Sport Touring Motorcycle Tyres
Every motorcycle rider knows as soon as they step into the world of motorised two-wheel travel that this is about far more than just travelling from A to B. For the vast majority of motorists, the car is a largely functional machine designed for convenience. Yes, there are aspirational brands but ultimately a car just gets you around.
Motorbikes are a different animal entirely. You can use them to commute or go shopping. But they also allow you to have adventures, whether on racing circuits or off-road trails, in competitions and trials. The motorcycle is as versatile as it is exciting, which is why there are so many different types of tyre, to help you get the best out of your machine, whatever you choose to do with it.
It’s arguable that your tyres are the most important feature of your motorcycle, regardless as to the type of riding you engage in. They are what determines your level of comfort, safety and performance. They’re the only parts of your motorcycle that come into contact with the road and, even then, there’s never more than a few square inches of rubber touching the ground. When you consider the incredible power and variety of the forces that act on them, you can understand how important it is to choose the right tyre for your activity.
What are Sport Touring Motorcycle Tyres?
Motorcycle touring takes you out onto the A roads, B roads and country lanes. You’ll cover long distances in wet and dry conditions, in the sun and the wind. You need a high-performance tyre to match. It may well have to cope with the additional weight of luggage and possibly even a passenger.
As the name suggests, sport touring tyres have a combination of the grip and profile you’d expect to find in a pure sports bike tyre with the durability, longevity and all-weather performance of a high-quality touring tyre. It is quick to warm up and resistant to the ravages of use.
The main difference between a sports tyre and a sport touring tyre is that the former is made from a compound designed for optimum grip but it will only perform at its best in certain conditions such as easily gripped terrain with no surface water.
Sport touring tyres provide very good grip in all conditions except the most extreme, which is when sports tyres are recommended. But for more general and varied situations, sport touring tyres will give you better mileage and excellent handling.
All the leading brands and many lesser-known manufacturers produce sport touring motorcycle tyres, from high-end names including Michelin and Pirelli to Bridgestone, Continental and Metzeler. Most producers offer several choices. They have sporty profiles, excellent edge grip and very robust compound central belts. There are also models specifically designed to meet the demands of larger tourers and motorcycles carrying heavy loads.
How to choose the best Sport Touring Motorcycle tyres for your usage
Sport touring tyres are intended as all-rounders but obviously have the edge over standard road tyres. They are ideal for commuters and those making routine journeys into and around towns and cities but they will come into their own when the rider leaves the built-up areas and heads out into the country.
There is an element of crossover where sport touring tyres meet adventure and sports models but remember that these two more specialist creations won’t be so effective on ordinary roads or as long lasting.
An otherwise good sport touring motorbike can be compromised by the wrong choice of tyre but pick the right one and you’ll get superb performance. Manufacturers tend to make sport touring tyres to match particular models of bike, either their own or those of preferred partners. However, this means there is a wide range of options with small variations between them, making it entirely practical to make minor adjustments to your bike’s road handling by changing to a tyre with a slight bias in a direction.
It can be complicated to find the perfect tyre for every individual and when it comes down to the finer distinctions, there’s really no substitute for the advice of an expert. However, you can make a very useful start by asking yourself some straightforward questions about how you intend to ride on your sport touring tyres.
Are you interested in fast road riding? If that’s one of your priorities, then a sports touring tyre is the choice for you. It warms up quickly, it will resist wear and tear very well and on a normal road surface its grip will be as strong as that of a sports tyre.
Do you plan to ride a sports motorbike both on the road and at track days? You’re looking at slightly different demands but you’re probably better off going for a sports tyre, if it is road legal. Make sure it is also sticky enough for the track.
Do you have a sports motorcycle but most of the time you use it for commuting and long-distance travel? If so, then you’ll get very decent performance as well as the best mileage out of a touring tyre.
Do you ride a large adventure motorcycle but have no plans to try off-roading? Choose a large adventure motorcycle touring tyre.
Are you likely to take your adventure motorcycle off-road, even occasionally? Even a sport touring tyre won’t be up to this sort of challenge – you’ll need an adventure tyre with a blocky tread and genuine off-road capability.
Sport Touring Motorcycle Tyre Load Index
This is a 2-digit numerical code you will find on the sidewall of the tyre. It tells you the maximum weight which the tyre can support. In order to calculate the appropriate load index, first find out the gross single axle load of your motorbike, which you’ll find in the owner’s manual. Divide that figure by 2 to find the maximum weight you need each tyre to support, then find the rating code that matches. For example, if the gross single axle load is 300kg, then you need two tyres which can bear 150kg each. The corresponding tyre rating is 42.
Sport Touring Motorcycle Tyre Speed Index
All motorcycle tyres are given an alphanumeric speed rating. If you inspect your tyres, you will see a letter immediately after the 2-digit load rating. This letter tells you the maximum speed the tyre can handle at its maximum load and maximum inflation.
Speeds are in miles per hour.
|Symbol||Max Speed (mph)||Symbol||Max Speed (mph)||Symbol||Max Speed (mph)|
|(W)||Over 169||Y||186||ZR||Over 149|
We provide a complete service for motorcycle readers at all levels in all disciplines as well as those who simply ride on ordinary public roads. There are tyres to suit every use and we have the experience and expertise to give advice on every scenario. Sport touring tyres represent an important and versatile sub-section of motorbike tyre technology so if you want to be sure of getting the nest out of your motorcycling experience consult the experts in our team.