How to Choose the Best Tyres for Your Motorcycle

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How to Choose the Best Tyres for Your Motorcycle

There are several reasons motorcycle owners may choose to purchase new tyres; maybe the existing tyres are worn, or the owner wants to use a different type of tyre on the motorcycle. Owners who have never purchased new tyres for their motorcycles may be overwhelmed by the variety of tyres available in the market, but the choice does not have to be difficult. An easy way for prospective buyers to find the right tyres for a motorcycle is to take the process step by step.

Because choosing tyres for a motorcycle depends on the motorcycle itself, the rider, and where the motorcycle is often ridden, the best tyres for one individual may not be suitable for another individual, even if they both have the same motorcycle. Prospective buyers should take into account the reasons for changing tyres, the types of tyres available, and the size of the required tyres when making a decision about what to buy. Although tyres are readily available through auto shops and other conventional retailers, one can find a wide variety on eBay at great prices.

When to Change Motorcycle Tyres

Aesthetics aside, when it comes to worn motorcycle tyres, it is time to replace them when the tread is so low that the wheels of the motorcycle start slipping. This typically starts occurring when there is about 0.8 mm or less of tread on the tyres. Individuals who inspect their tyres and wheels periodically should have no problem identifying when their tyres need replacement. If the fabric or tyre cord is exposed, it is well past time to replace the tyres.

Worn tyres have greater difficulty maintaining traction and are more likely to cause accidents than tyres with plenty of tread. In addition, worn tyres are more susceptible to punctures by nails or other sharp objects. Though individuals who use their motorcycles off-road may be tempted to wear their off-road tyres completely down before replacing them, this can make riding more dangerous.

Types of Motorcycle Tyres

There are five different categories of motorcycle tyres, namely, cruising tyres, off-road tyres, racing tyres, sport tyres, and touring tyres. Each type of tyre has its advantages and disadvantages. When shopping for motorcycle tyres, prospective buyers need to determine which type of tyre ideally meets their needs, depending on the type of riding one does.

Type of Tyre


Cruising tyres

Good grip on all types of road surfaces; improved grip for wet-weather driving; provide added stability.

Off-road tyres

Knobby design improves traction on dirt and other softer surfaces; secured with rim locks to prevent spin-out.

Racing tyres

Corner at tight angles; designed for quick acceleration; provide speed when coming out of turns.

Sport tyres

Radial pattern grips road better; good handling in wet and dry conditions; more durable than racing tyres.

Touring tyres

Designed for long distances; provide traction on wet or dry surfaces; provide improved driver control.

Determining which type of tyre is right depends on the type of motorcycle one owns as well as the type of riding performed on the bike. For example, if an individual owns a touring motorcycle, which is designed to be more comfortable for long-distance riding, then racing tyres are not advisable. Deciding which type of tyre is ideal for one's needs is the first consideration before buyers can begin researching on the tyre brands or sizes that can work well on their motorcycles.

Sizing of Motorcycle Tyres

After prospective buyers determine which type of motorcycle tyres are right for them, they must choose between tubed and tubeless tyres. They must also determine the type of tyre construction, the speed rating to purchase, as well as the ideal tyre width and aspect ratio for their motorcycles.

Motorcycle tyre size is comprised of five distinct parts. Each part of the tyre's size refers to a separate measurement, such as tyre width, aspect ratio, and speed rating. While all of this information may seem confusing to new motorcycle owners, it is better to consider these details one at a time to determine the perfect tyre configuration. Once the needs in each of these areas is determined, the prospective buyer can put all that information together to shop for the right motorcycle tyres.

Width of Motorcycle Tyres

The width of a motorcycle tyre is the measurement from the outside of one sidewall to the outside of the other sidewall. Different motorcycle wheels support tyres of different widths, so motorcycle owners should determine the right width for the tyres to fits on the existing wheels. If one plans to change out the wheel rims as well as the tyres, then purchasing the wheels and tyres together makes sense. Alternately, one can purchase the wheels first so that the right width of tyre can be determined.

Aspect Ratio of Motorcycle Tyres

The tyre's aspect ratio is the percentage of the tyre's height relative to its width. The aspect ratio follows the tyre width in the tyre size. Lower aspect ratio numbers indicate tyres with lower profile.

Speed Rating of Motorcycle Tyres

The speed rating is the maximum speed that is recommended for a specific tyre. There are 22 different speed ratings, designated by either a single letter or a letter followed by three numbers. The lowest speed rating is J with a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour (kmh) and the highest rating is Z with a maximum speed of more than 240 kmh. Individuals who prefer to drive faster should opt for tyres with a higher speed rating and should keep a close eye on the tyre pressure. The maximum speed recommendations are based on optimal tyre pressure and a specific load or weight, so individuals who do not inflate their tyres properly or typically ride with others may need to buy tyres with higher speed ratings.

Construction of Motorcycle Tyres

The fourth element of a tyre's size is its construction type. The letter B in this position indicates a belted tyre, whereas the letter R indicates a radial tyre. Belted tyres are made with a Kevlar, fibreglass, or aramid fiber belt, which gives the tyre strength and makes it possible for the tyre to handle more weight. Radial tyres also have belts; however, the belts in these tyres are only used to make the tyre more stiff. Radial tyres last longer than belted tyres, and individuals may choose radial tyres so that they do not need to replace tyres often.

Rim Diameter of Motorcycle Tyres

The rim diameter is measured from the rim lip on one side, across the centre of the rim to the rim lip on the opposite side. A tyre must have the same diameter as the rim it sits on, otherwise the tyre cannot be mounted on the rim.

Shopping for Motorcycle Tyres

Once a prospective buyer determines which type of tyre is needed, along with the sizes that are compatible with the bike in question, it is time to begin searching for the best tyres. While prospective buyers may find tyres for sale at local motorcycle parts stores or motorcycle dealerships, these tyres may not be the proper size, and they may not carry the specific type of tyres needed. To find the best selection of motorcycle tyres at great prices, prospective buyers may choose to shop online through sites like eBay.

Buying Motorcycle Tyres on eBay

The online site eBay offers products, including motorcycle tyres and other motorcycle parts, through thousands of sellers. If you are ready to take a look at the motorcycle tyre listings on eBay, go to the site's home page, and type that phrase into the search box. Once the search results load, you can narrow the listings down using the filter options eBay provides. You could also be more specific with your keywords so that your search is more refined. For example, if you want to look at only racing tyres, type "motorcycle racing tyres" into the search box, so you only see listings pertaining to racing tyres.

Before making a decision, prospective buyers should read through each listing carefully to confirm that the tyre listed is the correct size for one's motorcycle. Buyers who have questions should not hesitate to contact the seller through eBay and get clarifications so that they have a full understanding of the tyres being sold. Prospective buyers should also take note of the seller's return policy so that the tyres can be returned if they do not fit.


Though the amount of information a motorcycle owner needs to know in order to buy tyres for a bike may seem overwhelming, the truth is that this information is indeed manageable. The key to finding great-fitting tyres is to look for tyres that match the wheel and rim requirements on each of the measurements, including aspect ratio, width, and rim diameter. Once a prospective buyer finds the tyres that meet all of these specifications, it is simply a matter of determining which tyres have the best features and the right pricing.

When considering price, prospective buyers should keep in mind that the different types of tyres retail for a variety of prices, so they should be sure they are comparing apples to apples when shopping for motorcycle tyres. For example, a prospective buyer cannot compare the price between a racing tyre and a cruising tyre because they are in two separate categories and may not sell within the same price range. By educating themselves about the product category as well as the purchase process on eBay, prospective buyers can expect to find the best tyres for their motorcycles.

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