For motorcycles, the tyre technology has come a long way, that ranges from tube-type tyres from the initial days to the latest generation of high-performance soft compound tubeless tyres. Every tyre produced to date has showcased its own set of benefits, which have worked indigenously for the motorcycle it was made.
In the current era, almost every two-wheeler tyre maker in India does make both tube-type and tubeless tyres for motorcycles. The core purpose and advantages of a tube-type tyre are entirely different for varying motorcycles. The tube-type tyres are essentially made for entry-level commuter motorcycles and bigger adventure tourers, which come with spoke wheels.
However, some people wish to opt for both types of tyres on their motorcycles at one time – a tube-type tyre at the front and a ZR type tubeless radial tyre at the rear.
What is a ZR tyre?
These are fundamentally the high-performance tubeless tyres, designed for motorcycles that can be ridden at speeds above 225 kmph. While such tyres are denoted with speed rating abbreviations like V (225 kmph), W (268 kmph) and Y (296 kmph) nowadays, many two-wheeler manufacturers still refer to ‘ZR’ annotation for tyre ratings of their high-end fast superbikes. The ZR tyre was primarily introduced for superbikes, which are meant to be ridden at high speeds, preferably at tracks.
Is it possible to use a tube-type tyre at the front and a ZR tyre at the rear?
It might sound like a crazy out-of-the-box idea at the front, but practically, it is possible. However, certain conditions need to be taken care of. Firstly, the motorcycle should be equipped with alloy wheels at both ends, as the ZR tyre is a tubeless tyre, which is not a right fit for a spoke wheel. In the spoke wheels, the spokes tend to protrude inside the rim where the air sits. If you use a ZR tubeless tyre here, the joints will leak air, which is why inner tubes are used for spoke wheels to retain air inside them. On the contrary, alloy wheels can be equipped with tube-type tyres.
Secondly, the tube-type tyre used at the front should be performance-oriented, which offer good performance at higher speeds, if not better than that by a ZR tyre. There are many high-performance tube-type tyres made for premium sport motorcycles that run on spoke wheels. You can use such tyres if your bike runs on alloy wheels of the same size. However, in such a case, you should consult with the concerned technicians at the authorized service centres of your bike’s maker.
If your motorcycle is meant for high-speed riding most of the time, such as fully faired supersport motorcycles, it is advisable to stick to ZR tyres at both ends for getting optimal performance at all speeds.