A lot of people like to ride Harley Davidson motorcycles. They have acquired a reputation for being tough and long lasting, but the tires on these motorcycles don’t always do the job. It’s hard to pick the best tires for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. There are so many choices that it’s almost impossible to pick the right one. Motorcycle tires are one of those things that you don’t think about replacing until it’s too late. Choosing the wrong type of tire could put your life in danger on the road.
Our team of Harley Davidson fans has looked at hundreds of tire models and found four great choices that will make your riding experience better. You’ll love how these new tires handle, as well as how long they last, and how safe & comfortable they are. This article has all of this information so you can figure out which ones are best for you.
Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra Tires
When it comes to tires for Harley Davidson, we are Metzeler fans. We’ve been happy with the results of using their products for as long as we can remember. In fact, there aren’t many things that make us happier than pulling into the driveway on a warm summer evening after a long ride and hearing that nice “PING” sound coming from under the fenders. You know, the sound of brand-new rubber against the pavement.
But Metzeler really went above and beyond this time. They make a tire that is very reliable and made to take abuse from the rider without sacrificing grip or mileage. We had to work for this baby’s performance, but it was well worth it.
So, what is so special about the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra? Well, it all starts with the building. The steel cords on the tire’s sidewall make it possible to run these tires at low pressure. This means a better contact patch for more mileage. Not only do you get a tire that will last a long time, but you also save money on gas.
The next part is the kind of rubber that people use to make this tire. It can stand up to a lot of wear and tear because it has silica particles built into it that protect natural stone chips. You can just keep riding because those rocks and pieces of wood won’t hurt your tires any time soon.
Another benefit is that this rubber compound has less rolling resistance, which leads to better gas mileage in the long run. It does this by getting a better grip on the road surface and using less power from your engine to move forward (saving you gas).
No matter how hot or cold it is or if it is raining or not, this tire grips like nobody’s business! In fact, the way it drove on wet roads really impressed us. It didn’t seem like water changed how well the tire gripped the road. This is a big benefit for people who ride a lot in humid or wet weather.
This tire’s ability to keep a good balance between grip and durability is probably one of its best features. Even after being beaten up for 60 days, this tire stuck to the road like glue and still had more life in it than most brands. The rate at which these tires wear out is pretty good. Even though we put them through a lot of gravel and dirt, they only lost about 2/3 of an inch in thickness.
The price is one thing we don’t like about the Metzeler ME888. At least 20% more per tire than with Dunlop or Michelin. But considering how much you can use them, the extra cost is more than worth it.
The Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra comes in all of the most common sizes, such as 110/90-19, 130/80-17, 150/70-B18, and MH90-21.
Overall, we give the Metzeler ME888 an excellent rating and strongly suggest it to anyone looking for a long-lasting Harley Davidson tire with a good grip.
- Very high wear and tear resistance.
- Great performance in rain and snow.
- Can keep the right balance between holding on and lasting.
- For better gas mileage, the tires should be long.
- Wide White Wall is a choice (WWW).
- Premium price tag (but worth it).
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Dunlop Elite 4 Tires
Change is the only thing you can experience when you ride a motorcycle. Things change all the time, whether you are on two wheels or four. Harley Davidson and Dunlop Tire Company have worked together to make the latest line of tires for their bikes. One of these new lines is the Elite 4 set, which has a Multi-Tread compound that works well in wet weather and makes the tread last longer.
The tread pattern was the first thing that stood out about Dunlop Elite 4. We like that they don’t look like typical cruiser tires, which makes me think that they can go faster and turn better than, say, a Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe. There is a nice pattern that sweeps forward and gives the car an aggressive look. It also helps direct water away from the car so it doesn’t hydroplane.
These tires are made to give you more stability and control when driving in the rain. When the roads are wet, we like this for touring bikes. We tested these tires a few times during different rainstorms and saw the difference. Our bike was more stable than usual, especially when we were going faster on wet roads or parking lots. The tread pattern also helps move water away, so you don’t really need to let your bike sit for a long time before you ride it.
We think Dunlop tires have always been the best in terms of performance and durability, especially at cruising speeds. The Elite 4s are rated H for speeds up to 130 mph, which means you should be able to reach those speeds without much trouble. However, you may need to slow down around sharp turns or when there are strong winds.
One thing we don’t like about these tires is that when they’re on dry pavement or tarmac, they make a strange noise. It sounds almost like a flat tire, but it’s not. Therefore, we don’t think there’s a problem with how the tire is made. It only happens when the pavement is dry, and when it rains, it goes away.
