The best motorcycle tires will keep your rides comfortable, safe, and easy.
It’s not a motorcycle without a tire. This part is one of the most crucial as it greatly affects the overall performance of your motorcycle. Bad tires can make your rides unpleasant, unsteady, and of course, unsafe. To keep you safe and steady on the road, here are the best motorcycle tires you should be using today.
1. Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Street Sport Motorcycle Tires
Straight from Germany, the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III comes from a series launched by Pirelli in 2002. The series continues to update through the years and the Diablo Rosso III is the best you can get to this date. Aside from the known capabilities of the Diablo series, this pair of tires use modern technology for better performance and longevity
Making sure that the Diablo Rosso III puts out the best performance ratios, Pirelli developed it within the World Superbike Championship. Bikers commend the steering feedback from the tires that ultimately makes handling better.
This pair doesn’t only work well in race tracks, however. It also performs well for recreational uses.
The tires also come with a wide side soft stripe from the bi compound used during the manufacturing stage. This provides a full grip from a mid-lean angle.
Experienced users also back the precision turning with these tires. According to reviews, it’s very simple when using these tires. However, like most tires, it needs some break-in period as well. The great thing is that there’s little wear on this tire making it a true investment.
With the WSBK-derived profile on the tires, they are more agile when it comes to turn-in and responses. The design of the tires also proves really smooth for transitions. Moreover, the large footprint area of the tire makes adherence better versus other tires.
Taking speeds of up to 168 miles per hour, the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III motorcycle tires are W-rated. It fits motorcycle rims with a diameter of 17 inches.
2. Dunlop American Elite Street Sport Motorcycle Tires
The Dunlop American Elite hails from the brand’s New York factory. These tires perfectly fit Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They also best work for US roads so you’re sure that they won’t let you down.
With a brand name like Dunlop, you can only have easy rides from here on out in your Harley.
These tires provide great handling for your bike. Not to mention, they look great so it’s easily the type of tire that gives you confidence during your rides.
The American Elite also underwent rigid tests on the road and in the lab. With a three-ply polyester in three fiberglass belts, the construction of these tires takes it to the next level for handling wear and feel.
For the rear tire, Dunlop uses proprietary multi-tread on the rubber for better grip. This works best not only on straight roads but also right around corners when you lean.
The tread pattern of the tires also works great in wet conditions. Included in the testing, Dunlop made sure that they came up with high-performing tread patterns that work well in all weather conditions.
The American Elite comes in two sizes namely the 1380 B-17 and 180 65 V-16. They fit Harley FL touring bikes from 2009 or later.
3. Michelin Anakee Adventure Motorcycle Tires
The great thing about the Michelin Anakee Adventure tires is that they function well be it on-road or adventure.
With a wide variety of sizes, they fit not only adventure bikes but also dual sports bikes. Front tires can come in 19 or 21 inches, while there are rear tires in 17 and 18 inches. So, a 17/19 bike won’t have a problem fitting these tires in them.
Realistically, adventure bikes often encounter pavements with occasional dips on the offroad. If you’re not expecting to encounter any crazy technical singletrack, these tires are great for you.
However, handling could be a bit of a struggle, especially on long offroad rides. The mileage, on the other hand, is better with these tires. With a bi compound construction, these tires surely last.
It utilizes harder rubber on the center while the shoulders have a soft rubber compound. Despite this, the grip on the shoulders proves powerful when leaning. Not to mention, it’s easy to install so even a small experience in changing tires doesn’t hurt.
4. Continental ContiMotion Touring Motorcycle Tires
If you’re working on a budget, the Continental ContiMotion is easily the best one for you. This is one of the best sport touring tires you can get today.
Many riders attest to the longevity of ContiMotion. It comes with a polymer compound in the rubber tread. This makes it a tad firmer than the rubbers you’ll see on pure sports tires.
The ContiMotion also works perfectly in any weather condition, wet or dry. Moreover, they come with modern designs that look incredibly well. The tread pattern isn’t only functional but also good-looking. The large grooves evacuate water well to keep them away from the center of the tread.
