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Motorcycle tyres are designed to provide a secure contact between the vehicle and the road, ensure its roadholding ability and steerability. They differ greatly from car tyres, which is shown by their markings.
Features of motorcycle tyres
- Multi-compound tread. In contrast to car tyres, not only the central part of motorcycle tyres is used when riding but the sidewalls as well. It is the latter that are responsible for a good grip on the road during manoeuvring when a bike is leaning. For the optimal balance between gripping characteristics and wear resistance, the central part of a tyre is often made of hard rubber compound and sides are made of soft one.
- Tube / tubeless. Nowadays, tube tyres are rarely used in the car industry, while they are quite frequently used in two-wheeled motor vehicles. As a rule, multi-spoke wheels are fitted with them. Sometimes, they can be seen on alloy rims. They are inexpensive, have durable sidewalls, and are ideal for off-road use. They are marked TT (Tube Type). There is also a variety of tubeless tyres presented in the motorcycle tyre manufacturers’ catalogues. They are suitable only for alloy rims, and are characterised by a light weight. If punctured, air escapes much slower. Such tyres are marked TL (Tubeless).
- Carcass structure. Depending on the orientation of the cord threads, motorcycle tyres can be diagonal or radial. Diagonal tyres, which are almost no longer used in cars, are quite frequent in motorcycles, especially, in heavy choppers and cruisers. They are characterised by a low price and high resistance to sidewall damage. Radial ones are more advanced: they are relatively light, can withstand significant loads, are resistant to overheating, and are characterised by high performance.
- Dependence of the tread pattern and tyre size on the axle the tyre is designed for. Many models of motorcycle tyres are intended to be mounted on the rear or front axle only, which is stated by their markings: Rear Wheel, or F, Front Wheel and Front Wheel Only.
- Additional markings. Apart from the information about the tyre cross-sectional height and width, rim diameter, and date of production, motorcycle tyres often bear a marking stating the number and material of the plies of the breaker and sidewalls. For example, Tread 2 PL-Steel means that a two-ply steel cord is used. The Sidewall 2 Rayon marking indicates that the tyre has two-ply sidewalls made of rayon. Sometimes, the tyre stiffness is stated: for example, K0 is very soft, K1 is soft, K2 is medium-stiff.
3 tips to avoid mistakes when buying motorcycle tyres
- Choose products with regard to the vehicle type and operating conditions. All motorcycle tyres can be divided into:
- For general use. This category is represented by motorcycle tyres for daily use on public roads. They can be used on highways, dirt roads and off-road, or in the combined cycle.
- For specific purposes. These include motocross and racing products.
Racing bikes mustn’t be equipped with general purpose tyres. The latter deteriorate very quickly due to high speeds and overheating. At the same time, racing tyres fitted on a road motorcycle won’t be warmed up to the optimal temperature. As a result, the tread will slip due to the lack of the grip on the road, which leads to its premature wear as well. You should also take into account the season the tyres are intended for.
- Only buy motorcycle tyres of the size recommended by the manufacturer. Modifying the factory specifications on your own might cause accidents.
- Check the date of production. It is written on a sidewall as a four-digit number encircled in an oval. The first two digits indicate the week of production, and the last two – the year. The maximum shelf life for the products is 5 years, on average.
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