Motorcycle Tires – What You Really Need to Know – Video Guide: Tip of the Week

Motorcycle Tires – What You Really Need to Know – Video Guide: Tip of the Week


An attempt to dispel the mystery of motorcycle
tires. Welcome to this week’s Cruiser Customizing
tip of the week where we’re going to be talking about tires. In general, tires are
a mystery for the motorcycle consumer. We take our bikes to the shop and tell the shop
people to put tires on. But what do we really need to know? So today we’re going to take a little of
time, we’re going to explain what the “sidewall” means. So here we have a Metzler 180/55 ZR18. The
“180” is the tire width in millimeters. The “55” would be the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio of this tire is the relationship
of this tire’s cross-section height to the cross-section width. In this particular tire,
with an aspect ratio of 55, for example, height is about 55% of the tire width. The next marking on the sidewall is the ZR.
The Z tells you what speed the tire is rated at and the R simply means “radial.” Here is a speed chart showing that the Z on
this particular tire means that the tire is rated at 150MPH+. And the last number we see here is 18 and
that’s just the rim diameter in inches. Moving to the right, we then see the directional
for this rear tire. Next we see the max load rating, that’s
627 pounds at 42PSI. Remember, measure your PSI when the tires are cold. And the final piece of information on this
tire is what it’s made out of. When do you need new motorcycle tires? Most motorcycle tires have wear indicators.
Take a look. Take a look at the arrow on the sidewall of
this tire in the center of the frame. This arrow points to wear indicators as shown right
here in this tread groove. When the overall tire wear gets down to these bars, it’s
time to replace your tire. If your tires don’t have wear indicators,
always remove tires from service when they reach 1/32 of an inch tread depth. Dunlop recommends using a penny to test this.
If you insert a penny into the groove at the center of your tire, 1/32 of an inch is right
at the top of Lincoln’s head. Another common question we get asked is: which
tire is best if I’m going to be riding in the rain? My general answer to that question is, any
tire with decent tread will be a decent tire to ride in the rain on. Most all tire manufacturers
recommend running a matched set of tires. These tires from Avon, for example, are matched
front and rear. The cornering characteristics should be about the same. They’re going
to have similar stickiness characteristics as well as longevity characteristics. Here is a matched set of wide white wall front
and rear tires. White walls come in an array of sizes from
just about every manufacturer out there. One thing to be careful of when order white wall
tires is whether you’re getting the narrow stripe or the wide white wall. Here’s an example of the wide white wall
in the foreground and the narrow stripe in the background. So where do you find what size tire fits your
motorcycle? There’s one of two ways you can do this.
You can walk out to the bike, you can read the sidewall of the tire, and that will tell
you what size tire you need. Or you can click on our tire finder, found
in the upper lefthand corner of most of the search pages on our website. Load rating is another key component. This
tire here has a max load of 551 pounds. This one here, 627 pounds. And finally this one
here, 910 pounds. Tires offering different load carrying capacities are available. Consider
carefully the weight of the motorcycle, the weight of any optional equipment, and the
weather it will carry passengers through. Remember, the load carrying capacity of the
tires is also reduced by under-inflation. Another key thing to look out for is whether
the tire is a tube tire or a tubeless tire. If fitting a tubeless tire on a tube rim,
make sure you insert a tube. Another common question we get is: how large
of a tire can I go over stock? The trend over the last couple years is to
put the biggest rear tire on your bike that you can possibly get on the bike. Check out the new industry leader measuring
420MM. Metzler has a really good chart showing the
largest recommended tire you can put on your motorcycle. What is the most important thing that I need
to do to my tires to make sure I’ve got a safe and reliable ride? The A number one thing I’m going to stress
is tire pressure. While picking your bike up from the dealership
after having a new set of tires installed, I recommend the following. Number one, check the directional arrow to
ensure proper direction. Number two, double-check your tire pressure.
Remember: tire pressure is most important and it’s best done cold. And number three, remember: tire braking is
very important. For the first fifty miles or so, ride your bike cautiously, allowing
the tire to get scrubbed in all the way around. Thank you for watching this week’s Cruiser
Customizing tip of the week. Until next week, take care and ride safe.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. can you maybe recommend a good high speed tire.. I need 300km and stable?. Im new to street , I raced MX for years.And I love bridgestone dirt tires. but I need a good street/ strip tire.

