Did I tell you I went to the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern a while back? You could feel the tension build as you crossed the London Millennium bridge on the way to the Tate.
Once inside, the energy began to rise in intensity with every step. It was palpable. Tangible, even.
People were getting buzzy as they climbed the final flight of stairs and closed in on the darkened, glass-walled gallery. It was like queuing for a roller coaster ride in a theme park. Tension. Anticipation. Electric.
There were gasps galore as Picasso fans worked themselves into a frenzy like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.
All the reviews I’d read previously were spectacular. And the exhibition was deemed a must-see event for arty-farty folk lucky enough to get in there before opening to the public proper.
Me? I hated it. I don’t like Picasso. And I maintain that Valesquez is still the best painter to have come out of Spain. To this day, I don’t see why our Pablo felt the need to consistently put some poor guy’s nutsack next to his left eyeball.
But anyway, I digress. The point here is that art is subjective. As is music, fashion, and pretty much everything else in the world.
And motorcycle tyres are no different. Because no matter what the reviews say, and no matter what magazines or websites like this one publish, NOBODY in the world rides your bike as you do.
I Hate Buying New Tyres
I know plenty of people who get tingles in their naughty bits when discussing tyres. Like at the Picasso exhibition, crowds of reputable and influential people buzz around the new technology, excitedly discussing compounds and tread patterns.
Personally, I find the whole thing boring and only marginally more stimulating than the Picasso exhibition.
That said, I still put in the time and research when my bike needs new boots. Because whichever way you look at it, the tyres (and the air inside them) are the only part of your bike that should ever be touching the ground.
But it’s important to remember that tyres are just as subjective as Picasso. Whilst reviewers across the globe may praise and revere some new rubber, that doesn’t mean they will work for you.
So whilst it’s good to pay attention to what they’re saying, you need to consider some important factors of your own.
Motorcycle Touring Tyres: Ignore The Brands (For Now)
Like most people, I used to immediately go to Google when it was new tyre time – especially if it was for a new bike and I had no experience on which to base a purchase.
But this is the wrong way to go about it. Before you get into the juicy depths of Google searches, consider the type of bike you ride and how your miles will be ridden.
I’ll use myself as an example. I ride a 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. It’s a sports-touring bike that is relatively heavy at almost 240kg. But it’s also fast (yes, this influences the type of tyre you need.)
Finally, the majority of my miles are ridden on tour. And this can mean a lot of motorway miles, followed by many fast miles in the twisties.
And as a touring rider, I get wet a lot – so my tyres need to perform well in the rain.
Do the same for you, your bike, and the ‘type’ of miles you will ride. The tyres for a BMW S1000RR that spends most of its time on a track will be entirely different than that of a BMW R1250 RT that spends most of its time cruising on the motorway at 80mph.
So why is this important? Well, let’s see.
European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO)
The main reason you need to know this data is that you could be unwittingly breaking the law.
Every bike tyre is designed per the guidelines set out by ETRTO. And those guidelines consider the loads that go through the front and rear axles of the bike. So the weight of your bike will generate a ‘rating.’
If you fit a tyre with a load rating LOWER than the load rating of your bike, it’s illegal. And dangerous. And stupid.
Similarly, all tyres have a speed rating. So the power output of your bike will generate another number. And it’s the load rating and speed rating taken together that determines what tyres are suitable for your bike.
Sounds complicated, right? It is. And that’s why most manufacturers now offer a search function that does all the hard work for you.
Manufacturer Search Functions
The search functions you’ll find on manufacturer websites are a Godsend. Using the ETRTO guidelines, the search features consider your bike’s load and speed ratings and offer up suitable choices.
From here, you just need to decide which tyres fit the ‘type’ of miles you intend to cover – e.g., off-road, trail, track, touring, etc.
So using my Ninja SX as an example, let’s see what happens when I put the bike’s details into Pirelli’s search function.
As you can see, it offers me two options: the Diablo Rosso IV and the Angel GT II. I can also see the type of riding they were designed for and how much they cost.
The Best TOURING Tyres For Your Motorcycle
If you’re reading Motorcycle Tourer, there’s a good chance you’re a touring rider who rides a touring bike and spends most of your time wearing rubber away by riding touring miles.
