The tire sizes and ratings are usually the key factors to consider when purchasing tires for your motorcycles. When rating a bike, there are many design factors involved, including the width, aspect ratio, the speed rating of the tire, the radial construction of the tire, and the size of the wheel rim. These factors always affect the safety and performance of the tires on your motorcycle. Therefore, you need to understand the meaning and symbols of these design features when you select an ideal tire for your bike.


This is always the first design feature of many tires represented by a number. In most tire ratings, the width of the tire comes first. For instance, when the tire is rated 180/55ZR-17, then 180 is the width of the tire. On the other hand, when the rating is MT70S-18, the width is represented by the letter code �T’ just after the letter �M’ that represents the motorcycle tire. This design aspect is measured on millimeters between two sidewalls of the farthest apart tire. The measurement is always taken across the tire, touching the two most distant points.

Therefore, to understand how wide a 240 motorcycle is, take note that the 240 represents the total width of the tire. This means that the tires have a width of 209 millimeters and are mounted on 152 millimeters. However, the sizes in the numbering of the width may differ depending on the measurements. Take note that the width size of the tire must be slightly larger than the width of the rim for the rim to fit firmly inside the tire.

The Tires Aspect ratio

The aspect ratio of tires is always used to indicate the cross-sectional aspect of the tire. It is the ratio between the width and height of a tire expressed as a percentage. For instance, when the aspect ratio of your tire is 55, this shows that the tire’s cross-sectional aspects have a height of 55% of the width. The aspect ratio of tires is represented by its value and appears after the width on a tire rating representation. For instance, when the tire is rated as 180/55ZR-17, then 55 becomes the tire’s aspect ratio. However, this only happens when the tire has an alpha, metric or low profile of inches in the way its system is numbered.

The Tires Speed Rating

This represents the maximum speed limit at which the tire can be safely used depending on the pressure inflation of the tire and the total amount of load. The tire’s sidewall is usually checked when determining the maximum amount of load and the corresponding inflation pressure of the tire. The speed rating is also represented on a tire rating by a later code after the aspect ratio. For instance, when a tire rating of 180/55ZR-17, the last code, �Z’, is the speed attire’s speed rating tire is rated AZ, which means that the tire doesn’t have a maximum speed limit. The rating is usually used for speeds that are higher than 149mph.

The Radial Construction

After representing the tire’s speed rating, the next aspect is the radial construction. The radial construction is the representation of the tire construction. Take note that some tires might not have a picture of the radial construct. Such tires will have a Belted construction, another option of tire construction. For radial construction, the later code �R” is always used to represent a tire rating. On the other hand, later code �B’ is always used to represent Belted construction on a tire rating. These tire constructions representation later codes always appear just after the speed rating code on the tire rating.

For instance, when the tire’s rating is 180/55ZR-17, the later code �R’ represents the tire’s radial construction. Consequently, when the tire rating is 180/55ZB-17, � B’ ‘s last code is the belted tire construction representation. The radial type of tire construction means that the tire has many overlapping rubber plies. Wat the same time, the belted tires have aramid or Kevlar fiber belts and fiber glass. These fiberglass straps add strength and load capacity to the tires.

 The diameter of the rim

This is the measurement of the diameter of the wheel or rim in inches. The size represents the rim is preferred for the tire mounted. The ream diameter must be less than the tire’s width, for it fits perfectly when the tire is mounted on it. In a tire rating, the diameter of the rim is always represented with a number at the right end, just after the tire construction representation letter code. For instance, when the tire rating is 180/55ZR-17, then 17 is the rim diameter representation.

There are also factors considered when identifying the sizes of the motorcycle tires.

And these factors include;

WW: which means tires with Whitewall

TL: represent tubeless tires (tires that do not require inner tubes)

TT: means Tube typed tires which are tires that need an air tube.

M/C: this shows that the tire is designed for usage in motorcycles only.

The Sizing of Motorcycle Tires;

The sizes of motorcycle tires differ depending on their applications. For this reason, there are four significant types of dimensions of the motorcycle tires; These sizes include;

Metric size tires

These are the commonly used tires on cruisers, sports bikes, touring bikes, etc. It is usually represented by the letter �M’ on a tire rating, especially when there is no tire’s speed rating. They always provide the perfect ride on modern bikes.

Alpha size tires

It is also another type of designation of tires commonly used in motorcycle tires designed for touring activities. This is because the size of the tires is always wider compared to other tire sizes. The Alpha tire widths are usually represented on tire rating using a letter code.

The standard Inch tires

This type of tire is commonly found on an earlier made motorcycle. This type of motorcycle lacks the aspect ratio rating in its tire rating. This is because their cross-section heights are100% the width, bringing no difference in value when rating them in terms of aspect ratio. These types of motorcycle tires are rarely used in a modern motorcycle.

The low-Profile tire Inch

These types of tires always have an unspecified aspect ratio. For this reason, their aspect ratio is usually assumed to be 82% unless specified.

Frequently asked questions

How wide is a 200/55R18 rated Motorcycle tire?

To determine the width of this tire, you will first identify the width representation number in the tire rating. In this case, the wit, his 200. Therefore, the tire’s width is &.9(200/25.4), about 26.7 inches.

What is the width of an average tire?

An average motorcycle tire ranges from 30-35 inches for heavyweight and middle, moderate weight motorcycle tires. However, lightweight bikes’ width can be as low as 25 inches.

What is the common with of tires that fit on many bike rims?

The frames are always designed to accommodate tires about 28 28mm wide in most bikes. However, other bikes, such as touring bikes and cyclocross bikes, may have their frames accommodating tires with broader widths.

Is it wrong for motorcycles to have wide front tires?

Wide front tires are generally not suitable for motorcycles. The wide front tire can make rid of the Cherokee uncomfortable when combined with the short motorcycle wheelbase. It may also make movement difficult and more dangerous. Therefore, it’s not recommended.

What is the effect of wide tires when handling a Motorcycle?

The wide tires can cause understeer, which is dangerous for motorcycle handling. The wide tires can also make the motorcycle more responsive, especially when making sharp corners. However, it is not preferred as it can lead to a dangerous and twitchy ride.

Why are many motorcycles prefer using wide tires?

Wide tires usually offer a smooth and perfect ride ever. They can absorb as many bumps as possible on roads when riding your motorcycle at high speed. They also make power transfer easier, making the engine more efficient. This also makes the bike achieve a higher speed. Rating a motorcycle with wider tires also reduces the capabilities of handling the bike.

How frequent should I change my motorcycle tire?

The period at which you can change your motorcycle tire depends on the tire’s lifespan. The lifespan of many tires starts from five years and above. Therefore, you can change your tire before it is worn out after this time.


Determining the width of a motorcycle tire is essential to consider when purchasing a new tire for your motorcycle. The width of tires varies depending on the rim’s diameter and the type of motorcycle. For this reason, you should be more careful when selecting the most suitable tire with the exact width measurement that will perfectly fit the rim of your bike. In addition, it is also essential for you to learn how to analyze the tire ratings for you to identify the width representation of the tire from the rating.