This Article is About
motorcycle tires
proper tire inflation
aftermarket tires
motorcycle tire
tire construction
adrenaline rush
Fast Motorcycle Tires - Does It Come Down To More Than Motorcycle Tire Construction?
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Fast Motorcycle Tires    -    Does it Come Down to More Than Motorcycle Tire Construction?

Since the invention of the rubber tire, manufacturers have literally been trying to "reinvent the wheel". Well thanks to technology they have been able to do so with increasing proficiency. Once upon a time "going fast" was reserved for race vehicles/teams or those owning high end vehicles (i.e. those with money to spare). However, with new materials and cheaper production processes fast tires are now within the reach of the weekend mechanic looking to go faster for their hard earned "extra" pennies. The question is are great tires all there is to going fast? I'm far from an "expert" however, I have been around long enough to learn a few things about motorcycle tire construction, ratings and most important, "The basics".

The basics, which is what we're going to talk about today, are inflation, compounds, suspension and environment plus plain ole skill can be the equation you need to go faster....safer. I will be writing more in depth articles about each of these basics but it is important to mention them all briefly today. After all, if you pay attention to the basics then your inner "speed freak" will live to fly another day. Everyone has the need for speed in some way shape or form. My adrenaline rush comes from riding motorcycles sometimes as fast as I can get them to go and I do my best to do it as safely as I possibly can. But, IN NO WAY DO I PROMOTE THE BREAKING OF ANY SPEED LAWS.....(that's my story and I'm sticking to it. *wink*).

The first basic is proper tire "inflation". Improper tire inflation affects the bikes handling and response. Milliseconds are the difference between life and death on a motorcycle. So take a minute BEFORE each ride (while tires are cold) to make sure of the proper inflation whether you plan to blast out or not. Check your manufacturers manual for proper inflation specs. If you have aftermarket tires then refer to your tire sidewall or check online.

"Compounds" are closely related to the materials that the tires are made of but it's better described as the density of the material (hard vs. soft). Manufacturers have made remarkable advances to produce tires from many materials, incorporated with rubber, to make them more efficient on fuel, economical and yes, faster. The wrong compound for the ride can make it a short painful one. Generally dual compound tires, hard in the middle (for straight speed) and softer on the outsides ("grippier" in the "twisties") work best on almost any motorcycle. Think of it like this, a rock will skip across concrete really fast depending on how hard you throw it. However, no matter how hard you throw a wet sponge at the same angle, it's going to stick to the concrete. So which would you want on the straights or when "going in hot" on a 25mph rated curve?.......Yeah exactly, BOTH.

That leads us to "suspension" and "environment". Please do not go all out with new equipment or on a road you are unfamiliar with!!! I've seen it all from catastrophic fork and/or swing arm failure to uninformed riders drifting into oncoming traffic because they misjudged the sharpness of a curve. Trust me when I tell ya that I know the adrenaline rush from concurring an unknown road at the top of the "idiots scale". It's intoxicating but that should be the exception not the rule. There is a huge difference between being an "adrenaline junkie" and a "speed freak". Once in 1999 a fellow rider explained to me that he was falling behind the group because, "I'm not from here so I don't know the pitfalls of your roads. Also my bikes suspension is set up for tricks so when I get close to 100mph the front shakes uncontrollably". He was smart enough to risk getting lost vs. risk losing his life trying to keep up with us. As far as environment is concerned, look ahead for potential hazards (pot holes, gravel, ground temp, other vehicles etc) and commit them to memory. Even professional racers walk the track themselves before a day of racing. This is not something you want to delegate to someone else. Also look through turns as far as possible. There is no shame in letting up on the throttle when you can't see what's coming.

Finally, I'm all for pushing your skill level whenever possible. The only way to go fast is to go faster the next time. But DO NOT JUMP SKILL LEVELS. Be truthful with yourself about your limitations and do not try to keep up with a group that are obviously more advanced. Push yourself slowly to improve your speed whether it's straight or in the twisties. New riders can't ride behind me because I refuse to be responsible for them trying to follow me into a turn hot that I know the break points, debris factors, ground temp etc etc in order to successfully navigate through it. THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS TO SKILL!!! The more you ride the faster you will get.

So what have we learned? Fast tires are a small factor in going fast but they're safer and more affordable than ever, proper tires and suspension are imperative, general knowledge of the surrounding environment can save your life and NEVER try to be a stronger rider by following a stronger rider that is far greater advanced than you are.

Until next time, LET YOUR SPEED FREAK LOOSE ON THE WORLD!!!

Note: Motorcycles vary in shapes, sizes, power and many other ways. THERE IS NO CLEAR CUT SOLUTION TO GOING FASTER! Whatever your riding preferences, find a certified mechanic before making any adjustments that will affect your machines safety and performance. Inflation ratings are suggested for max load. For more on inflation, suspension and safety checks before riding, more articles are soon to come.


Street Talk

I liked riding dirt bikes when I was younger. I know a lot of people that ride. How fast have you driven a motorcycle?

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yeah I enjoyed dirt bikes also. Gonna take my 16yo daughter to a dirt bike camp soon. I've gone faster than 160mph although I can't tell you how much faster. I found that is was in my best interest to keep my eyes on the road in front of me rather than the speedometer. lol I can tell you one thing, those broken lines get very solid at those speeds. Thx for the read, follow and your comment.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Kymee  

Don't ride for speed I am a chicken and accident prone, ; O) but I know there are a lot of people do and this is great info. God bless Kymee

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Cena  

Great article. Provide important info to riders!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thx Cena

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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