Tire Load Rating vs Tire Load Range
The American Tire and Rim Association (TRA) is an organization that standardizes tire specifications across the country. Each year, they publish tire guidelines that provide information on inflation standards, as well as tire load rating charts for various tires.
These guidelines provide a standard for tires to be inflated correctly and mounted on the correct vehicles. Without standardization, it would be difficult to ensure that vehicle tires played no role in passenger safety concerns.
To better understand how the TRA’s tire specifications translate into practical application, it is important to learn what exactly they mean.
At the end of the day, tire load rating information can help you make critical decisions when you need to purchase a tire for your motorcycle.
What is a Tire Load Rating?
While they are both durable and pliable, tires have a maximum amount of weight they can withstand. This max weight is called the tire’s load rating or load index, and it is a valuable piece of information if you consistently load your motorcycle down.
The sidewall of your tires contains important specification information. To find the tire load rating, you should look for something that resembles the following example:
In this example, the tire load rating is “81.” You can find these ratings on a tire index, a chart that displays load index values and the corresponding carrying capacity for various tires. On a tire index chart, the value 81 corresponds to a load capacity of 1,019 pounds or 462 kilograms.
This metric is denoted per tire, which means to figure out the total weight that your vehicle can carry, you must add all the tires’ load ratings together. Keeping with the previous example, if the two tires on the vehicle were the same, you would simply multiply the load rating by two:
Entire vehicle load capacity (in lbs.) = 1019 * 2 = 2038 pounds
Entire vehicle load capacity (in kg) = 462 * 2 = 924 kilograms
While the load rating gives a guideline for how much each tire will withstand, you also need to take into consideration your vehicle’s capabilities. Vehicle manufacturers have specified load capacities that they recommend.
The load rating tells you about the maximum weight that the air in the tires can hold, but the load range tells you more about the tires themselves. It provides insight into the strength and construction of each tire so that you know its durability.
What is a Tire Load Range?
In the past, rim manufacturers used a metric called a “ply rating.” This measurement described the overall tire strength as a product of its composition. On a tire, a series of rubber components and synthetic fabrics and cords are layered to form the overall product. The cords—also known as “plies”—are extremely strong.
The ply rating used to be a simple measurement of how many plies a tire had: the more plies, the higher the rating and the stronger the tire. However, modern ply technology has allowed manufacturers to build tires with fewer plies. The wide variation in ply composition makes it difficult to standardize this measurement, so the industry now uses what is known as “load range.”
There are three main types of load ranges for motorcycles are:
Each tire is classified into a range: A, B, C. Each range is equivalent to the approximate ply strength for that tire (in terms of standard ply count). For example, a tire with a “B” load range means that the tire’s strength is equivalent to a 4-ply construction. This does not mean that the tire has four plies, it just means that it has the same strength as a 4-ply tire. For motorcycles with load range A, the breaking energy must be not less than 16 Joules or 150 in./lb., load range B, 33 Joules or 300 in./lb. and load range C, 45 Joules or 400 in./lb.
Being able to read the sidewall for the tire load rating and load range will help you make important decisions. By understanding the capabilities of your tires, you can use your vehicle to its fullest extent without damaging it or compromising its structural integrity.
The professional teams in any of our Dunlop locations will be able to assist you with any questions you may have about the right tire load range and tire load rating for your motorcycle. Contact Dunlop Motorcycle Tires today to get started on an order.