Tyre Safety

Important Information

Tyres are the only part of your motorcycle that are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. It is therefore of paramount importance that tyres should be maintained in good condition at all times, and that, when the time comes to change them, suitable replacements are professionally fitted.


Replacement Tyres

     Read the Manual

It is essential that you refer to your motorcycle's manufacturer’s handbook when buying and fitting replacement tires. Changes in tyre size, type and construction should not be made without first seeking advice from the motorcycle manufacturer or tyre manufacturer, since fitting the wrong tyre may have an adverse effect on handling, safety and wear.

Motorcycle tyres are only for use on vehicles for which motorcycle tyres were originally specified by the manufacturer & any other use may be dangerous.

Motorcycle tyres which have been subject to use on Dyno's must no longer be used for subsequent, normal service. Use of  motorcycle tyres on a Dyno may invalidate the tyre warranty. All tests on Dyno's must be carried out with test tyres, special tyres reserved for maintenance purposes, or tyres which are worn out or downgraded.


What do the numbers mean?


Speed Symbol

The SPEED SYMBOL indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can carry a load corresponding to its Load Index under service conditions specified by a tyre manufacturer.

These speeds are shown in Table 1 and apply to tyres when in good condition, inflated to the correct pressure, operating within their specific load capacity and fitted to the correct size rim. Speeds quoted are the maximum speed of which the tyre is capable, not the speed at which it is normally ridden. V, W and Z rated tyres may also be used at higher speeds but at reduced loadings. For guidance  only Table 3 can be used to calculate loads at specific speeds on  V, W and Z tyres.


Load Index      

The LOAD INDEX is a numerical code associated with the maximum load a tyre can carry (except for loads at speeds above 130 mph (210 km/h) – see Table 2/2a) at the speed indicated by its Speed Symbol under service conditions specified by manufacturer. You should only fit replacement tyres bearing the precise speed and load index referred to in the motorcycle manufacturer’s handbook. Before you make any variation please consult the manufacturer to ensure that the replacement tyre is a correct fitment for your motorcycle.

WIDTH (190)

This number indicates the tyre’s section nominal width, measured in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. In this case 190mm. Note: the actual physical width of the tyre on the rim can differ from the nominal width.


This number indicates the tyre’s aspect ratio or height expressed as a percentage of its width. In this case the aspect ratio is 50% of the 190mm width, making it 95mm.


On a sports bike tyre these letters are usually “ZR”. The “Z” indicates the speed rating of the tyre, which in this case means it is rated above 240kph/149mph. The “R” denotes that the tyre is of radial type construction. The “17″ denotes that the tyre is 17 inches in diameter whilst “M/C” means the tyre is for a motorcycle.


The ‘73W’ indicates the load and speed indexes of the tyre and should always be looked at together when you buy a new tyre. In this case the ’58’ denotes that the tyre is rated for a maximum carrying weight of 236kg at maximum pressure. The “W” represents the maximum speed for the tyre when it is correctly inflated and being used under load, in this case 270km/h. Please remember however that when buying new tyres that you match the speed rating with the speed capabilities of your motorcycle, if exceeded, this risks tyre failure, hence you should always replace a tyre with one of at least the same speed rating so that you don’t reduce the speed capability of your bike.

Please refer to the load index and speed rating tables for more information.

Do i need to run my tyres in?

   Running in Tyres

When new motorcycle tyres are fitted for the road, they should not be subjected to maximum power until a reasonable ‘running in’ distance has been covered. 100 dry miles (160km) is the recommended minimum (discount any wet miles covered).

Tyres should then be visually examined and their inflation pressure re-checked before riding.

How mportant is maintaining the correct tyre pressure?

Tyre pressure is one of the most important maintenance tasks you should perform before every ride. Although the carcass and overall structure of the tyre has a significant effect on the overall performance of the tyre, for it to function properly you must have sufficient air pressure in the tyre.

We recommend that you check your air pressure before every ride, especially when carrying a load. Every 4 psi of air lost in the tyre translates to approximately 60 to 70 pounds reduction in load carrying capacity. For example, if your tyre pressure is 34 psi, instead of a recommended 41 psi, you would need to take 120 to 140 pounds of load off of the motorcycle. Never exceed the maximum load capacity that is indicated on the sidewall of the tyre at the recommended air pressure.

Another reason proper air pressure is so important, is to ensure proper handling of the motorcycle. Never over-inflate a tyre, as over-inflation of a tyre may reduce the contact patch. Likewise, under-inflation generates uneven contact pressure and support. Both conditions negatively affect the handling and stability of the motorcycle.

Can i fit a wider tyre?

Wider tyres should only be installed with the approval of the motorcycle or tyre manufacturer. If wider tyres are approved for a particular motorcycle, one size designation is the typical permissible size increase. Be sure to consider clearance for width and diameter, the effect on stability and handling, and whether your rim is wide enough. Always allow for some tyre growth, as all tyres will increase in size after they have been inflated and ridden on for a few hundred km's.

Choosing the correct chain


  • Chain sizes:

    The size of the chain can usually be found on the side of a link.

    Generally sizes are referred to as 'pitch X length'.

    Example: 428X114 - pitch of 428 and chain length of 114 links.

    The distance between the chain pins is referred to as the ‘Pitch’.

    Chain Types:

    Standard Chain: is a regular chain suited for smaller road bikes. (125cc-250cc)

    Heavy Duty Chains: popular for mid- sized road bikes & most MX bikes.

    O-ring Chain: Suitable for most road bikes over 400cc & also for MX/Enduro use. They retain lube better than HD chains.

    Z-ring or X-ring Chains: Both retain grease longer than an O-ring due to the shape of the rubber rings.

    Chain Maintenance:

    Road bikes: Lubricate chain every 500-800 km’s.

    Off-road/motocross bikes: Depending on riding conditions, however lubrication recommended after each ride and after each high pressure clean. Allow chain lube sufficient time to dry before riding again.

    Chain Replacement:

    The motorcycle chain's appearance will be a good indicator of when to change your bike chain. If it's stretched or twisted, it's time to change your bike chain. You should also take a close look at the chain links, making sure that they're not worn. If they are, change them.

    Always replace the chain and both sprockets at the same time.  A worn component will shorten the life of the rest.

Gearing Explained

The stock gearing of your bike is likely to have been determined by choosing a compromise ratio based on what worked best for test riders in "average" conditions.

When we talk about gearing, we're referring to the final-drive ratio, which you get by dividing the number of teeth on the rear sprocket by the number of teeth on the front, or counter shaft (gearbox) sprocket. This figure represents the number of times the front sprocket has to rotate to turn the rear sprocket, and ultimately, it determines how engine rpm translates to road speed and how much torque there is at the rear wheel.

 Setting up the gearing of any vehicle is a trade-off between acceleration and top speed.

Gearing a bike up to produce higher top speed with less acceleration is done using a larger counter shaft (gearbox) sprocket or a smaller rear sprocket.

Gearing a bike down giving it more acceleration with lower top speed is done using a smaller counter shaft (gearbox) sprocket or a larger rear sprocket.

(If you want  better fuel consumption and net lower rpm, you’ll need to either add teeth to the front or subtract them from the rear)

A larger gear ratio (eg: 3.10) correlates to shorter gearing, while a low number( eg: 2.70) represents taller gearing.

All you really need to know is what your bike’s current gearing is (it’s printed right on the side of the sprockets) and then figure out how you’ll need to adjust the tooth count to change your bike’s performance.

It all goes back to how many times that front sprocket has to rotate to turn the rear sprocket and the wheel.