The things in life that separate you from the ground tend to be the most important. In the case of motorcycles, it’s motorcycle tires that are the most important component on your bike.
It’s the front tire and rear tire that connect your bike to the road below. Without a proper set of motorcycle tires, it doesn’t matter how powerful your engine is or how effective your brakes are, you’re not going to have a proper ride.
All of the action of your motorbike starts with the tires. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the best motorcycle tires for your bike that you can afford.
Without a quality set of tires, your riding experience will suffer. You also won’t be as safe on the road as you could be, something you don’t want to take a risk with.
In this post, we put together a list of the best motorcycle tires for most bikes, riding conditions, and budgets. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ. Otherwise, let’s jump right into it!
The Best Motorcycle Tires
Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT (Best Motorcycle Tires Overall)
The Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT’s are some of the best motorcycle tires around. These are used by people that take riding seriously and are looking for the best possible experience.
Those of you that spend most of your time predominantly street riding will definitely want to check out these tires. The Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT’s are a high-quality tire suited to wet and dry conditions. Many people have rated these tires as some of the best they’ve used for wet weather and rainy riding conditions.
Coming from Michelin, the PIlot Road 4 is the most popular motorcycle tire for road use currently available. Most of you will find this to be a great choice for all of your street-riding needs.
When it comes to breaking on wet surfaces, this tire provides incredible versatility and longevity. Thanks to the technology behind Michelin tires, this set boasts a 17% shorter braking time on wet surfaces compared to the competition.
As for longevity, many people have gotten upwards of 15,000 to 20,000 miles from a set of these Michelin Pilots. That’s an incredible amount of mileage, considering many tires won’t even get half of that before needing to be replaced.
These tires grip amazingly on all street surfaces, provide riders with a comfortable ride, and are likely to last you more than one riding season. Despite the higher price, these are definitely some of the best motorcycle tires around for most riders.
Overall, it’s the Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT Tires that we would recommend if you’re spending most of your time writing on the street. These offer the longest tread life in their class, a dependable grid in challenging conditions, and superior wet weather performance. All of these features along with hundreds of great reviews make this set the best motorcycle tire for most riders.
Continental Motion Tire Set
Up next we have the Continental Motion Tire Set as our second recommendation if you’re looking for a quality set of tires. These are a great choice from Continental, a tire manufacturer with a reputation for their excellent line of motorcycle tires.
If you’re on a budget and looking to replace your current tires, the Continental Motion Tire Set is an affordable replacement. Both the front and rear tires are well-reviewed and are a great choice for street riding or light touring.
When it comes to longevity, many people have experienced up to 5,000 miles from the rear tire. The front tire is capable of up to 10,000 miles before needing to be replaced. Many of you might not even ride this much in a season, making these a great option if you’re looking for affordable motorcycle tires.
Designed as a sport touring tire, these provide impressive grip in both wet and dry conditions. You’ll feel upright and planted on the road whether you’re riding on poor quality pavement or through a rainstorm.
Each of the tires uses a formulated volume or compound with a modern force oriented tread pattern. This is what helps to provide a decent longevity along with a great grip in most riding conditions.
Some people have complained that the tires don’t provide enough grip in cold weather riding. Always make sure to warm up your tires if you’re riding in colder temperatures before taking on any adventurous roads.
Overall, the Continental Motion Tire Set are what we would recommend if you’re in the market for the best cheap motorcycle tires. This is an affordable set of tires that can be confidently used in a wide range of riding conditions and weather patterns.
Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra (Best Cruiser Motorcycle Tires For Touring)
If you’re looking for the best cruiser motorcycle tires, it’s the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra that we would recommend. Those of you with cruisers will find this to be a great choice, especially if you’re spending a lot of time touring in various weather conditions and road environments.
While it doesn’t command the same premium as Michelin, Continental, or Pirelli, Metzeler stands as a popular motorcycle tire manufacturer. Their tires are typically well-reviewed for their durability and positive riding experience factors.
Lately, the tread pattern of the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra has been vastly redesigned and improved. This has allowed the tires to provide better water drainage, which enables them to perform better, handle better, and break better on wet pavement.
These improvements have also made the tire perform better at high or low speeds. Riders won’t experience any issues with handling or stability, regardless of their riding conditions.
One of the most surprising features of the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra is their longevity. Many riders have claimed up to 15,000 miles for the rear tire, with the front tire greatly exceeding that.
Despite a higher price, the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra is definitely worth it if you’re looking for a high-quality and durable motorcycle. Don’t forget that included in the price you’re able to enjoy a high mileage and superior longevity compared to other brands and models.