In addition, the contour profile of these tires also provides a lot of adherence to the road. It’s rounded versus the flat profile seen on sports tires.
The handling with these tires also works very well. They’re stable on highway speeds and comes packed with comfort and easy turn-ins. Continental surely went out of their way in making sure that the tires work with and not against you.
5. Bridgestone M403/M404 Motocross Tires
Off-road riding is challenging due to its unpredictable landscapes. Firstly, it’s impossible to expect just one type of obstacle with it like on-road or highways. It can refer to anywhere between an offroad trail or a complete muddy obstacle course. What’s worse, a lot of manufacturers tend to go this or that on dirt bike tires.
Luckily, the Bridgestone M403 and M404 motocross tires don’t only conform to one type of surface or activity. They cater to a range of soils and surfaces. That said, they don’t suffer fast wear and tear compared to softer tires. To make sure that handling remains steady while using these tires, make sure to avoid tarmac or concrete in general.
Bridgestone is the top-of-mind brand not only by recreational users but also for professionals. The brand continues to improve on its technology and eventually passes on such innovations to more affordable models.
The M403 and M404 both come at a reasonable price. It’s easy to stack them up to make sure you have a spare set, just in case. If you’re competing professionally, you can explore more of Bridgestone’s catalog. However, these ones right here are the most budget-friendly and cost-effective choice of tires.
6. Metzeler Roadtec 01 Sports Touring Motorcycle Tires
Touring bikes such as Ducati Multistrada or the BMW R1200GS lean more on comfort and performance. While they look a lot like adventure bikes, users don’t often take them anywhere more challenging than grass or gravel. That’s why a lot of touring tires conform to such terrains only.
To break your expectations, check out the Metzeler Roadtec 01 sports touring tires. These German-made tires are some of the best in the touring business. It easily surpasses expectations that even big manufacturers can’t deal with.
These tires provide fast and dependable performance. The tires work perfectly in dry and wet conditions. Not to mention, they’re also reasonably priced. It’s truly some of the tires that offer great value for your money.
Its size range also varies greatly. Plus, you don’t have to worry about riding over long distances. It’s only smooth rides from here on out with these tires.
Best Motorcycle Tires Guide & FAQs
Types of Motorcycle Tires
Just like there are various motorcycles for various occasions, there are also specific tires made to fit these options. Here are some of the catergories to keep in mind when looking for a motorcycle tire.
Sportbike or “hypersport” tires provide increased grip without sacrificing functionality on the streets. Not only should they work well on streets but also should be street legal. That said, racing slicks are not an included in this category.
Usually, Sportbike tires have softer compounds for construction. This gives the tires better agility and flick ability, not to mention, stability and speed. However, they do not usually require tire warmers.
For better heat dissipation, this type of tire usually has radial construction. Moreover, the wide tread pattern provides the tires better handling.
Sportbike tires also come with certification from the Department of Transportation (DOT) as race tires. They have the minimum amount of sipes for legal road use while keeping an incredible level of traction.
Long-distance rides require touring tires. Similar to cruiser tires, these tires work perfectly in a variety of weather conditions. They also should be able to handle the weight of touring bikes. Moreover, they must have a long lifespan that could support the right levels of traction even in corners.
These tires usually come with flatter profiles compared to sportbike tires. This gives the motorcycle certain stability when running through straight lines.
Touring tires also come with harder compounds for the rubber. This provides longer life but lessens the grip. However, you can find touring tires with better grip but at the cost of their lifespan.
The bias-ply tires help to support the bike’s weight. They also handle bumps better versus other tires.
More often than not, cruiser tires offer a vintage-inspired appearance. Large cruisers are usually high-profile for comfort. Meanwhile, smaller cruisers almost look like sports tires that give better performance.
Cruiser tires typically use thicker, harder compounds. This is to carry the immense weight of a big-bore V-Twin. Such construction also makes it great for touring and long-distance rides. They also offer better stability and traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
Typical cruisers aren’t performance-oriented. They don’t have a lot of lean angles but they do have a lot of tread grooves.