  2. Forgot to mention tire age, on any tire you will find a 4 digit code surrounded in a rectangle normally.  First 2 numbers are the week number and last 2 the year.  They are the date the tire was manufactured

  3. You've got to be kidding ! you left out the DOT number  .example a tire made forty second week of 2005 would have written on the side wall ,next to the word DOT," 425 ",now this is expressed in four numbers  because of tires kept in the system more than ten yrs.If you are unlucky enough to buy one , hope that it has been wrapped & not stored under florescent lighting.It will probably dry rot before you wear it out.

  4. QUESTION: I had new tires put on bike. Side-wall says "rated for 45psi." Sticker on swing-arm say's "29psi". Installer inflated to "38psi" and rear tire feels like it wants to "wash-out" (slide) in curves! Should I go up to 45psi or down to 29psi to correct this? (SHINKO 777 on 2000 HONDA SHADOW ACE750)

  5. 24/7 Mobile Tire Service For Cars, Motorcycles, SUV'S & Light Trucks. InTire Mobile Tire Shop (404)518-9236… WE COME TO YOU. GEORGIA

  6. How about the minimum psi for a tube tire at 55-65mph  Mefo super explorer 99.  how low can I go?  12 psi? is it safe because I want the most life outta it.  What saith you?

  7. I have a slight disappointment with this video.
    When you made mention of when you need new tires, you never brought up "tire age" and condition like dry rot.

    Motorcycles by their nature don't see near the miles as the family car. Just age and care alone is enough to make a tire unsafe.

    Case In Point: My recently acquired 2005 Honda Shadow. Came from the dealer with only 3500 miles on the clock and great tread on the tires. Upon closer inspection, the front was showing dry rot cracks. A check of the date codes showed both tires to be 12 years old. There being recycled now.

  8. I know this is an old video but the information is timeless. Thanks! I might be needing a new tire and it is great to get a refresher on tires.

  9. I have a 76 Flh. The manual says the tires are to be inflated at 28 psi. The Metzeler says to inflate to 42. Who is right? Tire companies that I have spoken to have told me to follow the manual. What is your opinion?

  10. The speed rating is partially correct. While the "Z" indicates a speed rating of 149+ mph, tire manufacturers further specify the speed rating after the sizing info. The "74W" code indicates the maximum load and speed rating. In this case, the 74 indicates a maximum load of 827lbs, and the "W" indicates a max speed of 168mph. The max speed rating is the maximum speed the tire may be used with the maximum load when the maximum listed tire pressure is used

  11. how would you figure weight of the machine and rider on the front tire and rear tire ?  50 / 50 ,  30 / 70 ?  to know what load rating on a tire to look for ?  Mine is already 722 lb . dry weight .

  12. Thank you for the great video, but can you tell me how long you can store a tire , let say in a plastic bag, or does it matter, I am talking about a new tire.

  13. Bro, I am using Apachi RTR 150cc. Its Rear wheel 110/80×17'' But Can i use 120/80×17'' for my bike?? If use then can i face any problem??

  14. tire aspect ratio, how does it affect the bike? I used to run dunlops 110/90/18 v 150/90/15 v
    I am now riding on same size but 80 aspect i feel the bike much more stable in cornering and also when riding fast is it me or does the lower aspect improve stability and cornering?

  15. hello sir…i just watch you video..its very informative…just want to ask sir..what size of tire is good for rim size 2.50×14 / 3×14?? mio sporty motorcycle…looking forward to your good answer more power and god bless

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