 2016. Michelin must be pretty confident in the performance of the Power RS.

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Top 10 Facts About Michelin MotoGP Tires

This past weekend at the MotoGP race at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, I had the opportunity to tour the Michelin paddock area to learn some fascinating information about what happens to the Michelin MotoGP Tires on every race weekend.

In 2016 Michelin took over as the official MotoGP tire supplier after seven seasons of Bridgestone performing that function. The season was a huge learning curve for both Michelin and the riders. Michelin had to come to grips with how far the motorcycles had advanced in the seven years since it last made tires for GP’s premier class, while riders and teams had to grapple with the best way to set up their machinery to get the most out of the Michelin rubber. This adaptation by the riders and their mechanics is best emphasized by the spate of front-end crashes at the start of the season that largely faded by the end of 2016 as Michelin, the riders, and the mechanics worked together to achieve their mutual goal. In MotoGP, the tire manufacturer has to be almost perfect because the safety of the riders depends on it.

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Michelin Anakee Wild Tire Review

What it is, really, is a street-going knobby for big, heavy adventure bikes, which are all the rage lately in case you hadn’t noticed. The leader of that dusty, BMW R1200GS-riding pack has for years been the Continental TKC80, which Michelin had squarely in its sights with the new Anakee Wild, as well as your Metzeler Karoo 3 and Heidenau K60 Scout. The Anakee Wild (not to be confused with the Anakee 3) cleans all their clocks, according to Michelin (as well as being good at cleaning itself in mud).

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Sport-Touring Tire Buyer's Guide

Sport-tourers include a variety of designs from large technology-laden models such as BMW’s K1600GT, to Kawasaki’s more traditional Ninja 1000 to Ducati’s long-travel Multistrada and Yamaha’s FJ-09. With some luggage and a willing disposition you can, of course, set out for a far away destination aboard your new Yamaha R1 and call it sport-touring. And if you do, the tires in this Buyer’s Guide will certainly be a better choice than the sticky hoops you’d normally install on a sportbike.

For a look at the current crop of sport-touring bikes on which to install the tires in this Buyer’s Guide check out these latest shootouts:
2014 Heavyweight Sport-Touring Shootout
2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown
Middleweight Sport-Touring Shootout

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Sport Tires Buyers Guide

Tire manufacturers have a unique challenge when developing tires for sportbikes. Truth is, most sportbikes on the road will hardly, if ever, see a racetrack. Their time will largely be spent cruising around on the street during the week, with an adrenaline-pumping canyon ride or trackday on the weekends. The challenge engineers face is creating a tire with a center that will last, while also giving the rider side grip for navigating the bends, both on the street and the track. The different tire manufacturers have each come up with their own solutions to accommodate these needs, and what we have in this week’s Sport Tire Buyer’s Guide are choices from eight different tire manufacturers. Each tire is meant to live the majority of its life on the street, but is capable for the occasional trackday if needed.

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Cruiser Tire Buyer's Guide

Cruiser riders want what the rest of us want, don’t they? Round black pneumatic tires that hold air, provide good traction in the wet and dry while providing a smooth quiet ride. Yes, they want those things, and they also want a tire that produces orange smoke when lit off. Otherwise, we’re all one big happy family. Where sport and touring bikes have mostly settled on 17-inch diameters front and rear, with usually a 3.5-inch front and a 5- or 6-inch wide rear wheel, cruisers are less standardized. And where sportbike riders will overlook a little harshness for the sake of handling and grip, cruiser riders tend to be more concerned with ride comfort and long life. Since tire engineers aren’t having to deal with 150-mph-plus top speeds, they’re able to give it to them. Looks are important too. Buying decisions can be heavily influenced by tread pattern, and cruiser riders are swayed by whitewalls and crazy-wide rears on their choppers. Luckily, there’s a tire for every rear. Let’s try to keep it in some semblance of alphabetical order, shall we? (The orange smoker starts with an “S.”)

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