Two facts: Sooner or later you'll have to buy new motorcycle tires for your ride and choosing the right tires has a major influence on how much you'll enjoy your future rides.
Tire technology is constantly improving, with new models and rubber compounds appearing every year. Our 2020 Tires Gear Guide is here to help you narrow your choices and remove some of the guesswork. We’ve chosen our favorite tires for six kinds of riding, so there’s something for everyone across all the common sizes and genres. (If you’re riding something a little unusual, you’ll want to check out our tire finder tool for some other good options.)
While these six tires are absolute leaders on our site, we have a huge selection of rubber to fit whatever you’re riding, and wherever you’d like to ride it.
|Dunlop Roadsport 2||Best under $200||$79-$122||
|Michelin Road 5||Best sport-touring||$157-$241||
|Pirelli Diablo SP V3||Best sport/track||$189-$309||
|Michelin Commander III||Best cruiser||$127-$249||
|Dunlop Geomax MX53||Best MX||$32-$106||
|Bridgestone Battlax AX41||Best ADV||$112-$212||
The selection process
Here at RevZilla, we go through tires. Lots of tires. We also answer thousands of calls and emails from riders like you, all looking for the best tires for their motorcycles. Meanwhile, our product testers are riding and evaluating new tires as quickly as Joe Zito can mount them for us. (Thanks Joe!) Inevitably, the best tires rise to the top. Or is that ride to the top? Anyway, here are our best motorcycle tire picks for 2020, based on price, longevity, performance, and specialization.
When it comes to reliability and the goods to get you where you are going, for not a lot of coin, the Roadsport 2s are about as good as it gets for the daily rider. Crazy canyon carvers and “street Rossis” need not apply, but if your typical ride is a commute, a rip around town, or a weekend jaunt, you will be well-served by Roadsport 2s. Why pay big bucks for supersport rubber you don’t actually need? Especially when you can expect about 5,000 miles out of a set of these tires.
The Roadsport 2s offer siping across the width of the tire for good wet-weather performance, a must for commutes and longer trips. Dry grip is confident, with quick warm-up and commendable stability under braking. These are easily our recommendation for affordable, all-around tires that will last longer than fancy sport stuff. The Roadsport 2s are available for most bikes with 17-inch wheels. Those looking to pick up the pace a little should check out the Dunlop Q3 Plus tires, or our next choice, the Michelin Road 5.
Here at RevZilla, the favorite tire for street riding and sport touring is the Road 5. It’s an exceptionally balanced option in both wet and dry conditions. Even better, it’s a tire you can ride aggressively, while still returning surprising longevity. Michelin’s 2CT/2CT+ technology puts harder rubber down the center of the tire, with softer, grippier material at the edges for lean grip. Customers have reported over 12,000 miles to a set! Of course, that’s dependent on what bike you own and how you ride it.
If you have a motorcycle with 17-inch wheels, do yourself a favor and give these Michelins a look. We’d especially recommend them for naked, sport, or sport-touring motorcycles. These tires are for the riders out there pushing their bikes and racking up thousands of miles every year. That breed of rider is also experienced enough to enjoy technical roads, and they won’t tolerate a tire that limits the fun, even across changing weather conditions. Fortunately, the Road 5’s patented siping shines when the rain moves in. (Siping means the grooves cut into a tire to evacuate water.) The siping helps the Road 5 hold wet grip better than the competition, and these tires use a unique design to maintain as-new wet performance as the tire wears. Brilliant.
Yes, Road 5s will cost between $300 and $400 per set of tires, depending on your wheel sizes. In our opinion, they’re worth every penny. If you’re getting big miles out of each set, they’re actually a bargain.
If you can’t tell by the name, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 tires are highly aggressive sport tires. (They’re stock tires on Ducati Panigale V4s!) These tires are for the fastest street riding and the occasional track day. From supersports to ferocious naked bikes, Diablo Supercorsa SP V3s are as mean as DOT-rated tires get, with class-leading grip... as long as conditions are dry. This is not an all-weather commuter tire. Longevity and reduced wet traction are the tradeoffs aggressive riders pay for otherworldly grip. After a quick warm-up period, these things will stick like glue. Tire lifespan is about 2,500 miles, on the short end. Some customers have reported over 4,000 miles before replacement was necessary.
