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Motor tires – what’s the difference with a tire?

To be honest, the stereotype has long lived that a motorcycle tire is the same rubber as a car tire, only narrow. They are usually judged by the similarity of the tread functionality, they say the same “herringbone” performs similar functions on a motorcycle. There were even homebrew customizers who, with a clever look, offered to put a car tire on their self-made motorcycle with the rear wheel. But everything is not so simple here. The motorcycle has a number of features that radically change the way we look at rubber.

– What is the main difference between a motorcycle tire and a car tire?

– If someone said “it is round” – take a pie from the shelf, you honestly deserve it.

The fundamental difference between one rubber and another is the shape that forms the working plane. A motorcycle tire isn’t just narrow, it’s round! Car tires are flat because they have no side work surfaces. The motorcycle enters a turn not so much by turning the steering wheel, but by tilting the body, the contact patch is located on the lateral plane.

Imagine if you have even one wheel on your motorcycle on car tires, then your ride will become like riding with a railway carriage tied to you, which can only turn in a rut, but not bend over.

If we go back to the story with home-grown customizers, who saw a wide wheelbase on top-end models and remembered that an old tire from the “check” was collecting dust in the garage for a long time … farther? The motorcycle turns, roughly, into a “felt boot”, because with the first wheel you can turn as much as you like and try to tilt, but the rear wheel will be completely indifferent to such maneuvers. Take a closer look, on any heavyweight tires will be rounded, since we are talking about the convenience of maneuvering in a turn.


The second difference from car tires is the direction of the tread. You know that directional tires always have arrows to set the tires correctly. But, surprisingly, there are still people who put the rubber on without looking at the instructions, but guided by the logic that on car tires, drainage grooves are obliged, for the most part, to drain water from the center to the edge. And they put both wheels in the same direction when the manufacturer clearly indicates that the tread should be different.

The essence of such shenanigans lies in the separation of powers of the front and rear wheels. The direction of the drainage grooves affects the distribution of moisture under the wheel. If moisture does not have time to leave and collects in front of the tire while driving, then this leads to aquaplaning, which those who have just heard of it are very afraid. The rear wheel carries the power transfer load, so a water wedge should not interfere with its grip. Hence the common principle of installation like on a car. But the front wheel is responsible for braking and its work will be more efficient when the tread is in the other direction and accepts resistance from the road and even aquaplaning, because its task is not to transfer energy, but to extinguish it in braking. Therefore, contrary to automotive logic, manufacturers often recommend installing patterns in opposite directions.

This is not a tricky conclusion: do not argue with the manufacturer, put the rubber the way it should be done. Motor tires are significantly different in their design, although they are similar in functionality to the tread pattern.

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