Why is the tread on the front tire of a motorcycle ‘backwards’?

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I think I heard once that the reason is because when braking, water will flow from back to front – but wouldn’t the tread being backwards still make the water flow towards the inside of the tire even in that case?

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4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Motorcycle tires, especially the fronts, are very narrow and fairly round in cross section.

When riding straight, only a small strip in the center of the tire is meaningfully touching the road.

Motorcycle tires are round to allow for leaning into turns. That’s when the side grooves really come into play. Incidentally, when steering (leaning) that’s when you want to have the best traction possible, otherwise, you’re going down.

So, more to the point of your question…

Imagine the tire rolling into an inch of water. Sure, the edges hit the water first, and it might funnel some water towards the center, but realistically it’s not much because there’s still air in there that takes up space.

A few degrees of rotation later and the outside openings of the grooves are lifting up out of the water at the rest of them are fully submerged. It’s like a snorkel of sorts, and allows any water under pressure someplace to be ejected.

If the tread pattern was the other way around, the center would trap air and water together and since the “escape routes” would be submerged, then there’d be an increased likelihood of breaking traction since there such precious little of it in the first place.

It’s less about “channeling water” in an active sense, but rather “allowing the water out” in a more passive way.

Of course not all tires/treads are created equal. Some motorcycles tires don’t even have directional tread.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Motorcycle tires, especially the fronts, are very narrow and fairly round in cross section.

When riding straight, only a small strip in the center of the tire is meaningfully touching the road.

Motorcycle tires are round to allow for leaning into turns. That’s when the side grooves really come into play. Incidentally, when steering (leaning) that’s when you want to have the best traction possible, otherwise, you’re going down.

So, more to the point of your question…

Imagine the tire rolling into an inch of water. Sure, the edges hit the water first, and it might funnel some water towards the center, but realistically it’s not much because there’s still air in there that takes up space.

A few degrees of rotation later and the outside openings of the grooves are lifting up out of the water at the rest of them are fully submerged. It’s like a snorkel of sorts, and allows any water under pressure someplace to be ejected.

If the tread pattern was the other way around, the center would trap air and water together and since the “escape routes” would be submerged, then there’d be an increased likelihood of breaking traction since there such precious little of it in the first place.

It’s less about “channeling water” in an active sense, but rather “allowing the water out” in a more passive way.

Of course not all tires/treads are created equal. Some motorcycles tires don’t even have directional tread.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

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