Practical guides – Motorcycle tires: practical advice for riding well –

Motorcycle tires: practical advice for driving well

Practical guides - Motorcycle tires: practical advice for riding well -

Too often neglected by motorcyclists, the tire supports substantial constraints which vary according to the use and the type of machine. What should you know about this single point of contact between the motorcycle and the ground? ? Answers and advice Site.

Solicited for guidance, braking, grip, power transmission and to a lesser extent damping, the motorcycle tire must offer a multitude of compromises adapted to driving styles, to the loads carried, to the road conditions and the weather … while being the only point of contact between the motorcycle and the road !

However, on a sports envelope, the size of this single zone of contact with the ground represents the equivalent of a credit card! There are therefore many constraints imposed on tire manufacturers to find the best harmony between grip, comfort and longevity….

Thanks to discoveries on the materials that make up a tire (natural or synthetic rubber, silica, wax, nylon, carbon black, polyester, etc.) and to the use of technologies from competition such as multi-rubber, with aramid or kevlar or controlled carcass deformations, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Michelin, Metzeler, Dunlop, Avon or Continental are able to meet most of our requirements.

However, despite their importance in the dynamic behavior of a motorcycle and the safety of the rider, tires do not always receive the attention they deserve: in the United Kingdom, for example, a study by the organization TyreSafe notes a 28% increase in 2008 "in the number of motorcycles involved in an accident where defective, under-inflated or unapproved tires were a contributing factor…

To prevent inattention from leading to irreparable damage, Site goes back to the fundamentals of motorcycle tires and lists the main points to check throughout the year to prevent a departure to work or a Sunday walk. end in … sausage water !

Respect the original dimensions

Highly technological, a tire must first correspond to the technical characteristics of the motorcycle: obvious, certainly, but that who has never seen an assembly defying common sense (tire dimensions not adapted to the rim, mixture of structures diagonal and radial, etc.) throws us the first eraser !

In addition to the mounts recommended by the manufacturers, it is possible to equip your machine with tires of different brands and vocations. Choosing more sporty compounds to improve the dynamic potential of a roadster or a roadster is perfectly legal … provided that the approvals, the dimensions (width, height of the sidewall and size) and the constraints (weight and maximum speeds in particular) are respected. ) displayed on the sidewalls of the tires (see the diagram above).

Do not hesitate to get information from an assembly specialist or directly on the websites of tire manufacturers before confirming an uncertain choice: in the event of an accident with an inadequate or unapproved tire on an open road (100% racing envelope, for example), your insurer may rely on this non-compliance not to reimburse the damage !

This is why dealerships and tire specialists now refuse to fit envelopes that differ from the original dimensions, for fear that the user will turn against them in the event of a problem. This point is particularly delicate for old or vintage motorcycles, whose tires require dimensions that are sometimes difficult to find in a market monopolized by the 120/70/17 or 120/60/17 before and the 180/55/17 or 190 / 50/17 rear…

A little pressure for the road ?

Due to the permeability of a tire (air leaks through the rubber), the tire naturally tends to deflate slightly, even if manufacturers coat the inside with a waterproofing layer that minimizes this phenomenon..

What there is to know…

  • Surprise check. Before each departure, check the wear and carefully inspect your tires to track down impacts or possible damage: a point can sometimes be sufficiently waterproof to hide a so-called "slow" puncture..
  • Break-in. To remove it more easily from its mold during its manufacture, the tire is covered with a lubricating film (paraffin). New tires must therefore be run in for 100 to 200 km to avoid a sudden slip. !
  • Radial or diagonal ? In a diagonal casing, the threads embedded in the rubber, which represent the structure of the tire, are at an angle and run from one edge of the tire to the other. In a radial carcass, they are wrapped around the tire like a large spool. At high speed, a radial casing heats less and deforms less .
  • Second line. Newer tires are expensive due to their high degree of technology. This is why most manufacturers keep casings from the previous generation (called "second", or even "third line"), less expensive and often sufficient for current use..
  • Heat Marcel ! Whatever their technology, the tires must reach a certain temperature to offer a decent grip: take the time to heat them up for several kilometers (by accelerating and braking harder and harder) before putting out a trapper brake. or a maximum angle socket !
  • Rolling tire does not collect foam… The anti-puncture kits do not repair a punctured tire, they simply make it possible to plug a small leak while waiting to reach – at moderate speed – a garage which will repair (or not, depending on the case) the tire..

