Tyre Tech Talk – September 2020 - RideFast Magazine
by Bruce de Kock, Owner of Bike Tyre Warehouse
Chances are good that you will need to refer back to this feature every once in a while. There is a lot of info, but it is important – and relevant, no matter what bike you ride.
The basics of reading a tyre
Wow! Provinces are open and the sun is shining. Riders are getting back onto their bikes in full force to hit the countryside and enjoy the open road. If you have been off your bike for a while, make sure that you give it a good scrutinising when you are dusting it off in the garage.
Critical is to check your tyres if your bike has been standing for the last 6 months. If you’re not sure about the condition of your tyres, pop into a reputable motorcycle tyre fitment centre and have them checked out.
The Bike Tyre Warehouse Fitment Centre Group will give them a free inspection and check you have the correct specification tyres for your bike as well as the correct tyre pressures before you head off into the sunrise or sunset.
If you need new rubber, here is a very basic guide to reading a tyre. It is important for you to take the time to run through this content as it will assist you in making the correct choice by that I mean not the brand of tyre but the type of tyre specific to your bike and your bikes requirement which could – essentially save your life.
We can’t tell you the number of times that riders come in with issues concerning road handling, road noise, tyre life etc – and it is usually because they have fitted the incorrect tyre/s to their bikes, 90% of the time due to ignorance about the basics of motorcycle tyres.
HOW TO READ A TYRE’S MARKINGS
- Tubeless: No tube is used, when mounted on a tubeless rim; abbreviated “TL”
- Rear: Direction of rotation for rear tyre, indicated by an arrow on the tire sidewall
- Michelin: Tire manufacturer
- Load index: For example, 73 corresponds to a load of 805 pounds (365kg) per tyre
- Pilot Power 3: The tyre’s model name
- Nominal section width of the tyre, expressed in millimetres
- Aspect ratio, the sidewall height as a proportion of the tyre width
- R: Radial construction
- Bead-seat diameter of the wheel, expressed in inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
Let’s kick off with the tyres LOAD INDEX (4) which is a numerical code associated with the maximum load that a tyre can carry at the speed indicated by its Speed Symbol under service conditions specified by the tyre manufacturer.
This is important, and more especially so if you are carrying more than just the weight of the bike and yourself. Loading your panniers, the wife’s kitchen sink, pillion etc. all has a dramatic effect on the tyres capability to do what it needs to under load.
Again the amount of times bikes come in with tyres that are totally incapable of carrying a load, sport touring heavy weight motorcycles especially. The table below is self-explanatory so have a look see and check that the tyres you have on your bike are the correct load index.