The Best All Weather Motorcycle Street Tires

by Rachael Smithey

The best all-weather motorcycle tires offer optimal performance in dry and wet weather conditions and on city streets, highways and freeways. Factors to consider in identifying the best all weather motorcycle tires include tire composition, tread patterns and tread-to-void ratio (the amount of tire surface in contact with the road). Sport touring tires provide the best tire composition, tread patterns and tread-to-void ratio for all-weather riding.

Tire Composition

Sport touring tires are bias (nylon) or radial (steel belted) construction. Tire composition is noted on the sidewall (B indicates bias, R indicates radial). Radial construction tires have greater durability. Bias and radial tires handle differently, so do not to mix bias and radial tires on the same motorcycle without approval of the motorcycle or tire manufacturer. Harder compound rubber in the center tread area offers greater tire longevity. Softer compound rubber on the outer tread areas improves traction on dry and wet pavement when cornering. The best all-weather motorcycle tires have harder compound center tread area and softer compound outer tread areas to combine durability and performance.

Tread Patterns

Tread patterns help direct water away from the tire surface when riding on wet pavement and provide traction in all weather conditions. Directional tread patterns, characterized by lateral grooves pointing in the same direction on both sides of the tire, disperse water in straight-line riding and cornering and offer the best performance for all-weather riding. Tires with water-dispersing tread patterns are designed to run in one direction only, so note the directional arrows on the sidewall when mounting the tires.

Tread-to-Void Ratio

The tread-to-void ratio identifies the amount of tire surface in contact with the road. A low tread-to-void ratio denotes more tire surface in contact with the road. A high tread-to-void ratio denotes less tire surface in contact with the road and an increased ability to disperse water. The best all-weather motorcycle tires have a higher tread-to-void ratio than that found on other types of tires.

Recommended Tires

Sport touring tires provide the best tire composition, tread pattern and tread-to-void ratio for all-weather riding. Major tire manufacturers offer sport touring tires for all types of motorcycles. Highly rated sport touring tires include Dunlop Roadsmart, Pirelli Angel ST and Metzeler Roadtek. These tires offer durable and performance-enhancing composition, directional tread patterns for stable handling on wet pavement and higher tread-to-void ratios.

About the Author

Based in Southern California, Rachael Smithey has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for About.com (Guide to Macs) and Suite101.com (Contributing Editor/Course Developer for Microsoft Office 2000). Smithey holds a Master of Science in information systems and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland.