It might be time to put some new boots on your baby, or swap out the dreaded factory cheapies that came with your new bike. You can tell just by looking at different motorbikes that a lot of people buy on look rather than details, this my friends is not t-shirt shopping. There is a few things you should look for when searching out a deal on wheels, will lay a few of those out for you here.
Don’t test your luck with a mix-up
Mixing tires can be related to mixing drinks. If you’re going to drink don’t drive, and if you’re going to mix, don’t ride. You’ll need to know a bit about your tires design, if you are running around on tube tires don’t mix a tubeless. Radials and bias-plies, bias-belted and bias ply, don’t do it. Your tires are manufactured differently to work differently, the design of one tire can compromise the design of another and for the rider, that could take you down a road you don’t want to be on.
Vintage bikes are cool, vintage tires are not
When looking to invest in new rubber, make sure it’s actually new. Over time rubber will eventually break down and start to lose its durability, not something you are looking for. You can easily tell the manufactures date of a tire by looking for the stamp marked on the tires side wall. Typically, you will see the lettering imprinted “DOT”, then followed by four numbers, say 3916. The first two numbers are the week the tire was manufactured and the last two the year. Here it would be the 39th week of 2016. A dealers tires won’t usually be much newer than a year, however we wouldn’t recommend buying anything over two years old.
What’s your life worth?
There are a lot of components that need to work hand in hand to keep you safely on the road, however, the number one thing holding you and a screaming piece of metal to the road is a thin layer of rubber. Tires do have a minimum standard, but is the minimum what you’re looking for to keep you alive. The most expensive doesn’t necessarily translate to the best, but a good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for.
How to be an expert
When looking to brush up your knowledge of what it is exactly that you need, look no further than the sidewalls. By law, all of your tires information needs to be clearly stamped on the tire. If it’s not then you are going to want to take that blow-up toy you got in the kids section at WalMart back, then head over to your nearest motorcycle dealer. On the side will be a series of numbers and letters. For example, 130/90 – 16-67 H, the first number, 130, will represent the measurement in millimeters across the tread surface. Next, 90, will inform you of the tires side wall aspect ratio, thus 90% of the 130mm tread, or the equivalent of 117mm. The next number, 16, will represent the size of the rim this tire was designed for. The last number is for the load rating and the final letter is the speed rating. For these you can find various charts online that will give you the full details. Check your owners manual to confirm what you should be aiming for.
Tires are an integral part of your bikes overall performance and likely the number one safety feature. Take a little time, get to know what’s suggested for your specific machine, then do a little research. The roads you run, the weather, how much a load or if you have a passenger often. These can all play a huge factor in what’s best for you. Where the rubber meets the road, a little knowledge goes a long way.