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Tires: Question and Answers

You might have a lot of questions when it comes to Harley Davidson Tires, so We’ve put together some answers to help you understand how motorcycle tires work and how to make sure that your motorcycle always has the best and safest tires.

Do both Harley Davidson Tires motorcycle tires need to match?

Motorcycle tire companies design tires as a set. When they test the tires, they are testing both a front and a back tire. That means that using just one or the other doesn’t guarantee the statistics and safety rating of the complete set.
By mixing tire types or even brands, you are essentially riding on a pair of tires that have not been tested together; so there’s no guarantee that they will work well as a pair.
In addition, different tires will have different construction. They may be made of slightly different materials, they may be slightly different sizes, and they might have different tread patterns.

The thread pattern is especially important, since it’s the thing that gives your tires good grip as you ride. Tread patterns are designed for specific uses, and you want them to match in order to get the best control while you ride.

Motorcycles are usually designed with specific tires in mind. Check the owner’s manual and see what the original manufacturer’s setup was. You want to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation. There’s some leeway, and each individual rider can decide how much you want to experiment. However, it is good to know what tires the bike was meant to ride on.
It’s worth noting that there are some motorcycles out there that were manufactured with different tires already. If this is the case, it’s obviously okay to stick with mismatched tires in order to stay true to the original design.

We also want to note that in dirtbikes it’s much more common to see different tires. Dirtbikes have a little more freedom with mixing and matching their tires since they aren’t riding on streets, but are instead experimenting with tires that can handle difficult terrain and tough elements.

If you don’t have a dirtbike, though, and aren’t an enthusiast about customizing your bike, I recommend sticking to matching tires.
Trusting the manufacturer can give you the best control, speed, functionality, and durability. You’re guaranteed to get tires that work together effectively. Mixing tires may result in a lot of trial and error, and you really need to know what you’re doing if you want to attempt this.

Bottom line: tires are designed and tested in pairs. For the best results, trust those pairings and buy tires that go together instead of trying to mix b ‘n’ match.

Is there a difference between front and rear Harley Davidson Tires?

When talking about customizing or mixing tires, the question also comes up about rear and front tires. Often front tires are cheaper. Can you cut costs by purchasing two front tires instead of a front and wheel tire?

There are actually some significant differences between front and rear tires. Each is designed for a different purpose, and they have different strengths. Although there are some models of motorcycle and tire where this isn’t as important, in general, there is a difference and front and rear tires are not interchangeable.
Front tire

The front tire needs to be able to steer the bike. It’s in charge of making sure the motorcycle is under control and moving in the right direction. In order to do this, front tires are built in a triangular shape, giving them more control and more turning radius.
The front wheel usually has thinner tread than the rear tire. It needs to be able to turn and direct, while the rear tire does more of the work of keeping grip. The front tire also needs to be able to handle tough braking and maintain control every time you come to a stop.
Rear tire

The rear tire, on the other hand, is all about stability. The rear tire tends to be flatter and wider, so that it can support the majority of the weight and maintain control once you’re moving.

In addition, the rear tire is the one that controls your acceleration. It tends to have thicker tread to add to the overall stability of the motorcycle.
We also want to note that both tires have a “correct” direction. You’ll find an arrow on the sidewall which directs you on how to put the tire on. You don’t want to put the tire on backwards!

Our final note here is that if one tire needs replacing, it’s smart to replace both tires at once. You may think that you’re saving money by running a tire to its last legs, but you could also be endangering yourself.

Running on tires that are unevenly worn is unsafe. You have less control, uneven tread, and a significant loss of stability. As we mentioned before, tires are designed and tested in pairs. When you aren’t using a new pair as intended, you are reducing your safety and functionality.

What types of motorcycle tires are there?

When it comes to choosing a motorcycle tire, there are a lot of options out there, and it can feel overwhelming the first time you need a new set of tires. The good news is, your owner’s manual should tell you what kind of tire your motorcycle needs.

If you aren’t sure about tires, always stick to the motorcycle’s original design and buy the same tires that it had on already. You can find all the information about your tire on the sidewall so that you can get the same types.

However, to get you familiar with the world of Harley Davidson Tires, here’s a quick rundown of some of the tire options you’ll encounter.

Tires can be tubeless or come with tubes. Both are fairly common in motorcycles, but they are different. Going from tubeless tires to tires with tubes often is possible, but it doesn’t work well to switch the other way around. In general, tubeless tires are often safer, and many modern bikes are doing away with tubes.

Motorcycle tires are also broken down by their use. People ride motorcycles for a lot of different reasons: to commute to work, to cruise, to race, to off-road, the list goes on. Because there are so many different types of riding, motorcycle tires are often broken up into categories.


