Motorcycle News - Countersteer: What You Know
A few years back I started riding dirtbikes. Up to that point in my life, I had it all figured out. At work, I had built and maintained marketing databases better than any of my uninformed superiors could have done and I knew it. I had been the top salesperson in a couple of different positions and, at that point, had a well-rounded background in different facets of the motorcycle industry. I knew the industry. I had my ear to the ground and I was a passionate motorcyclist, heck, some of my bosses didn’t even ride and others seemed to have no clue about the motorcycles at all! Thankfully for them, I did. There were instances where I had a really hard time working on projects that I knew weren’t as efficient or focused as they could be. Most of the time, I would reluctantly put my head down and get the job done. Other times, I’d voice my opinion and get myself in trouble. I was, in a word, obdurate.
When I started riding dirtbikes, I approached things the same way. I know how to ride motorcycles, I’d been riding fire-breathing 1000cc street bikes for years. I was excited to begin ripping this little 250 around. As soon as I got into the sand on my new (to me) KX250F, I realized I had no f*cking idea what I was doing. I was all over the place flailing from side to side down the first sand wash. I’d knife the front, get up and do it again a few feet later. What the hell was happening?
Thankfully, for this first foray into off-road riding, a friend and mentor had set up this excursion with herself and two others who had been riding for nearly a hundred years between them, to help teach me the ways of the dirtbike. Which was good, because I had never felt more hopelessly lost in trying something new. Especially something that I was sure I knew how to do.
They spent the next few hours and numerous occasions over the following days teaching me the fundamentals of riding off-road. I put everything I thought I knew in the back of my mind, listened carefully, applied the techniques I was taught, and continued to work on them. I had no choice. My riding improved exponentially over the three days and, as they say, the rest is history. I love riding off-road. I love exploring in ways only a dirtbike can offer and it’s now what I spend my personal time doing away from MO and why you’ve seen more dirt-focused content here than in the past.
Part of the reason riding offroad became such an instant passion for me, was because I pushed everything I thought I knew into the back of my mind and listened to those who were more experienced than me. It just so happened that I had good teachers and what they taught me instantly worked when I applied, so it was much easier to understand how well listening works sometimes. Huh. Weird.
I look back and in just the past three years the outlook that helped me hone my dirt riding skills has completely changed the way I learn. This job is yet another example of getting thrown into the deep end for me. I wasn’t a writer prior to becoming an associate editor at MO (surprise, er maybe not). I felt that I had something to offer the website and could provide a different perspective for readers, so I applied, and Sean Alexander hired me. From day one – well not exactly day one because Duke was salty that he didn’t get a say in the hiring process – I had a crew around me of great writers who have been in the industry for a collective… long time. Kevin warmed up to me and eventually would become one of my best mentors. I’ve learned plenty from Evans, Troy and John and even other journalists in this industry.
I’ve learned a lot since that day in the desert crashing my brains out left and right. Mostly, I learned just how much I didn’t know. I’m not perfect, and I’m still plenty bullheaded, but I’ve learned to listen and be open-minded and in doing so, I’ve become a better student. There’s always something to be learned, particularly so when you think you know it all.
via Motorcycle.com http://bit.ly/2ComzZy
April 17, 2019 at 08:02PM
Motorcycle News - Best Cruisers Under $10,000
Although the cruiser craze of the late 1990s and early 2000s has long since passed, there are still tons of riders who love cruisers. For newer riders or those reentering motorcycling after a hiatus, high prices can be an obstacle for buying a cruiser. It doesn’t have to be. The staff at Motorcycle.com have always been fans of cruisers and what they represent out on the road. So, we decided to go deal shopping to see what new models could be had for less than $10,000. Note that all of these motorcycles are 2019 models. You can find some great deals on leftovers from earlier model years if you look around.
Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 – $9,999
You can be excused for thinking that the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 is just an Iron 883 with a 1,202 cc V-Twin wedged into its frame. Although the 1200 rides on the same chassis as its littler sibling, it still has some tricks up its sleeve. At a glance, the mini-apes stand out in comparison to the 883’s flatter handlebar. This places the rider in a more upright and relaxed riding position.
The big difference, though, is the big air-cooled V-Twin. The rubber mounts allow the engine to dance at stoplights while keeping excessive vibes from reaching you at speed. The wide power delivery is great for meandering around town, and there’s plenty of grunt to blast up to highway speeds as you row your way through the 5-speed gearbox. However, those mini-apes mean that you’re not in the best position for combating the wind blast, and the bikini fairing doesn’t do much to help. So, most Iron 1200s will be found trolling the boulevard.
The 28.6-inch seat height means that it is easy for almost any rider to reach the ground. Additionally, the 1200 Sportster engine places the claimed 564 lb. weight low in the frame for easy low-speed maneuvers. The bobbed fenders, solo seat, and 19-inch front wheel paired with the 16-inch rear give the Iron 1200 attitude to spare. You can have yours in Vivid Black for just $9,999.
Honda Shadow Phantom – $7,899
To some people, cruisers are all about leather and chrome. Others prefer a more understated presence. The Honda Shadow Phantom with its blacked out look – save for the exhaust system – will appeal to the latter. Weighing in at a claimed 549 lb. with a 25.8-inch seat height, the Phantom isn’t so big that it’s intimidating but not so small that experienced riders will feel it is underpowered. The 64.5-inch wheelbase assures a full-sized feel.
The engine is a 745cc liquid-cooled 52-degree V-twin fed by three valves per cylinder. Honda’s PGM-FI handles mixing duties while a staggered dual exhaust system handles the spent gasses. Delivering power to the fat 160/80 R15 rear tire is a low-maintenance shaft drive.
The low-slung bobber styling looks subtly cool in either gloss black or white paint options. Honda’s got a 2019 Shadow Phantom waiting for you at its website.
Indian Scout Sixty – $9,499
Indian made a smart move when it released the Scout Sixty. The Sixty has just about everything we loved about MO’s 2015 Motorcycle of the Year, the Indian Scout – only with 134 fewer cc’s and one less gear in the transmission. The engine displaces a healthy 999cc thanks to its 93 x 73.6 mm bore and stroke. Our visit to the dyno showed that the Sixty only lost 14 hp and 3.1 lb-ft with the decrease in displacement. Not bad for a $2000 price cut. A fair trade, if you ask us.
Other than the pleasant engine that’s on the sporty side of cruising, the Scout Sixty runs smoothly and has decent handling characteristics – until you run out of ground clearance. That, however, is the nature of the feet-forward riding position of cruisers. While the rear suspension could use a little more travel – or an aftermarket upgrade – the brakes work just fine.
Finally, the Scout Sixty feels like a real bargain since it has the same quality fit and finish of other Indians. It may lack a few shiny bits of its big brother, but we think we prefer it that way. Thunder Black paint and the lack of ABS are what keeps the Sixty’s price under $10k. The Ruby Metallic Red shown in the photo retails for $10,799 and, like all the optional colors, comes with ABS.
Kawasaki Vulcan S – $7,099
The Kawasaki Vulcan S bucks cruiser norms in a couple of ways. First, it eschews the de rigueur V-Twin in favor of a Parallel Twin. Say what?! Then the styling draws more from the twenty-first century than from the Post War era embraced by the majority of cruisers. Clearly, Kawasaki wanted to turn some heads. However, neither of those are the most interesting feature of the Vulcan S. The Ergo-Fit adjustable construction that allows the bike to be adapted to riders of many shapes and sizes is what really makes the Vulcan S stand out.
By offering adjustable handlebar placement, peg location, and seat sizes, Kawasaki has it divided along three size ranges: Reduced Reach (<5-ft 6-in.), Mid-Reach (between 5-ft. 7-in. and 6-ft. 0-in. – also known as the standard shipping form), and Extended Reach (> 6-ft.). The flexibility allows for up to 18 different size combinations. Riders are sure to be able to find the ideal fit for their body size.
