Sport riders look for grip and feel from their tires, while long-distance riders place more importance on mileage and longevity. Tires intended for larger touring motorcycles, such as Honda’s new Gold Wing and Yamaha’s new Star Venture, are designed to provide good stability and traction while retaining a long life span. Likewise, V-twin cruisers—such as those offered by Harley-Davidson and Indian and other brands—are ready and willing to shuttle you along the endless open highways.
Riders who own cruisers and luxury tourers are generally more likely to cover long distances than sportbike riders. Choosing a high-quality set of tires for your bike can make a difference between a good ride and a great one. Here are six of Amazon's top-rated touring tires that claim to offer the best blend of technology, durability, and performance.
Michelin’s Pilot Road 4 tires are some of the most talked about and best reviewed tires on the current market. Michelin claims more than 20 percent longer tread life than the previous-generation Road 3 tire, and the Pilot Road 4s use Michelin’s XST+ siping for stronger wet-weather braking feel.
Continental implemented a new rubber compound with a higher silica concentration for its Road Attack 3 tire, which the company says improves the wet grip. Newly shaped tread grooves run out to the edge of the tire to move as much water away from the center contact patch as possible, and out toward the drainage grooves. The Conti Road Attack 3 tires also maintain the same homogenous grip grading with a single compound—which means no abrupt changes between the firm, inner tread and the stickier, softer edges.
The Michelin Commander II tires are designed with cruisers in mind, with looks that Michelin says, “will turn heads.” Looks aside, the Commander II is a tough, rigid tire that features a square wire bead and denser rubber compound for improved mileage. They’re also relatively budget friendly as well.
Metzeler designed the ME888 tire specifically for custom touring bikes. While the claimed wet-weather performance is notably shy of the other tires on this list, Metzeler does offer this tire in a 23-inch front size for custom-built bikes specifically. All the tweaks that Metzeler made to this tire are aimed to increase mileage and performance consistency, including a new tread design and an X-ply carcass profile that is claimed to prevent overheating.
If you enjoy pushing your sport-touring or full-dress touring motorcycle, you might want to consider Bridgestone’s Battlax T30 Evo tires. Competitively priced, they offer well-rounded performance, and a newly designed tread pattern in comparison to the older T30 tire. Bridgestone claims solid wet-weather performance from the Battlax T30 Evo, and the reviews online definitely back up that claim.
If you’re partial to a bias-ply tire over a radial, check out Bridgestone’s Excedra line. Bridgestone says these tires were the culmination of years of research, and feature stiffer sidewalls with less flex for two-up riding comfort. Bias-ply tires, although typically heavier than radials, can be more comfortable during longer trips.
Dunlop claims you can cross the US six times before needing to replace their new Elite 4 tires. In addition, Dunlop expanded the line to fit bikes going back to the late 1980s—they now support more than 250 different bikes with their unique sizing. They're available in both radial and bias-ply versions, and feature a firm, long-wearing compound on the center tread.