Best Motorcycle Tires – 2021 Ultimate Round-up

Troy
| Last Updated: February 6, 2021

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Having fun and being safe on a motorcycle has little to do with the bike itself. 

Instead, the tires you pick to mount on your bike will play the largest role in the overall feel of your bike while riding. It's crucial to find tires that inspire confidence, can withstand weather, and will stick to the pavement even around the sharpest corners or quickest stops. 

We've broken down exactly what features you should look for in your motorcycle tires before making the big purchase. Read below for an in-depth review of our seven favorite motorcycle tires currently on the market. 

Our Top Picks for Motorcycle Tires

  • Rigid casing
  • Safe to use
  • Stable, lightweight
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  • Better cornering
  • Operates cool
  • Better wet grip
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  • Best for the Money
  • Strong, durable
  • Durable construction
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Comparison of the Best Motorcycle Tires

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Rigid and strong tire casing for durability
  • Comes included with wet grip for improved safety
  • Lightweight but improved stability
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  • Better cornering and feel with carbon fiber reinforcement
  • Cool and long-wearing compound used
  • Longer and fewer grooves for better wet gripping option
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  • Best for the Money
  • Resist tearing when used on off-road conditions
  • 4-ply construction for better performance and durability
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  • Best Motorcycle Tires for Cruisers
  • Better traction and mileage with treat compound design
  • Available in many different sizes to fit different cruiser models
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  • Best Touring Motorcycle Tires
  • Better all-weather performance with newest technology
  • Tread draining capacity improved with sipes
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  • Best Motorcycle Tires for Rain
  • Steel belt included for better stability
  • Can be used safely on wet and dry roads
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  • Best Colored Smoke Motorcycle Tires
  • Will release red, blue, and purple smoke with burnout
  • Made with the Shinko advanced tire construction
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How to Choose Motorcycle Tires

Choosing the perfect motorcycle tire for you can be a hefty decision when faced with the countless options available. 

Some details you should consider before purchasing tires includes: 

  • Type of Bike
  • Tread
  • Mileage

Type of Bike

The first thing you should consider is what type of bike you have and where you will primarily be riding your motorcycle. Certain tires are more geared for touring bikes, while others are only equipped to handle highway riding and some off-road riding from time to time. 

Tread

With traction and grip being two of the most important factors in a tire's worth, you should carefully examine the type of tread your potential tires are exhibiting. Long, deep tread marks are generally better for all-season riding, whereas tires with more randomly patterned tread marks may be better for sports riding or quick turns and stops. 

Mileage

The mileage you get out of a tire is also an important factor because it will determine how often you have to replace your tires. It is always better to spend a little more on a tire with better value than go through cheap tires quickly because the tread keeps running out. 

Make sure your tires fit your bike appropriately and ensure you break in your tires before using them for everyday use. 

Quick Take - Best Motorcycle Tires

Hoping to cut to the chase? Below are the three best motorcycle tires:

  1. Michelin Commander II
  2. Dunlop Q3 Sportmax
  3. Shinko 705

Review of the Best Motorcycle Tires

Motorcycle tires change every year as new styles are introduced and new technology comes out to enhance safety, grip, and resiliency. 

We've put together a list of the seven best motorcycle tires currently available, broken down in terms of their best features and uses. 

Best Overall:
Michelin Commander II

PROS

  • Rigid, high-density shape
  • Extremely durable and resilient
  • Unique and stylish tread pattern
  • Silica Rain Technology prevents uneven wear
  • Longitudinal grooves in tread help increase wet weather grip

CONS

  • Not ideal for sports bikes
  • Quick stops may be difficult to make

What Recent Buyers Report

Motorcycle connoisseurs of all ages seem very pleased with the Michelin Commander II tires overall. The tires have a unique grip made to make driving in all conditions a better experience. 

The hardiness of these tires as seen in their durability is the best selling point for them among customers. These tires have outlasted many others on the market. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

These tires are not just tires that will last a while, they are reliable and well-made tires that will likely last several years. 

The Michelin Commander II tires offer a smooth ride without compromising traction. The tires can handle well in many types of environments and are made to make turns smoother by providing better grip at all times. 

The Silica Rain Technology feature keeps the tires wearing evenly so they can last longer with fewer issues. 

These tires are easy to maneuver, safe to use, and stable enough to provide a safe and fun ride in any weather conditions. 

Bottom Line

The Michelin Commander II tires are made to have a hearty grip and long life. 

There are many repeat buyers of this product, which proves how durable and resilient these tires are made to be. 

