When most people think of motorcycles, they imagine the engine revving or the cool-looking chrome plating that makes these machines sparkle in the sun. However, one crucial component that you have to pay attention to is the tire. When looking at the best Harley-Davidson tires, you will see that some important distinctions will ensure that you get the best performance for your ride. No two tires are exactly alike, so let’s take a look at what features and specs you should factor in when buying a new set.
Anatomy of a Tire
Before we can get into the different numbers that come with tires for motorcycles and what they mean, you first need to know what all goes into a tire in the first place. Let’s start from the inside out and go over each component.
- First, you have the bead, which is where the wheel mounts to the frame.
- Second, you have the carcass, which is the backbone of the tire. These will either be bias or radial ply, which we’ll go into later.
- Third, you have the sidewall and the tread, which is the outermost part of the tire. The tread keeps you on the road, while the sidewall maintains structural integrity and displays vital information about the tire.
Now that you know what goes into a motorcycle tire, let’s look at the numbers you’ll see on the side. For example, let’s say that you are getting a tire that has a rating of 130/90 R 16 67 H. Let’s break it down.
- 130: width of tire
- 90: sidewall aspect ratio
- R: radial ply
- 16: wheel diameter
- 67: weight limit
- H: speed limit
Bias vs. Radial Ply
Older bikes typically used biased ply carcasses, which meant that the fibers were installed at an angle. These tires are stiffer and don’t disperse heat as well, but they are perfect for holding extra weight such as passengers or equipment. Radial ply carcasses are much more common as they distribute weight better, and don’t get as hot on the road.
For more information about finding the right tires for a Harley-Davidson, visit bikebandit.com. They have an extensive selection, and staff who can help you figure out exactly what you need.