Can you buy winter tires for a motorcycle? We’ll be answering a YouMotorcycle viewer’s question, and also covering what your options are, plus a little background information to help you pick the right winter tires for your motorcycle.
Do they make motorcycle winter tires? Yes, absolutely. Motorcycle winter tires exist. Motorcycle tire manufacturers use special compounds for cold weather riding and grip. However, sizes, options, and availability are limited.
Are motorcycle winter tires the same thing as studded motorcycle tires?
Studded motorcycle tires and winter motorcycle tires are not the same thing. Studded motorcycle tires for winter use do exist, but companies like Heidenau and Anlas use special compounds and tread patterns to make winter-specific motorcycle tires.
Tire manufacturers can change the chemistry of their rubber for better grip in colder temperatures. That typically comes at a cost of tire-lifespan, as the softer rubber can be worn out more quickly. Chemistry isn’t a motorcycle tire manufacturer’s only trick, however. They can use different sipes, tread blocks, plies, to better support more slippery conditions.
Are motorcycle winter tires recognized everywhere?
In some places in the world, such as the Province of Quebec, in Canada, there are laws about winter tires. In Quebec, you must have certified winter tires on your vehicle if you want to use it on public roads during the winter.
The problem is that not all motorcycle winter tires are recognized by police and governments. In North America, we use the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMS) standard. While Heidenau makes three models of motorcycle winter-specific tires, they are not 3PMS-certified, therefore these would not count as “winter tires” as far as the province of Quebec is concerned.
Are there any Three Peak Mountain Snowflake Certified / North American Certified winter tires?
Anlas, a motorcycle tire manufacturer also offers winter tires, including one that is 3PMS certified. These tires would be allowed on Quebec roads during the winter.
The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAS) website says:
“The Regulation respecting the use of tires specifically designed for winter driving also applies to motorcycles. Therefore, from December 1 to March 15, you must have your motorcycle equipped with winter tires that meet established standards and are in good condition in order to drive it on the road network.”
By using Anlas’ 3PMS-certified winter tires, motorcyclists can legally ride on the roads of Quebec.
SAAS’ website also cautions:
“However, even if your motorcycle is equipped with winter tires, if it is snowing or if the road is covered with snow or ice, do not take any chances: do not use your motorcycle.”
This is, however, a sensible warning, and not a law.
What about tire sizing and availability?
From those links you can tell that the winter tire options from both brands are fairly limited, as are the sizes available. Heidenau has a wider variety of sizes. Anlas focuses on common adventure motorcycle sizes.
Availability will depend on where in the world you’re located. You should be able to find a Dealer Locator tool on both of those manufacturer’s websites, to find a dealer near you who can help you.
Keep in mind that these tires may need to be special ordered, as they likely aren’t very common. Be sure to book early than face disappointment.
For some riders, putting their motorcycle away for winter storage isn’t an option. Motorcycle winter tires do exist, they’re both chemically and physically engineered to help motorcyclists ride through cold temperatures and on snowy and slippery surfaces.
A winter tire can only offer so much traction and grip, so motorcyclists are urged to still practice caution. Remember that cold wet surfaces will still be slippery, and motorcycle tires will still need time to warm up. All a tire can do is help to negate some of the effects of cold, and some of the effects of lost traction.
If you have any questions that you would like answered, about motorcycle winter tires, or any other motorcycle-related topic, please leave a comment down below!