Motorcycle Traction EXPLAINED

The most debated and misunderstood subject of motorcycle riding: Tire traction. Does the contact patch size matter? Does having a bigger tire = more traction? I’ll explain everything you need to know about tire traction.

No more need for heated debates. Except for in the comment section of this video, you know it’s going to be epic.

Credits & Sources:


2009 Cookstown 100 125 cc Race

MotoGP 2017 All Crashes Compilation

Amazing Smoking Boot of Marc Marquez MotoGP

Best Of 2012 – Marc Márquez

What happens when you mix a wet tyre & a dry track…

Why Do Wider Tires Have More Grip? Tire Load Sensitivity

Valentino Rossi braking hard, Motegi 2016 (Q2)

A Twist of the Wrist Vol. 2: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding – Keith Code

Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques, 2nd Edition – Lee Parks


All material used under the rights of Fair use.


Victor Ayala says:

Dis dumb. Get good tires

multisomebodyelse notme says:

anyway…sooooo…is it safer to have a weighted top box then or no :(

Sven ols says:

Va fan snackar du om?….;)…..ut o åk båge….hehe

multisomebodyelse notme says:

also…i subbed :)

TheGofercat77 says:

I fuckin swear if he says contact patch one more god damm time when he goes to sleep I will be under his bed

cookie bear says:

do you mean tread or thread , tread is what you have on your tires and thread is what you sew with…… why are you saying Thread ?????

Sunil N says:

That’s why you lean into a corner. You load the front wheel !

Fat Daddy says:

You look a lot like Johnny Sins.

Giulio Buccini says:

So, why powerful sport motorcycles with low weight (e.g. Panigale-like) have big tires at the rear???

TTB says:

when you were testing the rope attached to the box with weight theory, when you put the box sideways, you didn’t think about the rope touching the surface and thus creating space between the box and the table creating less friction since now only the edge + rope is having contact on the surface… of course it will be less than the small patch…..

Ku`i says:

Mahalo 4 the great info!

Stephen Broyles says:

Lol “punematic”

Matko Pečanić says:

Load sesitivity mistake at 4:12 : friction coeficient will decrease at high loads, but you will stil have more friction for more vertical force, just not as much as you expected to gain

Mike Skidmore says:

Ok so you are saying a Harley will go around the Curves faster than a Sport Bike because it’s heavier ???

Adrian Alexandrov says:

Well, let me challenge you on the concept that rear tyre has bigger contact patch and since than is less likely to be overloaded. 12:30

IMHO, wider tyre if loaded with same weight would have contact patch of almost same area as thinner tyre. The difference would be in shape of contact patch. In wider tyre contact patch would be wider and so each point of rubber on tyre surface would have shorter time of contact with pavement thus less time when it is under tearing and shredding from braking, cornering and acceleration forces. So wider tyre is less likely to overload and to overheat since each element of tyre surface has less time being in contact with the pavement.

On tyre footprints

And rear tyre bigger contact patch on static bike is just an indicator that rear tyre is already more loaded than front. If pressure is same.
But since contact patch is wider (not bigger), the wider tyre could take more stress. That’s totally correct IMO.

stephenmwyatt2 says:

sportbike tires last as long as they last, but tires in climate control still last pretty good. The old tires that are brand new “BULLSHIT” is only that, pure bullshit. Tires do not get old like bread or donuts, it takes 8-10 years to ruin them

Milan Pintar says:

but you have a string on the side so the side is not contacting the table.

Ron Antonio says:

Are motorcycle rims marked for tire size specifically?

op3l says:

Creator of the gtr Godzilla says he made the car heavy because you can’t get grip without weight.

Boki Taki says:

Nice video! Can you make one about trailbreaking?

Peter Pengelly says:

Brilliant. Thanks

omgitzsteg says:

you seem like a nice guy, i like your other videos, but you need a review of basic physics, forces, coefficients, etc

Hr BeStalkinMe says:

FINALLY somebody makes a videov explaining some shit in more depth than a kindergarten level.

Alexander B. says:

Your experiment is flawed. The rope/string “contaminated” the controlled environment affecting the results. Also, a more accurate test would use the the same shape just different size of contact. Also, the force/load needs to be distributed onto the entire area of contact.

TheOzStu says:

When you turned the box on to the long side, you left the string going around it on the bottom. Them provided a little bit of lift to the box and reduced the friction. Try it again and this time change the position of the string so that it goes around the side of the box just as it does in the test with the box upright.

Guy Henry says:

I dig it! I am a middle school science and tech teacher. I love the science you use to explain motorcycle physics. Now I have more data to use to get rid of the remaining chicken strips on my tires, LOL!

poruatokin says:

Very simple point is that for a larger tyre, the rubber has less load on it per unit of volume. Larger tyres in racing simply run at more stable temperatures and have more life.

Jason J. Ayala P. says:

How can two-front-wheel bikes ( niken, piaggio mp3, and yam tricity) claim better traction? Double the contact patch, but load is divided in half. And so, road condition aside, there is no additional traction, correct?

Vance Hendricks says:

Great vid. Thanks. But you needed to retie your string for the long side slide test.

Cody Johnson says:

Why would I challenger you when I could have you censored

John Keckley says:

Tires also have adhesion, more so with stickier racing slicks so a larger contact patch will have more traction. A large piece of tape has more grip than a small piece.

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