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Best Motorcycle Tires of 2022: Enjoy Confident Traction and Handling

Safety first with these durable and reliable motorcycle tire choices.

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BYLisa Conant/ LAST UPDATED ON July 26, 2022
Best Overall

Michelin Road 5 Tires

Summary
This is a great multifunctional, all-weather motorcycle tire that offers an impressive lifespan of around 10,000 miles.
Pros
  • Great multipurpose functionality
  • Long lifespan
  • Confident wet and dry traction
Cons
  • Somewhat limited sizing
  • A little pricey
Best Sport

Dunlop Q3 Plus Sportmax Tires

Summary
This tire is not just race ready, it’s also street legal, making it a reliable choice that’s designed and manufactured in the U.S.
Pros
  • Confident road grip in dry conditions
  • Reasonably priced
  • Short break-in period
Cons
  • Short lifespan depending on riding style
  • Poor wet weather traction
Best ADV

Shinko 705 Dual Sport Tires

Summary
Designed for 80 percent on-road use and 20 percent off-road use, these ADV tires are a fan favorite and one of the company’s best sellers.
Pros
  • Great bang for your buck
  • Lots of variety in sizing, including tube or tubeless
  • Reliable performance on different terrain
Cons
  • High demand causes dicey availability
  • Somewhat underperforms on loose or gravelly surfaces
Best Motorcycle Tires of 2022: Enjoy Confident Traction and Handling

If you’re an avid rider, a total newbie, or a die-hard dirt biker, at some point you’re going to be in the market for a new set of motorcycle tires. It’s a little disconcerting to realize that those narrow strips of rubber are the only things keeping you in one piece while riding. You want to be able to ride with confidence, knowing that you’re on a set of rugged, durable, and dependable tires. 

When it comes to choices for motorcycle tires, there’s no shortage of options, each promising to deliver the best and safest riding experience. In order to cut through the smoke, I’ve come up with a list of top picks that deserve your consideration.

Summary List

Best Overall: Michelin Road 5 Tires

Best Performance: Metzeler Cruisetec Tires

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

When deciding which motorcycle tires deserved to be on this list, I based my choices on several factors, including purpose, tread pattern, wet- and dry-weather traction ability, pricing, sizing, and speed rating. Preference was also given to well-established, long-standing brands with a solid reputation for delivering high-quality, reliable products. I also relied on expert reviews, consumer testimonials, and The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology.

Best Motorcycle Tires Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Brand: Michelin
  • Sizes: 7 available
  • Load index rating: 58-118

Pros

  • Great multi-purpose functionality
  • Long lifespan
  • Confident wet and dry traction

Cons

  • Somewhat limited sizing
  • A little pricey

If you’re looking for a great multifunctional, all-weather motorcycle tire, my top pick has to be the Michelin Road 5. It builds on the popular features offered by the Pilot Road series, using less aggressive lean angles and deep water-shedding sipes for confident wet traction. It also features uninterrupted expanses of softer tread along the edges for aggressive dry pavement riding. This tire also offers some serious longevity with a lifespan that’s good for up to 10,000 miles. The exact mileage you’ll get before needing to replace them, however, is dependent on your riding style and conditions. The tire is designed to maintain a more consistent volume of negative space as the tire wears in order to continue to disperse water efficiently and quickly. This allows for better emergency braking throughout the life of the tire. These tires are a little on the pricey side. Their available sizing is also pretty limited.

Specs

  • Brand: Dunlop
  • Sizes: 9 available
  • Load index rating: 54-75

Pros

  • Confident road grip in dry conditions
  • Reasonably priced
  • Short break-in period

Cons

  • Short lifespan depending on riding style
  • Poor wet weather traction

The Dunlop Q3 is not just race ready, it’s also street legal, making it a reliable sport choice. Designed and manufactured in the U.S., this tire features carbon-fiber reinforcement in the sidewalls for wicked performance in the corners. The newly constructed center compound in the rear multitread tire gives you better mileage and excellent response on the street. This set of tires also features a long and aggressive tread pattern with minimal grooves that are meant to give you better handling in wet weather. Be forewarned, though, that these tires are not your best choice in wet conditions. A rear tire should last you around 5,000 miles as long as you don’t ride at the track too often or too aggressively, in which case you can expect to get closer to 3,000 miles. The Q3 is a reasonably priced set of tires that won’t be too painful on your wallet.