More than just on the pavement, adventure tires also work well in mud and ice. These are versatile tires that give a smooth experience on asphalt. At the same time, it also has deep treads for some off-road rides. You should be able to ride long stretches of highway with these tires. Not to mention, moderately heavy loads shouldn’t be a problem for them as well.
These tires often get aligned with adventure tires for their versatility. They’re great for gripping any terrain as well. Such tires don’t work well for long trips on the highway. This is due to their loud and uncomfortable features. Plus, they’re not ideal for cornering. Instead, use dual-sport tires for off-road ridings such as in hills and muds.
Off-Road and Motocross Tires
If you expect to ride on just off-road courses, then this is the type of tire for you. They’re incredibly knobby. They also support optimum traction in the dirt. Plus, these tires have treads that wraps the sides for better grip. However, manufacturers often have a subcategory for this type of tire. There are some that only work great on soft terrain with the spaced-out knobs. Meanwhile, others are perfect for hard terrain with tightly-spaced knobs.
What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Tires
Tread and Pattern
The rubber in contact with the road is the tread. It helps provide grip by giving the water a channel to be ejected. This is the pattern, made up of grooves and channels cut into the tread. Having a good pattern keeps your tires on the road.
On-street tires require a pattern so your tires don’t lose grip. Meanwhile, racing slicks lean more on the aerodynamics of the tires so they don’t have patterns. In a more extreme case, offroad tires have bigger and aggressive patterns and treads. This gives offroad tires more traction in unpredictable terrain.
Back in the day, tires only come in rubbers. These days, manufacturers include compounds infused with other chemicals to improve a tire’s performance. For instance, silica provides better traction on wet surfaces. More often than not, we get multi- or bi-compound tires that provide different make-up for the sidewalls and the main tire carcass.
Tubed or Tubeless
There’s a huge difference between tubed and tubeless tires. Tubed tires are less expensive, common among vintage bikes with spoked wheels. Meanwhile, tubeless tires come with a stiffer construction. It’s also way stronger and they run cooler. This type of tire works vest in performance and even when punctured doesn’t deflate quickly. They’re also more comfortable to ride on.
Bias-Ply or Radial
Radial tires usually boast steel belts running at a 90-degree angle from the center of the tread. On the other hand, bias-ply tires use nylon belts between 35 to 45 degrees to the center of the tread. Radial tires provide more rigidity and traction but not much mileage. Meanwhile, bias-ply has a longer shelf-life.
The lifespan of a tire is just as important as its function. Touring and cruiser tires have more mileage than sportbike tires. However, sportbike tires can have good mileage depending on the manufacturer. Of course, you would want to choose a tire with longer mileage.
The tire you buy also depends on how fast you ride. There are various categories to dictate this. At 130 miles per hour, you can get an H-rated tire. Meanwhile, V is for 149 mph or less, and W is for top-speed rides at 168 mph.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long do motorcycle tires last?
A good motorcycle tire should last you around 20,000 miles. However, a lot of wear and tear may cause you to replace them sooner than later. For reference, sportbike tires wear out sooner than other types of tires. Make sure to inspect your tires now and then to know when to change them.
Q: When should you replace your tires?
Usually, tires have wear bars. Once it’s flush with the tread, it’s time to replace it. You should also look for punctures, cuts, ruptures, or cracks that could affect your safety and the performance of your bike.
Q: Are rear and front tires interchangeable?
No, they are not. Motorcycle tires have specific make-ups that only fit either the front or the rear. Even the best rear tires don’t work as well in front due to the difference in characteristics. Front tires usually have more responsive steering while the rear tires have better traction. However, some tires like vintage bikes or dual-sport tires can be interchanged.
Q: Can I use racing tires on the street?
Quick answer: yes. However, remember that racing tires don’t have treads so dirt or water on the road can cause a huge problem when it comes to handling.
Tires are crucial parts of a motorcycle that can bring safety or cause a tragic crash. Make sure you consider the feature of the tires, the speed you usually go at, and even the terrain you expect to encounter. Are you riding long distances or on the way to some offroad adventure? Nail every detail down and make sure you have a spare for safety. While you’re at it, don’t forget the type of motorcycle you’re riding, and make sure your tires can handle that!