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Have you ever found yourself wondering why motorcycle tires are so expensive?
I have seen many newbie riders wonder why their motorcycle tires are priced so high when compared to a car or SUV.
So, what’s going on?
If you look closely, you will find there are three main reasons behind the high price of motorcycle tires.
- The high cost of design and engineering
- The small market size
- High material cost
Time to explore the details.
Reasons Why Motorcycle Tires Cost So Much
Here’s the fundamental question – how much should bike tires cost?
The exact price of a motorcycle tire will vary depending on its quality and size. If you’re looking for a ballpark number, it can be anywhere between $200 to $600.
On the face of it, that may appear like daylight robbery. But hang on a minute…
The tires are one of the most critical parts of a bike that are protecting our precious bottoms from crashing on the roadside, every time we ride out.
And considering that the contact patch of a tire with the road is no bigger than a credit card, they are handling a big challenge.
So those eye-watering price tags aren’t without reason.
Let’s get to the main points.
The High Engineering Costs
Let’s not forget, unlike cars motorcycles ride on two wheels and are inherently unstable. And the tires are responsible for transferring power, carrying the load, providing grip, braking control, and many other vital functions.
Take the most used radial tires for example.
Here, the main carcass is made from layers of ply cords. These run perpendicular to the bead structure. On top of the ply, there are multiple layers of steel cable or aramid thread. These give additional rigidity to the tread placed at the top.
(That sounds as complex as scratching the back with my hands tied.)
Based on the motorcycle design, each tire goes through multiple dynamic tests to check wear, heat buildup, and various other aspects. The load on the contact patch and the tread design is carefully considered for each new tire design.
Also, the manufacturing tolerances are kept very low.
Last but not least, there are extensive field tests to determine performance on a wide variety of surfaces.
And what if the prototype tread design doesn’t offer the right performance?
The engineers need to go back to the drawing board and start again.
So, what does all this in-depth engineering mean?
No prizes for guessing. It’s the main reason behind the higher cost of motorcycle tires.
The Limited Market
When compared to cars, the market for motorcycles is smaller. And they have only two wheels, each with a different design.
Who cares? There’s a saying that goes…
Add to that, the wide variety of motorcycle models in the market, each with a distinct tire design. Moreover, the models are frequently updated.
That means, the top manufacturers need to keep the price high for the best tires, in order to cover the initial costs.
And let’s face it. Motorcycle enthusiasts are willing to pay more for high quality and better performance.
Don’t forget the brand effect either.
When you’re picking tires from a more sought-after brand, you will be better assured about the quality. So you will have to pay a higher price.
And I know how you love stretching your machine to the limits. (Not me. I am a safe rider!)
Do you really want to risk your life by choosing inferior tires at a lower price?
The Material Costs
So, you know that tires are made from rubber. But do you know natural rubber constitutes only around 20% to 30% of the final material used?
Natural rubber gets mixed with a wide variety of synthetic substances. This is done to enhance its physical and chemical properties. All this is done to make the tires durable and to prevent the rubber from losing its shape under pressure.
Sourcing the raw materials and producing the right compounds takes more effort. That drives up the price of the tires.
And the bad news is, tires are expected to get more expensive in the coming days due to the rising demand for rubber.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are tires getting more expensive?
Tires are getting more expensive due to the expenses related to design and manufacturing to ensure high performance.
Do bike tires really make a difference?
The quality of tires in your bike makes a big difference. When you’re riding a motorcycle, your safety depends on the performance of the tires. We recommend choosing the best quality at all times.
How long do bike tires last on average?
There’s no exact timeline to indicate the life of a motorcycle tire. The life of motorcycle tires depends on a variety of factors including riding style and frequency. If your tire has crossed five years, check the tread wear indicator for wear. Replace a worn-out tire immediately.