The cruise tires are meant for long rides on the highway. They tend to be stiff, thick, and heavy. These tires are durable and sturdy. They can handle some weather and put up with a lot of mileage.


Sport tires, as the name suggests, are tires designed for specific sports, like road racing, motocross, and drag racing. Racing tires are designed for specific purposes and don’t often work well outside of that function.

For example, track tires are really fast on a track, but not great for street riding. On a normal street, you won’t be riding fast enough for the tires to reach the temperature they need in order to get good grip.

Sport Touring

Sport touring tires are a bit of a hybrid tire. They try to combine the best of both worlds, giving you acceleration and speed without sacrificing the consistency and reliability of cruise tires.

Are specialized tires worth it?

There are of course, plenty of specialized tires on the market, that market special features and unique characteristics. In many cases they aren’t worth it. However, if you have a motorcycle for a specialized purpose, it may be worth getting specialized tires.
Dual-sport tires are built for off-roading. They have specialized tread that gives you more grip on rough terrain like sand and gravel. Of course, this means that they may not be as efficient on highways.

Commuter tires, on the other hand, do work well on highways. They are designed to increase your gas mileage and give you a smooth, efficient ride on a smooth road.
Finally, if your motorcycle is for racing, superbike tires are smoother and can give you great acceleration and grip at high speeds. But again, not great off the racetrack.
Snow tires are another specialized tire that can be incredibly useful if you plan to ride on snow or ice. Otherwise, they’re just not necessary.

Wide tires

Some people think that putting wider tires on their bike will increase the stability and handling. However, in a lot of cases it isn’t better to add wide tires.
You really want your tire to be the right fit in order to get the best ride. Tires that are too wide will rub the swingarm or the chain. Tires with too much circumference will affect the ratios for shifting. A wide tire may be more difficult to steer and it can negatively affect your gas mileage.

Remember, when deciding how wide to go, that the tire needs more room when it’s warmed up and in motion than it does when it’s at rest. If your tire barely fits without hitting any parts when you’re still, there’s a good chance it will be too big once you start riding.

How long do motorcycle tires last?

All this talk of tires might have you wondering how you know when it’s time to replace your motorcycle tire. How long exactly do motorcycle tires last?
At the latest, you should change your tires when they are Seven years old.
However, in all likelihood you’ll be replacing them sooner due to wear and tear from riding. Once your tires reach about two years old, you should start regularly inspecting them for signs of damage.

If you aren’t sure how old your tires are, the date will be etched into the sidewall. The last four digits will tell you the week and year of production.
The biggest sign that your tires need replacing is that the tread is worn down. You can check the manufacturer’s guide to see the exact measurement of how long the tread should be, but it’s often pretty obvious visually when the tread is worn.

There are, of course, some other reasons to replace a tire. Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your tires:

  • Tread is worn down significantly
  • The tire has a puncture that is larger than a quarter inch
  • The tire is missing tread blocks
  • There are cracks around the circumference of the tire from sun damage
  • The tire is consistently losing air
  • You’ve already repaired one or more punctures or cuts
  • The tire is causing a choppy ride
  • Other signs of damage or significant wear

If you have tires with tubes, make sure to replace both the tire and the tubes, rather than trying to use old tubes.

When you replace a tire, it’s good practice to replace both tires at the same time.
In order to increase the lifespan of your tires, you need to practice proper maintenance such as inspecting for any wear and tear. The most significant thing you can do to keep your tires in good condition for longer is to regularly check tire pressure.
Running on low tires can cause a lot of problems and will cause your tires to need replacement much sooner. By keeping the pressure consistent, you are ensuring the smoothest ride for your tires.

What is the best motorcycle tire?

Now that we’ve talked about different types of motorcycle tires and different things you should not do when buying motorcycle tires.
Of course, there’s no right answer here. The tire you need will vary based on your individual needs. Here are some questions to consider as you look for the perfect pair of tires:

  • What tires does the original manufacturer recommend?
  • What size tire do I need for my motorcycle?
  • What kind of terrain will I be riding on?
  • Do I need any specialized features?
  • Do I often ride in wet conditions?
  • Do my tires need to withstand harsh weather and temperatures?
  • Do I live in a particularly dusty place?

All of these questions can help you narrow down the specific needs of your motorcycle. Not all tires do well on wet roads. Thinner tread is best for smooth roads, while you want more tread for rough surfaces.

If you aren’t sure what kind of tires to buy, you can always purchase the same tires that were there before; you’ll be sure they work. You can also talk to a mechanic or visit a motorcycle forum to get suggestions on finding tires that will work well in your conditions.

Ultimately, the choice of tires is largely your decision. These are just some guidelines to get you started.

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