Then there’s the lovable 649cc Parallel Twin that was derived from the Ninja 650 and is also used in the Versys 650 and Z650. While it was retuned for cruiser duty, it still loves to rev out into the upper rpm range. The Vulcan S is happy to troll along around town in the lower rpm, but you’ll be surprised when you find an entrance ramp or a winding road to wick up the throttle. This post-modern cruiser has a lot to offer.
Yamaha Bolt R-Spec – $8,399
When writing this article, we noticed a strange thing, Yamaha doesn’t have any cruiser category listed on its web site. Never you mind though, the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec is still a cruiser – despite its new Sport Heritage listing. Powered by a 60° 942cc air-cooled SOHC V-twin (the same engine that powered the erstwhile V-Star 950 and the 950 Tourer), the Bolt in any of its iterations uses forged pistons with ceramic cylinder liners for better cooling and durability. The two-valves per cylinder are plenty to give this bike an amiable character both around town and on the highway. Shorter inseamed folks will appreciate the 27.2-inch reach to the ground.
While the riding position in the lower body is less cruiser and more standard, with its slightly forward peg location, the upright torso and pulled back handlebar is reminiscent of home-built bobbers of yore. Look no further than the abbreviated fenders – and the solo seat – to add to the bobber impression.
The gearing and power delivery are geared towards use in more urban environments, but that doesn’t mean that the Bolt R-Spec doesn’t have the chops to take the party to the open road.
via Motorcycle.com http://bit.ly/2ComzZy
April 17, 2019 at 01:29PM
Motorcycle News - Mighty Guerilla: Rough Crafts Takes on the Harley Fat Bob
You’ll still find traces of the Iron Guerilla’s DNA in Winston’s work today. And it spawned a catalogue of Rough Crafts parts that still sell well (and are frequently copied).
The project landed in Winston’s lap as a commissioned build with an open brief. When he pitched the idea of Softail-based Guerilla, his client gave his blessing right away. (‘Mighty Guerilla’ is a play on the name Harley gave the Softail’s motor: Milwaukee-Eight.)
“Ever since the the first test ride, I fell in love with the new Softail platform. It rides so much better than the previous models Harley made for sure, and the frame makes it easy for customizers to detach things they want to change, without cutting and grinding.”
Winston also upgraded the front brakes with Arlen Ness calipers and Performance Machine rotors, and added a Performance Machine pulley at the back.
For the exhaust, SC Project sent Winston a couple of mufflers to combine with his Guerilla-style headers. He built two systems—one for this bike, and one to send back as a prototype for future production.
But it’s the new bodywork that really conveys that unmistakable Rough Crafts Guerilla vibe.
Up front is a short fender and a custom headlight arrangement. Winston already had a headlight grill for the Sportster Forty-Eight in his catalogue, so he combined a Forty-Eight headlight housing with the LED internals from a Street Bob, and slapped the grill on. It all mounts off a custom backing plate that attaches to the original Fat Bob headlight’s mountings.
For the control area, Winston picked Rough Crafts Fighter bars, Arlen Ness grips, and Rebuffini controls, complete with switches that work with Harley’s OEM CAN bus. The stock foot controls were upgraded with MS Pro pegs, and there are Rizoma LEDs doing tail light and turn signal duty.
Everything’s wrapped in a classic Rough Crafts paint scheme: flat black, with subtle gloss black pin-striping. The paint was handled by the same guy that painted the original Iron Guerilla—and every other Rough Crafts bike since—Jeffrey Chang at Air Runner Custom Paint. Hechun seats tackled the diamond stitched saddle, and CT-Garage took care of final assembly.
