Motorcycle tire sizes are one of the more confusing aspects of motorcycles. If you have to buy new tires for your motorcycle or just wish to upgrade, you'll have to determine what size motorcycle tires you need. Here's a guide to help you understand basic motorcycle tire sizes.
There are three systems for measuring motorcycle tire sizes. One is the metric system, which is the most commonly used motorcycle tire sizing system. There is also an alphanumeric system and an Inch system, which is generally used for stock, very basic motorcycle tires.
The metric system is represented by two numbers with a slash between followed by a letter and then another number. The first number stands for the width of the tire and is measured in millimeters. The next number after the slash stands for the height of the tire.
The letter in a motorcycle tire size represents the speed that the motorcycle tire can handle. One of three letters is used to identify the speed capabilities of a tire: S, H or V. A tire labeled S can handle up to 112 mph while a tire labeled H can handle up to 130 miles per hour. A V tire is durable enough for the fastest speeds, being built for speeds up to 150 miles per hour.
The final number represents the size of the rim. The rim is usually measured in inches.
The alphanumeric system is a bit different and consists of an M which stands for motorcycle followed by another letter which represents the tire code and may be T, H, L, J, N, P, R or U. The first number represents the ratio of the width and height and the last number is the rim measurement.
The inch system is similar to the car tire measurement system. It represents the width and height of the tire rim. This is the easiest to understand but not necessarily commonly used.