Have you heard the term ‘Chicken Strip’ on motorbike tires and ever wondered what it actually means? Well, your motorcycle might have them.
A Chicken Strip on a motorcycle tire is the part of the tyre that isn’t worn. They earn this name due to the rider not being brave enough to lean their motorcycle right over in the corners and make contact with this part of their tyre, thus the rider is considered to be too “chicken” enough to actually rider efficiently. It’s mostly beginners that will develop this stripe along their sidewalls.
Not only does it look different with this stripe, but it also feels different to touch. There is a distinct color change and you can always recognize the ‘new guy’ to the motorcycling world by their evidence of chicken stripes.
It’s actually a case of most motorcycle tires looking like this, so don’t feel so defeated if you’ve got your own strips along the sidewall. We would say more than 80% of riders never lean their motorcycle over enough in the corners. Of course, if you’re an adventure rider or dirt bike enthusiast, you’re excluded from this group anyway unless you ride motocross.
Now, just because a motorcycle tyre has developed chicken strips, it doesn’t equate to the motorcycle never being leaned over. Perhaps the rider lives in a city area or out in the country where they have no mountains and tight corners in which to hone in on their skills.
On the other hand, it’s not advisable to start leaning your motorbike over on fresh tires. Allow 100 miles to really break in a new tyre during which time you’ll actually develop chicken strips anyway. Thus, we shouldn’t simply judge someone based on their tires as it doesn’t tell the whole picture.
Rear vs Front Tire
We can except the front tire of just about every motorcycle from being an indicator of a rider’s ability to handle their machine properly. And if you do see chicken strips on a front tire, it’s probably just had a tire rotation from the rear to the front (though that rarely happens, as we evidently know).
Some motorcycle tires have lean guages built into their sidewall which indicates how much someone has leaned over, with 5 being easy corners and 1 being racer boys who are scrubbing their jeans and pegs.
Forget the Judgement
Pass on the critics and noise surrounding chicken tires. These are, in reality, just vanity metrics and shouldn’t be used to determine your lean angle in each turn. While the keyboard warriors may have their own opinion, we’re all about safety and skills development here at Frontaer.
Now – expect a few mates to poke fun at your chicken strips over time. It’s just a few boys messing around and you shouldn’t take such things seriously. They were beginners once too.
As we’ve established, just about everyone develops their own chicken strips over time, including the professionals. And where you ride certainly has an impact as to how much of a stripe you’ll generate. Unless you live in the mountains or have access to race tracks regularly, expect to see strips quite evidently. The type of motorcycle you ride also plays a factor, with cruisers and dual sport riders taking a crown here.
Chicken strip shaming is real yet it’s just a way for motorcycle riders to give crap to each other. It comes with the territory and as a beginner, something you will be become acustomed to.
You should be focusing on enhancing your skills, not just debating the nature of motorcycle tires. Enjoy your own ride and stay safe and within your comfort zone, instead of pushing yourself to impress others. Staying upright is just so much more fun than laying down a bit too much and kissing the pavement.