We’ve known and loved the previous iterations of the Diablo Supercorsas. With the V3s, Pirelli has broadened the range of tire sizes their sport rubber will fit. That means you can mount these tires on just about any modern sport or naked bike out there. That wide range of fitment scored big points with us.
At $425-$500 per tire change, the Diablo Supercorsa SP V3s are eye-wateringly expensive compared to some other tires here, especially when you consider that they might only last a couple thousand miles. In exchange, you’ll be riding with some of the finest DOT-rated rubber available today.
Give a farewell salute; the legendary Commander II has been surpassed by the new Commander III. Michelin had to get these tires right, because the Commander IIs were a well loved staple of the V-twin/cruiser class. Fortunately, all the best of the II has been carried over, with some new additions that take the III to the next level.
The first big change is a split within the model line. On one hand, there’s the Commander III Cruiser tires. These are best suited to lighter V-twins and cruisers like Sportsters, Dynas, and Softails. Larger bikes set up for touring duty will want the appropriately-named Commander III Touring tires. Their tread patterns, tire sizes, and sidewall reinforcements are meant to match the needs of big bikes.
Splitting the Commander range was a smart move by Michelin. Now they can offer more specialized tires across cruiserdom, which means a better ride for all. Just make sure you order the right type for your ride. Regardless of which you choose, expect 20,000 miles or more out of these tires. That’s a lot of cruisin’!
Wet weather grip is augmented across both Commander III tire variants, thanks to a new concentration of silica in the compound. The siping has deviated from the Commander II somewhat, while retaining the crowd favorite’s best qualities.
You can set your bike up with Commander IIIs for around $300-$400. They’re cheaper than other tires in the space, yet they last even longer, which makes the new Commanders a no-brainer for 2020’s cruiser and V-twin riders.
Tire performance is absolutely critical at the motocross track. For 2020, we’d confidently put our motos’ fate in the lugs of the Dunlop Geomax MX53s.
The MX53s are the successors to the old MX52s, now sporting an overhauled design intended for medium- to hard-packed courses. Longevity is also increased with the redesign. Those familiar with the MX52s will notice that the tread has changed to a new “tie-bar” pattern. Knob flex is reduced at the base so the tires last longer overall.
The new, taller profile brings more bite when leaned over hard. Traction is increased when braking, which means better lap times. Break the MX53 loose, and it lets the rider control the slide instead of hooking up too abruptly.
A set of MX53s for your bike will cost $100-275. The Geomax MX53 is available in a wide range of sizes for all kinds of MX machinery.
The Continental TKC80 has long been a favorite in the adventure category with its balance of road manners and off-road chops. Those tires are still a proven choice, and you’ll certainly spot them on Zillans’ rides. The world of tire tech keeps turnin’, though, and there’s a new option for 2020 that we’re highly recommending. It’s the Bridgestone Battlax Adventurcross AX41, and it offers longer-lasting 50/50 tire performance than the TKCs. Read on if you obsess over what tires to mount on your ADV bike.
Available in all common ADV sizes (excluding a 17-inch front), the AX41s feature burly blocks with huge grooves for traction. Aesthetically, these are some wild tires! On-road grip is surprisingly good for a 50/50 tire. Just be aware that feel at the limits of traction won’t be as good as with a standard street tire. In exchange, the AX41 is happy to charge down fire roads and trails.
the AX41s wear down enough that off-road traction is affected after about 3,000 miles of street riding. They’ll probably last to 5,000 miles or so on an average bike. That’s not bad at all for the class.
Although AX41s are 50/50 tires, they could be 65/65 tires, if such things existed. There are better street tires. There are meaner ADV tires. And there are few, if any, 50/50 tires that could hang with both.
Prices for a set of AX41’s range from $250 to up to $400 depending on sizes.
Buying the best motorcycle tires... for you
Here’s hoping you found a match for your ride in this year’s motorcycle tire Gear Guide selection. In case you didn’t, or if you’re unsure about fitment, don’t hesitate to check out our Motorcycle Tires 101 guide, or reach out to our friendly Gear Geeks. They’ll be able to show you the tires you need to keep riding.