So it would be daft for us to look at track-focussed tyres or those that are 100% off-road orientated. Even if you ride a big adventure bike, chances are it stays on the tarmac the majority of the time.
Because of this, we’ve included a few options for adventure riders who spend most of their time on the tarmac but also like to stray onto the trails occasionally.
Here we’ll look at our top choices for touring rubber.
Metzeler Roadtec 01 Motorcycle Touring Tyres
Metzeler Roadtec 01 tyres are a superb choice for various road conditions. And they provide excellent grip in wet or dry conditions and excel in the corners when pushing on.
Highly engineered with an optimised design, these tyres offer superior stability and handling that is up there with the best. The unique tread pattern ensures maximum contact with the road surface and optimal grip.
With a long-lasting compound, these Metzeler’s are designed to last without sacrificing performance or traction. They also provide a comfortable ride in various temperature conditions with minimal vibration and noise levels.
So whether you’re looking for an all-round tyre that can handle any weather condition or one specifically tailored to your needs, the Metzeler Roadtec 01 is one of the most reliable choices you can go for.
Pirelli Angel GT II
Pirelli Angel GT II tyres are some of the most advanced bike tyres on the market. With revolutionary tread patterns and durable rubber compounds, they offer bikers unparalleled levels of grip and performance.
The distinctive tread design features a combination of larger and smaller blocks, with additional siping to ensure maximum surface contact with the ground. This gives riders superior cornering, traction and braking capabilities, even in wet and slippery conditions.
The rubber compound is designed to be highly resistant to wear and tear, making these tyres an ideal choice for long-distance trips or daily commuting. Plus, the Angel GT II comes with a reinforced bead that helps reduce rolling resistance and offers better traction at lower pressures.
Whether you’re a long-distance warrior in the twisties or an everyday commuter, these Pirelli’s will give you the performance and reliability you need. With their cutting-edge technology and superior construction, these tyres are some of the best available for most touring riders.
Bridgestone Battlax T32 Motorcycle Touring Tyres
Bridgestone Battlax T32 tyres are some of the most advanced on the market, thanks to their unique combination of cutting-edge technologies providing superior performance and durability.
The first technology used in the Bridgestone Battlax T32 tyres is a special staggered angle pattern, which helps increase grip and traction.
Next is the multi-zone compound that helps improve handling and cornering performance.
And last but not least, the tyres are equipped with an advanced tread pattern that helps disperse water and reduce aquaplaning during wet conditions.
These features combined make the Bridgestone Battlax T32 tyres one of the best choices for anyone prioritising superior performance, safety, and comfort.
Michelin Road 6
Michelin’s Road 6 tyres are an admirable option for anyone looking for a reliable, long-lasting tyre for their bike. These tyres feature Michelin’s latest tyre technology and are engineered to provide superior grip, handling and traction in all weather conditions.
Their unique tread pattern maximises contact with the road surface while minimising drag. They also feature an innovative sidewall design that helps reduce road noise whilst offering a smoother ride.
With all these features, Michelin’s Road 6 tyres provide riders with a tyre that will last. And that’s not to mention the pedigree of tyres they’re spawned from!
With a nod to longevity, Michelin has designed the Road 6 tyres to optimise durability and reliability. And the tread pattern also helps to resist cracking, thanks to their strong construction which resists tears and punctures.
Continental Trail Attack 3 Motorcycle Touring Tyres
The Continental Trail Attack 3 tyres are designed to provide riders with the perfect blend of durability and performance. The tyres feature a robust casing that is highly resistant to punctures and a tread pattern that offers excellent grip in both wet and dry conditions.
For venturing off the beaten path, their low rolling resistance and excellent traction make them ideal for off-road riding adventures.
So whether you’re riding on the road or in the dirt, the Continental Trail Attack 3 tyres will help you get where you’re going with confidence.
Michelin Road 5 (And Trail)
Michelin Road 5 tyres (the predecessors to the excellent Road 6 tyres above) offer a combination of comfort, grip and longevity that is hard to beat.
Their unique XST + technology gives them superior performance in wet and dry conditions by using a combination of increased rubber stiffness and an advanced tread pattern. This ensures excellent grip on the road even in high-speed cornering and braking.
