The weather is always a little unpredictable, so we think it’s essential to talk about how your motorcycle tires perform in the rain.

First of all, take a look at the graphic below. The grooves circled show the fundamental component of a tire’s performance.

The drawing of the tire tread and its negative ratio define the capability of the tire to extract water. So, what is the negative ratio of a tire?

Imagine the tire’s imprint, that is to say the tire contact patch (the only points of contact between your tire and the road). All sections that don’t leave an imprint (the grooves) constitute the negative ratio.

It’s measured by a percentage. The lower it is, the less tread the tire has.  If we talk about 0%, we are talking about a smooth tire like the ContiTrack Slick. If we are in the 70% range or higher, we are talking about an Adventure tire like the TKC 80. Both of these are examples of two extremes that demonstrate the concept of the negative ratio tire tread.

The less negative the ratio is, the more grip it has in dry conditions. The more negative the ratio is, the more drainage it has in wet conditions or the more grip it has on land and mud as in the case of Adventure or Dual Sport tires.

One of the biggest challenges faced by Continental has been the ability to achieve a good balance between grip in dry conditions and water drainage for its Sport Tires. It’s like a love-hate relationship. In part, this is achieved by designing deeper grooves as in the case of the ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO, which is 1 mm deeper than its predecessor the ContiRoadAttack 2.

If we wanted to do a mathematical calculation, it would be similar to the draining of a water canal.

When the water exceeds the capacity of the tread grooves to channel water from beneath the tire, aquaplaning occurs.

Why does this happen? It’s because of speed. When the motorcycle’s speed increases, the tires’ groove channels must disperse more water. That’s why in the rain you would be able to go faster using Sport Touring Tires instead of Sport Tires.

You have to keep in mind that the wear of your tires is the most important factor for your safety. Another relevant factor to remember in motorcycle tires is that the center wears out first. When adding these factors together, try to avoid leaning too much into curves because you can fall due to the wear and tear of the tires.

For these reasons, we advise changing your tires before they wear out and paying special attention to the center of the tires.

Finally, as always, the best advice is to use all six senses when riding your motorcycle on wet surfaces. Your “instinct” is your sixth sense!

Until next week!