Winston assures us it’s in the works…which means we can look forward to another decade of the mighty Rough Crafts Guerilla.
via Bike EXIF http://www.bikeexif.com
April 17, 2019 at 12:18PM
MotoGP News - Video: Three takeaways from MotoGP's Grand Prix of the Americas
MotoGP's Grand Prix of the Americas was notable for Marc Marquez's winning streak ending, but it also provided plenty of intrigue
Motorcycle Racing News
via MotoGP news - Autosport http://bit.ly/2uOa9Ei
April 17, 2019 at 09:17AM
Motorcycle News - Top 10 Honda Cafe Racer builds
As the world’s largest producer of motorcycles, it comes as no surprise that Honda cafe racer builds are commonplace here on Return of the Cafe Racers. If you’ve got your heart set on using a Honda as the donor when you’re building a cafe racer project you’re spoilt for options. There’s a long list of “go to” models that are have become icons of the cafe racer scene like the CB750, or pretty much any model in the long-running CB range, the CX500 and in more recent years the CB1000R Neo Sports Cafe. So today I thought we’d take a look back at 10 of the best Honda Cafe Racer builds that have graced these pages.
via Return of the Cafe Racers http://bit.ly/2TaWClU
April 17, 2019 at 09:09AM
Motorcycle News - SPECIAL K – 1985 BMW K100
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Niall Porter
When you reside within the custom motorcycle world and new people wish to join the fray, they always have one of two questions. What bike should I buy as my first steed or which bike should I choose for my first build. The answer is to both is really the same; cheap, light, basic and reliable. Lucky for all of us David Ewen ignored the advice I would have offered and chose to take up the challenge by building a killer custom for his first ever ride! From the barely breathing remains of a huge 1985 BMW K100 comes his street scrambler, that goes by the name ‘Revive’.
David passed his test back in February 2017, and now with license in hand he was looking for the fabled first bike. But one movie meant he knew the style long before the make or model, “I was inspired by the scene in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where Benjamin (Brad Pitt) rides the red Indian 101 Scout one handed down the road, helmet-less and wearing aviators, I knew the classic look was for me,” he tells us.
So the search began and with a small 3×3 shed at the bottom of the garden, he wasn’t opposed to picking up a bike that needed a little work. For a first bike and build, a running but junky looking Yamaha SR or Honda CB would be perfect; but willing to go against the grain he found a BMW K. And just to make things even harder this particular barn find hadn’t run for six years, had been through ten previous owners and was showing plenty of mileage on the odometer.
Oh, did I mention it was totally fire damaged? David is a man right after our own heart’s and despite being new to the game he committed to a full on rebuild, right down to having that thumping four banger split to the cases! “The difficulty was making the bike appear older than its original mid ’80s touring form and getting around the arguably strange and sharp tank lines the K100 bears once fully naked but I could picture it well in my mind,” David explains.
Down to a bare chassis David commenced work on the tubular space frame and with it all smoothed out, it looks brand new in a fresh coat of black. Now he could begin to assemble it as a roller and the shaft driven swingarm is now controlled by a Hagon monoshock. Up front and the forks look better than the day they rolled out of the factory, now complete with gaiters. While the repainted factory wheels are now wrapped up in a set of all purpose Heidenau K60 Tires.
The big horizontal four cylinder engine is definitely not what you’d normally see a new rider bolting into their first bike. But perfectly pieced back together the smooth torque monster will provide years of trouble free motoring; as any well built BMW should! A new lightweight battery kicks things to life but it’s the soundtrack that is drastically improved with a C4R 4 into 1 exhaust system that has the added benefit of providing some extra punch.
To get the look of the bike David was after he focused on steering the styling away from the ’80s to something far more timeless. To achieve this he began with a custom seat, wrapped in a neutral leather that has been finished in a classic diamond stitch. To complement the look, the side covers are replaced by very function friendly leather saddle bags. With the metal work now resplendent in the two-tone gloss metallic paint that helps to dissolve the sharp lines of the tank.