A special sipe design and tread pattern also help to provide maximum traction in wet and dry conditions. Additionally, Michelin Road 5 tyres are equipped with a unique foam-filled inner liner which provides additional protection against punctures.
The Trail version of the Michelin Road 5 tyres offer superior performance and traction in most terrains, making them the ideal choice for those running a 19″ front wheel.
The unique tread pattern allows for better grip, providing excellent performance. So whatever type of riding you plan on doing, the Michelin Road 5 tyres offer superior performance and durability that will keep you safe and confident on your adventures.
Dunlop Roadsmart III Motorcycle Touring Tyres
Dunlop Roadsmart III tyres are a great choice for any motorcyclist looking for superior grip and performance. The latest iteration of Dunlop’s ever-popular Roadsmart series features an updated tread pattern designed to maximise grip on a variety of surfaces as well as provide enhanced stability and braking capability.
These Dunlop’s are constructed from a newly-developed blend of silica and carbon black which helps them achieve superior traction on wet surfaces while maintaining their grip even when the surface is dry.
The tread design of the III’s are optimised for handling and performance in all weather conditions, so riders can be confident they’ll always have reliable grip no matter what the road throws in their way.
Additionally, the Dunlop Roadsmart III tyres feature an increased tread life, helping riders save money in the long run by not having to replace them as often.
All in all, these tyres are a worthy option for any motorcyclist looking for superior grip and performance.
Avon Spirit ST
Avon Spirit ST tyres are designed to provide excellent performance, safety, and comfort in all types of weather conditions.
Constructed with a deep tread pattern that provides extra grip on wet and dry surfaces, these tyres are perfect for riders who want to hit the roads safely regardless of the environment.
The tread pattern reduces road noise, so you can enjoy a quieter ride even at higher speeds. The tyres also come with advanced protection against punctures and cuts.
Additionally, Avon Spirit ST tyres are designed to last longer than other brands, giving you better value for your money in the long run.
These tyres are a stirling choice for anyone looking for reliable performance and superior safety – and they’re actually at the top of the list for my bike this season.
Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 Motorcycle Touring Tyres
Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 tyres are one of the most reliable, durable, and high-performance tyres on the market. They offer superior grip and cornering power, even in wet and off-road conditions – something I can attest to having ran Scorpion Trail 2’s for 3 years on my Africa Twin.
The innovative, patented technology used in the manufacturing of these tyres also ensures that they last.
An advanced tread design ensures that these tyres are perfect for adventure riding, helping to quickly clear dirt and other debris whilst providing excellent traction even in tougher terrains.
Additionally, their rigid sidewalls and heavy-duty construction make them capable of handling high cornering forces without compromising grip or stability.
In my experience, the Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 tyres are also pretty quiet; the special rubber compound used in the construction ensures minimal noise, even when riding at high speeds.
Metzler Tourance Next
The Metzler Tourance Next tyres include some of the most advanced riding technology on the market. These motorcycle tyres feature a tread pattern designed to reduce hydroplaning and improve grip, even in wet conditions.
Thanks to the patented mixture of polymers and rubber compounds, these tyres provide superior durability and stability while offering incredible performance.
Metzler Tourance Next tyres also feature a newly designed tread compound that helps reduce rolling resistance, resulting in improved fuel economy.
With superior grip and traction capabilities, these tyres will provide you with an exciting riding experience on most road surfaces.
So whether you’re looking for a tyre to handle city streets or the open road, Metzler’s Tourance Next tyres are an excellent option.
What Are The Best Motorcycle Touring Tyres? To Conclude:
With the right tyres, any on-road or off-road motorcycle tour can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. But choosing the wrong ones can lead to poor performance and infuriating setbacks on the road.
We’ve gathered some of the better choices available. But it’s important to conduct your own research to ensure you’re getting quality items that fit your budget, style, and riding habits.
So whether you’re a fan of high-speed cruising on motorways or slow climbs through dirt trails, make sure you’re ready for anything on your journey – starting with your tyres!
Oh, and if you’re wondering which tyres I eventually went for – it was the Michelin Road 5’s!