Those of you with cruisers will definitely want to check out the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra Tires. These are great choice if you’re looking for durability, longevity, and a great riding experience.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tire Set (Best Sportbike Tires)
The Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tire Set stands as our top recommendation as the best street bike tires. If you’re browsing sportbike tire reviews, look no further than these amazing Pirelli’s.
When it comes to street riding, you probably want something grippy and soft. This helps keep you planted on the road while offering plenty of control and stability in the corners.
You can definitely find this with the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tire Set. On their own they can be rather expensive, but this set is a convenient and affordable option to upgrade the current tires on your bike.
From Pirelli themselves, they have promised that the profile design of the tires helps with added agility, great tire response, and more confidence in quick turns and transitions. They also come equipped with a bi-compund strip, yet another feature that helps to improve grip and control on the road.
Everything put together results in a tire with a W rating making it safe to use at speeds up to 168MPH. This means you can rip on the straight with your sportbike while enjoying superior grip and handling in the twisties. There’s a reason these come stock on some motorcycles.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best sport bike tires, it’s the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tire Set that we would definitely recommend. These are great choice of tires that are well-designed and offer amazing value for the price.
Shinko 777 Cruiser Tire (Best Cruiser Motorcycle Tires Overall)
If you’re in the market for the best and longest lasting cruiser motorcycle tire, it’s the Shinko 777 Cruiser Tire that we would recommend. This tire has been specifically designed for cruisers and is a great choice for those of you on V-Twin and metric cruiser bikes.
When it comes to longevity, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a longer-lasting cruiser motorcycle tire than the Shinko 777 Cruiser Tire. The durability and design results in a higher mileage tire that can handle heavier load capacities without wearing out as quickly.
Some riders have claimed up to 10,000 miles from the rear tire. This is impressive, especially given to the heavier weights and more straight-line riding that most cruiser tires have to deal with.
There’s always the option to go to the dark side with motorcycle tires. In this case, you’ll enjoy a safer ride and better handling experience with the Shinko 777 Cruiser Tire on the rear.
Overall, it’s the Shinko 777 Cruiser Tire if you’re looking for a rear tire that provides an incredible grip and stability in all street riding conditions. For the price, you won’t find a better cruiser tire for longevity, handling, and control on the road.
Michelin Commander II Cruiser Tire (Best Harley Tires)
The Michelin Commander II Cruiser stands as one of the best Harley tires. In this case, our recommendation would be for the rear tire. Don’t forget to match the Michelin Commander II Cruiser rear with the front if you’re upgrading both of your tires.
What makes this one of the best are the combined features of longevity, stability, and handling. This is what you want to look for when you’re shopping for the best Harley tires for your bike.
When it comes to longevity, the Michelin Commander II Cruiser is well known for being one of the longest lasting cruiser tires. This means you’ll be able to enjoy a lot more miles without having to spend more time and money at the shop. Michelin themselves state that this rear tire will last almost twice as long as its main competitors.
As for handling, there is no compromise with stability and maneuverability with this tire. The high density and stiffer frame helps to provide riders with premium handling, better responsiveness, and an impressive longevity of tire life.
When you’re riding on wet surfaces, this tire continues to provide an excellent grip and stability. This is thanks to the new longitudinal thread that provides outstanding water evacuation while helping you maintain your position on the road.
Overall, the Michelin Commander II Cruiser tire would be our recommendation as one of their best Harley tires and a great set of cruiser tires as well. When it comes to stability, handling, grip, and longevity, it’s hard to find a better tire than the Michelin Commander II Cruiser.
Best Motorcycle Tires Buying Guide
After going through our list of recommendations, you probably have a better idea of the tires you want for your bike. If you’re still having trouble deciding, we put together this helpful buying guide.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the different features for you to keep an eye out for when you’re searching for the best motorcycle tires. This way you’ll be the most prepared and ready to find the right set for your bike.
Features to Consider When Shopping For Motorcycle Tires
If you’re on a tight budget, or you’re just looking to save money, it’s a good idea to look for tires that are sold in a set. These sets include both of the front and rear tires.
Having the tires match on your bike can help with handling and stability on the road. It can also improve the overall aesthetic look of your bike, as opposed to having mismatching tires.
Generally, you can save up to 30% on both tires by buying them in a set. While your front might not need replacing immediately, picking up the set can save you money and you can always install it at a later time.
Mileage and Longevity
The problem with buying cheap motorcycle tires is that it costs you more in the long run. They don’t last as long and need to be replaced more often, which takes money out of your pocket.
