Motorcycle Tires – What is the Difference with Auto Tire?

Motorcycle Tires Service

To be honest, there has long been a stereotype that motorcycle tires are the same as car tires, only narrow. It is usually judged by the similarity of tread functionality, that the same “herringbone” performs the same functions on a motorcycle. I have even met homebrew “customizers” who would put a car tire on their homemade motorcycle with a smart look. But it’s not that simple. A motorcycle has a number of features that dramatically change the way we look at rubber.

– What is the main difference between a motorcycle tire and a car tire?

– If someone said “it’s round” – take a pie from the shelf, you’ve honestly earned it.

The fundamental difference between one tire and another is the shape that forms the working plane. A motorcycle tire is not just narrow, it’s rounded! Car tires 205 60r16 are flat because they have no lateral working surfaces. A motorcycle enters a corner not so much by turning the handlebars, as by tilting the body, the contact patch is placed on the lateral plane.

Just imagine, if you have even one wheel on your motorcycle on automobile rubber, your ride will become like riding with a railroad car tied to you, which can only turn in a track, but not tilt.

If to return to a history with homebrew car-makers, who saw a wide wheelbase on top models and recollected that an old tire from a treadmill has been gathering dust in a garage for a long time… They honestly spent time on modification of rear suspension design to fit the wheel as native and what’s next? Roughly, the motorcycle becomes a “valenok”, because you can turn and try to skew the first wheel as much as you want, but the rear wheel will be completely indifferent to such maneuvers. Look closely, on any heavyweight tires will be rounded, because it is about the convenience of maneuvering in a turn.

Peculiarities of motorcycle tires

Motorcycle tires have their own unique features, which depend on the conditions of use of two-wheeled vehicles. However, by the basic design solutions motorcycle tires are not particularly different from passenger car tires. Motorcycle tires can be tubeless and tubeless, diagonal and radial. Everything is just like car tires. It is also true that the main consideration when choosing tires should be personal driving style, as well as the conditions of use of the motorcycle. That is, it is important to answer two main questions: “how do I ride?” and “where do I ride?”

The degree of wear of motorcycle tires directly depends on the type of bike. For example, motorcycles such as chopper and cruiser have a faster wear on the rear tire. This occurs due to the fact that during the ride, and during braking the main load falls precisely on the rear tire. The opposite situation is observed on sportbikes: the tire mounted on the front wheel wears faster.


The second difference with car tires is the directionality of the tread. You know that directional tires always have arrows on them to help you install them correctly. But, surprisingly, there are still people who put the rubber without looking at the instructions, but guided by the logic that on car tires drainage grooves are required, for the most part, to withdraw water from the center to the edge. And they put both wheels in the same direction, when the manufacturer clearly indicates that the tread should stand in a different way.

The essence of such machinations lies in the separation of the authorities of the front and rear wheels. The direction of the drainage grooves affects the distribution of moisture under the wheel. If moisture does not have time to escape and collects in front of the tire while driving, it leads to aquaplaning, which is very feared by those who have only heard about it. The rear wheel carries the load of power transmission, so its traction should not be hindered by the water wedge. Hence the common installation principle as on a car. But the front wheel is responsible for braking and its work will be more effective when the tread stands on the other side and takes the resistance from the road and even aquaplaning, because its task is not to transfer power, but to dampen it in braking. Therefore, contrary to automotive logic, manufacturers often recommend installing patterns in opposite directions.

Changing motorcycle tires

The time of replacement of motorcycle tires is determined by several parameters, the most important of which is specified in the Driving Regulations and makes you focus on the tread of the motorcycle tire. If the depth of the tread grooves is less than 0.8 mm, it means that you cannot postpone replacement “for later”.

In addition, certain requirements are also made to the terms of storage of motor tires. Years of idle time in the garage is not the best effect on the quality of rubber, which affects the safety and comfort of driving. With the years, the tire becomes “tan”, i.e. loses elasticity and the shock absorption of minor harshness becomes worse and worse. You can recognize such a tire by a change of color – it becomes grayish and by the roughness, felt by hand. Using a tire blackener, the external condition of the rubber can be seriously transformed, but it is not possible to correct the composition of motorcycle tires. That is why we recommend buying only new motorcycle tires.

Tubed and tubeless motorcycle tires

While tubeless tires for passenger cars are almost obsolete, motorcycle tires are still available with a tube. Camcorder tires are often fitted to chopper-type motorcycles with spoke wheels. Moto booth tires have the same marking as tires for passenger cars, such motorcycle tires are completed with a rim band in order to avoid damage to the camera spokes.

The disadvantage of motorcycle tires is poor reliability, especially in its side part. In the case of a puncture, it quickly deflates. Therefore, when it comes to choosing a tire for enduro motorcycle, sports motorcycle, it is better to give preference to a tubeless tire. It is lighter, which means it puts less strain on the suspension and heats up less when riding at speed. In general, despite the fact that chamber motorcycle tires are still in use, they are being actively replaced by more expensive and reliable tubeless motorcycle tires.

Hence, a simple conclusion: do not argue with the manufacturer, put the rubber as it should be done. Motor tires differ significantly in their design, although they are similar in terms of tread pattern functionality.