Top 6 Best Winter Motorcycle Tires: Conquer Cold, Snow, and Wet Conditions!

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For those of us undeterred by winter’s icy grasp, riding motorcycles throughout the year is a source of pride. And rejecting the notion that cold weather should limit our two-wheeled adventures, I eagerly embrace the challenge of navigating frosty roads and snowy trails. But before I set out on my wintry journeys, there are several vital factors that require careful consideration.

Winter riding brings with it cold temperatures and slippery conditions, while reduced visibility further ups the ante. And so, preparing both our bikes and our gear becomes essential for safe travels on icy roads and trails.

One of the most critical upgrades for winter riding is changing the tires. When you think about it, that tiny credit card-sized contact patch is all that separates you from the pavement. It’s something I’ve learned firsthand from a tender age of 13 years to now. And leveraging my extensive experience, here are my top picks for today’s best winter motorcycle tires:

Tire Model Category Check & Buy Now
Dunlop Roadsmart IV Best All-Weather RevZilla | Amazon
Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE Best Sport-Touring RevZilla | CycleGear
Michelin Road 6 Best Street RevZilla | Amazon
Pirelli Angel GT II Best Mileage RevZilla | Amazon
Bridgestone T32 Best Adventure RevZilla | Amazon
Avon Trailrider Best Dual-Sport RevZilla | CycleGear

All these tires excel at heating up quickly and effectively dispersing water, thereby maintaining control on cold, wet surfaces.

It all boils down to the tread pattern, which directly affects grip, while a specialized rubber compound ensures flexibility even in cold temperatures. Some winter tires go the extra mile by offering studs for added traction on ice, and it’s crucial to consider load capacity for optimal stability, along with ensuring proper tire inflation.

Top 6 Best Winter Motorcycle Tires

Tire Model Category Front Maximum Load Capacity Rear Maximum Load Capacity
Dunlop Roadsmart IV Best All-Weather 58 (max 520 lbs.) 69 (max 716 lbs.)
Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE Best Sport-Touring 56 (max 567 lbs.) 67 (max 761 lbs.)
Michelin Road 6 Best Street 58 (max 520 lbs.) 73 (max 805 lbs.)
Pirelli Angel GT II Best Mileage 55 (max 525 lbs.) 72 (max 781 lbs.)
Bridgestone T32 Best Adventure 58 (max 431 lbs.) 69 (max 767 lbs.)
Avon Trailrider Best Dual-Sport 57 (max 581 lbs.) 64 (max 771 lbs.)

In the ever-evolving world of tire technology, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Recent advancements have brought forth promises of impressive wet performance coupled with extended longevity. But beneath the simple appearance of these black, circular assemblies lies a world of intricacy—a result of tire manufacturers dedicating countless hours to development and refinement.

And in my reviews, I won’t settle for anything less than the best. I’ll exclusively recommend the top 5 best winter motorcycle tires that I’ve not only encountered but rigorously tested myself. Drawing from my experience spanning over 53 years of riding more than 100 motorcycles, I prioritize firsthand knowledge over hearsay to provide you with invaluable insights.

1. Dunlop Roadsmart IV: Best All-Weather

Dunlop Roadsmart 4 Tires
Dunlop RoadSmart IV: Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

As someone who’s been loyal to the RoadSmart III since its launch in 2016, switching to the RoadSmart IV felt like a revelation. Introduced in 2020, this tire isn’t just an evolution – it’s a whole new experience, delivering an exhilarating and highly responsive ride. After clocking 10,000 miles in the first five months this year, I can confidently say this tire is something special.

With extra wet weather grip, the RoadSmart IV instills full confidence, even at speeds exceeding 70 mph. It offers a 10% increase for the front and a substantial 25% increase for the rear, ensuring optimal performance in all conditions.

Mounted on my Yamaha Tracer 7, I swiftly noticed the remarkable improvement in stability, sensitivity to body positioning, and responsiveness during mid-corner inputs. Transitioning from side to side became effortless, demanding less effort and encouraging enhanced riding technique.

Compared to the Pirelli Angel GT, the RoadSmart IV made turns feel like a breeze. Even when I overshot my braking marker, it allowed for swift turns, unlike the Angel GT, which tends to resist turn-in. With the Dunlops, it felt like the tire almost anticipated the turn-in, making riding a joy.

Over time, I’ve observed the RoadSmart IV’s remarkable handling retention. While some tires tend to develop flat spots or creases with use, the RoadSmart IV maintains its sharpness and agility, even after extensive miles on the road.

The wear mileage is also truly impressive. Compared to its predecessor, the RoadSmart III, it boasts a 23% increase in the front and a 26% increase in the rear. When compared to other renowned tires like the Bridgestone Battlax T32, the RoadSmart IV offers significantly longer lifespan, delivering double the mileage.

