From Marc Marquez on his Honda RC213V at Valencia, to Mike Smith, who commutes into Bristol every day of the year on his Yamaha MT-07, to Lisa Stone who loves taking on the local sand dunes on her Suzuki DR-Z400 – they all need their tyres to do the job.
Here at Two Tyres, we live tyres. Breathe, eat, sleep and dream about the buggers. And that’s why we’re the best online resource for rider who need the right rubber for them. Plenty of sites on the internet can post you out a pair of tyres, no questions asked, from a massive warehousing operation that could just as easily be selling fridges, flat-screen TVs or wallpaper paste in bulk… Here at Two Tyres though, we’re aching to get you on the best rubber for your needs – and we’ll do that at the best price too.
So – here’s a bit of an intro about what to think about when you’re picking your next fitments – and we’re here, ready and waiting to help with your specific needs, 24/7. Just give us a shout.
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Hitting the road, not stopping till the Cote d’Azur or the tiptoe of Italy, packing a load of kit and your significant other on the back – yes, it’s the life of the long-distance tourer. And what better way to get off on your hols? The fun starts instantly, there’s no misery at airports or queuing at the ferry terminal, and you’ve got a constant two-wheeled fix all the way through your break. We’re well-jel.
But what rubber to go for? You’ll not want to be worrying about the wear indicators peeping through as you’re parked up outside a café in St Tropez or Rimini. And a puncture en route will spoil proceedings in no time. So our first bit of advice would be to check your tyres well before you’re set to leave. A worn tyre is more likely to get a puncture: where a new one would flick a nail or sharp stone aside, a thinner piece of tread might pick it up – so new rubber will last all through your trip, as well as adding reliability.
In terms of model choice, you really are spoilt nowadays. Long gone are the days when you had to plump for a shiny, granite-hard tyre if you wanted to do high mileage on it. The latest touring designs have enough grip for really committed riding, yet will easily do 10,000 miles before needing replaced. Something like the * Michelin Road 5, * Angel GT II or * Battlax T31 would all do pretty well at a trackday 20 years ago – but have amazing wet weather performance, super high-mileage, and an excellent handling/stability package.
Which tyre model to go for will depend a bit on your exact bike model. A mega-tourer like the Honda Gold Wing or BMW K1600LT might have slightly different recommendations than if you’re loading up a big adventure bike like the BMW R1250 GS, or a sportier tourer like a Honda VFR. Give us a shout and we can point you in exactly the right direction. And we’ll see you on the beach!
By their very nature, bikes are far sportier than cars. Even fairly standard machines like Honda’s CB650, Kawasaki’s Z900 or the Ducati Monster range can hustle at a decent pace, far better than any normal car could do. So it makes sense to fit them with quality sports rubber – even if you don’t always use their performance to the full.
This is even easier nowadays, since sporty tyres have never been more useful for everyday use. Twenty years ago, a sporty model wouldn’t work so well in the rain, and would wear out fast. Now though, you can have it all – ample grip for the medium group on a trackday, fast warmup and good wet performance for your daily commute, plus enough mileage for easy summer tours. That’s mostly down to advances in compounds – the ‘black art’ of mixing up the right chemicals to produce a tread which sticks like hell to the road, while lasting thousands of miles.
Our favourite sporty tyres at the moment include the * Bridgestone S22, * Continental’s Sport Attack 4 (which is a new tyre for 2020), the excellent * Michelin Power 5, * Metzeler’s Sportec-M9RR. Any of these will sharpen up your bike’s handling, while giving all the grip you’ll need for the road and occasional trackday use.
Trackday addicts are arguably our favourite customers – because they go through tyres like they’re going out of fashion! All-out dry grip is virtually the only thing you guys are interested in, but there’s still a bit of thinking to do on exactly what you need.
If the bike will never see the road and you want the ultimate track performance, then slicks are a proper treat. They don’t have to pass tough DoT testing to ensure they’d work in extreme road conditions (two-up on a Hayabusa at 150mph on an Autobahn for hours on end kinda thing) so their carcass construction can be optimised fully for superbikes on track. Having no tread blocks means they’re designed to dissipate extreme heat generated on track – and can give more precise feedback too. And they can be a little bit more ‘edgy’ in terms of profile, meaning faster steering, essential for firing through chicanes and getting the bike onto its ear fast.
If you want to stick with treaded rubber though, you can still get superb track performance. Minimal grooving, soft compounds and aggressive profiles can still be made to pass road-legal testing nowadays, and treaded supersport rubber copes far better if you do get caught in a shower nowadays.
