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How do you learn the traction limits of a tire?

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  • How do you learn the traction limits of a tire?

    Learning where the traction limits of a certain tire are, and learning how it tells you it is about to let go is very important. In a car, learning when a tire is going to let go means that you slide the rear end a few times. That's not a luxury that we have on a bike; also, I am still new and a bit timid on a bike. So, how do you "feel out" a new tire? Do you have to push it until it slips just a little or is there a safer/better way to know where the limit is?
    Ride like your life depends on it.

  • #2
    Well , I'm not real keen on trying to find the limits (though I HAVE on a few occasions) or even really know much about that , but I've HEARD that when a tire is close to sliding , it'll start to feel "light" .
    I am a fluffy lil cuddly lovable bunny , dammit !

    Katrider's rally 2011 - md86


    • #3
      Step 1 - find local track
      Step 2 - pass tech and ride on said track
      Step 3 - discover tire limits

      BTW, who said you can't slide a bike? A little tire spin on acceleration or exiting a corner is not unheard of... the pros will intentionally slide the front end as a means of slowing for a corner (not reccomended for the street or beginner use..)
      I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. -- Edgar Allan Poe


      • #4
        Go to a bike day and take a class to learn the limits or sign up for riding school
        TDA Racing/Motorsports
        1982 Honda CB750 Nighthawk, 1978 Suzuki GS750 1986 Honda CBR600 Hurricane; 1978 Suzuki GS1100E; 1982 Honda CB750F supersport, 1993 Suzuki Katana GSX750FP. 1981 Suzuki GS1100E (heavily Modified)
        Who knows what is next?
        Builder of the KOTM Mreedohio september winning chrome project. I consider this one to be one of my bikes also!
        Please look at this build!


        • #5
          Dont go over your own riding limits either..just to discover the limits of your tires. Its better to have chicken strips and ride safe, then to have something disastrous happen.


          • #6
            i think it's important to learn how to handle the bike when the rear steps out. ( fighting the SR's & not reacting to it )

            i think a safe way is to ride straight and apply the rear brake with increased pressure - you'll probably hear the tire howl at you before it locks up. do it a couple of times and you'll get the sense of when it's about to lock and then release the brake.

            that same feeling you get is just about the same feeling when leaned over - but your reaction must be different.

            i personally don't worry about the tires breaking loose as far as a tire limit - you'll find ( with the low HP katana ) it'll step out due to debris or water. the problem is when the tire hooks up again ! if its a little slide you won't do a thing but a big slide might result in a highside. i think body position is key - #1 better to low side than highside - #2 if you get your weight low & inside your lean angle will be decreased. if your hanging off & at maximum lean angle your riding to fast for the street.



            • #7
              Thanks for the ideas.

              I am mainly asking, not so that I can do it, but because I wonder how experienced riders know that one tire has better traction than another with only a short test ride. Unless they have pushed the tire to the slipping point, how can one person claim that one tire really has more traction than another?

              I am not at the level of running a tire up to its traction limits.
              Ride like your life depends on it.