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Motorbike Tyres and Bike Tyre Pressures


What Tyres are for me?





In all ways bikers take their motorcycles more to the extreme than the average motorist. There is also a bigger variety available to the biker who wants to replace his tyres. For this reason, selecting the correct tyres for your motorbike is more involved and should only be undertaken after a lot of research. Fortunately the Internet has a lot to offer from input from manufacturers and bikers themselves

Tyre Pressure



Tyre pressure is a compromise.

The lower the pressure, the better the tyre is able to ’flow’ into the uneven surface of the road and the bigger the contact patch is - this is what we mean when we say a tyre ’grips’ the road. Under inflated tyres generate more heat and although this helps them grip better, the tyre does not last as long. Under inflated tyres also wear unevenly. This leads to poor handling and premature replacement.

Over inflated tyres run cooler and therefore last longer. Tyres however need to be warm in order to offer good grip on the road surface. At high speed they offer better handling and save fuel. They also offer better resistance to damage as a result of impact.

The manufacturers recommended pressures are therefore the best compromise as they have no idea of the type of riding you do, the type of roads you travel on and the climatic extremes of where you live. You as a rider can therefore adopt their approach - stick rigidly to the recommended pressures and forget about the matter altogether. This approach is a good one for motorcyclists who travel short distances and long distances on asphalt only in a country with a moderate climate.
Tyre Pressure
Conditions
40% above recommendedHigh speed, long distance touring in warm weather with a loaded bike in all round ideal conditions
30% above recommendedHigh speed, long distance touring in warm weather in all round ideal conditions
30% above recommendedAsphalt surface but with large, dangerous potholes and other sharp surface hazards
20% above recommendedLong distance commuting including highway / freeway travel
Manufacturer's recommendationShort distance commuting in city traffic below 100kph. Seasons Spring, Summer and Autumn
Manufacturer's recommendationOff road trail with smaller rocks at some speed
Manufacturer's recommendationRiding when conditions are less than ideal e.g. in very windy conditions. Or when conditions vary a lot.
10% below recommendedRiding when conditions are less than ideal for shorter distances at moderate speed e.g. in extremely windy conditions
15% below recommendedShort distance commuting in city traffic below 100kph during cold Winters
15% below recommendedA long day of riding in the wet at moderate speed
15% below recommendedDirt road with moderately good surface but with some rocky spots
40% below recommendedTravelling slowly in loose, deep sand with tyres with tubeless tyres
40% belowRocky off road trail with very uneven surfaces at slow speed
50% below recommendedTravelling slowly in loose sand with tyres with tubes. Tyres must not get too hot.
60% below recommendedTravelling slowly in very loose, deep sand with tyres with tubes. Tyres must not get too hot. Tyres must not be able to slip on the wheel rims

If however you ride on a variety of surfaces, during a variety of climates and temperatures you can adapt a proactive approach and vary your tyre pressures by a very large margin to suit conditions. For this to be viable however you need a compact 12v compressor, tyre gauge and 12v electric plug point fitted on your motorcycle. With this kit you can quickly and easily match your tyres to the conditions. Consider the guidelines as giving below. The logic applied is aimed at providing the maximum grip while still protecting your wheel rims, tube and side walls from damage.

NOTE: The table below is not for specialist tyres that require very specific tyre pressures to perform. At no times should the maximum type pressure be exceeded as per the manufacturers specification


Examples of Bridgestone Tyres



BT45F
Sport Tyre. Small fine tread.




BT56R
Sport Tyre. Maximum amount of rubber on the road. Side walls are small offering a more rounded profile.



BT020F

Sport Touring. More tread. Tread is deeper. Higher side walls.



S11F

Sport Touring. More tread. Tread is deeper. Higher side walls.




G703 Cruiser Tyre.
Rated for more load. More tread for general riding conditions


G703

Cruiser Tyre. Rated for more load. More tread for general riding conditions



ED11F

Serious Off Road Tyre



M25F

Thick Mud Tyre

More information is available about tyres and tyre pressures here