These "natural" leaks, which are more pronounced in hot weather, require checking the pressure at least once a month or before every big trip. Too often neglected, this very simple check is nevertheless essential: insufficient pressure causes premature tire wear and increased fuel consumption, as well as lower top speed and less precise directional control..

In addition, underinflation can be dangerous in extreme cases: on a heavy and heavily loaded motorcycle at high speed, too low pressure can cause a risk of explosion! Conversely, over-inflation, which reduces the surface area of ​​the tire in contact with the road, makes the motorcycle more unstable and less comfortable: the steering phenomena, for example, are amplified by excessive pressure.

Communicated on the user manual or on the stickers affixed to the swingarm or chain cover of most motorcycles, the pressures recommended by the manufacturer are often around 2.5 bars at the front and 2 , 9 bars at the rear. You can also write them down once and for all on a medium that you always have with you: phone, keys, etc..

Adapted to all situations (solo, duo, road, highway, with or without luggage, etc.), these pressures can obviously be adapted to the pilot and his driving style. A roadster or sportswoman driver who never does a duo and motorway can thus allow himself a slightly lower pressure to improve the work of deformation of the tire and therefore gain grip … but within reasonable limits (0 , 3 bar max) and on condition that you check regularly !

As far as possible, this check is carried out on cold tires: on heating, the pressure inside the tire increases, thereby distorting the data displayed by the pressure gauge. The hot pressure must therefore be approximately 0.3 bar higher than that recommended when cold and to avoid unpleasant surprises, never deflate a hot tire which could appear falsely over-inflated. Finally, after carrying out these checks, do not forget to put back the valve cap which ensures the seal in addition to the valve core. !

Watch out for wear indicators !

What there is to know…

  • Coke in stock. When storing, avoid crushing the tires under other objects and prefer a dry, dark and ventilated room where the temperature does not exceed 25 ° C. Direct contact with radiators, heat sources or an electric motor must be prohibited to avoid premature tire aging..
  • Interview. Prolonged contact with oil or gasoline is obviously harmful for the rubber: thoroughly clean any oil or gasoline spills with a clean cloth in the place where the motorcycle is parked..
  • On circuit. To increase grip, the organizers of circuit days recommend lowering the pressure (often 2.1 bars at the front and 1.9 at the rear). Be careful during the first laps, because the bike will present different reactions: the liveliness will be affected and the feeling of the front may differ. Also, remember to re-inflate your tires (cold) after the day is over. !
  • Tubeless or not Tubeless ? As its name suggests, a "tubeless" tire does not have an inner tube: the air is blown directly inside the casing and it is the lip of the tire against the rim which ensures the seal. . When replacing a tubeless tire, also replace the valve as the valve bodies of tubeless rims are made of rubber which hardens and ages. Finally, do not mount a tubeless tire on a tubeless rim, otherwise the inner tube will tear..

Despite the progress made in longevity, a motorcycle tire wears naturally due to the abrasion of the rubber against the road, to which are added the physical stresses caused by braking, acceleration and the presence or absence of suitcases or passenger.

This "normal" wear can nevertheless be amplified by mechanical faults: warped wheels, worn shock absorbers, excessive play in the steering column, misalignment of the frame and the wheel or poor tire balance. To keep your tires in good condition as long as possible, maintaining and having your two-wheelers properly maintained is therefore of paramount importance. !

Different according to the case (type of rubber, handling, roads taken, etc.), the wear can be checked via the warning lights located in the main furrows or the treads, indicated by the TWI inscriptions on the sidewall of the tire. When the height of the rubber reaches the level of these bumps, the tires must be changed because the grip is no longer sufficient, especially on wet roads where the tread patterns play an essential role in water drainage..

In addition, driving with tires below the wear limit is an offense resulting in a 4th class fine (fine reduced by 90 euros or lump sum of 135 euros), or even immobilization of the vehicle by the police. a bit zealous…

To avoid these inconveniences, it is therefore advisable to pay a minimum of attention to the aging of these "expensive" (often in both senses of the term!) Sausages !

Finally, to choose your next fit, find all the tire news, the latest technologies, dimensions, prices and tests Site in our !

File produced by Alexandre BARDIN

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *