After motor cars and trucks, motorcycles have a hard time with the introduction of radial-tyres. It is also easy to understand, that a tyre which has a particularly strong, level tread with soft flanks, is unsuitable for the distinctive cornering slant which occurs when riding a motorcycle. Motorcycles cope best with an arch-shaped radial-tyre which allows sometimes breathtaking inclines.
Later on, the voluntary limitation for motorcycles of 74 kW (100 HP) was lifted, that meant that the possible top-speeds were substantially higher, which also meant that the lightweight spoke wheels, e.g., were no longer considered to be appropriate. This was why the superbikes were, without exception, all running on (forged) light-alloy or disc-wheels. Oddly enough, the composite wheel never seemed to assert itself, except for the "ComStar-wheel" used in a few Honda models.
The racing circus is also an interesting area. In this case, the tyres seem to be almost more important than the engines. In any case, this caused a great deal of annoyance, because e.g., the Formula-1 was supplied exclusively by one tyre manufacturer (2014 Michelin) and for a time, they appeared to be unsafe. In the meantime, they apparently have the problem under control. The cost- and durability of the racing-tyres now also plays a major part.
Since 2006, the law in Germany states that the vehicles tyres must be adapted to the prevailing weather conditions (see picture below). This of course, pleases the companies producing the most varying tyre-brands. One can drive around in winter with summer-tyres mounted, indeed, if one is caught using them on icy roads, it will mean a fine which will be doubled, if one is hindering the traffic flow. Once this law was pushed through, the winter-tyre finally asserted itself.
So, this is the situation we now have, only that the tyres have become even wider and their cross-section even lower. The braking distance e.g., from a speed of 100 km/h, has now reached the previously considered impossible length, of under 35 meters. Since 2010/11 we also now have to comply with certain rolling-noise limits and recently, in the EU, the tyres have to carry a 'tyre-label' which should, to a certain extent, reflect the other properties of the tyre as well. 07/14