Tyres- those shiny black hoops of rubber that we put our faith into to keep us shiny side up! I’ve not experimented too much with tyres, preferring to stick with what I know. For the RC45 this has meant years of running Pirelli Diablos, due mainly to the fact there are so few options available in the 16 inch front wheel size, but I’ve had good experience with them on road and on multiple circuits and track days.
I rode on Bridgestone BT020’s on my Blackbirds for 8 years, preferring the original 020’s to the 021 replacements. On my BMW K1200GT I first rode on the Metzeler Z6’s it came fitted with. Neutral handling, easy turn in, but no warning of when the rear was about to reach the end of it’s life, as I found in Spain when a tyre which looked ok in the morning, was down to the cord by the afternoon. Replacements were Michelin Pilot Roads which I found ultra fast turning and a little unstable in comparison to the Z6’s, until I had got used to their characteristics, but I loved the extra long life I got out of them.
Next came a BMW K1300GT which came fitted with the old faithful BT020’s. First set did high mileage, second set 30% less, so I decided to change to the new Michelin Pilot Road 2’s. Great tyres, again quick turning, better in the wet than the 020’s, and quieter! They skidded less off tar snakes too, but you can tell when you hit the transition point between the hard compound middle and softer edges. After a couple of odd rides where I experienced some “different” handling traits which worried me a little, I started to get concerned that the tyre wasn’t as good two up as the BT020’s, and with a forthcoming tour round Andorra and Spain coming up, took the opportunity to try the new Bridgestone BT023 GT’s. This new tyre is supposed to have much better wet weather performance and 30% longer life, so if I find it delivers on these promises I’m going to be a happy bunny.
Here are some pics showing the radically different tread patterns between the two different marques.
Bridgestone BT023 left- Michelin PR2 right.
The BT023 has loads more water clearing grooves, presumably to clear a better path for the rear.
Front BT023– Check out how few of the sipes actually go the edge of the tyre wall. There is a gap of 18cm (7 inches) between the grooves which do reach the edge leaving an almost slick like look, not sure how that will work in the wet although this is supposed to be a tyre with much improved wet weather grip!
Here are the rears, BT023 left and PR2 right
Again not all grooves reach the tyre wall edge although this time the gap is smaller at 15cm ( 5.9 inches )
I’ll give a review of their performance when I get back from my tour after I’ve had a few thousand kms of use on them.