To top it off, the RoadSmart IV now comes in two versions to cater to different preferences. The SP targets lighter, sportier bikes, while the stiffer GT caters to heavier touring models. With options in various sizes, this tire truly offers something for everyone.

2. Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE: Best Sport-Touring

Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE Tires
Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE: Buy on RevZilla | CycleGear

In my experience, no other motorcycle tire manufacturer has dominated the sports touring category in the last decade like Metzeler’s Roadtec. From the Interact Z8 to the 01 in 2016, each iteration has consistently delivered unparalleled all-weather grip. Now, introducing the latest addition: the Roadtec 01 SE.

And having recently put Metzeler’s newest offering, to the test, I can confidently say it made quite an impression:

The most notable distinction I observed between the Roadtec 01 and Roadtec 01 SE is in the tread surface. The shoulder of the Roadtec 01 SE features a larger area of slick without grooves, maximizing ground contact with the road surface and significantly improving grip. 

Sure, it’s got that sporty vibe, but it’s also incredibly versatile, fitting snugly on everything from naked bikes to sports tourers and sportbikes. With a single compound front and a revamped dual compound rear, Metzeler has really dialed in the performance here, especially with the extra ‘slick’ rubber on the edges for those confident dry cornering maneuvers.

What’s really cool is how quickly these tires warm up on the road, even on those chilly days, so you’re good to go whenever the open road calls. And when it comes to steering, these babies feel surprisingly light for sports touring tires, with plenty of rear grip to keep you steady on those bumpy rides.

Now, while they may not match up to dedicated sports tires on the track, the Roadtec 01 SEs have a nimbleness to them that makes every ride feel effortless. And don’t even get me started on their performance in the wet – it’s seriously impressive.

Oh, and did I mention the mileage? You’re looking at around 6,000-8,000 miles for the rear tire, which is pretty darn good for a tire that’s built to handle just about anything Mother Nature throws your way.

All in all, if you’re after a tire that’ll keep you glued to the road in any condition, the Roadtec 01 SEs are where it’s at. Metzeler has knocked it out of the park once again, delivering a top-notch sports touring tire that’s ready to tackle whatever adventure you throw its way.

3. Michelin Road 6: Best Street

Michelin Road 6 Tires
Michelin Road 6: Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

When Florent Menegaux announced the arrival of the Michelin Road 6 as an upgrade to the already impressive Michelin Road 5, his claim of “15% better wet traction and 10% better wear” immediately piqued my interest. After taking these tires for a spin, I’m pleased to report that these assertions aren’t just marketing fluff – they’re backed by tangible performance gains.

From sweeping bends to tight hairpin turns, the Road 6 exhibits precise handling and allows for seamless mid-corner adjustments. This exceptional performance is owed to the redesigned rubber compounds and refined tread patterns, which work in harmony to deliver confidence-inspiring grip.

Silica has long been revered for its wet and cold weather traction, but maintaining durability in warmer conditions has been a challenge. But the Road 6 tackles this dilemma head-on with a blend of compound enhancements and a revised tread design, ensuring longevity without sacrificing grip.

The inclusion of X-Sipe technology takes wet weather grip to new heights. By allowing water to disperse more efficiently through the tire, this innovative feature enhances traction and stability on rain-soaked roads. Additionally, Michelin’s Water Evergrip Technology ensures consistent performance, even as the tires wear down.

Compared to its predecessor, the Road 5, the Road 6 front tire benefits from the 2CT+ treatment, featuring a stiffer center compound flanked by softer side compounds. This configuration enhances stability and minimizes flex during cornering, providing riders with greater confidence and control.

For heavyweight touring bikes like my BMW K1600 GTL, the Road 6 GT variant offers an extra layer of reinforcement to handle the demands of long-distance rides. With the Michelin Reinforced Radial-X EVO ply, stability is further enhanced, ensuring a smooth and controlled ride, even under aggressive cornering.

Mounted on my KTM 790 Duke, I immediately noticed the Road 6’s rounded profile, which facilitates predictable and precise turn-ins. While not as aggressive as track-focused tires, these tires inspire confidence on twisty backroads, providing ample grip and stability through every corner.

At moderate speeds, the Road 6 feels comparable to the sportier Michelin Power RS tires, delivering a planted and composed feel through corners. While they may not be track-day contenders, their exceptional performance on the street sets them apart as the ideal choice for riders seeking a balance of grip, longevity, and versatility.

4. Pirelli Angel GT II: Best Mileage

Pirelli Angel GT Tires
Pirelli Angel GT II: Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

In my last five years riding with my trusty Yamaha MT-10, there’s been no shortage of adventures. Initially rolling on the dependable Pirelli Angel GT, I later upgraded to the Angel GT II, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my riding experience. These tires have been more than just rubber on the road; they’ve been steadfast companions through every twist and turn.

Now, while I’ve often been tempted by the allure of sportier alternatives, my dedication to track riding has taught me the value of practicality. It’s funny how track schools, where you’d expect to find the slickest of sport tires, often favor sport-touring options. This is where the Angel GT series shines, proving its versatility across a spectrum of riders and riding styles.