Finally, if you’re super-serious about your track riding, consider a spare pair of wheels and discs, and get a set of race wets on there. There’s nothing like getting a wet race track to yourself on a trackday because everyone else is on normal rubber – and you’ll be properly amazed at how much grip you get even when it’s properly soaking out there. For 2020, we’d be looking at the * Bridgestone V02 or the * Continental ContiTrack when it comes to choosing a slick tyre. And for treaded race or trackday use, think about the * Bridgestone R11, * Continental ContiRace Attack-2, or the * Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa V3 SC (these are a little bit pricey though – that WSB and BSB sponsorship won’t pay for itself!!)
Okay, the most important thing to a custom rider should be the shininess of the chrome and the depth of the metalflake paint finish… But tyres are important here too. You don’t need stacks of edge grip or fast steering of course – and you’ll be avoiding the rain where you can. Mileage, stability, comfort and good straightline grip are what we get asked for by custom fans – as well as a tread pattern that looks the dog’s bollocks!
Sizes can be a bit of a weird mix on customs (CLICK HERE FOR A GUIDE TO TYRE SIZES), so if you’re in doubt, just give us a shout. Our current faves for this sector include * Bridgestone’s H50, the * Avon Cobra Chrome, and for a great value fitment, the * Kenda K6702 Cataclysm.
It’s been the fastest-growing sector of biking for a few years now – and tyre choice for the adventure bike market has been expanding to suit. All the big tyre firms have put a load of effort in, with amazing results. As with a sports tyre, it’s important to think about how you want to use your bike – there’s no sense in fitting a sporty-touring adventure tyre and expecting to be able to ride in soft mud off-road. Similarly, a more knobbly adventure tyre aimed at proper dirt use will wear out fast on Tarmac, while offering much less grip and stability. Some adventure bikes (like Honda’s Africa Twin) also use tubed rims – it’s best to fit new inner tubes when fitting new tyres here.
For road-biased use then, think about something like the * Continental Trail Attack 3, * Bridgestone A41, * Michelin Anakee Adventure or the * Anlas Winter Grip Plus fitments. All of these are very strong performers on the road, with good wet weather performance (especially the Anlas), and while their dirt performance is modest, they’ll deal with the odd fire road or byway with ease.
For more aggressive dirt use, we’d look at something slightly more knobbly: the legendary * Continental TKC80, * Bridgestone’s AX41, the * Michelin Anakee Wild and the new * Kenda K784 which is great value for money. They’ll all massively out-perform the road-biased rubber when things turn a bit mucky.
Falling somewhere between the custom and the sport market, retro fans again seem to want rubber that looks good, and performs well, without needing to be too aggressive in terms of handling or dry grip. Modern factory retros like the Triumph Bonneville range will have conventional sizing which is easy to cover.
But if you’re running a restored classic from the 1970s or 80s, you might have unusual 16” or 18” rims and tricky widths to cope with (CLICK HERE FOR OUR GUIDE TO TYRE SIZES). Any doubts, you know the drill – give us a shout for solid advice.
Our retro customers love stuff like the new for 2020 * Bridgestone BT46 and * Avon Roadrider Mk2 (based on the original and best selling Roadrider), both of these tyres have a massive range of fitments and have great performance on the road. Now if you want something really sticky why not try the * Continental ContiClassicAttack. Need to get your knee down on your YPVS again? We can help make it happen!
Whether you’re a daily commuter, or you like to take your maxi-scooter on longer jaunts, tyre choice is as important here as it is on any machine. Indeed, the smaller diameter wheels and low weight distribution on a scooter means the tyres have to work hard to give good handling and performance in all weathers.
Take your pick from the * Bridgestone Battlax Scooter SC2 or the * Anlas Wintergrip 2 for excellent wet weather performance, while the venerable * Continental ContiScoot comes in a massive range of sizes that covers pretty much everything. And for 2020, we’re very excited about the new * Michelin City Grip 2.
We don’t need to tell you how much difference a good pair of boots makes when riding off-road. Even a slightly worn set of knobblies can properly kill your buzz when it’s really muddy or on sandy tracks – so you owe it to yourself to pick the best rubber, and keep them changed regularly!
Our off-road mates are all raving about the * Bridgestone Battlecross X range at the moment, both in MX and Enduro form, while * Kenda keeps expanding its range while offering great value for money. The latest * Michelin Starcross is also very popular, and we’ve recently taken on the * Risemousse Tyre Mousse brand – which is new into the UK for 2020 and offers fantastic value over the more well-known brands.