If you ask around about what can be called a high-tech element in a motorcycle, then the majority of votes will be divided between the engine, the gearbox and, perhaps, the on-board computer. Not many will remember how much work engineers and designers put into the development of an ideal motor rubber. But rubber manufacturers are a separate universe in which there is a war for quality and where everything is decided by participation in the same road races.
Agree, it’s not easy to become a champion in a short or long distance race if bricks are tied to your feet instead of comfortable sneakers. For athletes, success depends on footwork; for motorcycles, it depends on the adhesion of the tire to the road surface.
Before delving into the peculiarities of tire grip, let’s look at what motor tires are.
Motorized rubber consists of:
- Power section, aka stiffness frame
- Breaker, the connecting part between the carcass and the tread
- Edge / side, aka edging
In fact, the structure of the tire has a much higher ply structure and the more technologically advanced the rubber, the more complex and more ply structure in it.
The stiffening framework gives the required elastic shape; it can have a different structure of fibers from polymers to steel filaments. In any case, the bedding materials used are denoted by the term cord. The construction designation of the tire depends on how the cords are applied to the carcass:
- Radial – when the cords lie parallel to each other within the ply structure. Then in the designations on the side of the tire, look for the “R” – Radial icon. They are a little noisy compared to others, but they are the most tenacious.
- Diagonally belted – when inside the layers the cord goes cross to cross, but in the middle there is a separate layer directed along the direction of rotation. Steell or steel belted is a direct indication of the presence of a metal encircling layer.
- Diagonal – the cord inside is crosswise, cross to cross from one boat to another side, without additional layers. In this case, the index on the tire will be “B”. These tires are less noisy and take side impacts more calmly, for which the kings of off-roading fell in love.
The stratification of the cord ends with a separate layer – a tread. The tread pattern is not a design move, not at all. The relief of rubber has its own functionality. Each pattern, the number of channels, affects the level of traction, hydroscopic properties. The level of tread softness is also seriously considered by engineers, as tire wear depends on it. Each type of motorcycle has its own type of tread so that the motorcycle will perform its tasks in the best possible way. It is logical that if instead of mud rubber on the enduro you put track from the sport, then you will not get far. For the same reason, riding on cross-country tires will not please your bike on asphalt surfaces.
We will consider the types of protectors in a separate pack.
If you pay attention to the rubber bead that attaches the tire to the rim, you will notice that the bead is softer on tube tires than on tubeless ones. The presence of a chamber with air gives the tire itself in working condition additional elasticity. On tube tires, look for a clue in the form of the inscription “Tube Type” or TT. And since the space in tubeless tires is empty, it must be compensated for by the greater rigidity of the tire itself, hence the reinforced sides. Tubeless tires will be labeled “Tubeless” or TL.
If on the road you need to replace tube rubber with tubeless, you should mentally prepare for the fact that much more effort will be required due to the additional rigidity of the latter.