Let’s talk about the tires and how important they are in the motorcycle setup

Motorcycle setup is simply adjusting the movable parts necessary to the liking of the rider. Setting up allows the rider to obtain their individual maximum control and most effective riding. No matter the bike, all motorcycles are handed with a neutral setup from the factory. A neutral setup makes for an easy maneuverability and a generally predictable handling on the limit. But a personal setup can always optimize the bike to your liking. No rider is alike and everyone has their own different riding style.

What kind of signs from your bike could you get if your setup is not well done? The bike can be hard to turn, it may want to steer one way when you accelerate, or simply doesn’t respond to the inputs as you would expect it to. When this happens, it is the time to go back to the drawing board and try to find what element is out of balance.

Before doing anything to the neutral bike setup, you must be clear on certain things. It is important to find a balance in all the movable parts. Find a way that every element complements each other and work together according to your liking. That is the complicated part, finding an equilibrium in the setup. There are 3 important areas to have in mind: geometry, suspension and tires.

In the third post from this “Motorcycle Setup” series, we will focus on the motorcycle’s tires. Check the other posts we previously saw.

Motorcycle tires

The importance of tires for setting up your bike must never be understated. Remember that they are the only thing between you and the road. There are many variations when it comes to tires: width, height, carcass hardness, compounds and weight. These characteristics determine the way a tire behaves and therefore the way the bike behaves. The rider must follow tire manufacturer specs as well as the bike manufacturer specs. If you decide to put your own specs and disregard the data and testing done by engineers and designers for years and years for a specific bike, then you must have plenty of time and money on your hands.

Having this in mind, if you don’t put the correct tire pressure in a certain bike, you will also be changing part of the overall setup. The designed wheelbase could be changed due to low tire pressure and this can create a domino effect and also cause that the springs be overloaded and overheat. If the tires are over inflated, the tires will influence the correct geometry and wont adhere to the road properly. Similar changes may happen if you change the width or height of the tire profile.

Motorcycle Setup – Conclusion

Now, we have defined in some relatively simple and basic terms the 3 principal elements when setting up a bike. These steps and explanations are very elemental and for amateur riders, since in a competitive environment the details would be endless. Any racing team that want to compete at a high level today, must have the use of computerized telemetry. The telemetry allows for a much more precise and quick setup conclusions thanks to dozens of sensors in a racing motorcycle.

Hopefully after reading this whole series, you now have a better understanding of how the main variable elements in your bike affect its behavior and overall handling.

Until next week!

2 thoughts on “Motorcycle Setup: Tires

  1. Would be good for you to explain exactly how changing the tire size changes the profile of the tire and how that changes handling and turning. Also how changing a rear tire size will change the rake and trail of the front end. This question is answered by our guys here at least once a week, someone wants to put a wider rear tire or change the size of the front and rear tires. Besides the speedo reading wrong customers are not aware that any other issues exist.

    1. Harris,

      Thank you for the suggestion and your interest in our post. Hopefully, we will have a post that gives more details of the topic you mentioned.


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