If there is one challenge that motocross, trail, ATV/UTV, Enduro, and racing enthusiasts all over have to put up with is riding with dull, worn-out tyres and having to replace knobby tyres too often than they would like. Every ride you take puts the tyres under a lot of stress and strain and no matter how well they have been designed and manufactured, they will wear down.
The great news is, tyre grooving and knobby cutting offer a viable solution for motorsports enthusiasts such as yourself by helping you get the most out of your tyres. Furthermore, it also gives you the freedom to use custom tread patterns as they deem fit to suit different ground conditions, trail types, disciplines, and riding styles.
The Science Behind Knobs
How well knobby tyres grip the surface of the trail you ride on are determined by various factors such as the vertical load, adhesion values, friction coefficients, viscoelasticity, rubber deformation, and mechanical keying. If you feel that’s complex enough, factor in other deciding factors such as your riding style, riding surface, and air pressure. Quite a lot to take in right?
Calculating the effects of these factors isn’t as simple as running some formula, provided that you have sufficient knowledge in basic physics. For example, when it comes to calculating the effect of air pressure on different tread patterns, your work will be cut out since rubber is non-isotropic. It means that the physical properties of rubber aren’t uniform. As a result, it’s difficult or next to impossible to find an accurate method to calculate the effects of pressure on your tyres.
Computer models have indeed become more and more advanced over the past few decades. However, even the most advanced computer models that are available today don’t align with riding dynamics all the time. As a result, things ultimately come down to quite a lot of trial and error and most weathered motorsport enthusiasts are well aware of this fact.
You learn from your successes and failures. You find out approaches that work and many that don’t. Sometimes, you will come across things such as tread designs that work well without knowing exactly why. Sometimes, your reasoning behind why a particular factor works for you may be quite off but you will still know that it works. This is part and parcel of being a motorsport enthusiast and we can agree that there lies the beauty of it.
To cut to the chase, the tyres of your motorbike are designed according to the principle of mechanical keying. In simple terms, this principle takes what’s between the treads of your tyres and the imperfect surface of the trail into consideration. It’s all about how individual edges of tyre knobs mechanically exploit various imperfections of the trail such as holes, edges, and other textures to gain maximum purchase on the tyre.
As a result, the individual depth, spacing, firmness, and shapes of the tyre knobs collectively decide how well the knobby tyre grips and interlocks with the trail that you’re riding on. Since you don’t ride on the same surface every time, the conditions change over time, and your riding style is unique, knobby tyres feature knobs of different shapes and sizes. Furthermore, you are highly likely to discover the knob shapes, sizes, and tread patterns that work best for your style of riding, types of surfaces, and conditions that you ride in.
Making the Best Use of Knobs
Designing tyres isn’t as simple as coming up with a promising knob and putting it on a tyre. Knobs need to be carefully paired with the right rubber compounds so that they provide optimal support or flex for the lug so that it can perform as it was intended to.
Some knobs are made using compounds that give them enough flex so that they conform well to the trail. If a knob is too soft, it will simply give way when forces are applied to it. If a knob is too firm, on the other hand, it will result in that knob chipping away or wearing down too quickly.
Coming up with the right rubber compounds isn’t the only consideration when designing knobby tyres. Different knob types need to be carefully matched and mixed so that they form specific tread patterns. This process of designing knob patterns is a highly complex one as knob patterns have a huge effect on how well a tyre performs. The tyre casing and the tread base foundation are two other key factors that affect the effectiveness of the lugs.
Now that you understand the complicated nature of designing knobby tyres, you might be wondering if cutting and grooving knobby tyres is as complex as that. In order to answer that question, you need to lay down your intentions behind knobby cutting. If you’re more focused on prolonging the lifespan of your tyres and enjoying optimal tyre performance for an extended period, it can be pretty straightforward.
However, if your goal behind knobby cutting or grooving is to experiment with different tread patterns, you will require some trial and error. You need to have some understanding of how different tread patterns work and what type of terrain and conditions they are more suited for. If you intend to experiment, you should be prepared to slow things down a notch and employ a more calculated approach.
You can employ two methods to carve knobby tyres to prolong their use and increase their performance throughout their lifetime. The first method is known as Vertical Cutting which involves cutting knobs vertically so that they are more defined.
You will simply slice off a thin layer from the acceleration edge of the rear tyre using a downward scooping motion. Doing so will leave you with narrower knobs with sharper edges.
This is Where the Tread Doctor Comes In!
New traction on worn tyres, that’s exactly what the Tread Doctor DIY tyre cutting tool brings to your garage! You can use it to give your worn-out front or rear tyre sharper knobs so that they perform to a similar level that you enjoyed when they were new.
Tread Doctor is a tyre carving tool that is easy to master. Soon enough, you will get the hang of it and learn how to remove the minimum amount of rubber when cutting knobs. That enables you to cut the same tyre up to three times and prolongs the lifespan of your knobby tyres.
Tread Doctor tyre regroover is equipped with a specially-designed heated carbide cutting blade that you can use to trim the knobs of your tyres to make them sharper and more defined. The result is a tyre that provides optimal performance. With Tread Doctor, you will feel like you’re riding on new tyres every time you take your bike out for a ride. It makes tyre carving quick and easy and helps you enjoy more traction for every ride.
Regrooving or Siping With a Tyre Regroover
Different rubber compounds are more or less suitable for different conditions. Riding on hard terrain such as rocky trails requires knobby tyres made using more flexible compounds while harder compounds are recommended for softer terrain such as mud. However, using the right compound doesn’t always guarantee that you will get the most hours out of a knobby tyre since tyres or knobs become hardened with age.
Technically, tyre siping is intended to give tyres more traction under icy or wet conditions. Knobby siping or grooving can, however, be used not only to recreate worn-out sipes but also to make knobs more flexible under stress to prevent them from chunking. Siping involves cutting sipes into the contact surface of the knobs horizontally. Similarly, you can cut diagonal sipes at 45-degree angles from one corner to the other.
Tyre regrooving or siping is a great way to enjoy more traction under wet or icy conditions with worn-out tyres or increase the flexibility of knobs to get more fraction and reduce chunking. Either way, you will add more hours to the lifespan of your knobby tyres with tyre grooving or siping. You can also use this technique to fine-tune different knobby tyres for different trail conditions.
The TD-SNIPER KIT™ for Tyre Grooving and Siping
The Tread Doctor Sniper Kit is an optional upgrade that equips your Tread Doctor tyre regroover with a Tyre-Sniping cutting head. It includes 10 replacement heads that will last you for a long time. The Tread Doctor Sniper Kit enables you to groove your knobby tyres or sipe them to sharpen worn-out tread patterns, make knobs more flexible to avoid chunking, and experiment with custom tread patterns, all in one tool!
Buy Tread Doctor Products Online from Australia & New Zealand
Motorsports enthusiasts from Australia and New Zealand can now easily shop for Tread Doctor products by Hardline Products® Inc. through our online shop. www.treaddoctor.com.au is the sole direct distributor of Hardline Products® Inc. for Australia and New Zealand and you can learn more about us here.
If you’d like to learn more about how shopping with www.treaddoctor.com.au works, check out our warranty and returns page that covers delivery times, handling and repairing of faulty and incorrect items, refunds, returns, and warranties.
Check Out Our Latest Blog Posts!
Cutting knobby tyres with the Tread Doctor tyre cutter enables you to enjoy a range of benefits. Check out the Pros and Cons of Knobby Tyre Grooving and Cutting to fully understand why it’s a great idea to purchase your own tyre cutting machine.