Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Chan asks: What do you think about using a car tire on a motorcycle? I’ve read about people doing this as a way to get around the problem of most bike tires lasting just a few thousand miles or less.
My reply: It’s true that bike tires generally wear out faster than car tires, in part because of the softer compounds (sport bike tires) and also because of the tendency of bike tires to wear unevenly because of the nature of bike tires – which are designed to roll laterally, with the motorcycle – as it leans.
Look at a bike tire from behind. Note that it’s rounded, with the main contact patch being relatively narrow and peaked. This is because bikes turn/corner by leaning. As the bike leans, the tire rolls left (or right). The tire is designed to help the bike lean.
A car tire has a flat footprint. Cars aren’t supposed to lean.
So car and bike tires are designed very differently. It’s not just the compounds/rubber used. If you put a tire meant for a car on a bike, as you turn (lean) the bike, you’ll be riding up on the edge of the car tire’s sidewall, which wasn’t meant for such duty. The car tire will also not roll smoothly as the bike leans because the contact patch is flat. Transitions between upright and leaned over are likely to be more abrupt; traction/grip will almost certainly be less and if you have to make an abrupt/unexpected maneuver the bike will probably be more prone to loss of control.
I get the attraction of a 40,000 mile tire. But keep in mind the detractions of using a tire that will almost certainly cause your bike to handle worse and thus put your life in greater danger.
I can be a cheap bastard about many things. But not things like this.
Of course, your mileage may vary!
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