PROS

  • Perfect for sports bikes
  • Long tread grooves enhance grip
  • Cool-running technology keeps tires from overheating
  • Intuitive Response Profile (IRP) technology enhances linear steering 
  • Carbon fiber technology reinforces sidewalls for better performance

CONS

  • Generally has a low life span
  • More features included with rear tire than front tire

What Recent Buyers Report

These tires provide solid performance and handling in most conditions. 

Perhaps because they are purchased more often for sports bikes, these tires do seem to wear out faster than a cruiser tire typically would. Some customers report getting around 3,500 miles before realizing the tires needed to be replaced. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you have a sports bike and you want to zip around with ease, these tires are an excellent choice for you. 

With specialized technology to make the tire's sidewall more sturdy, these tires can easily round corners and turns without developing cups or uneven wear. 

The specific tread pattern was made with all seasons in mind and should provide good traction once they are broken in. 

Dunlop's Intuitive Response Profile also creates consistent, reliable handling and a good grip and feel when riding. 

Because of the way the tires are made to provide traction, they do tend to wear out after a few thousand miles. 

Bottom Line

These tires can offer a quick, stable ride through any type of weather. Though they're made to have excellent grip and traction, the tires may wear out quickly due to the way they are made. 

Best for the Money:
Shinko 705

PROS

  • Stylish appearance
  • Made for street and trail riding
  • 4-ply construction for resiliency
  • Can fit either front or back of bike
  • Rubber compound prevents tearing during off-road use

CONS

  • Not ideal for exclusive off-road use
  • May not handle well under fast speeds

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers seem shocked and thrilled to experience these tires both on the highway and off-roading. The tires are quiet on pavement and have good traction on gravel and dirt, even though they're primarily made for street riding. 

The tires are stylish and resilient with a tread that stays consistent and wears evenly. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It's hard to find a tire that can perform well both on the street and in the dirt, which is why this tire made it on our list. 

These Shinko sport tires can fit in the front or back of your motorcycle with ease, without sacrificing safety or durability in the sidewalls. The tread is smooth enough for a relaxing ride on the highway and detailed enough for a safe ride through the dirt or during a storm, as well.  

The 4-ply construction and rubber compound keep the tire's tread in check, no matter where you're riding. 

Bottom Line

These Shinko tires are durable and reliable enough to promote confidence when riding, whether it's on a highway or a back road. 

Usually, these tires can withstand thousands of miles of wear before needing to be repaired or replaced, making them an excellent and worthwhile purchase for frequent riders. 

Best Motorcycle Tires for Cruisers:
Shinko 777

PROS

  • Perfect for large cruisers
  • Available in several sizes
  • Directional tread pattern
  • Sticky tread in all conditions
  • Excellent grip when cornering and braking

CONS

  • May be difficult to install
  • Tubeless, so it may not fit all bikes

What Recent Buyers Report

Using these new tires seems to generally elicit a positive experience from most buyers. 

Customers are surprised at the sturdy handling and impressive traction of the tread, making these tires and an excellent choice for street riding during all types of weather. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Grip is everything, which is why these tires are on our list. 

The specific tread pattern and multiple ply construction keep this tire looking and feeling good, even after thousands of miles on the road. The ride is smooth and comfortable, even around corners or when coming to quick stops. 

Designed specifically for large cruisers, these tires are made to fit V-Twin and metric cruiser models. Customers with these tires often enjoy long, smooth rides on the highway. 

Even though the tread is not made for offroading, these tires can withstand quite a beating before they will need to be replaced. 

Bottom Line

These tires are an excellent choice for cruiser bikes because of their impressive traction and sticky grip in all weather situations. 

Best Touring Motorcycle Tires:
Michelin Pilot Road 3 Tires

PROS

  • Great wet traction
  • Excellent handling 
  • Increased tread drainage capacity
  • Made out of a non-aromatic-oil rubber compound
  • Soft rubber and wear-resistant compound promote longer tire life

CONS

  • Tread life is limited
  • Wear may be uneven

What Recent Buyers Report

Confidence is extremely important when riding a motorcycle, which is why customers are raving about the Michelin Pilot Road 3 Tires. 

The smooth ride is enjoyable but the quick stops, sticky traction, and easier cornering are what keeps bringing customers back. Plus, the tires can be used on either the front or back of your motorcycle. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Tire manufacturers are capitalizing on all of the new tire technology available and it shows with this Michelin tire.

The combination of soft rubber on the sides and a wear-resistant compound down the middle make this tire extremely desirable for touring motorcycle riders. 

As one of the best dual-compound tires ever made, this tire can withstand thousands of miles without losing significant tread. The dual-compound will also give higher mileage on the tires since the sides of the tire will wear out before the middle. 

Bottom Line

These tires offer the best of several tire varieties on the market. They can be used in any type of weather and will still guarantee sticky traction, reliable cornering and stopping abilities, all while increasing the mileage you get out of the tires. 

