Tyre Upsize: Pros and Cons of Installing Wider Tyres on Your Motorcycle
Article by Drivio | 17th Apr 23
If you enjoy riding your motorbike, you may have considered installing wider tyres on it at some point. While having a larger contact patch on the road may seem appealing, there are advantages and disadvantages to making the switch.
- Every motorcycle manufacturer selects the tyres that are best suited to the motorcycle after extensive research and consideration of various factors concerning the type of handling and performance the vehicle is expected to exhibit on average Indian road conditions.
- Upsizing refers to the use of a wider tyre or a larger wheel than is standard. Similarly, downsizing refers to the use of a narrower tyre or a smaller wheel.
- The fat-bike craze has begun, and everyone from boutique brands to global behemoths like Specialized and Trek wants a piece of the action—Surly alone now offers three distinct models.
However, before making this modification, it is critical to understand what happens when you install wider tyres on your motorcycle.
Effects of Installing Wider Tyres on Motorcycle Performance and Safety
- Tyre Dimensions and Performance
The size of your motorcycle's tyres has a significant impact on its overall performance. The wider the tyre, the greater the contact patch with the road, providing better traction and stability during turns. However, wider tyres increase the rolling resistance of the bike, which can result in slower acceleration and lower fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, wider tyres can impair your motorcycle's handling. A larger tyre makes the bike feel more stable, but it also makes turning more difficult. Wider tyres have a larger contact patch with the road, making it more difficult to initiate and maintain lean angles during turns.
Moreover, wider tyres can increase the unsprung weight of the bike, which is the weight of all the components not supported by the suspension. This can reduce the bike's ability to absorb bumps and other road imperfections, making the ride less comfortable.
- Tyre Fitment and Clearance
It is critical to ensure that wider tyres fit aptly on your motorcycle before installation. The first point to consider is clearance. More clearance is required between the tyre and the swingarm, chain, and other components with wider tyres.
If the tyre is too wide, it can cause damage or even a catastrophic failure by rubbing against the swingarm or chain. It's also critical to make sure the tyre doesn't interfere with the suspension travel or other components like the brake caliper.
When installing larger tyres, fitment is also critical. Tyres are available in a variety of sizes, and not all of them will fit your motorcycle. To fit on your bike's rim, the tyre must have the proper diameter, width, and aspect ratio.
Furthermore, the load capacity and speed rating of the tyre must be appropriate for your motorcycle. If the tyre is unable to support the weight of your bike or meet the required speed, it can result in unsafe handling and an increased risk of tyre failure.
- Impacts on Braking
Wider tyres can also have an impact on the braking performance of your motorcycle. Increased road contact patches can improve braking traction and shorten stopping distances. Wider tyres, on the other hand, can increase the amount of braking force required to stop the bike.
This is because wider tyres have a larger moment arm, which is the distance between the tyre's center and the ground. Because of the increased moment arm, stopping the bike requires more force, which can lead to increased wear on the brake components, including the pads and rotors.
It's also worth noting that wider tyres can change the way braking forces are distributed between the front and rear brakes. If the front tyre is wider than the rear, the braking force on the front wheel increases, resulting in decreased rear wheel traction and the possibility of the rear wheel lifting off the ground during hard braking.
- Overall Ride Comfort
Installing wider tyres on your motorcycle can have an impact on both the positive and negative aspects of your ride quality. Wider tyres, on the other hand, can improve traction and stability, resulting in a smoother ride. They can also make the bike look better by giving it a more aggressive stance.
However, wider tyres can make the ride less comfortable. Increased rolling resistance can cause the bike to feel sluggish, and increased unsprung weight can cause the bike to feel less agile. Furthermore, wider tyres can reduce the turning radius of the bike, making tight turns and corners more difficult to navigate.
Installing wider tyres on your motorcycle can provide several advantages, such as improved traction, stability, and appearance. However, understanding the potential effects on performance, handling, and overall ride quality is critical.
Before attempting this modification, make certain that the tyres will fit properly and meet your motorcycle's load capacity and speed rating requirements. Proper installation and maintenance can help to maximize the benefits of wider tyres while minimizing the potential drawbacks. Finally, the decision to install wider tyres on your motorcycle should be based on your personal riding needs and preferences.