Understanding Chicken Strips on Motorcycle Tires: What They Are and Do They Matter?

Are you curious about those smooth, unworn edges on your motorcycle tires? These are commonly known as chicken strips, a term often seen in the biking world. This blog post will break down everything you need to know about chicken strips: what they arewhy they occur, and crucially, how to eliminate them! Ready for an exciting ride into the world of motorcycle tire wear? Let’s roll!

Key Takeaways

  • Chicken strips on a bike are the smooth, unworn edges of the tire.
  • Factors like riding style, driving speed, bike geometry, and tire profile contribute to the size of chicken strips.
  • Eliminating them can be done by adjusting your riding style, leaning more in turns, properly breaking in a new tire, adjusting body positioning and suspension, considering sportier tires with aggressive tread profiles, and regularly inspecting for wear or damage.

Understanding Chicken Strips on a Motorcycle

Chicken strips are on a motorcycle’s rear tire. They are the parts that stay smooth. The outer edges of your tire may not be worn out like the rest. This is where you find chicken strips.

The name chicken strips sounds funny! But it tells us something about how we ride our bikes. People say if you have big chicken strips, you don’t lean your bike in turns. You might be too scared or “chicken”.

But this isn’t true for everyone. Sometimes, other things can cause chicken strips.

Your bike’s shape and speed play a part too. Even how your tires sit on the road matters! Also, fresh tires often have big chicken strips in the first 50 miles when they break in properly.

Factors Contributing to Chicken Strips

Factors contributing to wide chicken strips include riding style, driving speed, bike geometry, and tire profile.

Riding Style

Your style of riding plays a big role in chicken strips. Some riders lean their bikes more in corners. This makes the farthest edges of the tires wear down. But not all motorcycle riders like to lean the bike so much.

They keep their bikes upright most of the time. So, they have wider chicken strips because only the center tread gets used more often.

The way you position your body also impacts tire use on turns or bends. If you shift your weight and lean into a turn, less tire surface is left unused. This can result in thinner chicken strips or even none at all! Yet, many street bikers don’t do this for safety reasons.

Driving Speed

Fast driving can make the strips big on your bike’s tire. You create these unworn sections when you go quickly but don’t lean much in turns. This style of riding wears out the center tread more than the unused outer edges.

It affects both new and old motorcycle tires. So, going fast without leaning a lot adds to the size of chicken strips. The way you break in tires matters too. If you drive at high speeds right away, it might result in bigger chicken strips on your fresh rubber.

Bike Geometry

The shape of a bike plays a big part in chicken strips. Some bikes lean more than others when you turn them. This is due to their geometry. Bike geometry means the way the parts of the bike are set up and how they work together. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what ‘cc’ means on a motorcycle, check out this article.

For example, sport bikes can lean far over which wears out all areas of the tire, but cruisers might not lean as much because of their design. The less a bike leans, the more likely it is to have chicken strips on its tires.

If you’re interested in other motorcycle parts, you might want to read about what fairings are on a motorcycle.

Tire Profile

The tire profile of a motorcycle refers to the condition and wear pattern on the outermost edges of the tire. Chicken strips, which are the unworn sections on the tire edges, are often used as a measure of tire profile.

Factors such as bike geometry, suspension type, and riding speed can affect how worn or unworn these sections are. It’s important to note that chicken strips don’t always indicate a rider’s skill or experience level since they can be influenced by various factors.

Additionally, breaking in freshly changed tires properly can result in fat chicken strips during the initial 50 miles or so.

How to Eliminate Chicken Strips on a Motorcycle

To eliminate chicken strips on a bike, follow these steps:

  • Ride at a faster pace during track days or advanced skills courses.
  • Lean your bike further into corners to wear down the unworn sections of your tires.
  • Make sure you break in new tires properly during the first 50 miles or so.
  • Adjust your body position and lean angle to distribute weight evenly on the tires. And while we’re on the topic of maintenance, it’s essential to know how often you should change your motorcycle oil.
  • Check your bike’s suspension and make necessary adjustments for better tire contact with the road surface.
  • Consider getting sportier tires with a more aggressive tread profile.
  • Regularly inspect your front and rear tires for any signs of uneven wear or damage.


In conclusion, chicken strips on a ride refer to the unworn edges of the tires. They are not always an accurate reflection of a rider’s skill or experience, as other factors like bike geometry and suspension play a role in tire wear.

It’s important for riders to break in new tires properly and avoid using belt sanders to remove chicken strips. So next time you see someone with chicken strips on their sports bike, don’t judge too quickly!


1. What are chicken strips on a bike?

Chicken strips are the unworn smooth rubber sections on the outer edges of motorcycle tires.

2. How do you get rid of chicken strips?

To remove chicken strips, lean into corners at increased speed and angle while off-road riding or sand riding but ride safely to stay out of dangerous situations.

3. Why is it important to consider your speed when trying to eliminate chicken strips?

Your bike’s speed, along with your body position and lean angle, affects how much of the tire touches the surface, causing tire wear.

4. Can amateur riders also have fully “feathered” tires like pro racers on slicks in MotoAmerica Superbike races?

Yes! Amateur rider using high-performance bikes can have their tires fully feathered like a MotoAmerica Superbike qualifying tire if they practice advanced skills and maintain a moderate pace.

5. Do front tires also develop chicken strips?

Yes, both front and rear tires can develop chicken strips based on your style of riding and leaning in corners.

6. Are there any risks related to removing all my bike’s chicken strips?

Yes, there could be risks! Trying too hard could mean you ride an unsafe pace or damage new rubber, leading potentially to tire damage.

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