Decoding the markings on your bike tyre’s sidewalls

Decoding the markings on your bike tyre’s sidewalls  27th March 2023

Have you ever looked at your motorcycle's tyres and wondered what all the numbers and letters on the sidewall mean? Tyre sidewall markings can be confusing, but they contain essential information about your tyres to help you maintain and replace them correctly.

This blog will decode the markings on your bike tyre's sidewalls to help you better understand them. So, without further delay, let's get started.

1. Understanding tyre size markings
One crucial aspect of understanding the markings on your bike tyre's sidewall is to know how to read the size markings. The first set of numbers and letters is the size marking. It typically appears as a combination of numbers and letters, such as 120/70 R17. The number 120 refers to the tyre's width in millimetres, whereas 70 denotes the aspect ratio or profile of the tyre, representing the sidewall's height as a percentage of the width.

For instance, if the width is 120mm, the sidewall height would be 70% of 120mm, which equals 84mm. Lastly, the number 17 represents the wheel rim's diameter in inches. Choosing the correct tyre size for your motorcycle is crucial to prevent performance, handling, and tyre failure issues.

2. Tyre load index and speed rating
The load index and speed rating are necessary markings on your bike tyre's sidewall. The load index indicates the maximum weight the tyre can carry, while the speed rating indicates the top speed that the tyre can handle.

A number on the sidewall represents the load index. This number ranges from 1 to 279 and corresponds to a specific weight limit for the tyre. You can find a load index chart online to determine the weight limit of your tyre.

The speed rating is represented by a letter on the sidewall. This letter ranges from A to Z and corresponds to a specific speed limit for the tyre. Again, you can find a speed rating chart online to determine the maximum speed limit of your tyre. You must select a tyre with the appropriate load index and speed rating for your motorcycle.

3. Tyre manufacturing date code
Every tyre has a manufacturing date code on its sidewall. The code consists of four digits, the first two representing the week and the last two representing the year of manufacture. For example, if the code reads "1719," the tyre was produced in the 17th week of 2019.

It is important to note that tyres have a lifespan of about six years, even if they appear to be in good shape. They should be replaced six years after their initial manufacturing date, regardless of their wear and tear. Therefore, checking the manufacturing date code is critical in determining the tyre's age and deciding when to replace it.

4. Importance of proper tyre maintenance
Proper tyre maintenance is essential for safe and efficient riding. Tyres that are underinflated, overinflated, or worn out can affect your bike's handling and performance, increasing the risk of accidents. Regularly checking tyre pressure, tread depth, and overall condition can ensure that your bike's tyres are in good shape and provide optimal performance. Additionally, tyre rotation and alignment can help distribute wear evenly, extending its lifespan.

Decoding the markings on your bike tyre's sidewalls is critical for ensuring the safety and longevity of your bike. Proper tyre maintenance is also essential for safe and efficient riding. The safety of a bike is incomplete without bike insurance. Robust bike insurance can provide financial protection in case of accidents or damages. As a responsible rider, you must know these factors and take the necessary precautions to keep your bike in shape.

Comprehensive bike insurance covers not only damages to your bike but also liabilities arising from accidents involving third parties. It is important to note that bike insurance policies often have specific coverage for tyre damages or replacements, which can help offset the cost of replacing worn-out or damaged tyres.

Click HERE to learn more about the benefits of purchasing bike insurance.

Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.