reading motorcycle tyre sidewall

Have you ever wondered what all the various codes mean on the sidewall of your motorcycle tyre?

There’s certainly a lot more information that just the size, but it’s where we’ll start!

Tyre sizes explained

The size shown above can be broken down into three parts – the section, profile (expressed as a percentage of the section width) and rim size.

In this case the tyre is 130mm wide, and it’s profile is equivalent to 70% of it’s width – so 91mm. The rim size is 16 inches, whereas 61W refers to the speed and load rating. Because this is shown within brackets, it means the tyre is capable of speeds above the indicated speed rating. If no brackets are shown, it is capable of speeds up to the indicated rating.

The presence of ‘M/C’ indicates that it is intended for use on motorcycles, and we can also see that the tyre is of radial construction and suitable for use on tubeless wheels.

An arrow on the sidewall of the tyre shows the direction of rotation. In the UK a motorcycle will fail an MOT if a tyre is fitted with the directional arrow facing the wrong way around.

Tyre sidewall information

The above information details the maximum weight that a tyre can hold at a standardised pressure. It is important to note that this may not be the recommended pressure for your motorcycle – bike specific information can be found in the tyre manufacturer fitment guide and your owner’s handbook.

This corresponds to the load rating, which was shown alongside the size in the previous image.

motorcycle tyre sidewall markings explained

Next to the max. load information you’ll find details of the materials used in the construction of your tyre’s carcass.

The materials used will vary depending on the tyre of tyre you’re using.

Various materials can be combined to give a tyre different properties, which help to optimise it for it’s intended use such as racing or off-road riding.

where to find motorcycle tyre date code

Motorcycle tyres also have a shelf life, and you can work out the age of your tyre by checking the date stamp located at the end of the ‘DOT’ number.

In the above example, 2515 indicates that the tyre was produced during the 25th week of 2015, so it’s well within it’s recommended shelf life of 5 years.

The DOT number, short for Department of Transport, indicates the place of manufacturing, size and manufacturer.

Tyre European homologation marks

Visible above in a small circle, the ‘E’ stands for European homologation, and the number indicates in which country the tyre was approved.

The following numbers give further information as to vehicle type and the unique authorisation number.

Some of the above information will be found on both sidewalls, whereas other markings will be found on one sidewall only.

If in doubt, always ask an expert!