To ensure ‘Revive’ was a pleasant place to spend time, the ergonomics get a full make over with LSL bars sporting Motogadget indicators that are also used at the rear. A new Shinyo headlight and Acewell speedo keep the front end clean and uncluttered with a custom side mounted taillight assembly doing the same for the rear. “I wanted it to be functional and comfortable as it would also become my daily ride,” David smiles. And it’s mission accomplished, with a killer custom any first timer would be lucky to ride and rightfully proud to say they built it on their own!
via Pipeburn.com http://bit.ly/2LvgxJz
April 17, 2019 at 07:14AM
MotoGP News - MotoGP Austin: Lorenzo had 'strange mistakes' before Honda failure
Jorge Lorenzo says he was making "strange mistakes" in the opening stages of MotoGP's Grand Prix of the Americas before his Honda bike failed
Motorcycle Racing News
via MotoGP news - Autosport http://bit.ly/2uOa9Ei
April 17, 2019 at 06:44AM
MotoGP News - Suzuki MotoGP rider Mir angered by Austin pace after ride-through
Suzuki MotoGP rookie Joan Mir says the speed he showed after a jump-start penalty at Austin left him feeling angry that he missed out on a strong finish
Motorcycle Racing News
via MotoGP news - Autosport http://bit.ly/2uOa9Ei
April 17, 2019 at 04:13AM
Motorcycle News - BMW’s Big Boxer is On the Way
When I learned I was off to Austin last week with just a couple days notice, on a mysterious mission to see something BMW wanted to unleash on the public, somebody showed me a picture of the Custom Works Zon bike from Japan, “Departed.” When I looked at it I LOL’d oh ho ho!, and said no way is BMW building anything remotely like that. And especially no way on the Japanese custom’s oversize boxer Twin, complete with pushrod tubes. You gots to be kidding me.
When we got to the big unveil in Austin on the Thursday night before the US MotoGP, though, what did the giddy German BMW execs roll out but another custom barely containing that same giant boxer Twin, this one built by Revival Cycles in Austin. In the “Birdcage,” that flat Twin looks even bigger than it does in the Custom Works Zon bike, which already can’t help but make you think of a thin woman with huge, ahh, cylinders, even if you are suffering from low T.
In Austin, we were allowed to see the engine, but BMW didn’t want to tell us anything about it other than it displaces about 1800cc, is air- and oil-cooled, and yes the pushrod tubes contain pushrods. If I’d been paying attention (or if MO’s news section had been displaying properly), I wouldn’t have been surprised; Dennis had already spotted the R18 two weeks earlier and determined its legitimacy.
Timo Resch, BMW Motorrad’s VP of Sales and Marketing, says we’ll see more of a “direction in a couple of weeks,” which another exec let slide means the Villa d’ Este Bike Show, on the shores of Lake Como, schedjed this year for May 24-26 (and conveniently enough, sponsored by BMW). Even crazier, Timo says there will be a “serial bike” by 2020, which I believe is German for a production model. Say, that’s only nine months from now.
In fact, a press release I got after the kick-off makes it more than idle chatter: “Timo Resch, Vice President Sales and Marketing BMW Motorrad… ‘We will also be showing a BMW Motorrad developed concept bike featuring this engine in the first half-year of 2019. BMW Motorrad will present a series production motorcycle with the Big Boxer for the Cruiser segment in the course of 2020.’”
Strange but not unprecedented. Before BMW launched the K1600B a couple years ago, there was a vinyl wood-panel adorned Roland Sands custom that appeared at the Long Beach show after it had been unveiled earlier that year at Villa d’Este. That bike appeared to be a stretch even for Roland, but it entered production not long after. With its inline Six, the K1600B was something of a compromise but we’re told it sells reasonably well; as a result of its success, BMW has been champing at the bit to get back into the real cruiser market; they’ve apparently been at work on the Big Boxer for quite some time. Now the company line is that the failed R1200C of 1997 was ahead of its time, a fact proven by its ascendant collectibility. If you say so.