There are different sizes of these Dunlop Elite 4 tires that will fit most Harley Davidson bikes. Harley Davidson suggests sizes from 100/90-B19 to 170/80-B15, so you should be able to find a size that works for you. Before you buy these Dunlop Tires, you should look up the model of your bike online to make sure they will fit.
In conclusion, we recommend Dunlop Elite 4 Tires as a good all-around tire for people who want to replace or upgrade their current tires. Even though they may seem expensive, you will save money in the long run. It’s because you won’t have to replace your tires every few months because of dry rot or old age.
- Great performance in rain and snow.
- Plush ride quality.
- There are many sizes.
- Lasts a long time.
- It can be made in both radial and bias-ply styles.
- A little pricey.
- Loud on dry sidewalks.
- Branding on the sidewalls takes away from the look of the tire as a whole.
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Michelin Commander III Cruiser Tires
The Michelin Commander III is another top product in the market for Harley Davidsons. Even though it doesn’t get as far as the ME888, it has a unique design that makes it easier to hold and control.
We put this thing through its paces by riding it on some of our roughest rides, including ones with tight turns, gravel roads, high speeds, and just about anything else you can think of. Even though we beat these things up, they looked brand new after each long ride.
The tire’s grip was another thing that caught our eye. No matter what kind of road we were on, this thing stuck like glue to the road. Even at high speeds, it seemed like the road surface didn’t affect how well it could stay on the road.
During the ride, another thing we noticed about these tires was how quickly they warmed up. Usually, you have to keep your speed below 50 miles per hour for about 20 minutes with other cruiser tire brands before the tires are ready to go. But these Michelin Commander III tires were ready to go right out of the box, making it a joy to drive down the highway.
These have been approved by the DOT for use on public roads, which is good news for people who ride all year. We’ve all heard horror stories about riders being stopped by police and given tickets because their tires don’t meet safety standards (too worn out). You get a tire that is strong and can handle potholes, gravel, construction sites, and other rough roads.
Not only that, but this tire also gives you a smoother ride, better steering response, and better cornering than most heavy cruiser tires on the market right now. We couldn’t believe how easy it was to get around corners without making big sweeps. This is one reason why it was so fun to use.
There are some problems with the Michelin Commander III Cruiser Tire that potential buyers should think about before making a purchase. Keep in mind that these tires are usually stiffer than traditional cruiser tires, so riding at high speeds will make you feel more vibration (over 50 mph).
Also, we didn’t have this problem, but there were some reports that the tread on the tire peeled off in the first few hundred miles of use. This seems like a flaw, and you’d hope that Michelin would take it back and fix it (if possible).
There are different sizes of Michelin Commander III tires, including 100/90-19, 80/90-21, 160/70-17, and 160/90-15.
Before we even think about buying motorcycle tires, we want them to do three things: hold the road well, feel as smooth as silk on the road, and, most importantly, cost as little as possible. On all three fronts, the Michelin Commander III Cruise Tire does a great job. If you want top-notch tires that make it feel like the motorcycle isn’t even touching the ground, you don’t need to look any further.
- Good guarantee for treadwear (25000 miles).
- The Silica Rain technology gives the shoe better performance in wet weather.
- Handling and ride quality that are above average.
- A good deal for the money.
- Quick times to warm up.
- At high speeds, it makes more vibrations (on rare occasions).
- The noise level went up because the structure was too rigid (squeaking).
- There are different stories about the tread coming off in the first few hundred miles.
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Pirelli Night Dragon Tires
Once in a while, we find a tire that makes us say “wow” when we put it on the rim. This was definitely the case with the Pirelli Night Dragon, and it’s not hard to see why so many riders swear by this brand’s products. We were very impressed with both how well it worked and how well it was built overall. If you want a cheap tire that works better than most others on the market, look no further. This is the one you want.
One thing we liked right away about these tires was how well they warmed up when we drove slowly. Most of the time, it takes about 10 minutes for high-speed cruiser tires to reach the best operating temperature for normal use. The Pirelli Night Dragon tires, on the other hand, usually heat up in 3–5 minutes, which is unusually fast for cruiser tires. Compared to other models we’ve tried, there was also a lot less road noise, which made driving at higher speeds much more comfortable.
Even when it was raining, the Pirelli 100/90-19 motorcycle tires did a great job. This surprised us because most Harley Davidson tires don’t grip well enough when it’s raining. When it comes to grip, this tire does a great job in corners. When you turn, it feels very solid and gives you a lot of feedback. Therefore, you always know what’s going on under your wheels. This gives riders a lot more confidence, which makes the ride much more fun.
