best harley davidson touring tires

Best Harley Davidson Touring Tires: Top Picks for the Long-Haul

Written by Pierce Bryant
December 16, 2023

Selecting the right tires for a Harley Davidson touring bike is essential for ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride. The demands of long-distance travel require tires that provide stability, durability, and comfort. High-quality touring tires can handle the weight of the motorcycle, absorb road imperfections, and offer reliable grip across a variety of weather conditions and terrains.

harley davidson touring tire

The ideal touring tires for a Harley Davidson should offer a blend of performance and longevity. They must be capable of withstanding extended periods of highway speeds without compromising on traction during cornering or in wet conditions. With the correct set, riders will experience improved handling characteristics, reduced road noise, and better fuel efficiency.

Manufacturers have developed a wide range of tires catered to the specific needs of Harley Davidson touring models. These tires are engineered to meet the load and performance requirements of these heavy-duty machines, taking into account factors such as tread patterns, sidewall strength, and rubber compounds. It is crucial for riders to choose tires that not only fit their riding style but also adhere to their bike's specifications for optimum performance and safety.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Touring Tires

harley davidson touring in garage

When selecting tires for your Harley Davidson Touring, it is essential to consider the following factors for performance, safety, and longevity on the road.

Tire Durability

Tire durability is pivotal, as touring bikes often cover long distances. One must look for thick treads and high-quality rubber compounds that ensure extended tire life. Treadwear rating and manufacturer guarantees can be indicators of a tire's potential lifespan.

Weather Adaptability

The ability to handle various weather conditions should drive your choice. Touring tires should provide reliable traction in both wet and dry conditions. Look for tires with deep grooves and sipes for superior water displacement.

Load Carrying Capacity

A touring motorcycle carries heavier loads, so the tires must be capable of bearing this weight without compromising performance. It's crucial to check the load index and tire pressure ratings for any tire being considered. A higher load capacity ensures the tire can endure the demands of long-distance touring with additional gear.

Top Touring Tires for Harley Davidson Bikes

best tires for harley davidson touring

Selecting the right tires is critical for the performance and safety of your Harley Davidson on long rides. The following are top choices that combine durability, grip, and stability for touring.

Michelin Commander III Touring

The Michelin Commander III Touring tire is renowned for its longevity and wet grip performance. Its tread pattern is designed to disperse water effectively, reducing the chance of hydroplaning. They are engineered for balanced wear, which contributes to their extended lifespan.

Dunlop American Elite

The Dunlop American Elite is another leading tire for Harley Davidson touring models. It's an all-American made tire that offers enhanced tread life. Dunlop's MT Multi-Tread technology in the rear tire provides riders with a combination of a long-wearing center compound along with lateral-grip compounds on each side.

Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra

For those seeking both comfort and distance, the Metzeler ME888 Marathon Ultra is a strong contender. This tire is specifically designed for touring motorcycles, with a focus on high mileage and stable handling under a variety of road conditions. It boasts a sophisticated tread pattern that promotes even wear over time.

Tire Maintenance and Care for Optimal Performance

motorcycle tire gauge

Optimal tire performance is essential for safe and efficient touring on a Harley Davidson. Regular maintenance can significantly extend tire life and improve handling characteristics.

Regular Inspection Procedures

It is imperative to inspect tires frequently for any signs of damage, such as cracks, cuts, or punctures. Visual checks should be made for foreign objects lodged in the tread and to ensure there's no sidewall deterioration.

  • Look for:
    • Cuts, punctures, or bulges.
    • Embedded objects like nails or glass.

Proper Tire Inflation

Tire inflation is crucial; always refer to the owner’s manual for the correct pressure settings. Under-inflated tires can cause poor handling and increased wear, while over-inflation can lead to reduced traction.

Tread Wear Monitoring

The tread pattern on your tires ensures proper grip and water displacement. When tire treads wear down to 1/16th of an inch, they need replacing.

  • Inspect tread depth using a tread wear indicator or a penny.
  • Uneven wear indicates possible suspension issues or misalignment.

Understanding the Impact of Tires on Harley Davidson Touring Experience

harley davidson touring cruising

Selecting the right tires for a Harley Davidson touring motorcycle is crucial for optimizing the riding experience. Tires influence ride comfort, handling, and fuel efficiency, which are essential for long rides.

Ride Comfort

The choice of tires significantly affects the rider's comfort on a Harley Davidson. Touring tires are designed with a thicker sidewall and a specialized rubber compound that helps absorb road vibrations, providing a smoother ride over long distances. Riders should look for tires with high ratings in vibration dampening and noise reduction to enhance comfort during extensive tours.

Handling and Maneuverability

Tires play a critical role in a motorcycle's handling characteristics. For a Harley Davidson touring bike, tires with a rounded profile offer improved maneuverability, allowing for smoother transitions during turns. Additionally, a firm grip in both dry and wet conditions is critical for safe and responsive handling. Riders may prioritize tires featuring advanced tread patterns that promote stability and cornering ability.

Fuel Efficiency

Tires also have a direct impact on fuel efficiency. Harley Davidson touring motorcycles benefit from tires that have low rolling resistance, which requires less energy and thus conserves fuel. Optimally designed touring tires support better fuel economy without compromising traction or durability. A table listing tire options with their respective rolling resistance could help riders make an informed decision.

  • Michelin Commander III Touring: Low rolling resistance
  • Dunlop American Elite: Moderate rolling resistance
  • Metzeler ME888 Ultra: Enhanced fuel efficiency features