Motorcycle Tires: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Knowing what kind of motorcycle tires to buy is essential if you want to get the most out of your bike. But there are lots of different factors to consider that can make the decision very difficult. That’s where a motorcycle tire buying guide comes in.

Knowing when to replace your motorcycle tires is key. You then need to consider what type of motorcycle tires you need to buy. Finally, you also need to consider factors like size, tread pattern, tube vs tubeless, and much more when buying motorcycle tires.

In this article, we’ll go through the key signs to look for when it comes to replacing your motorcycle tires. Then, we’ll discuss the different types of tires on the market. After that, we’ll give you some buying tips so you can choose the right motorcycle tires for your bike.

When To Replace Motorcycle Tires

Obviously, before buying a new set of tires, you should check whether it is necessary to replace your current ones. You should replace the tires if they are very worn or damaged, but there are a few other signs to look out for too. Let’s see how you can determine if you should replace your motorcycle tires.

Tire Has A Puncture

Motorcycle tires are strong and durable, but that doesn’t make them immune to punctures. If this happens, you should call a professional mechanic to replace the tire. You can fix the tire yourself, but it requires a bit of knowledge and skill about how to do so. This is something worth learning if you ride a lot.

Tread Wear Limit Reached

Some Michelin tires have a wear indicator at the bottom of the main grooves, which can be very useful in determining when to replace your motorcycle tires. However, you should replace the tire before it reaches the limit, to be sure that your tires will keep you safe and allow optimal performance until the moment you replace them.

Signs Of Aging

The lifespan of a tire is difficult to predict because it depends upon several factors. For example, things such as weather, load, speed, pressure, and riding style directly affect how long the tire will last.

However, you should check your tires regularly for signs of aging. If you notice wear or cracks in the tread, it’s time to buy a new set of tires. Also, if your tires are older than 5 years, they should be examined by a professional mechanic, to make sure they’re still in working order.

Unusual Pattern Of Wear

If you notice an unusual pattern of wear, it might be a sign of a mechanical problem with your bike. For example, the shock absorbers might be worn out, or maybe you have issues with the transmission.

Also, the problem might be to do with balance or using incorrect tire pressure. You should check the wheel balance every six months (or get a professional to do this), to prolong the life of your tires. However, if the wear is significant, it’s time to change your motorcycle tires.

Types Of Motorcycle Tires

Tires on your bike are critical for safety and performance, and there are many types to choose from. To choose the best tires for your bike, you should consider what kind of bike you ride, as well as your riding style. Let’s take a look at the five main types of motorcycle tires.

Cruiser Tires

Most Harley-Davidson, Indian, and similar motorcycles you see on the road run on Bridgestone or similar tires. These cruiser tires are designed to handle a lot of miles and perform well in all weather conditions.

These tires use a harder rubber compound than some other tires, which makes them ideal for heavy motorcycles. On the other hand, you will never see these tires on a sports bike, since they are not meant for amazing performance and are instead designed with comfort and reliability in mind.

Slick Tires

Slick tires are very thick and provide fantastic grip on the road. These tires are amazing when it comes to performance, but they usually cost more than other tires. On the other hand, slick tires are very sensitive to pressure and temperature changes and don’t last very long when compared with the likes of cruiser tires.

DOT Race Tires

Similar to slick tires, DOT race tires have a minimum amount of tread and conform to production racing rules. These are built especially for racing, and like slick tires they work well only in hot, dry conditions.

DOT race tires are made for high-performance riding, and they allow you to achieve maximum speed at ease. However, these tires are not ideal for everyday rides. They are made for racing, and you won’t be able to achieve the optimal operating temperature for these tires while riding through the city.

Sports Touring Tires

These tires sit somewhere between cruiser and racing tires. They offer great durability and a lot of performance. Besides this, sports touring tires are ideal for most terrains, and offer much better comfort than DOT race tires, for example.

Sports touring tires, such as Bridgestone T30s, are dual compound tires. They are made from stronger rubber to withstand high mileage, but also have a softer rubber on the side to allow better handling in corners.

Another advantage of these tires is that they perform well in different weather conditions. With silica mixed into the rubber, sports touring tires will allow you to have good grip even under wet conditions.

Hypersport Tires

As you might guess, these tires are all about performance. With the latest technology, Hypersport tires allow you to achieve maximal traction, agility, and speed. You might have seen these tires on motorcycles such as the GSXR-1000 and YZFR1.

Unlike ST tires, Hypersport tires are more sensitive to temperature and pressure and don’t perform well in wet conditions. These are usually dual compound tires, but still, Hypersport tires tend to wear out fairly quickly, due to the riding styles they’re usually paired with.

Motorcycle Tire Buying Guide

If you are relatively new in the biking world, it might be difficult to choose the right tire for your motorcycle. But aside from just picking the right type of tire, there are a few important things that you should consider before making the final choice, so let’s check them out!

Tread And Pattern

The tire’s tread is the part of the tire that makes contact with the road, while the pattern is made from channels that are cut into the tread. For example, street bikes have patterns that direct the water away from the tire to maintain the optimal grip in wet conditions.

If you have an off-road bike, you should choose a tire with an “aggressive” tread, to give you plenty of grip on rough terrain. On the other hand, for racing motorcycles, you can find slick tires with no tread pattern. These allow for much better performance and higher top speed.


The size of the tire can differ depending on your riding style and the type of motorcycle that you have. If you want optimal performance on the road, you should buy tires that are the same size as the OEM tires. If you want wide tires for better grip, you should contact the manufacturer to make sure that the tires won’t compromise performance or safety.

Bias-Ply vs Radial

Bias-ply tires are more rigid and provide better traction on rough surfaces, but they can’t be used at high speeds. This is due to their internal structure, and essentially they’re built to withstand high impacts and are suited to off-road riding.

Radial tires on the other hand are also strong, but in terms of their stability and structural integrity at high speeds rather than in terms of impact resistance. These are the tires most modern bikes are designed to use. So, unless you’re riding off-road, radial tires are the ones to choose.

Tube vs Tubeless

Tubeless tires have several advantages. First, they are stronger and provide a smoother ride, while also allowing optimal performance. If a tubeless tire gets punctured, they will deflate slower, allowing you more time to react and slow down.

However, tube tires are more affordable, which is their only advantage. Tube tires are less common nowadays, due to the increased safety of the tubeless tire. However, you can still find them from some manufacturers, and usually they need a tube fitted to them after purchase.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering buying new motorcycle tires, paying attention to the tips above will ensure you choose the right type of tire for your motorcycle. By using our buying guide, and considering factors like size, tread pattern and whether you ride on or off-road, you can choose the right motorcycle tire for your bike and your riding style.

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