Specs

  • Brand: Shinko
  • Sizes: 11 available
  • Load index rating: 54-70

Pros

  • Great bang for your buck
  • Lots of variety in sizing
  • Reliable performance on different terrain

Cons

  • High demand
  • Underperforms on loose surfaces

Making a tire that can handle on-road settings as well as deliver reliable performance in a variety of off-road terrains is not an easy feat, but the Shinko 705 Dual-Sport Tires rise to the challenge. Designed for 80 percent on-road use and 20 percent off-road use, these ADV tires are a fan favorite and one of the company’s best sellers. The four-ply construction resists breakdown during aggressive off-road use. This is one of the few ADV tires that offers a front/rear tire configuration that can be mounted on either the front or rear. Just be careful to pay attention during mounting, though, as this is a directional tire. The tread design allows for relatively quiet on-road performance, even at higher speeds. It also gives you good handling in wet conditions. As for off-road capabilities, like many other ADV tires, it handles best on hard-packed access roads or ATV trails. Single-track and loamy or gravel surfaces are where you’ll notice a drawback. Also, because of the popularity of this tire, availability issues are common.

Specs

  • Brand: Metzeler
  • Sizes: 30 available
  • Load index rating: 54-77

Pros

  • Plenty of size options
  • Good wet weather performance
  • Dual-rubber compound extends tire life

Cons

  • Too many size choices
  • Pricey

If you want excellent grip and confident, predictable handling in wet and dry conditions, the Metzeler Cruistec is the pick to click. It’s a newly revamped, high-performance take on a traditional cruising tire. This tire boasts a tubeless design and a freshly designed carcass with a high-tech dual-rubber compound construction that’s designed to give you more miles without sacrificing reliability. It also allows for improved cornering stability. With so many sizes to choose from, this grippy and responsive tire is a versatile option for a wide variety of motorcycles. The drawback to offering so many size choices is that it can become confusing for some riders to know which is the best choice for their bike. These tires are also a little on the pricier side compared to some of the competition.

Specs

  • Brand: Bridgestone
  • Sizes: 6 available
  • Load index rating: 51-64

Pros

  • Handles broad range of terrain
  • Increased biting edges for better handling
  • Asymmetric rear tire provides enhanced cornering traction

Cons

  • Limited sizes
  • Model lacks a lot of real-life user data

The Bridgestone Battlecross X31 tire promises to improve on the already rugged and responsive performance of the X30. However, it might be too soon to tell, since this is the freshest model of this off-road tire. This tire features Bunker Groove technology to improve casing flex, giving you better traction on harder terrain, while the aggressive biting edges add traction on soft, slippery ground. Specially designed rear cooling fins help to efficiently disperse heat and maintain tire pressure throughout your ride. This is a great intermediate tire with a wide range of applications, even though it comes in limited size choices. The symmetrical front tire design adds excellent braking stability while the asymmetric rear tire gives you better cornering traction. This tire is also quite reasonably priced compared to much of the competition.

Specs

  • Brand: Pirelli
  • Sizes: 13 available
  • Load index rating: 58-75

Pros

  • Excellent grip in both wet and dry conditions
  • Large road contact
  • Rated for speeds of more than 168 mph

Cons

  • Sport-bike application
  • Premium pricing

The Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires lean heavily on influences from the World Superbike Championship, utilizing a similar design that gives you wicked grip on dry and wet roads. The sleek, tubeless tires are constructed with high-performance, silica-enriched, multi-compounds to give you confident traction across a wide array of temperatures. These are one of the few tires that feature a tailored structure that is application dependent. The tire uses WSBK-derived three-strand Lyocell wire for 190/55R-17 sizes and up or stiffer Rayon chords for smaller sizes in order to improve dynamic response. The tread pattern is intended to enhance harmonic dampening on rough pavement, reducing noise. It also helps to speed tire warmup and add enhanced thermal balance. The drawbacks to this top-of-the-line tire are very few, but include a somewhat high price tag and the fact that these tires have limited applications.