Premium tires take advantage of multi compound designs. They come equipped with a strip of harder wearing material down the middle where there is the most contact with the road. This helps to make them last longer and offer better mileage.
While it’s more expensive upfront, better quality tires will save you money over time. You won’t need to spend double the amount to get a tire that will last you double the mileage.
Every tire has a specific speed rating that’s represented by a letter. The three most common letters you’ll see are H, V, and W.
H has a maximum speed rating of 130MPH. V has a maximum speed rating of 149MPH. W has a maximum speed rating of 168MPH.
This speed rating needs to be followed at all times. Not following the rating can result in a blowout or other dangerous conditions you don’t want to experience when you’re on the bike.
The tread design on a tire can give you a good idea of where the tire should be used and its handling characteristics. For off-road riding, look for a deep, aggressive tread.
Sports bike tires will have a low profile tread. Keep an eye out for treads designed for tackling water build up if you ride in the rain regularly.
Tube vs Tubeless Tires
Most riders won’t really have a choice when it comes to the tube vs. tubeless debate. It ultimately depends on the style of wheel that’s already mounted on your motorcycle.
Those of you with bikes already set up for a tubeless tire can’t just switch to a tube tire. It doesn’t work this way and there is an expensive and extensive process to convert the tire type.
The type that your bike already comes with is probably the best type for it. There’s a reason why the manufacturer put that style of tire on the bike you’re riding.
Tubeless tires are mostly found on speed bikes, road bikes, touring bikes, and other types of bikes that reach higher speeds. This is a safety feature that prevents a catastrophic accident or injury if the tire happens to blow out on the highway.
Tires with a tube are typically found on bikes that are used off road or in dual-sport purposes. These are easy to repair with a spare tube, tools, or repair kit.
Radial vs Bias
There are two different methods of tire construction – radial and bias. Despite that, every motorcycle tire has cords, usually made of steel, that run through the length of the tire and give it strength.
With radial tires, the cords run from bead to bead. They run in straight bands through the tire. With a bias tire, the cords run at an angle.
Radial tires have better heat disposition and softer side walls. This makes them a great choice for sport bikes and riders spending a lot of time on the street, hitting corners, and exploring different road conditions.
Bias tires provide a more solid ride and are stiffer. This makes them better for cruiser motorcycles and Harley Davidsons.
Reading a Motorcycle Tire Sidewall
There is a lot of information on the sidewall of a tire. This information can be read through the code of numbers and letters.
When you’re shopping for tires, you’ll regularly come across a set of numbers that looks like this:
- 120/70 – 16 67 H
Each of these numbers and letters refers to different aspects of the tire size. It’s important to know all of them so that you can pick the right tire in the correct size.
The 120, or the first number, is the width across the tire tread. This is usually measured in millimetres.
The second number you see is the aspect ratio. This is usually measured in a percentage. The number is a measurement of the size of the side wall compared to the width of the tire. In our example, the 70 means the sidewall is 70% the width of the tire.
The next number would be the size of the rim in inches. In our example, the tire is made for a 16-inch rim Trinidad
Next up would be the load rating. The number refers to the load Index. This information can be found online. In our example, the number 67 relates to a load index of 661lbs. This is the maximum amount of weight that can be put on this tire.
Finally, the speed rating is provided and given as a letter. Lists of speed ratings can be easily found online. In our example, H would have a maximum speed of 130MPH.
What Are the Best Motorcycle Tire Brands?
With so many different tire brands on the market today, how do you know which are the best motorcycle tire brands? It’s easy – just look at the big players that you’re most familiar with both online and offline.
This would mean that brands like Continental, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Dunlop, and Metzeler are all great motorcycle tire brands that can be trusted. These are companies well known for making top quality tires that people use around the world.
If you’re ever unsure about a brand, don’t hesitate to read reviews online. There is always plenty of information to be found that can help you find the right tire.
Choosing the Right Motorcycle Tires For Your Bike
Your riding style, local riding conditions, and where you’re planning to take your bike all needs to be considered when you’re searching for the best motorcycle tires. There’s also your own budget that you need to worry about.
With this information in mind, you’ll be able to determine what tire you need to buy. There are a number of different categories of bikes to choose from and it’s important to find the right tires to match them.
These categories would include street, cruiser, dual sport, and dirt bikes.
Cruisers are typically designed for long distance rides. With a cruiser, you’ll want a set of thick tires that won’t be easily worn out.
The thread pattern should be one that provides ample grip on pavement in a variety of different conditions. When it comes to the best tires for cruisers, you’ll want to keep an eye out for bias-ply tires.
