Decoding Biker Talk: What Are Chicken Strips When It Comes to Motorcycles?

What are those chicken strips that motorcycle enthusiasts often talk about? If you’re part of the biking community, you’ve likely heard this term thrown around.

This phrase might conjure up images of fried food or farm animals. Contrary to popular belief, chicken strips have nothing to do with food.

In the world of motorcycling, chicken strips have nothing to do with poultry. Instead, they refer to a specific aspect of tire wear and tear that can reveal a lot about your riding style.

The presence (or absence) of these ‘strips’ on your tires is subject to numerous factors – some within your control and others not so much. So let’s dive into what these mysterious chicken strips really mean for riders like us!

Decoding the Mystery of Chicken Strips on Motorcycle Tires

What do chicken strips and motorcycles have in common? More than you might think. In motorcycle lingo, “chicken strips” are the unworn sections visible on a bike’s rear tire edges.

A Closer Look at Chicken Strips

No, we’re not discussing deep-fried fowl here. On a motorbike tire, ‘chicken strip’ is just another term for those parts on the outer edges of your motorcycle tire that remain untouched by the road surface due to a limited lean angle during turns. The result? Clear bands or ‘strips’ along each side of your tire tread, thus earning their peculiar moniker.

The presence of these telltale marks doesn’t necessarily mean that your bike never gets leaned over enough- it simply indicates how much you lean into corners while riding. Also, it may indicate how often you ride your motorcycle in general- new tires are obviously more likely to have chicken stripes as compared to a bike that has been taken off road many times.

The Significance of Chicken Strips in Biking Culture

In the biking community, chicken strips are often seen as a measure of a rider’s skill and confidence. Riders with minimal or no chicken strips are perceived as more experienced and skilled in cornering. It is believed that having smaller chicken strips demonstrates a rider’s ability to lean the bike over further, resulting in better traction and control.

Busting Myths Around Chicken Strips

In some biker circles, having large chicken strips can be seen as an indication that one isn’t riding hard enough or lacks cornering skills. But let’s debunk this myth right away.

Riding style varies greatly among bikers based upon personal preference and comfort level; therefore, what might work well for one rider may not necessarily suit another. So remember, folks: it’s okay to ride within your comfort zone. Your tires simply reflect how you choose to use your bike- it’s not a measure of courage or skill.

Factors Affecting Chicken Strips

Several factors can influence the size of chicken strips on motorcycle tires. These include:

  1. Rider Skill: A rider’s level of experience and confidence in leaning the bike over affects the size of chicken strips. More skilled riders tend to have smaller or no chicken strips, while an amateur rider tends to have wide chicken strips.

  2. Tire Type: The type of tire used can also impact the size of chicken strips. Tires with a softer compound or more aggressive tread pattern may allow for better grip and reduced chicken strips- this can be the difference between tires found on adventure bikes vs. a street bike.

  3. Road Conditions: The condition of the road, such as its surface, camber, and grip, can affect a rider’s ability to lean the bike over and, consequently, the size of chicken strips.

Addressing Chicken Strips Safely

If you’re keen on reducing those ‘chicken’ markings (and improving your overall proficiency), there are safe practices worth considering before hitting extreme maneuvers purely for aesthetics’ sake. Here are some overall tips:

  1. Take a Course: Before you start practicing on your own, consider taking a motorcycle riding course, especially those that focus on advanced skills like cornering. Instructors can provide valuable feedback and insights.

  2. Choose the Right Environment:

    • Start on roads you’re familiar with to anticipate turns and know what lies ahead.

    • Avoid busy streets or highways.

    • An empty parking lot can be a great place to start practicing basic cornering maneuvers.

    • Closed courses or tracks are ideal, as they are designed for high-performance riding.

  3. Start Slowly: Gradually build up your speed as you become more comfortable. It’s crucial to learn the feel of the bike as you lean and understand its limits.

  4. Understand Body Positioning:

    • Keep your head up and look through the turn. Your bike tends to go where you’re looking.

    • Push the handlebar in the direction of the turn — push left to go left, push right to go right (countersteering).

    • Shift your body weight to the inside of the turn, allowing the bike to remain more upright and providing more traction.

  5. Smooth Controls: Any input, be it throttle, brakes, or steering, should be smooth. Jerky movements can upset the balance of the bike, especially in mid-corner.

  6. Practice Braking:

    • Get familiar with trail braking, where you maintain some brake pressure into the turn. This helps in settling the suspension and provides better control.

    • Remember, most of your braking should be done before the turn.

  7. Inspect Your Tires:

    • Ensure they are in good condition and properly inflated.

    • Remember that cold tires don’t grip as well as warmed-up tires.

  8. Avoid Target Fixation: If you focus on something, like an obstacle or the edge of the road, you’ll tend to steer toward it. Train yourself to focus on the path you want to take, not where you don’t want to go.

  9. Use Reference Points: As you become familiar with a corner, use reference points for braking, turning, and acceleration. This helps with consistency.

  10. Stay Relaxed: Tension in your arms or grip can interfere with the bike’s ability to lean and turn smoothly.

Regardless though, remember our ultimate goal isn’t merely getting rid of ‘stripes’. We aim at becoming better-rounded motorcyclists respecting both personal limits and safety regulations at all times.

And hey. Don’t let anyone make fun of your stripes – they don’t define you or your ride.

The Chicken Strip Judgment Error

We need to talk about this prevailing misconception among bikers – using these innocent chicken strips as baseline settings for measuring someone’s riding skills. This idea stems from an oversimplified understanding: more experienced riders lean their bikes more and hence have smaller chicken strips.

Seems reasonable, yet it’s not the entire picture. RevZilla photo analysis says judging a motorcycle rider solely based on their strip size is like trying to understand an iceberg by just looking at its tip.

  • Riders often take safer lines around corners instead of leaning excessively; safety first after all.

  • Different motorcycles and tire types show different wear patterns; it’s not one-size-fits-all.

  • Clever braking and acceleration can reduce unnecessary leans thus leaving wider strip marks; smart moves trump daredevil stunts any day.


Why are the chicken strips on my front tire more pronounced than on my rear tire?

This can happen due to the different ways the two tires are used during cornering. The rear tire experiences a combination of both turning and power application, while the front tire primarily guides the motorcycle. Riders might lean enough to scrub the rear but not put as much lean angle on the front.

How do you get rid of motorcycle chicken strips?

To remove chicken strips, riders need to lean their bikes more in turns. This can be achieved through track days, advanced skills courses, or varying road conditions.

Can I scrub off the chicken strips on a motorcycle stand?

While it’s technically possible to scrub off the chicken strips by running the bike on a stand, this method doesn’t replicate real-world conditions. It’s best to let motorcycle tires wear naturally based on actual riding.

Why are motorcycle chicken strips more pronounced on some tires compared to others?

Different tire profiles and widths can lead to varying widths of chicken strips. A sportbike tire, which is more rounded, might have less noticeable chicken strips compared to a cruiser tire, which is flatter.

Is it important to eliminate chicken strips?

No, it’s not vital to get rid of chicken strips. Riding should be based on comfort, skill, and safety. While some riders may want to push their limits on tracks, it’s crucial to understand and respect personal limits and conditions when riding, especially on public roads.


Chicken strips on motorcycle tires are a fascinating subject, yet often misunderstood.

They’re not necessarily indicative of a rider’s skill level or courage in the corners.

The appearance and size of these strips can be influenced by many factors like bike design, tire size, riding conditions, and more.

Judging riders solely based on their chicken strip is misleading – there’s much more to motorcycling than meets the eye!

You May Also Like