Naz narrates - What I learned about tires
Ashwin Ram N P, Ashwin is a guy with a slightly unorthodox perception of everything. His struggle to choose a career path, between art and automotive engineering, has landed him in the field of auto journalism, where he has paved way for himself to practise both.
This is an article that explains to the common man some of the basic details regarding an essential part of their motorcycle - the Tyre
Tubed and Tubeless Tyres
In simple terms, tyres which have tube in it are called tubed tyres and the ones which don’t are called tubeless tyres.
But there is more to this than what has been just said as each type of tyre is made for a particular kind of usage. For example, a tubed tyre might not be suitable for high speeds as it generates more heat than the tubeless tyre. In case there is a sudden puncture they are more dangerous as the tyre could free itself from the rim. The tubeless tyre is more suitable for high speeds and in case of a puncture there are less chances of an accident as the tyre fits more tightly on to the rim than a tubed one.
Tubed tyres along with their spoked rims can also handle tough off road conditions better than alloy wheels. One of the advantages with tubeless tyres is that the puncture can be repaired very easily without actually taking off the tyre except in the case of a puncture on the side wall.
To decide which one suits your vehicle you need to have a look at the wheel rim of your vehicle. The rims with wire spokes that go right through the middle of the rim need tubed tyres while the tubeless tyres go well with the alloy rims that are cast as a single unit. Rims with spokes that attach to its side rather than the middle, can be used with or without tubes.
Material of the tyre: Hard and soft rubber compound:
While choosing a tyre you have to make a decision if you want better gas mileage or better grip on the road. Tyres made of soft rubber compound provide a better grip but as a result, their life is also short than a firmer or hard compound rubber.
The hard compound rubber tyres on the other hand provide better mileage but their grip on road is less than a soft rubber compound tyre. The extent of grip which a tyre would provide depends upon the length of rubber molecules interacting with the surface. In case of a hard compound tyre the length of rubber molecules interacting with the road is less due to the more number of cross links between the rubber molecules whereas in case of soft rubber compounds the length of the rubber molecules interacting with the surface is more due to the less number of cross-links and this is what provides better grip on the road.
What is the Tread of the Tyre:
The tread is the patterened part of the tyre which makes the contact with the road. The tread must be capable of handling all kind of stresses as this is the part which comes in the direct contact with the road. It should grip all kinds of surfaces with least wear and tear and without heating up significantly.
A deep tread is needed for better control of your vehicle. A deep tread facilitates the passage for the water, mud or sand to go when the tyre travels on an uneven or imperfect surface. If the tread has worn out and is not deep enough then the water, mud or sand would come in between the road and the tyre causing your motorcycle to loose the contact with the road and thereby resulting in loss of control.
Factors which you should keep in mind before buying a tyre:
One major factor which comes into play while you purchase a tyre is its date of manufacture. As the time goes by the rubber of the tyre tends to harden and this causes the loss of grip. Due to this fact even if a tyre has not been used for a single time but is a few years old, it is better not to put it in use. A good estimation would be not to use a tyre which is more than 5 years old. It is better to buy fresher tyres after checking their date of manufacture.
Apart from checking the date of manufacture below are some of the points which one should keep in mind while going for a particular tyre:
- Will the tyre fit to the particular rim of your motorcycle?
- Is the width of the tyre within the limit to fit into the frame of your motorcycle?
- What is the maximum speed rating and load carrying capacity of the tyre?
- Recommended air pressure of the tyre
- Type of rubber compound the tyre is made of i.e. hard or soft rubber compound
There may be lots of different classification and aspects relating to tyres and what I have written above should be the minimum one needs to look for while buying them.
If you have information on tires to share, why not use the comment box below and help future readers?