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Where is the Limit of my Tire? Tips for Deciphering your Bike’s Reactions

Motorcycle Riding Limit

One of the questions that all motorcyclists ask themselves at some point in their lives is: where is the limit of the tire? And consequently, how do I know how far to go on my motorcycle without the risk of falling or losing control? This very common question is not only asked by sport motorcyclists, it is in the minds of all users who ride a motorcycle and on any type of bike. Today we are going to give you some tools to take into account so that you can learn to decipher the reactions of the motorcycle and feel what is happening in any maneuver you perform on it.

First of all you have to know that there are a multitude of compounds and tire shapes that directly affect the behavior of the bike. The type of bike and the type of suspension, with its settings, will also play a crucial role for us to feel how the rubber acts at every moment and on different surfaces. Our brain, under normal conditions, is capable of deciphering in a few milliseconds the sensations that the movement of the bike makes, and in a short period of processing, give immediate response to the need to remain in constant balance. For this reason, so much emphasis is always placed on the need not to ingest alcohol, medication or other substances while riding that can alter the sensation of contact with the road and, therefore, vary and alter the perceptions of the environment very easily.

Different Types of Tires, Different Sensations

We are going to put a particular case on a specific type of motorcycle that will be valid for the rest of types of motorcycles and types of driving. But first we need to clarify some variables. A sport tire with a sharper shape such as the ContiSportAttack 4 provides greater riding agility, the bike tends to lean towards the desired angle much faster. In the case of a touring tire such as the ContiRoadAttack 4, which tends to have a more rounded shape, this transition is more progressive.

The hardness of the casings also influences braking and acceleration, with soft casings being more sensitive and hard casings more stable. Offroad or trail knobby tires such as the TKC 80 or TKC 70 also have different characteristics. With greater lug depth, they will adapt to softer terrain.

And of course, the tire pressure must always be the right one. The one recommended by the manufacturer, a fact that usually has the best compromise in terms of performance in the various circumstances you may encounter.

Tips to Understand the Behavior of your Bike

Let’s say we are on a sport-touring bike with an average weight of 450 lbs, a power of about 120 hp, suspensions adjustable in preload and rebound, some ContiRoadAttack 4 and riding on dry curvy roads at 90 km/h on average. In the most powerful braking, which is when the tire deforms the most to adapt to the asphalt, the first thing to do is to apply the brakes decisively and with considerable force to maintain control of the vehicle, but once you reach the turning point, it is advisable to perform a regressive braking, that is, to lift the brake pressure progressively so that the tire can adapt to the terrain more effectively.

To help you have a better feeling of what is happening, at the moment of starting to turn it is advisable to practice the counter-handlebar technique, that is, if we want to turn right, we must slightly move the handlebars to the left, a movement that seems illogical, but that definitely helps to turn the bike at the first moment and also allows you to feel how the tire settles and rests on the corresponding sidewall on the asphalt.

In the support or lean angle, maximum confidence is required. The irregularities of the asphalt are absorbed and minimized by the suspension. The lean angle necessary to take a curve is conditioned by several factors such as the curve radius itself, the speed, your riding position and even the physical limit of the motorcycle’s footpeg. If you touch the footpeg, it will be a critical point because the support of the wheels will be less and you run the risk of losing control (there is less support of the rubber on the ground). Do not get nervous. Simply rectify by lifting the bike slightly and at the same time try to put your body more towards the inside of the curve to still regain grip and not change the trajectory of the curve too much.

On the other hand, in the acceleration phases, we must pay attention to the sensations that the rear end of our motorcycle transmits to us. The opening of the throttle must be done progressively at the same time that you lift the bike when exiting a curve. In this way, the wheel will have the right level of traction. If we overdo it with the throttle, we run the risk of making excessive demands on the tire and other components (chassis, suspensions…) and losing control. In modern motorcycles, in many cases we have electronic traction control, which automatically doses the power delivery to the wheel when it detects this unwanted slippage. If we do not have this electronic aid, it is up to us with our right hand to open the throttle in the right way. And, above all, be gentle so as not to cause excessive acceleration. Otherwise, we might notice that the rear axle is moving slightly to the outside. Or, on the contrary, abrupt throttle cuts that destabilize the whole bike.

We must also add the position of the body, which in all riding actions is vital to feel what is constantly happening. If we press our feet on the footrests, raise our elbows slightly and move our body slightly forward when turning and backward when braking, we will help stabilize the bike so that the brain is better connected and at the same time ready to act more quickly than if we leave our body dead on the seat.

In the wet we must act in the same way but more smoothly in all actions, extending braking distances, decreasing the angle of inclination, and opening the throttle. On wet asphalt it is advisable to release the preload force of the suspensions so that the brain can better process the movement of the bike, since the reactions on wet track offer little reaction time.

Qualities of the Tire to Bring more to your Sensations: GripLimitFeedback

In addition to all these skills and tips that we must take into account to know how to interpret the riding conditions and what the bike transmits to us during the ride, it is interesting to know the technologies that brands such as Continental are developing so that the user has more information about each situation.

The first thing to note is the GripLimitFeedback technology, a development that improves our safety by giving the rider early feedback from the tire when the rubber is reaching its limit in extreme turns and lean angles, so the rider can anticipate any kind of danger in these circumstances. Without wanting to uncover ‘the trick’, the special carcass construction and the tire tread component work in combination to effectively transmit the feeling to the rider when we are approaching that traction limit, also when the surface starts to become delicate, ideal for taking greater precautions thereafter. For these reasons, it is easy to say that, thanks to this technology, Continental tires are the safest and most reliable tires on the market.

The GripLimitFeedback joins other important developments of the German brand that make its tires safer, such as the TractionSkin for the first meters of the tire’s life, the MultiGrip with maximum grip at any inclination point or the RainGrip for wet conditions.

To find out exactly which models are equipped with this limit safety technology, visit this website, where you will find this and other important information on technology and the entire range available.

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