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a great all-around, durable, high-performance motorcycle tire that’s suitable for a wide variety of applications, my top choice overall has to be the Michelin Road 5 Tires. On the flip side, the Dunlop Q3+ is not just aggressive and race ready, it’s also street legal, making it a reliable sport choice that will feed your need for speed. 

What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Tires

The motorcycle world is as enticing and diverse as a candy store when you’ve just gotten your weekly allowance as a kid. It’s pretty small, however, compared to the choices of motorcycle tires available. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the best tire for your bike and riding style. 

Motorcycle Tire Key Features 

Size

When it comes to the ideal motorcycle tires, size matters. For optimum performance, be sure to pick a tire that’s the same size as the original tire for your specific bike. You may be tempted to go with a wider tire for better grip or cornering performance, but double check to be sure that you aren’t going to compromise safety. 

Tread Pattern

Pattern is a huge factor. If you ride primarily in dry conditions or on a track, you’ll likely opt for something slick with fewer channels. If you want to ride around town or are a daily commuter who often gets caught in wet weather, you need a tread pattern that has more aggressive grooves and sipes that can efficiently clear water so you don’t lose traction. Obviously, off-road applications require an aggressive, knobby tire with a blocky and deep tread pattern that can chew up gravel and loose soil.

Single or Dual Compound

If a motorcycle tire is constructed from single-compound rubber, it will give you confident and superior grip at lean angles. A dual-compound tire features softer rubber on the sidewalls and is harder in the center. This decreases overall wear without sacrificing a lot of grippiness, which can be a good choice for a street tire, cruiser, or commuter.

Radial and Bias Ply

As with car tires, a motorcycle radial tire features steel belts that run at 90-degree angles to the tread’s centerline. They’re rigid and offer solid traction but tend to wear down quicker. Bias-ply tires incorporate nylon belts that run at 30- to 45-degree angles to the centerline. This is better for carrying heavier loads or having a softer ride. 

Tube and Tubeless

Tube tires are traditional. They’re still common on vintage bikes and are a more affordable option. The newer tubeless tires run cooler. They might offer better performance and handling and tend to deflate slower than tube tires. They are pricier, though.

Pricing

You can get a decent commuter or street tire for less than $100. These are fine for daily driving on smooth, even roads and can offer between 3,000 and 5,000 miles before needing to be changed. The majority of good-quality motorcycle tires live in the $120-$250 price range. They provide reliable traction and responsive handling and can even be suitable for track days. If you’re looking for a top performer, superb grip, or good handling on tracks or off-road, expect to spend upwards of $250 per tire.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How many miles do motorcycle tires typically last?

A: Motorcycle tires are going to need to be changed out much more frequently than car tires. Even the best-rated motorcycle tire might only last up to 25,000 miles. Most motorcycle tires will need to be changed out within 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on your driving style and road conditions.

Q: Which motorcycle tires wear out the fastest?

A: Typically, the rear tire will wear out faster than the front tire on your motorcycle. This is mainly due to the fact that more power is usually channeled through the rear tire. Wheel misalignment, incorrect tire pressure, aggressive driving, and several other factors can cause the front tire to wear more prematurely or even cause both tires to wear unevenly.

Q: How often should I check my motorcycle tire pressure?

A: Correct tire pressure is especially critical for safety when it comes to motorcycles. It can also dictate performance and tread life. I recommend checking your tire pressure and tire condition prior to every ride, just to be safe. Keep in mind that your specific bike may require a different tire pressure than the maximum pressure listed on the tire, so be sure to check your owner’s manual for correct pressure settings.

Q: Can winter storage damage my motorcycle tires?

A: Taking precautions can easily prevent tire damage during winter. Elevating your bike on its center stand using a jack or block of wood that prevents the tires from sitting on the ground and developing a damaging flat spot is very helpful. You can also move the motorcycle every few weeks to rotate the tires.

Q: Do I have to replace my motorcycle tires in pairs?

A: Not always. You should, however, use the same brand of tire on the front and rear and size replacement recommended for optimal performance. Motorcycle tire manufacturers design their tires to work in concert to produce the most reliable performance and responsive handling.

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