Flow Racers is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission.

6 Reasons Why Motorcycle Tires Are So Expensive

If you are a motorcycle owner, you might have noticed that a new set of tires can be quite expensive. However, you will have to buy a new set sooner or later, no matter the quality of your current tires. But many owners are left wondering why motorcycle tires are so expensive.

The 6 reasons motorcycle tires are so expensive are:

  1. It’s a small market
  2. High engineering demands
  3. Safety reasons
  4. Riding a motorcycle is a hobby
  5. Materials, time, and effort required
  6. Brand effect

Below, we’ll go into the details as to why motorcycle tires are so expensive. We’ll also discuss the differences between cheap and expensive motorcycle tires, so you can understand why it’s usually best to spend a bit more money on a higher quality set of tires.

5 Reasons Why Motorcycle Tires Are So Expensive

1. It’s A Small Market

One of the main reasons motorcycle tires are so expensive is down to the fact that the market is much smaller than that of car tires. There are far more cars than motorcycles on the road, and bikes have only two wheels. This leads to lower demand, which directly affects the price.

As with cars, there are plenty of different models of motorcycle out there, and each one has varying tire sizes. Also, the front and the rear tires of a motorcycle are not the same size, which brings in an extra variable too.

2. High Engineering Demands

There are a lot of differences between car tires and motorcycle tires, most obviously their thinner profile. Due to their special design, features, and high engineering demands, motorcycle tires cost a lot more than the ones made for cars.

Unlike when driving a car, you need to lean your motorcycle into corners, which requires a lot of grip on the outer limits of the tires. That’s why motorcycle tires are made from special materials and have a thinner profile and different sidewall structure.

Motorcycle tires also come with different tread designs, in order to move water out of the way and provide grip in the wet. Also, they are made with smaller tolerances in mind and need to be able to handle high speeds. Each of these aspects affect the final price of the tire.

3. Safety Reasons

Unlike cars, bikes run on two wheels, which directly increases the risk of a possible accident. Additionally, the contact patch of a motorcycle tire is a lot smaller than that of car tires. That’s why the quality of the tire needs to be as high as possible, in order to offer maximum grip.

With safety in mind, many motorcycle owners are willing to pay more to get top-quality tires. The last thing you want is to lose grip because of the low-quality construction of a cheap tire. Also, low-quality tires are made from different materials and are more prone to punctures than higher quality tires.

4. Riding A Motorcycle Is A Hobby

For many people, riding a motorcycle is a hobby. Instead of using their bike for their daily commute, many exclusively use their motorcycle for leisure trips. Since most enthusiasts are ready to pay more for the equipment, as it might not be a necessity, manufacturers are able to charge more for their products, including tires.

Also, many owners ride only a few thousand miles each year. This allows them to go longer on a single set of tires. It’s one of the reasons most motorcycle owners don’t even notice the price of bike tires, as they rarely buy a new set!

5. Materials, Time, And Effort Required

Due to the safety and endurance factors, motorcycle tires are made of special materials that also require more time and effort to make. They are usually made from natural rubber, which is obtained from a rubber tree’s latex and then combined with synthetic rubbers.

To make the tire perfect, manufacturers add other ingredients, which directly affect the final price. Note that the assembly and testing are both labor-intensive, and workers also have to check each tire shape for possible defects.

Then, the tire needs to run through a computerized road simulation. It rotates the tire at an average road speed so that the workers can check if it runs properly. All of these checks and tests are fairly standard for all kinds of tire, but it helps to drive the price of motorcycle tires up further too.

6. Brand Effect

A popular company that makes any kind of product will always charge more, and the same goes for motorcycle tires. The more sought-after the company is that you choose to buy tires from, the more you will probably pay. Luckily, it usually means that you will get better-quality tires. So, it becomes a case of weighing up the differences between cheap and expensive motorcycle tires.

Differences Between Cheap And Expensive Motorcycle Tires

If you are a long-distance rider who also rides on hard surfaces, you should buy a more expensive, high-quality tire. You should also buy good tires if you are using your motorcycle for professional or non-professional racing. This is because you need to have the structural integrity to handle this kind of riding on these kinds of surfaces, which many cheap tires don’t offer.

On the other hand, if you are an amateur rider who doesn’t travel long distances, cheap tires might do the job just as well. You should also consider cheaper tires if you ride only in your city,especially if you ride mainly on light surfaces. This puts less strain on the tires, nullifying some of the benefits more expensive tires might offer.

Noise Level

There is a big difference in the noise level when it comes to cheap and expensive tires. Cheap tires are usually made from materials of lower quality, which directly affect the noise they produce. Although it might not seem to be very important, loud noises can become frustrating over time.

Materials

Materials used to make a tire directly affect the motorcycle’s handling, and thus increase the tire price. If the tire is made from expensive, high-quality materials, your bike should be easier to handle, even on rougher terrain.

Safety

Another thing that you should consider is the aspect of safety. If the bike is easy to handle, you will find it much easier to avoid hazards, and so more expensive, high-quality tires can make your bike safer to ride. The materials used also affect the lifespan of the tire, so if you buy a cheap tire, you might have to replace it much sooner.

Size

If the tire is very wide and thick, it will also cost more. With wider tires you will find it much easier to cope with difficult surfaces. Also, if the tire is thick, it will make less noise, and provide a better, more comfortable riding experience. But with wider, thicker tires comes a higher price tag.

Braking Distance

High-quality tires also have a much shorter braking distance than low-quality tires. It’s one of the main reasons you should consider an expensive, high-quality tire. Note that if you ride a heavy bike, the braking distance will be even longer, and in that situation, high-quality tires are essential.

Fuel Efficiency

It might seem insignificant, but the difference between cheap and expensive tires can be over a liter of fuel per hundred kilometers. This is in large part due to their more durable, high-quality material construction.

Brand Name

Obviously, tires made by popular companies can be quite pricey. On the other hand, buying from a trustworthy, proven manufacturer will ensure that you get what you pay for. With companies such as Michelin and Dunlop, you can be sure that you will get a good product. Choosing a brand you’ve never heard of might be a recipe for disaster, so always do your research before buying motorcycle tires!

Final Thoughts

Motorcycle tires are expensive for several reasons. The market is much smaller and with this lower demand comes higher prices. But choosing a more expensive motorcycle tire over a cheaper option is usually more about the increased lifespan, safety and better handling that they offer. It’s almost always worth the extra cash when it comes to choosing a high-quality motorcycle tire.