Car tires utilized on Motorcycles

Car tires utilized on Motorcycles

by Chuck Kimball
(El Campo, TX, USA)

There are a number of individuals that have mounted various DOT approved automotive tires on the rear rims of their large touring and sport-touring motorcycles in an effort to get increased tire mileage from them. Arguments rage over the legal as well as the safety aspects of such a move.

One argument is that Automotive DOT approved tires are specifically approved only for a particular use that would exclude motorcycles. This would, in effect, make running a tire not DOT approved specifically for motorcycle use illegal to run.

I know that the DOT Tire Code specifies the characteristics of a particular tire, but does the DOT approval and its category actually specify the usage of a particular tire?

Here is a video linked to one specific instance of this application.

While there is far more to the Car tire VS Motorcycle Tire debate than just the DOT approval issue, this is one that might have legal ramifications rendering much of the other conversation moot immediately.

Editorial Comment:

I'm no legal expert, however the DOT approval is not directed at the users of a tire ... the DOT code is simply to make the Sale of the tire legal, and supposedly certifies that it has met with the DOT requirements which, if I am not mistaken, only require that it be registered as to the place and company of manufacture.

Looking at the video, I'd suggest that the tire may be somewhat rounded due to being "overinflated" in relation to what pressure it would carry when used in an automobile. The rounding, and the pressure, more than anything are influenced by how much weight is being carried by the tire ... more weight, less rounding and visa versa.

I'm far from being a motorcycle expert, and without seeing a similar video of a specialized motorcycle tire I would tend to think that the needed rounding when the bike is cornering is OK.

At the same time, there may be specific rubber compounds which perform better on cycles that provide better grip, such as the kind of compounds used in high-performance tires on cars. These tend to wear out sooner but give greater grip. This might be the case in motorcycle tires too, so if a person is looking for more control, possibly using a high performance auto tire might provide it.

At the same time, HP tires tend to be more costly so, if this is being done to lower costs, the outcome might not be what is being sought.

In the end it seems that these are attempts to do what tire engineers are doing professionally all the time.


Comments for Car tires utilized on Motorcycles

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Safety of the tires
by: Anonymous

Whether they are approved or not, I think tire performance and tire and wear depends on quality of rubber used to manufacture the tires. While this tires may increase mileage what is the guarantee. I prefer using dual purpose tires from normal motorcycle tires. For instance I buy mine from Pirelli Motorcycle Tires, for guaranteed safety.

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