Size DOES Matter!

Well at least it does with respect to tires. And it matters in a much more complex way than most people seem to understand. Width in my opinion is not the most important factor, so I guess in that sense it’s similar to the famous saying.

Let’s just focus for now on rear tires since that’s what most people think about changing the size of. Sure you could get fancy and mess around with the front (we might actually unknowingly change that size when we change brands btw) but most people stick with something like a 120/70 on their sportbikes whether it’s a Ninja 400 or a Ducati V4.

The primary question is should I get a “bigger” tire? Meaning should I move from a 190/55 to a 200/50 or something along those lines. What the person is really asking, and may not even realize it is: Will a WIDER tire be better?

Let’s assume better is in this case faster in the corner…that’s another topic altogether, cause on that big bike slower in the corner may actually be faster…oh man so confusing. You wonder: “Will I be able to lean a little more with that extra 2-3mm per side?” No, it’s likely NOT going to be 10mm wider, it’s probably 5mm if you read the specs. In fact one manufacturers 190 may be just as wide as another’s 200, again for another day. My guess is that if you can feel 3mm extra you already have a tire guy so you can focus on riding better.

Faster? Probably not noticeably. It may actually be slower, since that tire is also likely 7-10mm larger in diameter unless you went down in aspect ratio (that second number). What, there are other size differences, I thought it was just wider? NOPE, and that can have a major effect on your bike.

A wider rear tire will in turn also change your ride height, it may even affect chain angle and swingarm angle. Most importantly it adds the worst kind of weight of all, rotating mass. (so much for those Ti rotor bolts!)

Sure maybe a slightly increased contact patch keeps that TC off for a millisecond longer…but again if you can feel that, the software guy is already optimizing your electronics corner by corner.

I’m not against changing tire size, I just think you should ask the right questions, be prepared to make set-up changes, and educate yourself before spending more money on a “bigger tire” thinking you’ll instantly get results. It just doesn’t work that way with anything, especially not tire size. But, if it gives you the confidence you need, a good panacea is always worth the extra money!

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