The Night Dragon also comes in a GT version for Harley Davidson models that are heavier. It’s W-rated for speeds up to 168 mph, which means it can handle some serious speeds without any problems. There are several sizes of these tires to fit most Harley Davidson models, such as 100/90-19, 100/90-21, 120/70-17, 130/80B18, and 150/80B16.
Even better, the Pirelli Night Dragon is a high-performance motorcycle tire that people can put on any kind of bike without any trouble.
There are only two problems with the Pirelli Night Dragon. First of all, they are advertised as having a great treadwear rating. However, in reality, they don’t turn or stop very well when carrying heavy loads. Second, some reports say that when driving at low speeds, these tires lose some of their grips.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong if you buy this tire. It’s an affordable, high-quality model that performs well and handles very well.
- Compared to other cruiser brands, it has a better grip when it’s wet.
- Low times to warm up (3-5 minutes).
- Tires that are very responsive and give a lot of feedback.
- GT variant available for heavier Harley Davidson models.
- Exceptional ride quality.
- When riding at slower speeds, it loses traction (under 30 mph).
- A tad expensive.
- Not the best in its class for tread life.
How to take care of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle tires
The only thing that connects a motorcycle to the road is a piece of tire rubber about the size of a credit card. Taking care of your tires is important for your motorcycle’s performance and safety. The tire experts at Harley-Davidson have put together the following tips for all riders on how to take care of their tires.
1. Set the correct tire pressure
Several things can change how fast the tires on a motorcycle wear out. One of the most important things that riders often forget is to keep their tires at the right pressure. Steve Bindl, H-Product D’s Portfolio Manager, says that checking tire pressure is one of the most important things a rider can do to keep their tires in good shape. “Tires that are properly inflated last longer, and the right pressure helps with stopping, gas mileage, traction, and reduces the chance of damage or failure.“
The motorcycle owner’s manual has a list of things to do before every ride. One of those things is to check the tire pressure. Before you ride, you should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold and set them to the pressure listed in the motorcycle owner’s manual or on a sticker on the motorcycle.
Use a good motorcycle tire gauge to check the pressure in your tires. The Harley-Davidson Digital Tire Pressure Gauge gives accurate readings of tire pressure in increments of 0.50 psi up to 60 psi. It has a 12-inch braided line and a 90-degree angle chuck that makes it easy to reach valve stems.
Service tip: Pressure gauges can lose accuracy over time due to wear and tear. You should check or replace them regularly for safety purposes.
2. Know your weight limit
If you put too much on a motorcycle, you could lose control or have a sudden tire blowout. Both of them could cause an accident. When adding accessories, a passenger, or luggage to a motorcycle, you should always think about how much the bike can hold. Check the owner’s manual or the label on the down tube of the bike’s frame to see how much weight it can hold. Never put more than the maximum load on the bike.
Trailers and sidecars are two more things that can have a big effect on load capacity. A Harley-Davidson should never be hooked up to a trailer. Pulling a trailer will void the warranty on both the bike and the tires. Some motorcycles can use sidecars, but they shouldn’t be put on unless Harley-Davidson says so.
Tip: If a tire is underinflated by 4 psi, it can’t carry as much weight. This can cost you up to 80 pounds.
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3. Get new tires at the right time
After you check and adjust the pressure, look carefully at each tire for cuts, gouges, or foreign objects. They could cause a hole and cause the air pressure to drop. Bindl says that if you see any damage or a lot of wear and tear, you should call an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer right away.
Worn tires can make it harder to steer and stop a motorcycle. Besides, they are more likely to get damaged on the road. Most tires have bars between the tread blocks that show when the tread depth has worn down to the legal limit of 1/32 of an inch. It’s best not to wait until there is almost no tread left.
Tires should be changed when they are worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less. The Harley-Davidson Tire Gauge Tread Depth Indicator Tool fits in your pocket and can accurately measure the depth of your tire’s treads. It also has an air-pressure gauge.
4. Choose the right tires
Motorcycle tires are an important part of how the bike moves, so picking the right replacement tire is a big deal. The word “Harley-Davidson” is written in big letters on the sidewall of the four tires we mentioned above, and they can be bought at authorized Harley Davidson stores. Harley-Davidson tells its customers that they must only use Harley Davidson service replacement tires that are made for their specific year and model of motorcycle. Putting incorrect tires on a motorcycle can make the bike less stable, which could lead to death or serious injury.