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Motorcycle Tires Buying Guide

Is it time to buy new motorcycle tires? How do you even know when you need to? Many riders ignore the signals. Midwest Traction has a list of things to look for below. 

When is it Time for New Motorcycle Tire?

If the back end of your bike feels a little looser than normal or something just doesn’t feel right, peak at your treads. If it's worn to the wear bars, it's time to replace them. You've only got 1/32 inches of tread left. Another easy way to test tread depth is to insert a penny into a groove in the center of your tire. The distance between the edge of the penny to the top of Abe's head is how deep your tread should be. Anything less than that means it's time to replace those tires.  

What Type to Choose?

Determine the tire size for your bike. The owner’s manual should specify: radial or bias construction, tube-type or tubeless, load range, and speed index. 

This info can also be found on the sidewall of your tires, though. The diagrams below contain detailed information, but for a more detailed view, feel free to skim our Guide to Reading the Sidewall.  

Read the Sidewall

motorcycle tire sidewall

motorcycle tire size guide

motorcycle speed ratings and load indexes

Once you have the size determined, examine your riding style.

OEM Tires
These are created as the standard; they generally come with your bike in the stock settings. If you need specialized tires, plan accordingly, and view our suggestions below.

Street Tires 
Wider profile creates more contact with the road. All street-legal (DOT-Approved) motorcycle tires are speed-rated for posted speed limits nationwide. Our favorite street tires: Dunlop GPR-300 Sportmax or the Avon VP2 Super Sport.

Racing Tires
If you’re interested competition, these tires have more of a triangular profile for enhanced cornering capabilities.Check out the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP or the Michelin Power Supersport 2CT.

Off-Road Tires
With a more aggressive tread, you’ll want to monitor these more closely than leaving them until there's 1/32 inch tread depth left. For off-roading, try a Cheng Shin C755

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