NOW, YOU MAY BE ASKING YOURSELF, "WHAT IS A HARLEY-DAVIDSON® CO-BRANDED TIRE?"
Harley-Davidson® co-branded tires are co-developed with either Dunlop or Michelin motorcycle tire manufacturers, two of the best around with years of experience both on the street and on the track. Co-Branded tires are identified by the Harley-Davidson® or Screamin' Eagle name on the sidewall of the tire. A co-branded motorcycle tire is designed and tested by drawing upon vast experience and technologies of Harley-Davidson®, Dunlop and Michelin to deliver specific performance objectives for a specific group of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles based on your bike, type of riding and dozens of different road and weather conditions. Tire testing and development can last more than 2 years, consume hundreds of lab test hours and go on the road for tens of thousands of miles before it even puts the rubber to the road on your Harley-Davidson®. These tires are validated by Harley-Davidson® to optimize performance in the greatest range of conditions for your specific application. Installing any tire other than a Harley-Davidson® co-branded tire is not only a performance downgrade, but it also can adversely affect the handling, stability, and performance of your ride.
SO WHAT IF I ONLY HAVE TO REPLACE ONE TIRE, CAN I REPLACE IT WITH ANY TIRE SHOULD OR SHOULD I MATCH THE GOOD ONE?
You should always try and match the tires or replace them both at the same time. This is important for peak performance and handling of your Harley-Davidson®. You wouldn't wash your new motorcycle with an old dirty wash rag, would you? Placing a new tire with a worn tire is also a bad idea, this can cause instability and we all know that can lead to a lot of bad news and heartache. No one likes to be stranded on the side of the road.
WHY, OH WHY DO MOTORCYCLE TIRES COST MORE THAN MY CAR OR TRUCK TIRES?
Well, depends on what you are putting on your car or truck! Just like specialty tires for your auto that are made for either more traction or high mileage, these are similar but with even more tech involved. A motorcycle tire performs at a higher level of performance than your standard automotive tires, and they are designed specifically to optimize performance for your two-wheeled freedom machine.
WHY DO MY FRONT AND REAR TIRES WEAR DIFFERENTLY AND WHY DO THEY WEAR FASTER THAN CAR TIRES?
Good questions! The front tire takes the majority of the turning forces as well as the majority of the braking forces when the rider uses the front brake correctly. The rear tire undergoes braking forces too, but the big difference is the work the rear tire performs to accelerate the motorcycle. Additionally, when riding with a passenger, the rear tire carries significantly more weight than the front tire. These unique forces require the design differences in the front tire compared with the rear tire to optimize their performance. The long and short of it? It's how you ride and the conditions you put your motorcycle through.
Also, the "contact patch" is the amount of the tire tread in contact with the road surface at any given time. Because motorcycles lean left and right to turn, the tire tread or profile must be rounded rather than flat like a car or truck tire. This rounded profile creates a smaller contact patch than a car or truck. Consequently, the load carried on a motorcycle tire contact patch is greater than on an auto tire. Larger loads on the tire accelerate the wear, which is greater in the middle of the tire tread than the sides because 80% to 90% of the riding is in a straight line rather than a banked turn.
NOW FOR THE GOOD PART! HOW CAN I INCREASE THE LIFE OF MY MOTORCYCLE TIRES?
- Check the tire pressure weekly when the tire is COOL with an accurate tire-pressure gauge (this isn't your bicycle, kicking the tire or pressing this won't work) and set the tire pressure to the recommended level listed on the sidewall or what's recommended for your ride in your owners manual.
- Avoid aggressive starts and stops that increase tire loads and wear, especially on the rear tire. Avoid extremely high speeds that increase wind resistance on your motorcycle, which causes the rear tire to work harder to maintain that speed.
- A simple rule of thumb, any type of riding that reduces fuel efficiency will also reduce tire life. This is why rear tires typically wear more quickly when you are on an extended ride traveling at highway speeds.The additional work the rear tire has to perform to propel the motorcycle against the wind, plus the elevated tire temps from high-speed riding all contribute to fast tire wear.
- Reduce tire degradation. Do not park your ride in areas where tires can be contaminated with petroleum-based ( like gasoline or oil) products or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods. Ever see what the sun does to your skin over time? Yep, it happens to tires too!
- Just like your Harley-Davidson®, even the tires need a bath once and awhile. There may not be a lot of chrome on those tires but soap and water can help remove tire coatings that may degrade or reduce grip on your tires.
- If the tire is HOT, factor in a 5 -psi adjustment. So if the cold tire specs is 36 psi the hot tire pressure should be 41 psi.