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Sportster Motorcycle Tires, Wheels, and Brakes Discuss issues with Sportster motorcycle tires, wheels and brakes.

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  #1  
Old 11th April 2013
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Question A little tire schooling required...

I'm currently shopping for tires, and since I don't have the cash yet, I figure it's probably a good idea to edu-macate myself about choices like a good consumer (I hate that word) should before putting himself deeper in debt. I'm not too concerned about the brand or model, I'm pretty familiar with the forum favourites. I'm also aware of the flaws associated with the less-than preferred doughnut flavours, including my OEM Dunlops. What I'm lacking is an understanding of some of the basic tire technology:

What's the difference between radial and bias ply in a motorcycle tire application?

Can you use a tube in either? Or is it a no-no?

I've got laced wheels, which pretty much limits me to tube type tires ...or does it?

Your input is greatly appreciated, thanks
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  #2  
Old 11th April 2013
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the difference between radial and bias is the direction of the belts or plys.... radial they run from bead to bead and bias they run at an angle but in the general direction of the circumference .....radials tend to handle better, especially on cars, but many race tires are bias ply

and you can use a tube with either type

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Old 11th April 2013
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The owner's manual for my '05 specifies 150/80B16 for the rear, does the B denote bias ply? (R for radial?)

It also does not specify the type for the 21 inch front.
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Old 11th April 2013
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B is for bias

The front 21 is bias

May not have been specified because I don't know of any 21" radial tires, where there might be both bias and radials in the 150/80 16 size.
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Old 11th April 2013
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John, you can google "tire codes" and get a wealth of information, also on site someone had posted this.
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Old 11th April 2013
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Yeah there's a sticky with a link to a good document on motorcycle tires, but it leaves some questions. Someone (a couple people actually) had mentioned that radials were not compatible with tubes... well the wheel that will be on my Sporty the next tire change will likely be a laced one, requiring a tube. HD specifies a bias ply in the manual, so I'm looking for a little clarification, or at least consensus, before I start limiting my choices to bias ply tires. In general, I'd prefer a radial, but I don't know if there's any advantage in a motorcycle application.

Also, I've read that blow-outs are more likely with tubes than tubeless. The only flat I've experienced (you were there Paul, in London) was a slow leak in my front tubed tire. I'm curious about the dynamics and causes of 'blow-outs'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toe View Post
B is for bias

The front 21 is bias

May not have been specified because I don't know of any 21" radial tires, where there might be both bias and radials in the 150/80 16 size.
That would make sense, I know there are radial and tubeless/tubed choices for the 16 inch tires. The choices for 21 are very limited.
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Harley's typically use bias tires.. sport bikes use either or, but the vast majority of radial tires are in sport bike sizes..

you can not run a radial and a bias on the same bike.. this is a big time NO no.. while i don't know the exact reasons *( I have my own hypothesis) everywhere tires are sold, tells you this..
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Old 12th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddTigger View Post
Harley's typically use bias tires.. sport bikes use either or, but the vast majority of radial tires are in sport bike sizes..

you can not run a radial and a bias on the same bike.. this is a big time NO no.. while i don't know the exact reasons *( I have my own hypothesis) everywhere tires are sold, tells you this..
I've heard that also, but today there's a lot of conflicting info on this. Apparently some newer Harleys, Yamahas, Triumphs come with mixed types, front and rear, from the factory. Some are even putting the radial up front with a bias on the rear.
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I have always heard from the guys at the car tire stores that you shouldn't mix radial & bias on the same axle, but it's apparently OK to have radials on the front & bias on the rear, or vice versa. Don't see why that wouldn't possibly be true on a bike, especially with, as you say, some bikes coming from the factory that way. It's true the handling characteristics are different, but IMHO, I don't think you'd notice a huge difference any more than using 2 different manufacturers' tires on the same bike.
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