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Alex Asigno
Alex Asigno

Selecting Appropriate Tyres

Unless you are always going to replace your tyres with exactly the same make and type that were fitted by the manufacturer when the bike was new, you are going to need to know (or ask a man who does) a bit about the huge choice of tyres on sale and what specs mean when the time comes to buy the baby new shoes.
The days when all you needed to know was the size and how much they cost have long gone. Modern tyres come in so many varieties with so many differing performance values even the experts have a job keeping up with it all.
Some rules are fairly general. For example
  • Spoked wheels (with notable exceptions like some new BMWs) can only take tubed tyres.
  • Radial tyres (again there are one or two exceptions) can rarely be fitted with a tube
  • Front tyres go on the front, rear on the rear ONLY.
The speed rating of the tyre must match the capability of the bike i.e.
Top Speed of Bike
Tyre Rating
Up to 93 mph (150 kph) P
Up to 112 mph (180 kph) S
Up to 130 mph (210 kph) H
Up to 149 mph (240 kph) V
Up to 150 mph (250 kph) V250
Over 156 mph (250 kph) Z and ZR
Then you have to watch how radials, bias belted and crossply tyres are mixed. It's better to avoid mixtures if you can, but the following is law.
Crossply front, crossply rear Radial front, crossply rear
Radial front, radial rear Bias belt front, crossply rear
Bias belt front, bias belt rear Radial front, bias belt rear
Crossply front, radial rear  
Bias belt front, radial rear  
Of course it doesn't stop there! Bikes come in all shapes and sizes. Some rims won't take some makes or tyres and some swinging arms are too close to permit some tyres to be fitted. You'll need to know what can go on your bike - and what is going to happen once that lovely new radial comes under load!
Then there is the difference with the compounds to be considered. Mixing hard (long wearing) and soft (maximum grip) tyres on the same bike can be okay but equally can be disastrous if they are not compatible or on the wrong wheels.
As if all this wasn't enough, some tyres are not warranted for road use at all. Then different parts of the world need different tyres dependant on the climate and road conditions. Ask any Gold Wing rider who bought those 'good value' American tyres a while back and 6,000 miles later found they had worn out! Wings are normally good for up to 15,000 miles but British roads are not the same as their counterparts in the States.
Information kindly supplied by ATS Euromaster

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