Maybe not so much in the US for the last few years, but everywhere else in BMW’s realm the big cruiser/ sport tourer bike market is growing and very profitable; BMW says its big touring bikes have experienced record sales years for the last seven in a row (the R1200 GS Adventure being its biggest seller in the US, just supplanted by the plenty-big-for-me R1250 GS). BMW’s new scooters are said to be doing “extremely well” globally, the new G310s are selling better than expected (the R actually outsells the GS), the company’s very proud of its new S1000RR… in short, BMW Motorrad is feeling its oats, striding across the planet lately with a Colossal can’t-lose attitude. Timo Resch fairly lights up describing introing the K1600B at Sturgis two years ago – along with the C evolution scooter and various “urban mobility solutions.”
Others within the company are less certain about what’s being called “the Big Boxer.” Is it ironic that BMW would get into the huge Twin biz just when Harley-Davidson is downsizing into smaller displacement liquid-cooled engines and electrics? Probably it makes perfect sense. BMW’s also already doing small and electric, and even if the Green New Deal begins tomorrow, the heavyweight motorcycle market definitely has some years to run. BMW spokespeople laugh at the idea of converting Harley riders, but it’s more of an aggressive laugh: It makes perfect sense to rush into that hole now that Indian and the President of the United States are both leading interference. (Though nobody knows what might happen with tariffs on $25k German motorcycles. BMW isn’t too worried.)
I personally love the K1600B’s bike’s Jekyll and Hyde personality – by day a cruiser and by night a two-wheeled Formula 1 car (or is it the other way round?). But even in MO’s own Big Dam Tour comparison last year, which the BMW won, more than a couple of the kids thought a bike with an 8000-rpm 160-horsepower six-cylinder just can’t be considered a legit cruiser.
To counter that, maybe BMW decided it needs a thing that doesn’t just go like hell, but one that also throbs like only a thing with a pair of 900 cc cylinders can do. If that’s what the barbarians want, we’ll give it to them.
An 1800cc boxer ought to do the trick, and if you’re concerned any bike with this engine will have compromised cornering clearance (eyeballing it, I bet it’s four inches wider than the latest 1250 boxer), maybe you’re speaking the cruiser language again – though it’s hard to picture BMW ever going down the scraping-cylinders road. Maybe they can source some really long footpeg feelers from Honda’s suppliers. In the spy photos at Motorrad, it appears the engine’s just mounted that much higher in the frame.
Pushrods make perfect sense in this behemoth, since using a cam-in-block design makes each cylinder head protrude slightly less. And since a thing this big usually isn’t going to exceed 6000 rpm, overhead cams just aren’t necessary. BMW’s latest R1250 Boxer displaces 1254cc via an oversquare bore and stroke of 102.5 x 76mm, and makes a claimed 105 lb-ft of torque at the crank, but not until 6250 rpm. That just won’t do for a big American style cruiser.
Yamaha’s Eluder had the biggest Twin in last year’s Big Dam Tour comparo, 1854cc, and it gets there with a bore and stroke of 100 x 118mm. The next-biggest Indian “Thunderstroke” 111 cubic-incher (1811cc) measures 101 x 113mm. On the Dynojet, both of those bikes made 105 lb-ft of torque at just 2800 rpm (105.8 for the Yamaha). The Yamaha’s all done by 4500 rpm, and the Indian signs off not many rpm later. Harley’s 114 cubic incher (1868cc; 102mm x 114.3mm) made 104 lb-ft and 82 horses on the dyno in a 2018 Fat Bob, also at less than 3000 rpm.
There’s really no telling how BMW will play it, but the Germans do seem out to prove a point lately. At 4500 rpm, the longest-stroking giant v-Twin out there Yamaha Eluder has a piston speed of 3484 feet per minute – not all that high. Even with a pair of 4-inch pistons, there’s room for more rpm and more power. Personally, I’d rather see something like one-quarter of an oversquare 454 Chevrolet V-8 – 113.5 cubic inches – with bore and stroke of 108 x 101.6 resulting in a pushrod-rattling boxer easily capable of 6000 rpm, monstrous low-rev torque and well over 100 horsepower. Why not? They tell me the Big Boxer is an all-new engine that shares no parts with any previous Boxer. If we’ve reached peak boxer, why not do it right? Can we get some titanium connecting rods?
