What are the Best Motorcycle Touring Tyres in 2024?

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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 to the Tate.

Once inside, the energy began to rise in intensity with every step. It was palpable. Tangible, even. There were gasps as Picasso fans worked themselves into a frenzy like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

All the reviews I’d read 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 properly.

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. 

motorcycle touring tyres - picasso exhibit

I Hate Buying New Tyres

I know plenty of people who get tingles 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.

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.

contintental on motorbike

Motorcycle Touring Tyres: Ignore The Brands (For Now)

Like most people, I immediately go to Google when it’s new tyre time – especially if they’re for a new bike and I have 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.

As a touring rider, I also often get wet – so my tyres must perform well in the rain.

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.

motorcycle touring tyres - kawasaki ninja 1000sx in the picos

European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO)

You need to know this ETRTO data because 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 suitable choices.

From here, you must 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 Michelin’s search function.

As you can see, it offers me three main options: the Power 6, the Road 6, and the Road 5. It also gives me four viable alternatives.

Very handy!

michelin guide

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-focused tyres or those that are 100% off-road orientated. Even if you ride a big adventure bike, it likely stays on the tarmac most of the time anyway.

Because of this, we’ve included a few options for ADV motorcycle riders who spend most of their time on the tarmac and stray onto the trails occasionally.

Here, we’ll look at our top choices for touring rubber (in no particular order.)

Metzeler Roadtec 02 Motorcycle Touring Tyres

Metzler’s have always been a sound choice for bikers across the world. And their Roadtec 01’s were up there in my favourites list for quite a while. But for 2024, we have the brand new Metzeler Roadtec 02 tyres.

The Roadtec 02’s maintain the superb durability and all-weather performance of their predecessors, while simultaneously making improvements to the tread and compound. 

The new Adaptive Tread Design allows the tyres to adapt to individual conditions. So as speeds increase, the tread compacts to aid in better grip. And, at slower speeds (or when leaning the bike into twisties), the tread widens to allow greater water evacuation and surface area coverage.

As a result of these changes, you can expect better grip, reduced warm-up time, excellent durability, and confidence in both wet and dry weather conditions.

Consider the Metzeler Roadtec 02 tyres if you:

  • Loved the original Roadtec’s and can afford to upgrade
  • Want supreme grip
  • Like the thought of increased longevity

Pirelli Angel GT II

The Pirelli Angel GT’s have been around for a while now, but they’re still an excellent choice if you value all-round tyres with superb durability.

With an emphasis on longevity, performance in wet and dry conditions, and handling, the GT II’s are worth a look if you’re after some outstanding touring tyres.

The dual-compound rear features a harder centre section for improved longevity over longer distances and motorway miles. But the softer outers and shoulders enhance grip when leaning into bends – the best of both worlds.

For further confidence in wet-weather riding, the GT II’s feature a derivative tread design borrowed from the Pirelli Diablo rain racing tyres.

Consider the Pirelli GT II’s if you:

  • Want a notoriously long-lasting tyre
  • Value a comfortable ride over long miles and when travelling with luggage and/or a passenger 
  • Ride in all weather and value tyre abilities in wet and cold conditions as well as on perfect summer days.

Bridgestone Battlax T32 Motorcycle Touring Tyres

For a long time, I didn’t trust Bridgestone tyres after an unfortunate incident in Wales that saw me wreck a brand new Honda VFR in wet weather. Of course, it was my fault. But to this day, I maintain the tyres were poor.

But times have changed since then, and Bridgestone’s flagship tyre, the Battleax T32, is a long way from the atrocities on the aforementioned VFR!

This post is prioritising touring tyres, but the T32’s are some of the best all-rounders you can buy – adept at touring, commuting, weekend blasts, and in all weather conditions.

One of the major confidence boosters this tyre provides is in wet conditions, where Bridgestone claim a 7% reduction in wet-weather braking. This is, in part, thanks to their Pulse Groove pattern tread, which features raised micro-grooves that evacuate water away from the surface of the tyre more efficiently.

The T32 rear tyre is also re-shaped from the T31. This change in profile provides a 13% increase in surface area – and more surface area means more grip, stability, and handling in the twisties.

Finally, the improved T32’s offer a 10% improvement in tyre longevity over their predecessors – meaning more miles and more smiles.

