Let’s keep learning about the tread pattern of our motorcycle tires

In our previous post, Tread Pattern – Why your tire looks the way it does? (I), we discovered the main simple reasons motorcycle tires and tires in general need a tread pattern design. This post will explore the engineering and artistic aspect of tread design deeper.

Function VS Looks

Tire engineers and designers at Continental strive for maximum safety, performance and durability when creating a tire. There is a lot of engineering, testing and development that goes in before a tire is released into the market. Tire designs are tuned to ride angles based on the intended bike application, estimated loads and lean angle. This is where engineers/designers and marketing managers often have different opinions, as the marketability of the design is taken into account. It is simple, motorcycles are cool and their tires should also be. Due to this, the artistic element drives a lot of the design as well.

Things to consider when creating a tread pattern:

  • How the first and last part of the contact patch will interact with a given surface with its shape and rubber compound.
  • How traction will be affected as the tire spins at many different speeds for a given amount of time and in all possible lean angles.

It is important to notice that tread patterns are not design to function as we see them outside the contact patch, but when they deform under loads and speeds. It is during these moments that the carcass of the tire and its compound complete the behavior of a tire.

How do manufacturers make the final decision for production?

In simple terms, the process of deciding a tread design for a new tire goes a bit like:

  1.  Marketing managers explain the needs and characteristics the new tire must have to the designers and engineers to compete against their main competition.
  2. Engineers and designers will come up with various designs after thousands of hours of testing, development and computer data analysis.
  3. These final designs will be presented to the marketing and sales managers. They will then realize various think-tanks to study the market and see what designs certain people like the most.
  4. The chosen design receives the final performance and quality tests.
  5. Tire is launched into the market!

Ultimately, tire tread design is as much function as it is looks. A tire needs to perform good but also look good. If it doesn’t do neither of these two things, it wont sell. With motorcycles having the tires exposed, looks do play a big role and selling point.

Continental Motorcycle Tires have been designed with both function and looks in mind. What good is it to have a great looking tire that wears out in a few hundred miles and aquaplanes with only hearing the rain fall? But also the other way around. Thanks to a vast array of resources, facilities and experienced personnel, Continental is able to produce great looking tires with even greater safety, performance and durability.

One thought on “Tread Pattern – Why your tire looks the way it does? (II)

  1. It would be interesting to see a video of the front and rear tires going over a piece of glass with water on it to show the different ways that the treads displace the water and at different lean angles.

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