Stulberg says the engine in his Birdcage is really loud, but he wouldn’t start it up for us, and has anybody heard Departed run? I think not. Maybe BMW is still thinking about how bad it wants to embarrass all the other manufacturers? As for us, we’re down with an 1800cc Big Boxer cruiser. Just please don’t put it in a GS Adventure and expect me to ride it in the sand. Our times are exciting enough already.
via Motorcycle.com http://bit.ly/2ComzZy
April 16, 2019 at 05:17PM
Motorcycle News - Best Sportbike Tires
The job of a sportbike tire is a tough one. Considering the performance – and variety – of today’s modern sporting machines, an ideal tire needs to be able to warm up quickly, offer good grip in both wet and dry conditions, transfer feedback to the rider, and provide good handling capabilities. Thankfully, all the major tire companies work tirelessly to improve their tires to meet these demands. Of course, longevity is a concern as well, but compared to a sport-touring tire a sportbike tire won’t quite measure up with all the other duties it has to perform.
Here, we’ve gathered seven different tires that are great at handling it all. We’ve focused on street-based tires, since that’s where the majority of sportbike riders spend their time, although all of the tires here are more than capable of handling the occasional trackday or two. If you’re the serious trackday/racing type, we’ll have a separate guide for you coming soon. And now, in alphabetical order…
Avon 3D Ultra Sport $126 – $173
The Avon 3D Ultra Sport tires aren’t as widely known as other brands, but offer impressive performance. The 3D in its name refers to the sipes cut into the tire with three-dimensional points underneath that interlock and limit tread flex, thus allowing for quicker warm-up times and better stability. Avon’s variable belt technology places the steel cords close together in the center for stability and even wear, while the cords are further apart at the edges to give as big a footprint as possible while leaned over. And, of course, a bigger footprint means more grip.
Triple Extrusion tread compound features more durable compound in the center of the tire for longevity and a softer compound at the shoulders for – you guessed it – better grip. A third compound underneath the two binds them together and helps with cooling.
Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 $153 – $225
If the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 sounds familiar to you, maybe it’s because our own Evans Brasfield just finished sampling them at the Jerez circuit. The latest in B-Stone’s street-focused sportbike tire lineup, the S22 takes the popular S21 and makes it better through the use of new compounds, new tread patterns, and more. With two different compounds in front and three in the rear, the S22s are able to perform over a wider range of temperatures.
In the rear, Bridgestone engineers shrunk the size of the silica molecules, providing more silica for the same surface area. This means more contact with the road (though at a granular level). Bridgestone’s ULTIMAT EYE technology, a proprietary tire dyno that allows engineers to measure contact patch grip and slippage in a controllable/repeatable manner, the designers were able to test a wide variety of compounds and profiles. Through this testing, the slippage at the back edge of both front and rear contact patches was reduced. The payoff for this effort is increased cornering grip and lessened tire wear. Needless to say, check out the review link above for even more details about this very capable tire.
Continental Sport Attack 2 $150 – $229
Entirely made in Germany, the Continental Sport Attack 2 tires are another option worthy of consideration. Unlike other tires here which use different compounds to achieve results, Continental uses its Multigrip technology with the Sport Attack 2, which allows for a single compound to be used throughout. Temperature-controlled curing of the tire is what allows it to achieve more mileage in the center with better grip on the sides. By using a single compound there’s a smooth, continuous transition from upright to full lean.
Continental’s TractionSkin technology puts a micro-rough surface on the tire via new mold coating method which eliminates the need for release agents. The result? Virtually zero break-in time. Lastly, the zero-degree belt ensures excellent stability from the tire, especially at high speeds.
