Grip under acceleration and braking, in dry or wet conditions, safe handling on straights and cornering, comfort and mileage. Motorbike enthusiasts the world over highly evaluate these factors every time they find themselves riding over short or long distances. The single component that encompasses all these characteristics is: the tyre. In fact, the right tyre combination can make all the difference in terms of grip, handling and durability. There are different types of motorbike tyres, each designed to meet specific riding needs, and for this review we have considered touring or sport-touring tyres from some of the major manufacturers. These tyres boast the widest range of applications: from tar roads to uneven terrain and for all weather conditions. They are ideal for everyday use, urban or otherwise, as well as for long journeys, when comfort is just as important as performance and safety.
Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 is Bridgestone's adventure road tyre for motorbikes. This off-road looking tyre offers dry performance, traction, grip and wet braking, ensuring a comfortable ride in a variety of weather conditions. The new tread pattern has an optimised groove design to improve water drainage and ensure wet performance, thanks to an increased average groove volume and better groove distribution in the contact patch areas. In addition, the new block shape reduces partial shoulder wear, while the design belt construction provides stability. The touring compound of the Bridgestone Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 - with 3LC used for the rear - also allows, the manufacturer points out, performance in wet, dry and in terms of tyre mileage. The adventure tyre is available in nine sizes (4 front and 5 rear), all with M+S marking.
ContiRoadAttack 4 is Continental’s answer to the competition, a tyre with an innovative design and a new compound that guarantees grip in both dry and wet conditions, mileage, comfort and stability. The history of the ContiRoadAttack family is a mix of tradition and innovation thanks to new technologies such as ZeroDegree, TractionSkin, MultiGri, RainGrip and EasyHandling. With the ContiRoadAttack 4, Continental adds GripLimitFeedback technology for increased safety at high leans angles. The groove-less area at the top of the tread shoulder allows for grip and precise handling. The completely new compound and innovative tread pattern enhance wet performance, with improved grip in every condition. This high-tech tyre was developed for modern, powerful sport tourers, while enhancing the performance of retro touring bikes.
In the sport-touring range Dunlop showcases its RoadSmart IV, a tyre designed with a mix of innovative technologies that makes the tyre suitable for use in different conditions. Specifically, the company has combined a new tread design with state-of-the-art materials that offer grip, durability and handling. The casing tension control system maximises the footprint while the JointLess belt provides stability. HiSilica technology enables journeys in some of the coldest areas of the globe as well as on wet roads, thanks to a compound that is more flexible at low temperatures, while the use of Rayon improves mileage and enables quick warm-up times. Dunlop RoadSmart IV has been developed to be fitted on 17 of the 20 best-selling motorbikes in Europe. In the most popular sizes Dunlop has developed two separate versions: the SP variant is optimised for lighter, sportier road bikes, while the GT is made to bring greater handling to larger touring bikes.
Roadtec 01 SE by Metzeler was designed for naked and sport touring bikes. The tread pattern of the Roadtec 01 SE represents a development over its predecessor (Roadtec 01) in the direction of a tyre that features a slick shoulder so as to maximise grip thanks to a larger footprint. The compounds used, Full Silica at the front and dual compound at the rear, guarantee high levels of performance already at low temperatures and grip on low friction wet roads. A more detailed analysis of the tyre shows that the front tyre design features a high number of transversal grooves that increase mechanical grip on low friction surfaces and guarantee safety in bad weather conditions, thanks to an effective water evacuation system. The slick area on the shoulder maximises the footprint of this part of the tread which is always involved in maximum lean angles and ensures grip even for riders who prefer a sportier riding style. The rear tyre design combines sipes of different sizes and depths to improve grip on low-friction roads and high-speed stability. In addition to the tread pattern and compounds, the structure of the Roadtec 01 SE was also designed to support the sportier nature of the tyre while maintaining the necessary wet performance required of a sport touring tyre. In particular, the rear tyre features an innovative rayon casing with a zero-degree steel belt, which produces an adaptable footprint able to increase the level of agility and grip, while retaining, at the same time, the necessary stiffness needed on long-range travelling. The 180/55 ZR 17 M/C (73W) size features a dual-ply structure, adapting to both lighter naked and sports touring motorbikes as well as heavier sport tourers. The Roadtec 01 SE range complements the more extensive Roadtec 01 range and replaces it in sizes dedicated to naked and sport touring bikes which require a sportier product.
Michelin's range for the sport touring segment centres around the Road 6, designed to offer owners of naked bikes, maxi road enduros, sport touring and GT bikes, performance in terms of wet grip, mileage, comfort and handling. Alongside the standard tyre range, which now includes sizes for maxi road enduros, there is also the Michelin Road 6 GT tyre designed for large touring motorbikes. Using technologies developed by engineers at Michelin's research and development centres, the new Road 6 provides a 15% improvement in wet grip and a 10% increase in tyre life over its predecessor, the Road 5. These improvements have been made possible by a new tread design, advances in raw materials and an optimised tyre structure. Well balanced solids-to-void ratio and the use of Michelin's patented Water EverGrip sipe technology enable grip in both wet and dry conditions. Speaking of the design, the use of Radial X Evo technology - 90-degree top plies - allows for a wider footprint. The sidewalls of the new generation of Radial X Evo tyres are flexible and able to absorb road deformations.
Not to be outdone, Pirelli offers its sport touring tyre Angel GT II. Features such as mileage, sporty handling and grip combined with top-class behaviour in the wet and a greater feeling of safety on the part of the rider are the elements Pirelli engineers worked on in designing the Angel GT II. The innovative variable density casing and high silica content compounds combined with the new tread pattern, which derives from intermediate racing tyres developed for the FIM Superbike World Championship, guarantee more than adequate performance and maximise the effect of the electronic driving aid systems. The development of Angel GT II was focused on consolidating the previous strengths of Angel GT by improving wet performance and the feeling of safety for the rider. The technical design of Angel GT II in terms of structure, compound, and tread pattern focused on improving grip in different road conditions, handle quick direction changes smoothly and maintain the riding line effortlessly, all of which contributes to longer mileage. Angel GT II is available in 17- and 19-inch size at the front and 17-inch at the rear.