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                                          COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT TIRES;

 

Why do motorcycle tires wear faster than automotive tires?

Tire wear is caused by the effect of heat on the tread material. Heat is generated by two primary sources. One source is the friction between the tire and the road, another is the flexing between the layers of material which make up a tire. The heat generated by road friction is a major contributor to wear. Two variables that effect this are, loads supported by the tire and tread compounds.

A motorcycle has a much smaller contact area with the road than does an automobile. A high performance car with a full load, supports its 4,000 pound weight through 4 tires with a road contact area of 150 sq/in. This creates a pressure of 27 psi at the contact point. An FLHTC with a maximum loaded weight of 1100 pounds is supported by a contact area of 20 sq/in. This creates a pressure of 55 psi at the contact. This higher pressure creates more heat resulting in quicker wear.

Motorcycle tires are also very stiff when compared to automobile tires. Motorcycle tires need to have a greater stiffness because of cornering loads. A automotive tire can flex and distort during cornering without causing a loss of control. A motorcycle tire must retain its shape and profile or stability will be lost. This stiffness is a result of the layering of the cord plies and belts inside the tire. These plies and belts flex as the tires rolls and generate heat which leads to wear.

 

Can tires be changed to increase the load carrying capacity of the bike?

The load carrying capacity of a particular model is identified in several publications and locations, in two ways. GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is listed on a label on the frame and in the owners manual. This is the maximum total weight that the motorcycle can structurally support and maintain design standards. Also listed is the GAWR (gross axle weight rating) for both the front and rear axles. This is the maximum weight that each wheel/suspension system can support. On all current Harley models the rear can support more weight than the front. For example, on a 1994 FLHTC the GVWR is 1197 lbs., the front GAWR is 446 lbs. and the rear GAWR is 770 lbs.. The Dunlop tires for this model are rated to carry a higher load than this rating. The front D402 MT90B16 71H has a maximum load rating of 770 lbs. And the rear D402 MT90B16 74H has a maximum rating of 830 lbs.. While the tire has a higher rating, it is the design of the motorcycles chassis that determines the load limits.

It is important that the tires meet or exceed the motorcycles load limits, but while the tire is rated to carry a higher load, remember that the suspension, frame and vehicle design set the safe limits. Always refer to the frame label or owners manuals for recommended load limits.

 

Why do rear tires wear faster than the front tire?

Two forces act together to shorten the mileage potential of a rear tire, weight and driving forces. The rear tire supports more of the bikes total weight than does the front tire. This is because the position of the rider/passenger, luggage and engine placement. More weight means more friction and heat which leads to wear. In addition the engine is always trying to turn the rear wheel at a different speed than the bike is moving. This driving force causes the tire tread to flex and this generates more heat and wear.

 

How many miles will I get from this tire?

This question is very difficult to answer because of the many variables. Your only basis to answer this question is to investigate the customers past experiences with tire life. A customer who has an older model fitted with pre 402-401 series tires can expect to get more mileage from the newer tires. Examine the customers existing tires for signs of under inflation. These signs are: uneven wear of the tread segments and excessive wear to the outer sections of the tire. If the customer neglects tire pressure their mileage will be significantly reduced. Driving habits will effect tire wear too. Remind the customer that tire mileage can be increased by keeping the tires inflated to the correct pressures and that this is the most effective way of improve tire life.

 

Why do motorcycle tires cost so much?

This question is the result of comparing apples (motorcycle tires) to oranges (automotive tires). The customer is exposed to many advertisements for low performance automotive tires. Automotive tires with the equivalent high performance standards of a motorcycle tire exceed the cost to motorcycle tires by a wide margin. All motorcycle tires should be considered "high performance" because of their specialized tread compounds and construction.

 

                                               TIRE SIZING CODES

K291T MT90S16

K291T = Dunlop model identification

M = Motorcycle tire

T = Tire width (see chart on next page)

90 = Aspect ratio (tire height is 90% of the width)

S = Speed rating ( S=112mph, H=130mph, V=150mph)

16 = Tires bead diameter in inches

 

K101A MT90 16TL

K101A = Dunlop model identification

M  = Motorcycle tire

T  = Tire width (see chart on next page)

90  = Aspect ratio (tire height is 90% of the width)

16  = Bead diameter in inches

TL = Tubeless construction and application

 

D401 100/90 19 57H

D401 = Dunlop model identification

100  = Tire width in millimeters

90  = Aspect ratio (tire height is 90% of the width)

19  = Bead diameter in inches

57  = Load index rating (see chart on next page)

H  = Speed rating ( S=112mph, H=130mph, V=150mph)

 

D402 MT90B16 74H

D402 = Dunlop model identification

M  = Motorcycle tire

T  = Tire width (see chart on next page)

90  = Aspect ratio (tire height is 90% of the width)

B  = Belted construction

16  = Bead diameter in inches

74  = Load index rating (see chart on next page)

H  = Speed rating ( S=112mph, H=130mph, V=150mph)

 

D402 MH90 21 56H

D402 = Dunlop model identification

M  = Motorcycle tire

H  = Tire width (see chart on next page)

90  = Aspect ratio (tire height is 90% of the width)

21  = Bead diameter in inches

56  = Load index rating (see chart on next page)

H  = Speed rating ( S=112mph, H=130mph, V=150mph)

            

      RIM MARKING CODES

 

"T" - Indicates rim dimensions are in Tire and Rim Association Yearbook.

"19" = Nominal rim diameter (in.)

"2.5" = Rim width (in.)

"MT" = Rim contour

 

        TIRE WIDTH CODES 

LETTER

INCHES

METRIC

H

2.50/2.75

 80/90

J

2.75/3.00

 90/90

L

3.00/3.25

95/90

M

3.50/3.75

100/90

N

4.00/4.10

110/90

P

4.20/4.25

120/85 

R

4.50

120/90

S

4.75

120/90

T

5.00/5.10

130/90

U

5.50/6.00

140/90

 

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