To achieve optimal response from a motorcycle, riders need high performance tyres. Motorcycle tyres must be adaptable to the materials used to construct roads, racetracks, and rugged courses, which can feature changing surface conditions caused by the weather or traffic use. Constantly evolving tyre technology allows manufacturers to mitigate environmental issues so riders maintain the right amount of traction to safely operate their motorcycles. Luckily, high performance motorcycle tyres can be sourced locally through private sellers and automotive-specialty shops as well as online at large-scale retailers, like eBay. Before shopping, however, buyers must understand how tyre construction, size, load range, and speed index affect the performance of tyres to ensure a tyre is correct for a rider's driving habits.
A motorcycle tyre is a flexible part that mounts onto a sturdy wheel that provides a single-track line for driving a motorcycle. Unlike cars, which are dual-track vehicles reliant on four wheels, the single-track design of a motorcycle puts more stress on its tyres, particularly when cornering. To accommodate this stress, motorcycle tyres have a rounder profile than tyres used on cars.
Motorcycle tyres contain either radial or bias construction, and the type that is preferable for performance depends on the driving practices of each buyer. Radial tyres separate the functions of a tyre's sidewall from its tread so the two components work independently. This distinction between the two features allows radial tyres to absorb shocks from surface bumps well and resist heat buildup caused by surface friction. Conversely, bias tyres include more connectivity between the sidewall flex of the tyre and the tyre's treads. This increases the tyre's ability to carry weight relative to the tyre's size, but also diminishes the tyre's ability to deflect heat.
Symmetric tread patterns are popular for general driving conditions, but may not provide enough traction when driving on wet surfaces. Asymmetric tread patterns, on the other hand, incorporate a juxtaposing tread design that whisks water away from the surface of the tyre to increase stability on wet roads. This opposed design of an asymmetric tread pattern also reduces heat buildup on the outsides of a tyre. Additionally, tread depth affects a motorcycle's performance. Shallow depths are preferable for street and track driving, but off-road driving requires deep treads to handle uneven surfaces.
Because manufacturers outfit motorcycles with components like front forks and handlebars designed in precise dimensions, buyers should purchase motorcycle tyres in sizes compatible with a manufacturer's recommendations. If buyers choose to purchase tyres of a different size, they must modify their motorcycles to accept the tyres, an often costly and difficult endeavour.
Buyers can easily find a manufacturer's tyre size recommendations by checking their owner's manual for tyre specifications. If an owner's manual is not available, however, buyers can determine the dimensions of a tyre by looking at the codes imprinted on the surface of their original tyres.
The first numeric codes listed on a motorcycle tyre refer to the tyre's width and aspect ratio. Manufacturers determine the width of a tyre by measuring the distance, in millimetres, from the outer to the inner sidewall. The aspect ratio refers to the height of the tyre as a percentage of its width. Thus, if a motorcycle tyre has a 100/80 measurement, its width is 100 mm and its aspect ratio is 80, or 80 mm.
The width and aspect ratio of a tyre greatly influences its performance. In general, higher performance tyres have a lower aspect ratio than comparative models. This increased performance depends on lateral stability, which improves with a lower tyre height. Lateral stability is essential in performance driving because it resists gravitational forces that pull a motorcycle down when it is making a sharp turn at a high speed.
Motorcycle tyre load range, or load rating, permits buyers to see how much weight a tyre can carry while still performing at an optimum level. This weight includes the motorcycle itself, the driver, passengers, and any additional accessories. Buyers should check the weight specifications of their motorcycles and factor in any additional weight before purchasing a tyre to make sure the tyre's range matches the potential load. If a motorcycle's weight exceeds the maximum load rating, performance suffers and the tyre can fail.
The speed index of a motorcycle tyre works in conjunction with the tyre load range and communicates the maximum speed a tyre can sustain while bearing its heaviest weight. When evaluating the speed index, buyers should keep their driving habits in mind and the laws and regulations in effect in their local areas.
Speed indexes on motorcycle tyres correspond with internationally accepted alpha codes ranging from the letters Q through Z. A Q-rated speed index is the lowest available and offers a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour (km/h). Each letter rating increases the maximum speed by 10 km, so an S-rated speed index is 170 km/h and a T-rated speed index is 180 km/h. The highest speed index is Z-rated and provides a maximum speed of 240 km/h.
Buyers looking for a range of high performance motorcycle tyres can visit eBay to browse a selection that includes tyres from famous manufacturers, like Harley-Davidson and Honda, and well-known aftermarket brands. Conversely, buyers interested in discounted or limited stock tyres can check out the offerings available on eBay Deals' Automotive and Boat products. When browsing options, buyers should pay close attention to the information that eBay sellers provide concerning the construction, size, load range, and speed index of any potential purchases. This allows buyers to choose compatible tyres for their motorcycles that may also deliver optimal performance based on a buyer's driving practices.