Bias-ply tires are reinforced with plies. This gives the tire better stability and rough road conditions.
It’s also possible to use radial tires, depending on where you’re riding. These can provide better traction, although they last as long before needing to be replaced.
Another problem with radial tires is that they aren’t as comfortable to use. That’s why, for cruisers, the best option is to go with bias-ply tires.
Dual Sport Motorcycles
Dual sport bikes are designed to cover a wide range of different terrains. They’re a practical choice for city riding while still being ideal for off road conditions.
When it comes to finding the best dual sport tires, this can be a difficult process. Ultimately, it depends on where you spend most of your time riding and whether you’re looking for something street or dirt oriented.
When you’re looking at tires, you’ve probably noticed that there is a ratio for street vs off road. This tells you how the tire performs in each different condition depending on the terrain.
Riders that spend most of their time offroad will want to look for a tire with a higher off-road vs street ratio. On the other hand, those that spend most of their time on road will want to look for a more street oriented tire.
Most riders on sport bikes won’t be riding long distances. Instead, they’ll be looking for tires that offer optimal performance in dry road conditions.
For a sport bike, you’ll be looking for tires that are sturdy and durable. They’ll also need ample grip and the ability to withstand the higher temperatures generated at high speeds.
Keep an eye out for radial tires. These offer better responsiveness and increased stiffness for ample control on the road.
With a dirt bike you’ll be looking for off-road tires. While it’s OK to use these on the road sometimes, regular use will drastically increase the wear.
Look for tires that offer amazing grip in off-road conditions, typically found with knobbies. This means using radial tires with their rigid design that helps to provide better traction.
Best Motorcycle Tire FAQ
How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?
The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. This would include the tire quality, your type of motorcycle, how aggressively you ride, the weather, the conditions you’re riding in, and countless other things.
Generally speaking, most of the best motorcycle tires can expect up to 10,000 miles or more from a rear tire. Front tires can expect up to 15,000 miles or more.
Cruisers and sport bikes might see less mileage. Lighter bikes and touring motorcycles might see higher mileage. Take a look at the reviews to see what other riders have to say about how far their motorcycle tires go before needing to be replaced.
When Do Motorcycle Tires Need to be Replaced?
Checking your tires regularly is an important part of motorcycle maintenance. This is the best way to determine when your motorcycle tire needs to be replaced.
Start by looking for obvious damage to the tread or sidewalls. Keep an eye out for any bumps, bulges, cracks, or weak spots. Should you find any of these issues, start considering to replace the tire as soon as possible.
Tires also come with wear bars, which indicate it’s time for them to be replaced. Once you see the wear bars showing up, it’s a good idea to replace the tires as soon as possible.
The age of the tire also plays a role in when it needs to be replaced. It’s not a good idea to be riding on tires 10 years old or older. The rubber in the tire will start to degrade the older it gets, making it unsafe to ride with.
Lastly, keep an eye on the mileage you’re putting on a new tire. You can start checking the condition and wear bars once it reaches 5,000 miles.
Can Motorcycle Tires Be Repaired?
If the tire is cracking or if there is damage to the sidewall, it can’t be safety repaired. In this case, it’s a good idea to replace the tire or bring it to your local mechanic for a second opinion.
As a rider, you need to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth it to ride on a damaged tire. Only you can determine the risk when it comes to your own safety and comfort with your bike.
Can You Use a Rear Motorcycle Tire on the Front?
No, this is not a good idea. Rear and front motorcycle tires have different designs due to the different forces they experience while you’re riding.
For example, the front tire is designed to withstand the drag forces that are generated by applying the motorcycle brakes. The rear tire, on the other hand, is designed to withstand the forces generated from the motor.
Mixing the front and rear tires will dangerously affect the handling characteristics of your motorcycle and make it unsafe to ride. In some cases, it can be possible to switch the tires, although you’ll want to do your research beforehand.
Can You Reuse Old Tubes With a New Tire?
This is not recommended and a bad idea. Motorcycle tubes are subjected to wear and tear and break down as they age.
Just like with the tire, it’s important to replace the tubes if they become damaged or worn out. Any time the tire is replaced the tubes should be replaced as well.
Given the price of a new tube, why take a risk in reusing an old one. Always replace all of the components whenever you’re changing something out or upgrading on your bike.
What Size Tire Do You Need?
This information can be easily found in your motorcycle’s owner’s manual. You could also check the side of the current tire to find the right sizing.
If you’re still unsure, head to Google and search for the size that your motorcycle needs. This information should be readily available online. As a last resort, call the dealer or your local mechanic and they will be able to help you out.