Different types of tires

Tires are just as important to a bike as all the other parts of a bike. While developing a motorcycle, the manufacturer works with a couple of tire manufacturers to try to get the right tire for the bike and one that impresses the bike maker. It's not an easy task as a slight difference in the dimensions of the tire or compound can result in changes in performance. The amount of grip, durability and reliability are taken into account before bringing a bike to the market. However, tires made for a dirt bike can't be fit into a regular road-bike. Different types of Bike Tires are explained below:

Sports Tires: Made for high-performance bikes and can occasionally be used on the race track. These tires operate with maximum efficiency at a certain operating temperature that is quite high. Usage on the streets has to be dealt with caution due to the temperature requirement and the tires have less tread to give more grip.

Sport-Road/Sport-Touring Tires: This tire range suits all the user requirements except for off-road tracks and is generally more durable. The operating temperature is lower than the Sport tires and so, offers more grip.

Suzuki Hayabusa Tire

Road/Touring Tires: These are the tires that is seen commonly on the regular commuter/street bikes. They offer excellent grip at a relatively low operating temperature. The use of treads on the tires enables the tire to travel over different surfaces and also wet surfaces. Generally long lasting and economical.

Mixed/Trail Tires: These are manufactured with a view to operate both on and off the road. The noticeable element or the one that catches the eye of the tire is the peculiar treads. These treads are essential as they provide adequate traction while on an off-road track. Made of hard rubber, they offer exceptional grip but while on the road, the contact surface decreases compared to the normal road tires. Therefore, opting for these tires would not be a wise choice for those who never kicks the dirt.

All-terrain Tires: Found on dirt bikes, they come alive only on roads that are inaccessible for a normal bike. These tires are equipped with large studs to dig into the earth while tackling difficult dirt sections. Road use is not recommended for these tires as they are obviously not meant for the road.

Track/Trail/Race Tires: Just like their name, these tires are meant for the race track. Extremely soft rubber, high operating temperatures are some of the properties of these tires. They are usually called Slick tires because they have no treads and that is to attain maximum contact with the surface for better grip while handling curves and corners at high rate of speed. Tire Warmers are used before the race to get the tire to a good temperature. They look like a blanket specially made for the tires and are wrapped around them. The racing teams also get to choose what compounds to use for the race, "hard", "soft", "intermediate", "wet". The compounds can be varied for different parts of the tire. For example, it could be hard for the centre and medium on the corners. Wet tires come with treads to help the rider during wet conditions. The treads serve the purpose of throwing the water off the tire to get adequate grip. These tires, however, are not road legal. Even if they were out on the road, they would not last long because of the rubber that's used.

How to read a tire specification?

Let's take an example 180/55 ZR 17. The first number (180) always indicates the tire width. The next number, called the aspect ratio, tells us the height of the tire in terms of width but in percentage. So, in our example, the height of the tire is 55% of 180 (width). The letter Z denotes the speed rating of the tire. Different tires are given different speed ratings and it depends on the sort of tire that has been created and the speed test it had undergone. Z here denotes speeds greater than 240km/h. R denotes the construction of the tire, R stands for Radial construction. The last number represents the diameter of the tire and this will be in Inches.

Last updated on 23-05-2015. Published on 20-05-2015. Written by .
Category: Knowledge Base
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