Dunlop Q3+ $120 – $186
Dunlop made a good street/track tire with the standard Q3, but then it went and made it even better with the Q3+, redesigning 80% of the old tire. Our own John Burns reviewed the Q3+ when it was released in 2017. The big change is a new silica-enriched center tread section. Much of the credit for the Q3+’s increased longevity goes to this new compound, which will add many miles to the tire without sacrificing grip, says Dunlop. The CFT, or Carbon Fiber Technology, first seen on the Q3 returns on the +, which provides reinforcement in the sidewalls for exceptional cornering stability at high lean angles, responsive and precise steering, and predictable, smooth transitions. Changes in construction and compound contribute to increased tire stability while maintaining the current tire profile, giving the Q3+ a 3.5% to 6% bigger footprint and therefore more grip at max lean angles.
The Q3+ was designed and manufactured in Dunlop’s Buffalo, New York facilities, right alongside the company’s proven racing tires, so you know it comes from a rich pedigree. You can read John’s review linked above for all the nitty-gritty details on the Q3+ and see if it’s right for you.
Metzeler Sportec M7 RR $113 – $189
As one of the most dominant tire manufacturers at the Isle of Man TT, Metzeler knows a thing or two about making sportbike tires that perform well on the street, especially at racing speeds. With the Sportec M7 RR, you have a tire incorporating the lessons learned from the TT. Metzeler paid a lot of attention to making a tire that can perform in both wet and dry conditions, hence the amount of grooves (and their placement) compared to other tires here. Evans provides a more detailed explanation of the grooves, why they are placed where they are, and why they are important (among several more details) in his review of the M7 RR.
Performance in varying conditions is also dependent on compound, and the M7 RR uses a dual-compound rear with 100% silica on the edges for quick warmup (the front is 100% silica). A harder compound in the central portion of the rear tire not only provides longevity, but also helps with stability during side-to-side transitions.
Michelin Pilot Power 2CT $102 – $165
Michelin’s Pilot Power 2CT is one of the first tires to incorporate multi-compound technology in a sportbike tire, and still remains a good choice in rubber. Michelin’s own propaganda material states the 2CT, “uses three new silica-reinforced tread compounds. Developed from MotoGP rain tires, the silica component helps provide grip and progressive responsiveness on cold, wet surfaces… The front tires integrate a soft compound, while the rear tires are made with a harder compound that can withstand greater demands during acceleration. The rear tires also have a slightly softer section, part of which is in contact with the ground even when the motorcycle is fully upright. This facilitates warmup, and, consequently, grip.”
Speaking of grip, Michelin’s test riders were able to achieve 51.2º lean angle (in the dry, of course) on the test track – an impressive feat. We reviewed the Pilot Power 2CT on, of all things, a Kawasaki ZX-11 and came away impressed.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II $142 – $240
Pirelli says all the new safety technology on today’s sportbikes has allowed the average rider to ride faster and safer than ever before. But going faster typically means carrying greater lean angles. To keep up, Pirelli updated is beloved Diablo Rosso Corsa into this – the Diablo Rosso Corsa II. This is a significant tire because it’s the first Pirelli to feature multiple compounds, in as many as five different zones (for the rear) consisting of full carbon black, full silica, and a 70% silica makeup in the center (the other 30% being a combination of resins and polymers for stability and longevity). The front uses three zones of either full carbon black (edges) or full silica (center). The profile of the new tire is different, too; the more triangulated shape enhances quick transitions and maximum stick at full lean where the shoulders are broader for a bigger contact patch.
All of this is a long way of saying Pirelli has incorporated everything its learned from being the sole tire supplier for World Superbike into a street tire – a street tire more than capable of handling track duty. It warms up fast, provides plenty of stick, and delivers great feel at the edge. It even lasts a while, too. How do we know? Because John reviewed the Diablo Rosso Corsa II at Laguna Seca in 2018. Read the review to learn more.
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April 16, 2019 at 02:16PM