A quick understanding of low profile tyres in simple, easy-to-understand language along with examples…

Note – It is the R15 version 1 that has been used as an example in this story

Tyres and Wheel rims have always been a point of discussion when we look at any motorcycle. We often hear about low and high profile tyres many a times when we speak to both car and bike enthusiasts. But we can get confused when we’re at the tire Shoppe looking for a good low profile tire that would suit our machine. Hence we would require a little attention to understand the word “LOW PROFILE”.

So, A tyre has got some dimensions for example height, width, thickness etc. In order to fit Low profiles tires on a bike, we must first understand the fact that tyres depend on wheel rims. I mean – both the tire and the rims must be compatible with each other. Confusing?…

In simple language, low profile tyre has short ‘height’. We could find such tyres at most tyre shops but we could forget to check whether our motorcycle has got suitable rims for low profile tyres or not. For example FZ, Dominar 400 have got rims which are suitable for low profile tyres. I have seen people running low profile tyres on an R15 rear wheel, It was amazing how they managed to fix it on the rear rim which was designed for use with high profile tyres.

That very fact can be explained by understanding that a Tyre is made up of a flexible material which is mainly RUBBER. That means it can stretch or can be pressed. Lets check the figure or the drawing. The drawing which I am showing is just for understanding and reference purposes.

Fig no.1 Shows us rims from the R15 and FZ


Fig no. 2 Explains the width and height of the tyre from the R15 and FZ.


The R15 rim has got a smaller width than an FZ rim. Now consider fitting an FZ tyre on R15 rim. Think…

Check fig no.3 now consider fitting of an FZ tyre on R15 rim. What will happen? It will fit but lets see the height and width of a FZ tyre on R15 rim…. Remember FZ has got a low profile tyre. (I know R15 tyre will not fit on FZ rim…anyways).

So as you can see the change. The tyre can be fitted on an R15 rim but the design of the rim would make such a tire look like high profile ones. What you had on the FZ would change into High Profile. The tyre becomes high in height and low on width. So the meaning of a LOW PROFILE TYRE has been lost.

low profile tyres

This change in profile happened due to the RIM. When the rim is broader, you can go for low profile tyres which are suitable for the rim. But if the rim is thinner in width then the tyre should be in that ratio only. So a ratio between rim width and tyre height is the most important criteria.

A change in tyre other than manufacturer’s recommendation would also bring with it various other changes such as ride height and performance. We also need to remember that as the ride height increases, the tendency for the pillion to be hurled forward increases when the front disc brakes are applied. Therefore we can’t ignore gravity, inertia and the load of the bike. The handling of the bike would also change according to the tire, which in severe cases could result in accidents.

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Aesthetics are not the only principles of a motorcycle, there are lots of other crucial factors to be aware of. Do not mess with the geometry of the bike without having done proper research on its outcomes. Small changes can often make huge differences.

Always Ride Safely…And Enjoy Life.

– Chinmay Dangre

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  1. hey Chinmay…. this is Manish

    i read ur article on how 2 increase performance of ur bike.

    may i plz no whr ur workshop is ?? is it in pune ? can i hav ur contact num….
    m buying a new pulsar 220 Dtsi (2009– carb version)… performance wise its already top notch… but i wana push it 2 its limits… doing everyting mentioned in d article… what kind of performance can i expect after d upgrades n what will b d approx total cost ??
    m more interested in ACCELERATION dan top speed. i like 2 feel dat jerking strong pull dat STAYS till u twist. (experienced dat on neighbourz R6 n R1 tho)
    do u guys also do cosmetic changes lik dat small fiber/metal frame below d engine (like d TVS RTR ).
    n wat bout Monoshock ? how much wud these individual upgrades cost me.

    also i saw this wonderfully modified P220 fi… whr d owner had put on R15 fairing, monoshock etc… m sure u hav seen dat… can u do dat 2 my 220 ?
    Thanks( will b waiting… if u giv me ur numbr n address…. i wud like 2 visit ur workshop)

    — Manish ( charles.chip2@gmail.com )

  2. Hi,

    I wanted to buy tyres for my Hero honda splender +. Please advice with related cost approximately..for both front n back..like what type..company..grip.. mileage etc..

    Thanks & regards,

  3. Dear Sir,

    I forgot to ask one thing… I happened to read the following in a review for Swift DZire “…Make sure your alloys have a offset ratio of 42 and above and you mount your tyres on 6J rims”…

    I coul not understand the term “Offset ratio” as well the “6j rim”… Will you please throw some light on this..

    Thanks and Regards.

  4. hey man… great article..u got there….. it helped me a lot
    but i wanna know that… i have a hero Honda Hunk and i want to widen its rear Tyre…
    by referring Ur article i can completely understand that i just can’t fit a FZ rear low profile wheel on it… this means that i need some serious modifications.. i need to get a p180 or p200 rear wheel rim.. then only i can get those low profile Rubbers on my rear wheel…right?… does this mean that i have to widen my rear swing arm?….
    how much is this total modification gonna cost me?
    where to go for these mods in hyderabad?
    Reply Fast yaar…. I’m waitin…

  5. Hi,
    I have purchased YAMAHA SS125(gladiator) 4 months ago, overall I am satisfied with my bike except the rear tyre.
    My bike gets skid easily when the brake is applied because of the tyre which is very thin, details: MRF Zapper FS 18″,3.00.
    When I complained to mechanic about this issue he adviced me to replace the rear tyre with Ceat Secura Sport 300-18 6PR.
    Please advice me if it is good change the tyre

  6. hii Chinmay

    u are correct but what u explained above was a very big difference comparison,because the R15 has a 100/80 mm tire and the FZ has a 140/60 mm tire.
    the difference is of 40 mm.which is very big.

    i have seen people replacing there tyre with a wide one but its not like they directly go for a 140mm.. they nearly increase the wide by 10 or by 20mm…
    i have a RTR and i have replaced the tyre to a TVS 120mm tyre.and i hardly found any difference.the only difference i found is that the grip is now better that that of the 100mm tyre.

    so my question here is that can a 100mm rime be fitted with a 120mm “Mid Profile” tire…??
    because the tire that i brought has the same gaping like my rime.
    i meant the rime size and the tire’s inner radios size looks almost same.

    waiting for your reply
    thank you… 🙂

  7. hi,
    m having a problem in getting slowing down my bike while applying rear disc. the tyre gets skid always towards the right. i m not able to understand whether its genuine or faulty. m currently owing a TVS APACHE RTR 180. plz help me in getting the appropriate corrections to my bike……..

  8. dear chinmay,
    i have a r 15 and want to get a wider rear Tyre .
    1. what do you suggest as best replacement .
    2. what is the widest i can get with it .
    3. what make should it be .
    4. low or high profile .

    thanks buddy !

  9. hi,
    i’m having apache rtr 160.but i’m not happy with my rear tyre width .i need to change to 120mm.is it possible to change?please reply me.
    Thank you

    • Go for MRF ZAPPERS … use stock size
      If possible u can use the tubeless ones..
      I changed mine to zappers tubeless n now no slips in wet roads.
      TVS tyres r nt gud on wet roads due hard compound rubber..

  10. I want to change my Tyre of my Apache rear and front pls tell me can i go for this tubeless in front and with tube in rear.
    Michelin PILOT SPORTY Tubeless
    Size: 90/90R 17 49P in front.
    MRF Zapper Q Tube Type
    Size: 100/90R 18 in rear

  11. Thank you very much for your detail info..I just struck with choosing tyre with little high profile..100/80 18 to 100/90 18 ? is it good idea? I am not getting same size as it was for my Apache RTR 160 tube tyre ..


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