Motorcycle tires are oftentimes misunderstood. This is a saddening fact. They must be well-taken care of because they affect comfort, safety, handling as well as the entire ride.
We riders must be aware of the two types of tire construction – the bias-ply and the radial. Cruisers, usually use bias-ply tires. On the other hand, sport bikes use radials. Bias-ply has a round profile and high sidewalls while a radial tire has a flatter profile and shorter sidewalls.
In bias-ply, the carcass is made up of overlapping layers of nylon or rayon cords. The flexing action generates heat to result to a good grip. The disadvantage though of this construction is that it decreases performance and accelerates tire wear when too much heat is generated. Radial tire construction, however, got its name because its plies are running at a 90-degree angle. As oppose to the bias-ply, this construction reduces heat generation. As a result, tires are cooler. The adverse effect though is that the sidewalls are easily flexed. Thus, the sidewalls are given a shorter profile. Tire pressure really matters to the tires. Therefore, it has to be checked regularly.
Aside from tire construction, we must also be knowledgeable about tire wear in relation to choosing tires. Softer compounds are good in producing more traction however, they wear out quickly. Harder compounds have better wear but they may not cause a good grip. Moreover, OEM or aftermarket motorcycle parts manufacturers and distributors must consider dealing with effective grip coupled with longer mileage when it comes to tires. This is of course to prolong the life of motorcycle tires.
One factor that can affect tire wear is the rider's riding style. Aggressive riders usually have their front tire to wear out faster than the rear. This is because they tend to brake late with mostly the front brake. In contrast, cruiser riders, normally wear out the rear tire first. The reason is that they have more weight at the back of the bike.
In order to know, when to change your tires, you can do the 'penny test'. To do this, put a penny into a tire groove with its head pointing down if you can see the top of the head of the person in the coin, well, its time to change tires. It can be an indication that the tread depth has already reached 1/32 of an inch. Remember, new tires will have a very different contact patch and lean-over edge.
Have a feel of your new tires. Yield a better and optimum road grip and find your edge in the riding community!
by Maricon Williams