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Winter Studded Tires
you need to know about studded Motorcycle tires -
Today I want to talk about the proper riding technique needed to get the most out of your studded tires. The first consideration is what is the best type of studded tire for your bike, and riding conditions. If your riding is done mostly on rocky trails like we have here in New England. Or the average snow depth in your area is between 6" to 8" then your best choice is the slightly shorter "Rocky Trail Studs". They provide excellent traction on ice and snow, but will hold up much better over time. On the other hand, if your average snow depth is in excess of 8", then the "Deep Snow Spikes" will provide the most traction and because of the deep snow cover they will not be as adversely effected by rocky conditions. Most racers use the slightly shorter studs because they prefer the better handling characteristics they provide.
After choosing which studs will best suite your riding conditions now you need to properly choose the right size for your bike. Keep in mind that the studs will add to the over all height and width of your tire. This is especially true of the Deep Snow Spikes. On most stock motorcycles the extra size won't effect fitment as long as you do not go up in size from the OEM stick tire size. In most cases, if your bike came with a 110/100x18 tire, then that is the proper size studded tire to choose. Installing a larger then stock studded tire may cause problems with the studs rubbing your air box mud-flap or silence/muffler. mounting studded tires is straight forward. Wearing leather gloves while mounting studded tires will help protect your hands from those carbide studs. the proper air pressure is also critical. In most instances set your air pressure at 15psi. This will allow the studs to bite better. Keep in mind the lower the outside temperature is, the softer your tires feel. It is recommended you check the air pressure often in the Winter. We do not recommend the use of Bib Mousse, Foam Inserts or Tire Balls or any type of non-air system in studded tires. Studded tires work best with a minimum of 15psi for several reasons. Non air systems inherently have a soft characteristic and can cause high amount of tire flex and heat build up. This will in time shorten the life of the studded tire. Yes there are people who do it, but we do not recommend it.
Studded tires are a big investment. But with a few changes in your riding technique, you can help extend the life of your studded tires and get the best performance out of your motorcycle in winter conditions. Getting 3 or 4 years out of a rear tire and as much as 4 or 5 years out of a front tire is possible. The single most beneficial thing you can do, to extend the life of off-road studded tires is to use them only when you have to. If the snow cover melts away and the trails turn to mud, take them off and save them until it freezes up again. Don't get lazy in the spring and eave them on for one more ride. Changing your riding technique can also help your studded tires last longer. Avoid as much wheel spin as possible (this is most important on small displacement motorcycles where the common riding technique is the fan the clutch and keep the motor rev-ing high). Excessive wheel spin will dramatically reduce the life of any studded tire. Use the torque of your motor and ride with as much momentum as possible. think "smooth" and adopt a smooth riding style. Any expert or old timer will tell you, that a smooth rider is a fast rider. Avoid bare ground and bare rocks. Seek out snow and ice patches on the trail and let the studs do their job. Studs don't bite into rocks. Don't brake slide in corners. Sliding the studded tires will rip studs out if you hit exposed rocks deep in ruts. Use engine braking and the bikes brakes efficiently to control your speed. Ride with a more up-right style. Try to avoid "Railing" the corners. Squaring off the corners and keeping the bike upright helps keep more of the studs biting into the frozen ground, Snow or ice. By adapting your riding style to the conditions and the studded tires on your bike, you will get many years of use out of them.
Well there you have it. That's most likely more than you ever wanted to know about studded motorcycle tires. I have over 25 years of experience building and riding with studded tires so I have learned a trick or two in my day. I hope this information can help you choose the right studded tires for your bike and to get the most out of your investment in them. Feel free to call out toll-free number 800-654-4998 if you would like to talk about studded tires for your specific motorcycle.