Best Motorcycle Tires for Rain:
Continental ContiMotion Tire

Continental ContiMotion Sport/Touring Motorcycle Tire Rear 170/60-17

PROS

  • Unique traction 
  • Value for money mileage
  • Reliable grip on wet and dry roads
  • Steel-belt construction promotes stability

CONS

  • May be a little loud
  • May produce uneven wear

What Recent Buyers Report

For a cheaper tire, this Continental ContiMotion option is very reliable and sticky, even in extremely wet conditions. 

The longevity of this tire is also one of its most attractive features. Some customers have said they've ridden up to 8500 miles with this tire before replacing it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

With the weather being as unpredictable as it is, it's crucial to have tires that you know will support you in all conditions. 

The unique traction and manufacturing of this tire make it have an extremely sticky tread that helps inspire confidence, even in the worst weather. Leaning into turns, cornering, and quickly stopping is not a cause for concern when the tires are made with the rider's safety in mind. 

These tires are also extremely resilient and will generally last a long time, giving you more mileage for your money than other tires on the market likely would. 

Bottom Line

If you catch yourself riding in the rain frequently, you should look into tires with traction like these. Superb grip and a renewed confidence will go a long way in making your rides more enjoyable. 

Best Colored Smoke Motorcycle Tires:
Shinko 87-4670B

Shinko Smoke Bomb Tire (180/55ZR17 / Blue)

PROS

  • Handles well
  • Unique and reliable tread
  • Customizable smoke color
  • Very stylish and eye-catching
  • Based off of the successful Shinko 005 Advance Rear Tire

CONS

  • Bias-ply
  • May take several tries to work

What Recent Buyers Report

The head turns that come with a colored smoke burnout make this tire worth the purchase for motorcycle riders all over the country. 

The stylish coloring and high-quality tread make this an excellent choice for a back tire that comes with a little extra pizzazz. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most colored smoke motorcycle tires compromise their tread or ability for the stylish and colored smoke abilities, but not this one. 

This Shinko tire allows you to pick between blue, red, and purple for the color of smoke that is emitted when you burnout on your bike. The tread is deep and still consistent enough to provide for that extra boost of confidence needed when driving away from your colored smoke cloud. 

These tires are notably resilient and can withstand both wet and dry weather conditions. This tire can be used on cruisers, touring bikes, street bikes, and adventure bikes, too. 

Bottom Line

This unique smoke-producing tire is not only stylish but also durable and resilient, too. The special smoke abilities do not take away from the excellent traction and grip this tire has proven to have time and time again. 

How Long Do Motorcycle Tires Last?

Like any other vehicle, the amount of time you can use a set of tires will depend on how much you drive on them. 

As a general rule of thumb, most motorcycle tires will need to be replaced after about five years from the manufacturing date. 

How Long Do Cruiser Motorcycle Tires Last?

Some sports bikes recommend changing your front tires after approximately 4000 miles, while a cruiser bike's tires will likely not need to be changed as frequently. All tires should be changed before reaching 10 years of use, no matter what.

Proper storage of your motorcycle will also help lengthen the lifespan of your tires. 

How Are Motorcycle Tires Measured?

If you're going to be shopping for motorcycle tires, it's important to know what the numbers mean on motorcycle tires. 

Motorcycles will have three numbers to describe the size, each with a different meaning. Using the right size tires on your motorcycle is very important for having the best ride you can. 

What Do The Numbers Mean on Motorcycle Tires?

The first number is the width of the tire measured in millimeters. This is measured by running a straight line through the tire from one edge of the tread to the other. 

Next, the second number is a percentage that expresses how tall a tire is about the tire's width. For example, if the second number was 90, that means the aspect ratio or the height of the tire is 90% the size of the width. 

The third number is the size of the rim in inches. 

Comparison Overview

The variations of tires seem never-ending, which is why it's important to understand the differences between the tires that are currently available. We'll walk through the differences of bias and radial ply tires and tubeless and tubed tires and examine the differences between major tire manufacturers who are relevant now. 

Bias Ply vs. Radial Motorcycle Tires

Bias, or cross belt, tires have been around since motorcycles were first made. Bias tires have two diagonal plies laying across their surface, rather than a perpendicular ply like a radial tire would have. 

Bias tires can withstand lower speeds at greater lengths, while radial tires can handle slow and fast speeds with ease. Bias tires can also handle more weight than most radial tires can.

Generally speaking, radial tires are safer and more high-quality tires because of the way the tires stick to the road on contact. Radial tires have a larger surface area touching the road at any time, which makes for a safer and more stable ride. 

More information about these differences is also available via this YouTube video.

Tubeless vs Tube Tires Motorcycle

Tubeless tires are simply lacking one mechanism that makes a huge difference in the overall ride and feel of their motorcycle. 

