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Scooter Motorcycle Tyres

Scooters are an enduringly popular alternative to motorcycles, particularly in cities and towns where traffic is often congested. On a scooter it can be much easier to make progress and this is ideal for commuters and anyone who needs to get around quickly and safely. They are smaller and lighter than motorcycles, cheaper to buy, generally simpler to maintain, and provided that a rider passes their Compulsory Basic Training can even be ridden perfectly legally with L plates for up to two years. You do need to take and pass your full test before the 2 years expires or you will have to retake your CBT. However, two years on the road is plenty of time to gain the experience needed to pass the full test without much difficulty.

What Are Scooter Motorcycle Tyres?

The main difference between scooter tyres and the tyres you would use on a motorcycle is size. Scooter wheels have smaller diameters and often require narrower tyres. However, there are also larger capacity scooters so there can be a considerable size variation among scooter tyres.

Because of the conditions in which scooters are most commonly used, mainly short journeys in suburban or urban settings rather than on long distance trips, they have very specific but limited requirements. It is important that they provide excellent grip on both dry and wet tarmac because busy roads can be especially dangerous in bad weather. The nature of driving in urban areas means that there is a lot more braking than on open roads and this can cause significant wear and tear. Scooter tyres therefore need to be robust enough to withstand these pressures in order to deliver a long, useful life.

Scooters and mopeds account for a significant proportion of the motorised two-wheel market, with popular models including the Peugeot Kisbee and Honda Vision as well as Kymcos, Gileras, and the iconic Vespas and Lambrettas. Although these compact machines are lightweight and significantly smaller than motorcycles, they drive on the same roads and often at the same speed as their much larger cousins. This means their riders are placing their tyres under the same kind of pressure.

Twenty years ago, the industry didn’t pay much attention to the needs of scooter riders. Manufacturers offered a very small range of tyres partly because there was no technological reason to do more and partly because they considered the scooter market unable to sustain a diversity of price and quality.

Fortunately for today’s scooter riders, this has changed and while unsophisticated budget models still exist, the best scooter tyres are virtual replicas of motorcycle tyres, made from similar compounds, carrying comparable tread patterns and – crucially – subject to the same emphasis on improvement and innovation as any other tyre, for two wheels or four.

How to Choose the Best Scooter Motorcycle Tyres for Your Usage

The uses of scooters and mopeds are more limited than those of motorcycles. They are unlikely to be seen at the circuit on track days are roaring off across challenging off-road terrains. While performance and safety remain paramount, they will be largely confined to public roads, well-maintained surfaces and ordinary conditions.

That’s not to say that all scooter motorcycle tyres are the same. There is significant variation in price, quality and other features. Until you try a different set from the ones supplied with the scooter when you bought it, you won’t realise the difference it can make. In most cases when you buy a new scooter, it will have been fitted by the manufacturer with a budget-level tyre that meets all the minimum legal requirements but gives nothing extra. With nothing to compare, you won’t necessarily appreciate how stiff and unyielding the cheapest tyres can be. On a 50cc moped they’ll probably be as much as you need but as soon as you step up a few grades to 125cc or 250cc, it’s time to leave them behind. They’ll do an acceptable job, they’ll keep you safe and get you around but when you swap them for a markedly superior set, it will transform your riding experience and put new life and performance into your scooter.

It is worth getting the best tyres you can afford for the conditions in which you’ll be riding. Price is generally an indication of quality. With really good tyres, in average conditions you will enjoy stronger grip, better road-handling, increased stability and enhanced comfort while the rate of wear will be much slower. The better they are, the less time they will take to warm up too. Pirelli, Avon and Michelin are among the familiar brands which produce excellent tyres for city riding.

Scooter tyres for everyday use will be designed for both dry and wet road surfaces. However, when the weather deteriorates during heavy rain or wintry conditions, it’s a good idea – again, if funds allow – to get a second set of tyres specifically made to deal with these extremes. All the major manufacturers make tyres with tread patterns that will perform well in heavy rain, dispersing surface water without sacrificing stability or speed. They will also cope with the lowest temperatures that winter can throw at us, warming up quickly even at or near zero and will remain efficient in the coldest of conditions.

Scooter motorcycle Tyre Load Index

The tables below gives you the load index of scooter tyres. It is a numerical code which tells you the maximum weight that a tyre can support. The tyre load when multiplied by 2 cover the motorbike’s gross single axle load. The load index code is found on the tyre’s sidewall. With the table you can calculate the load bearing capacity of your tyres.

Weights are in kilograms.

Index Weight
20 80
22 85
24 85
26 90
28 100
30 106
31 109
33 115
35 121
37 128
40 136
41 145
42 150
44 160
46 170
47 175
48 180
50 190
51 195
52 200
53 206
54 212
Index Weight
55 218
58 236
59 243
60 250
61 257
62 265
63 272
64 280
65 290
66 300
67 307
68 315
69 325
70 335
71 345
72 355
73 365
74 375
75 387
76 400
77 412
78 425
Index Weight
79 437
80 450
81 462
82 475
83 487
84 500
85 515
86 530
87 545
88 560
89 580
90 600
91 615
92 630
93 650
94 670
95 690
96 710
97 730
98 750
99 775
100 800
Index Weight
101 825
102 850
103 875
104 900
105 925
106 950
107 975
108 1000
109 1030
110 1060
111 1090
112 1120
113 1150
114 1180
115 1215
116 1250
117 1285
118 1320
119 1360
120 1400

Scooter Tyre Speed Rating Chart

The standardised ratings system for scooter tyre speeds is shown below. Each tyre carries a letter next to its load rating number. This tells you the maximum speed rating for that tyre, which indicates the top speed at which the tyre should be ridden at maximum load and maximum tyre pressure.

Symbol Max Speed (mph) Symbol Max Speed (mph) Symbol Max Speed (mph)
B 31 C 57 D 40
E 43 F 49 G 55
J 62 K 68 L 75
M 80 N 86 P 93
Q 100 R 106 S 112
T 118 U 124 H 130
V 149 (V) Over 149 W 169
(W) Over 169 Y 186 ZR 149

F J Tyres  are as serious about the quality of scooter tyres as we are when dealing with motorcycle tyres. We observe all the same priorities of safety, quality, performance, resilience and longevity. Choosing the right scooter tyres is not a simple task and often expert advice is needed. This guide provides a general introduction and overview but during customer enquiries many specific questions will arise regarding particular brands or models, compatibility and several detailed issues we can’t cover here. Taking note of a scooter owner’s VRN is the first step in the search for the best tyres. Beyond that, we are ready and able to help, just call us on 01446 743074.