Selecting a tyre for your motorcycle / bike

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Before we start anything we would like to strongly say that, a tyre should be selected as per the driving conditions, your driving technique and most importantly figuring out what you want from the tyres in terms of surface that you will be riding on and your priorities on various factors. So even though a tyre brand or model may be being bought higher percentage by fellow riders you need to get what suits you the best.

That being said, one thing that you could do is list down the properties of the tyres that you have bought, the shape, strength, tread pattern and much more; this will help you streamline the process of selection till you find the right tyre. Once you have a set that fits your needs stick to it next change onwards.

So when is a good time to change the tyre ?

  • A good way to know that a tyre needs replacing is when you see the rubber properties change, discolouration, cracks, bulging, tread wear and damaged sidewalls. Always be ready with the tyres well before they wear out. Its takes time selecting tyres in India and you would want to be sure that you know what you want. May be get the tyre blocked a month in advance.
  • Check the instructions given by the manufacturer and sometimes even the sizes that are recommended by tyre companies. Its a good point to start from.
  • Get the tyres balanced and check alignment of the tyre using a measuring instrument yourself. This will help you know the reasons for the wear and tear.
  • Via CNN we found out that : There’s a release agent used during the manufacturing process, and it can leave a residue on the treads of new tires. Expect less grip until the residue wears off, especially in wet conditions. Allow about six to seven hundred kilometer of break-in time before you push your tires hard on cornering, and anticipate longer than usual braking distances, just to be safe.



The terminology/ tyre geek lingo explained for ease.

You need to get the tyre size; thats the width, profile, rim size, road rating and speed rating to get out and understand what you’re shopping. For example a tyre that reads P105/90 R18 it would mean:

P: Would be the tyre type. In the case of the image symbolising Passenger Tyre.

105: Tyre width in millimetres

90: Would mean the aspect ratio. The height to width ratio i.e the width of the tyre vs the sidewall height.

R: Would be the type of tyre. Radial in this case.

Things to consider:


Radial vs bias ply. The construction and the logic of these designs are different. Radials are much stronger on the sidewalls, better life and better power ratio to the ground. Whereas bias ply have better comfort, more load bearing capacity and better traction. Here is one article we found on radial vs bias ply comparison with unbiased opinion. If you know what we are saying :-). The usual recommendation is to stick to the manufacturer tyre recommendation which I believe is Radial for Triumph India as of 2015.


Well the design matters and this will totally depend on what and where your ride. A person touring to Ladakh this year might buy different tyre treads than one riding in city. It also depends on the type of roads in your vicinity. If you would like to know more about treads we found this article with non geeky explanation of how to choose treads.

Sidewall and shape:

The sidewalls need to be sturdy especially if you are leaning around the corner. An important aspect is the shape of the tyre which is one of the major factor on the quick changing traffic cond. Rounded tyres will be much easier to lean on in corners but sensitive on straight paths as well because of the curve nature.

Material strength:

Hard/Soft Tyre: Generally:

  • Softer tyres warm up quicker than hard tyres a decision for people riding on the tracks.
  • Softer tyres wear out quicker
  • Softer tyres have better traction than hard tyres.
  • Softer tyres break better for obvious reasons as well.

Temperature :

A person riding street would be using different tyres than a person clocking kms on the track. A important decisions for Daytona riders riding in the city.

Speed Rating :

The speed rating chart is as under noted below. Credits Pirelli.

Tyre Speed Rating


Driving conditions:

All weather or dry are usually fine for most cities in India but they its specific to the city you live in. If you ride off road its a tricky situation for us folks here as softer tyres might be safer but burn out quickly.


We strongly believe that the size of the tyre should never be +/-3% of the tyre recommendation provided by the company and even if you do make a change in the size the appropriate action needs to be taken for the front tyres as well. For example: Wider tyres at the back would make the bike less easy to lean on the curves ( depends on the shape as well ). The handling and balancing changes much more when the front tyres are changed.

Front Vs Rear:

We do not recommend mixing tire brands because differences in tire handling and performance can cause an otherwise well-behaved motorcycle to act in an unpredictable, unsafe manner. Unless the company has different branded tyres in the first place.

Additional info:

  1. An extremely well done and articulate article can be found on on motorcycle 101.
  2. The NZ govt also has a few safety measures and minimum standards explained well on their website about tyre health and safety.
  3. Always keep your tyre well inflated so ensure that the tyre wears out equally.



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