A good quality motorcycle tire is probably the most vital piece of equipment on your bike. Thanks to the internet you can find discount motorcycle tires on most motorcycle sites. The discounts vary depending on the site but they are usually cheaper then what your local dealer will charge you. To combat this dealers have come up with several things. One is that they will match the price of the tire you found on the web. The other is that they will charge you a fee of somewhere around the $25 range if you bring in a tire for mounting and will not charge you at all if you by the tire from them. Since getting a motorcycle tire on your a rim without a machine is really damn near impossible. This is how the dealers are trying to discourage you from buying online.
When choosing a motorcycle tire you need to ask yourself what kind of riding you will be doing and how much life you expect out of the tire. Generally the stickier the tire the bettor it will handle and the more aggressive you can ride with good grip. The longer lasting tires are less sticky and you give up some handling for longevity. When I say sticky what I am talking about actually has to do with the compound of the tire. The rubber compound of a tire will dictate its life expectancy, the softer the compound the stickier the tire, the faster it will need to be replaced. The harder the compound, the longer the tire will last but you are giving up a little on the stickiness.
For cruiser bikes generally a harder compound is acceptable because cruiser's are ridden long distances but are not ridden as aggressively so it is better to get a harder compound therefore giving the tire a longer life expectancy. However if you are an aggressive rider even on a cruiser you might want to seek a bit softer compound so you can get a bit better handling.
For sport bikes their is no question, you will want a softer compound tire to give you the best handling possible. Now their are usually varying degrees of soft compound motorcycle tires available. You will find some are made for the track. These are extremely sticky and will need to be to often to be any good for the street. So if you are looking for a good street tire for a sport bike the best selection is a soft compound tire that tis made for aggressive street riding. An example of that kind of tire would be a Dunlop 207 or a Bridgestone BT014. For track days you may want to get a different set of tires for extreme grip.
Motorcycle tire manufactures are plentiful these days. You more recognized makers are Dunlop, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Michelin, and Metzeler. All of which make excellent motorcycle tires. You will find different people swear by different brands. Some just like Dunlop and others swear by Pirelli.
I think this part of choosing a tire is a lot like some guys will only by a Ford and other swear by Chevy. These are all quality manufacturers of tires and all are good, the choice is up to you.
When it comes to choosing a motorcycle tire don't let the price be the biggest factor. Get a good quality tire designed for your riding style. Since you only have two tires on your bike it becomes vital to keep them in proper condition. If you have ever had a blowout in your car imagine that on two wheels. Its one of the toughest situations are rider will ever have to face, therefore I recommend that you don't worry about cheap so much when it comes to tires but go with quality.