Riding motorcycles is one joyous and adrenaline pumping exercise. However, unlike cars, motorcycles are single-track vehicles, and because of this very reason they’re being tagged as outright ‘dangerous’ by the wise and the sensible of the world. Their logic is simple and quite rational if you give it a thought. For instance, if you make a mistake while riding a motorcycle, odds are that you’re likely to get hurt badly. There could be many reasons for a crash/accident, however, on several occasions it has been seen that motorcyclists meet with undeserved fate just because of some fault in the running components of a motorcycle. Tyres, for example, are one among them!
In order to ensure that your motorcycle always stays on the road with its rubber side down, it’s very important for you to keep that ‘rubber’ in good nick. And most importantly, you should be able enough to differentiate between different types of tyres while purchasing one for your motorcycle. For they are your motorcycle’s only contact patch with the road.
Here are some quick but essential tips before you purchase a replacement tyre for your motorcycle,
1. How do I know the correct tyre size for my motorcycle?
Be it car drivers or motorcyclists, many get confused by the markings found on a tyre’s sidewall. While motorcycle and car tyres differ from each other based on their construction and usage, the alphanumeric coding you see on both is standardized, barring a few details.
Before purchasing a tyre, you must be able to crack the tyre code since this will help you understand critical details of a tyre including its size, aspect ratio or profile, speed rating, load index, construction type, etc. All of which should be matched with the replacement tyre you’re eventually going to fit on your motorcycle.
Here’s a basic guide on How to read a tyre?
2. What’s the difference between various tread designs on a motorcycle tyre?
More than often, you’d have come across people who think a particular kind of tread pattern defines the road-grip levels of a tyre, which is true to an extent. However, most of the people believe bigger treads and deeper grooves result in increased grip levels and stability in all conditions. In addition to that, many people find this particular aspect visually appealing. As a result, they go ahead and fit these kind of tyres regardless of their riding conditions.
A tyre with large tread blocks and bigger grooves will have excellent traction in the wet or mud as it will ‘pump’ away more water/dirt from between the tyre contact patch and road-surface as it moves along. However, when a similar tyre is used on dry roads, the larger groove percentage will result in decreased contact patch of the tyre with road, resulting in lower grip levels.
Also, since we are on the topic of ‘grip’ levels, it’s worth mentioning that it depends greatly on a tyre’s compound more rather than its tread pattern. A tyre made up of soft-compound will be more ‘sticky’ as it creates more friction when it runs hot. On the downside, a soft compound will wear out faster. A hard-compound tyre on the other hand will have exact opposite characteristics- it will have a longer life than a soft-compound tyre but as trade-offs you will get lower levels of grip and compromised handling.
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