Dark siders, as they are known, are a group of motorcycle riders who are passionate about using car tires on their bikes instead of standard motorcycle tires. While they tend to be very adamant and positive about this practice — and will gladly tell other riders about their conversion to the dark side, like on this Facebook page devoted to dark siders — other riders aren’t as sure about it.
As the following points illustrate, going to the dark side might not be as safe as some riders might want you to believe:
Cars and motorcycles handle differently
As Rider Magazine notes, motorcycles and cars handle things like turns in a much different way. While a motorcycle will lean into the turn and go onto the inside edge of its tires, a car stays fairly flat, with the bulk of the car’s weight on the outside edge of its tires. Because of this, car tires are designed much differently than motorcycle tires. When dark siders put car tires on their motorcycles, they may be setting themselves up for tire failure.
Insurance companies may not cover dark siders
Riders who want to convert their motorcycles to run on car tires should have a serious conversation with their insurance agent to see if they will still be covered. While it is possible such a change will be covered, it’s also likely it will not be. Potential dark siders must face the fact that if the worst happens and they are in an accident, other people who are hurt in the crash might target them because their bike had tires on it that were not designed to be used on a motorcycle. As tempting as it might be to give car tires a try, it’s probably best to stick with reliable and reputable motorcycle tires; for example, MotoSport.com sells a great selection of tires that are made for motorcycles and will still give riders the superb performance they are looking for, all while not tempting insurance fate.
Not all tires are created equally
While dark siders contend that putting car tires on motorcycles is often cheaper and offers a smoother ride and better handling in inclement weather conditions like snow and ice, Goldwing Facts offers a thorough and in-depth explanation why going to the dark side is unsafe. As the author concludes, motorcycle and car tires have only two things in common: their color and the fact that they both have treads. Beyond that, they are widely different. For example, motorcycle tires have a round tread area that helps the bike stay leaned over while going through a turn. In fact, once the bike is leaning, the rear tire, and not the front, will help the rider steer the motorcycle. A smaller radius on the tread will help the motorcycle tire perform even better in tight turns. On the other hand, the treads on car tires are completely different and will not perform the same way in turns. In addition, the compound on a motorcycle tire is much different than what is found on car tires.