With the absence of a tube, tubeless tires can ride easier at lower tire pressures, meaning that more of the tire will be in contact with the ground at any given point. Tubeless tires generally feel smoother and more stable than tubed tires do. 

You can use a tubeless tire on a motorcycle that comes with a tube if the tire manufacturer allows it.

Michelin vs Dunlop Motorcycle Tires

Michelin and Dunlop are two names that have been around for a very long time when it comes to motorcycle tires. 

Dunlop is known for creating the tires used on most Harley Davidson bikes. More times than not, Dunlop ranks higher than Michelin when it comes to performance and style. 

However, Michelin has stayed in the competition because they are now known for creating tires that can withstand the test of time better than others on the market. Michelin tires will generally get more miles before a replacement is needed while still providing high-quality products. 

Conclusion

Searching through varieties of tires can be overwhelming and difficult, which is why it is important to consider how and where you will be using your new motorcycle tire. 

Remember to consider all aspects of your future tire before making the purchase. Safety while on a motorcycle is extremely important, and it all starts with the tires. 

People Also Ask

Here are some questions that frequently come up when discussing motorcycle tires:

How Old Can Motorcycle Tires Be And Still Be Safe?

Most tire manufacturers say that ten years is the absolute maximum for any tire to still be used. Even if the tread still looks good, that much time will negatively affect a tire's ability and will make the tire unsafe to use while driving on the road. 

How to Break in New Motorcycle Tires

The first 100 miles with any new tires should be used as a break-in period to scuff up the thread and increase traction. Motorcycle tires can be broken in by riding slowly and eventually increasing speed down a twisty road. You can tell that tires are ready to go when there's a dull finish across the entire tread. 

Why Do Motorcycle Tires Cup?

Motorcycle tires cup because of uneven wear on the tire's tread. If you corner and brake simultaneously or lean over frequently while rounding a turn, you will likely develop cup spots on your front and rear tires. Square and straight tread patterns also tend to create cupping over time. 

Is it Ok to Mix Tire Brands on a Motorcycle?

Generally, tire manufacturers will say it is better to keep the same brand of tires on the front and back of your street bike. However, it can be okay to mix tire brands on cruiser motorcycles as long as the tires are the correct size and have a similar tread pattern.  

Should I Replace Both Motorcycle Tires at the Same Time?

No, you do not need to replace both motorcycle tires at the same time because the function or tread of one tire does not affect the other. Generally speaking, the rear tire will have much more wear than the front tire at the same time, so it will need to be replaced more often. 

Why Do Motorcycle Tires Wear Out So Fast?

Because motorcycle tires are meant to provide the best grip possible to the road, they are made out of a softer compound than other tires. This soft compound causes the tires to wear more quickly than others. The way a bike leans during sharp curves may also shorten the tire lifespan.

How Much Are Motorcycle Tires? 

Motorcycle tires are generally more expensive than car tires. You can expect to spend anywhere between $70-$500 on a new motorcycle tire, depending on the brand, size, and style of the tire. Motorcycle tires generally last about five years from the manufacturing date.

Are Wider Motorcycle Tires Safer?

Wider motorcycle tires are not technically any safer than a skinny motorcycle tire. A tire's safety is dependent on the amount of grip and friction provided by the tire's tread. The higher a tire's friction, the more it will grip the road and keep the rider safe. 

Can You Put Tubeless Tires on a Tubed Motorcycle?

Yes, you can put tubeless tires on a tubed motorcycle if the tire is not ribbed and the bike has the right type of rim. A tubed motorcycle will need to have an MT-type rim for a tubeless tire to fit appropriately. But, if the tire is ribbed, it will chafe against the tube and cause faster wear. 

How Do I Know My Motorcycle Inner Tube Size?

The tube you will use for your motorcycle is directly related to the size of the tire. The size written on the sidewall of the tire will be the diameter and width or metric sizes of the tire. Certain tubes are made for certain sizes of tires, so pick the tube that is closest to the size you have. 

Where Are Shinko Tires Made?

Shinko tires are manufactured in South Korea and designed in Japan. Japanese engineers use special design principles to work with South Korean quality control standards to produce durable and high-quality tires. 

What Does Touring Tire Mean?

Touring tires are specifically designed to provide a comfortable ride and reliable traction for all seasons. Touring tires typically have a higher speed rating and more responsive handling than performance or all-season tires. 

Troy

Hi, my name’s Troy. I started riding motorcycles with Clay mid-2020 and soaking up his vast knowledge of bikes. I have been writing for a few years and decided it was a good time to start writing about what I’m passionate about - motorcycles. No matter how bad your day is, a bike will always make you feel better, that’s my motto.