What sets these tires apart is their dual-compound design, engineered to endure the long haul while offering exceptional grip when the road gets twisty. Take the GT II, for instance, with its added channels for tackling wet conditions with confidence. Pirelli’s commitment to detail is evident in every aspect, from the ‘variable cord end counts’ to the ‘multi-radius design,’ ensuring a ride that’s as responsive as it is smooth.

Whether you’re a seasoned tourer, a city cruiser, or a weekend warrior, the GT II tires have you covered. And with options to fit various bike sizes, including the heavier ones, there’s something for everyone. They’re like the Swiss Army knives of tires, ready for whatever adventure comes your way.

And speaking of adventures, let’s talk about the weather. From scorching summer days to torrential downpours, these tires have seen it all. I remember one particularly memorable ride through a storm that seemed determined to drench everything in its path. But thanks to the GT II’s exceptional grip, I was able to navigate through the deluge with ease, barely feeling the effects of the weather.

Now, after about 5,500 miles of riding, the rear GT II tire is starting to show some signs of wear. But considering the miles it’s covered, including plenty with a passenger and loaded down with luggage, it’s held up admirably. And any minor adjustments in handling are just a testament to the tire’s durability, proof that it’s built to last through whatever adventures lie ahead.

5. Bridgestone Battlax T32: Best Adventure

Bridgestone Battlax T32 Sport Touring Tires
Bridgestone Battlax T32: Buy on RevZilla | Amazon

Embracing the thrill of the open road is an adventure I hold dear, and in this pursuit, finding the perfect tire is paramount. Bridgestone’s unveiling of the Battlax Sport Touring T32 tire series in 2021 felt like a revelation—a beacon of promise for miles of unforgettable rides ahead.

My first encounter with these tires left an indelible impression. The T32, poised to inherit the mantle from its predecessor, the T31, promised a quantum leap in performance. And did it deliver!

The rear tire underwent a metamorphosis, its redesigned structure boasting a 13% increase in road contact. But it wasn’t just the numbers; it was the way it hugged every curve, instilling a newfound confidence with every twist of the throttle. And let’s talk about the rain—those strategically placed grooves whisked water away like a seasoned magician, leaving behind a trail of stability and grip that defied the elements.

Fine-tuning the angle and position of the grooves introduced the ‘Pulse Groove’ technology—a marvel that seemed to dance with the raindrops, ensuring a seamless transition from dry tarmac to a watery embrace. It was like riding on a symphony of traction, each note a testament to Bridgestone’s dedication to perfection.

The T32’s dual compound design felt like poetry in motion. As I pushed the limits in both wet and dry conditions, the tire responded with a grace that bordered on the sublime. And when it came to stopping power, the T32 outperformed its predecessor by a remarkable margin, bringing me to a halt with a confidence that was as reassuring as it was exhilarating.

Positioned between Bridgestone’s S22 sports road tire and the touring-focused BT46, the T32 range felt like it was tailor-made for riders like me—adventurers who crave the thrill of the ride as much as the destination itself. And with a GT variant available for those long-haul journeys, Bridgestone left no stone unturned in catering to every rider’s needs.

6. Avon Trailrider: Best Dual Sport

Avon AV53 / AV54 Trailrider Tires
Avon Trailrider: Buy on RevZilla | CycleGear

As a seasoned adventurer, the name Avon rings a bell even before I’ve laid hands on their tires. Being part of the Cooper family and still manufacturing in England, there’s a sense of trust that comes with the territory—a trust that’s been built over years of crafting quality rubber. And let me tell you, the Trailriders are no exception.

Back in the day, Avon’s Gripster line was the go-to for riders like me who craved road-oriented dual-sport tires. But there was a catch; some dubbed them “Slipsters” due to their performance on wet pavement. Avon knew they had to step up their game, and did they deliver!

In 2015, the Trailriders hit the scene with promises of better wet grip thanks to their “New Super Rich Silica Compound.” When I finally got my hands on them, they blew my expectations out of the water. Avon labels them as 85/15 tires, and I can’t argue with that. On-road, they’re like glue, and while they’re not hardcore off-roaders, they hold their own when the pavement ends.

What’s more, Avon’s website sings praises for the Trailriders’ dry-weather grip, wet-weather performance, tire wear, and handling—pretty much everything you’d want in a tire.

But what really impresses me with Avon is their dedication to innovation. In 2019, they tweaked the compound yet again, showing they’re not just here to sell tires but to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Currently, Avon offers the Trailriders in 17-inch and 18-inch rears, and 18-inch, 19-inch and 21-inch fronts, catering to different bikes and wheel sizes. You see, it’s not just about slapping rubber on rims for Avon; it’s about crafting an experience. And with the Trailriders, every twist of the throttle will feel like a journey—an adventure waiting to unfold.

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

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