Consider the Bridgestone Battlax T32 tyres if you:

  • Already use and love the T31’s
  • Value performance in wet conditions
  • Want truly all-round tyres

Michelin Road 6

I’m somewhat biased towards Michelin. When I bought my first bike, it was a bit of a knacker. My mechanic tore it to bits, serviced it, and built it back up into a bike that felt stunningly unrecognisable.

He also put on some Road Pilot’s (as they were called at the time.)

Since then, I’ve ridden with various iterations of the Road series – my favourites being the Road 3’s and Road 5’s.

But last year, we saw Michelin’s latest flagship tyre – the Road 6 (and 6 GT’s.) And (somehow), they’re even better than the already-superb Road 5’s.

As with the Metzeler’s Roadtec 02’s, and Bridgestone’s Battlax T32’s, the Road 6’s are truly excellent all-round tyres that will cover you for touring, commuting, and day trips.

They also demonstrate a significant improvement in wet weather performance thanks to a new 100% Silica Technology tread compound and a further enhanced tread pattern, which takes advantage of Michelin’s Water Evergrip Technology.

As well as this, the new compound offers a 10% improvement in tyre longevity and an emphasis on balance and handling.

Consider the Michelin Road 6 if you:

  • Are already a fan of the Michelin Road series
  • Often ride in wet weather
  • Value comfort and handling when carrying luggage and/or a pillion

Michelin Road 5 Motorcycle Touring Tyres

Michelin Road 5 tyres (the predecessors to the excellent Road 6 tyres above) are (in my opinion) hard to beat if you’re looking for affordable all-round tyres.

Admittedly, they’re not as advanced as their newer counterparts. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy warriors in their own right.

I currently have Road 5’s on my Ninja 1000 SX. And if I don’t like the price tag of the Road 6’s when I come to put new tyres on in the next few months, I’ll almost certainly put on another set of Road 5’s.

For me, they impart loads of confidence in the dry. But thanks to their XST+ Technology, they’re planted in the wet, too – even when braking and cornering.

Consider the Michelin Road 5 tyres if you:

  • Want some excellent all-rounders that inspire confidence in all conditions
  • Don’t like the price of the new (and expensive) Road 6’s
  • Want something that’s tried, tested, and proven

Michelin Anakee Adventure

I know, so far, all these tyres have prioritised sports touring (or touring) bikes. But considering adventure bikes take up a huge slice of our particular touring pie, it seems remiss not to mention any.

Top of the tree (for me, at least) are the Michelin Anakee Adventures.

If you’re looking to do a completely off-road tour, these tyres aren’t for you. But if you want to do a mainly tarmac-based tour with some light trails thrown in for good measure, the Anakees are a 50/50 tyre that covers both bases.

Michelin has done a good job of balancing a tread that allows for confidence-inducing handling on the road whilst providing decent grip on trails and gravel paths.

Consider the Michelin Anakee Adventures if you:

  • Are a predominantly tarmac-based rider but enjoy the occasional easy trail
  • Want to incorporate various terrains on your trip
  • Prefer a tyre that is good in the wet and is M+S (mud and snow) rated

Continental Trail Attack 3 Motorcycle Touring Tyres

The Trail Attack 3 (TA3) is one of the strongest competitors for tyres that offer excellent performance on both tarmac and trails.

A versatile performer, it strikes a good balance between on-road and off-road riding thanks to its unique tread pattern.

For adventure touring, the TA3 offers a reasonably good lifespan and adequate performance across a multitude of terrains.

Consider the Continental Trail Attack 3 if you:

  • Are riding in mixed-riding conditions
  • Value comfort
  • Want something tried and tested

What Are The Best Motorcycle Touring Tyres? To Conclude:

As mentioned at the top of this post, tyres are subjective – like art, music, fashion, or even facial preferences. We all prefer something over something else, even if we can’t necessarily verbalise why.

For this reason, you must put the time and effort into finding the right tyres for you, your bike, and the style of riding you enjoy.

Don’t fall into the trap of buying the newest and brightest if you already have confidence in a particular make/model of tyre.

And finally, it’s worth remembering that the latest tyres are expensive – often adding £100 onto the price of the previous model.

If you can find a deal on last year’s model, you can save yourself north of £150 – and that’s a lot.

Choose wisely. Because the tyre you choose really can make ALL the difference!


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