Sport-Touring Tire Buyer's Guide
Sport-tourers include a variety of designs from large technology-laden models such as BMW’s K1600GT, to Kawasaki’s more traditional Ninja 1000 to Ducati’s long-travel Multistrada and Yamaha’s FJ-09. With some luggage and a willing disposition you can, of course, set out for a far away destination aboard your new Yamaha R1 and call it sport-touring. And if you do, the tires in this Buyer’s Guide will certainly be a better choice than the sticky hoops you’d normally install on a sportbike.
For a look at the current crop of sport-touring bikes on which to install the tires in this Buyer’s Guide check out these latest shootouts:
2014 Heavyweight Sport-Touring Shootout
2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown
Middleweight Sport-Touring Shootout
According to Avon, the company’s Storm 3D X-M sport-touring tires deliver 15% to 20% more mileage compared to the current Storm range. The Storm 3D X-M features single and multi-compound super rich silica (SRS) tread for increased wet grip, and interlocking three-dimensional points hidden in the sipes to improve stability and grip. These high-performance tires are intended for bikes such as Hayabusas and Kawasaki’s Concours. Best of all, Avon includes a road hazard warranty. Prices range from $193 – $210 for fronts, and $233 – $287 for rears. For more go to avonmoto.com.
Bridgestone lists seven different sport-touring tire models on its website, including radials as well as bias-plys for both current and not-so-current sport-touring motorcycles. The company’s newest offering are the BT-023s. The tires feature silica plus an RC polymer for increased wet-weather performance and tire life. Rear BT-023s features 3LC dual compound technology. Fronts are available in five sizes ranging from $163 – $178, while rears come in two sizes ranging in price from $197 – $251. For more information go to www.motorcycle-karttires.com.
Continental offers four versions of its RoadAttack tires: ContiRoadAttack, ContiRoadAttack 2, ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO and ContiRoadAttack 2 Gran Turismo. The company also has the ContiMotion, a “new premium brand all-season Sport-Touring radial for the price conscious rider.” Continental also claims the 0° steel-belt construction on the rear provides excellent stability and ride comfort. Rear sizes range from 150s to 190s, and in price from $115 – $138, while fronts come in 110 and 120 sizes between $87 and $99. For more information go to www.conti-online.com.
Sport-touring tires from Dunlop consist of one model, the Sportmax Roadsmart II. The dual-compound rear tire incorporates a long-wearing compound in the center of the tire and a lateral-grip compound on the tire’s shoulders. A special silica additive is said to enhance wet grip, while micro-sized carbon particles improve dry-weather grip. “Cosecant-curve tread design with deep and long grooves helps evacuate water in both straight-line and cornering conditions.” Four sizes of front tires range in price from $167 – $178, while eight sizes of rear tires range from $204 – $247. For more information visit www.dunlopmotorcycle.com.
Metzeler claims the Roadtec Z8 Interacts offer the best wet performance in the Sport-Touring segment. A bold statement, backed up by technologies such as three-zone-tension, a high-silica compound with nano particles, and a profile shape inspired by the Greek letter “Pi,” all of which conspire to deliver performance and safety in all weather conditions. Tire sizes are numerous and prices range from $200 – $222 for fronts, and $241 – $318 for rears. For more check out www.metzeler.com.
For Michelin, sport-touring tires are all about the sipes. The company lists five sport-touring tire models, Pilot Road 2, Pilot Road 3, Pilot Road 4 GT, Pilot Road 4 Trail, and Pilot ACTIV. Michelin says its X-Sipe technology in the company’s latest-generation 2CT dual compound tires creates unbeatable wet-weather grip and tread life. Michelin makes a special 180/55-17 “B” version rear specifically designed for loaded sport-touring rigs or riding two-up. The two front sizes retail for $248 – $251, while the four rear sizes retail for $308 – $358. Check out Michelin’s sport-touring hoops at motorcycle.michelinman.com.
For sport-touring tires from Pirelli you get a choice between Angel, Angel GT, Sport Demon and MT 75. The sportier choices are the two Angel models, while the others lean more toward the touring side of the equation. According to Pirelli, the Angel GT is “stretching the concept of Sport-Touring into Gran Turismo, bringing the sporty attitude to a wider range of conditions and for longer distances. We call it EMS Extended Mileage Sport.” The bi-compound tire is said to have excellent performance consistency throughout its life. Angel GT rears come in a variety of sizes ranging in price from $236 – $303, while fronts range in price from $200 – $209. For more insight, check out Troy Siahaan’s review of the Angel GT or go to www.pirelli.com.
Shinko offers four sport-touring tires: Podium, Raven, Verge and Verge 2X. The Verge 2X is Shinko’s newest offering for sport-touring rigs, featuring dual-compound construction and revised siping for improved traction in wet weather and tire longevity. The front tire is an aramid belt construction while the rear is steel belted. The four rear sizes range in price from $199 – $212, the two front sizes are only separated by a dollar, $116 – $117. Check out these and Shinko’s other sport-touring tires at www.shinkotireusa.com.
At $96 for a front and $155 to $162 for a rear, Vee Rubber’s VRM-387R Traveler tires are certainly more affordable than other sport-touring tires in this list. Vee Rubber says the ZR-rated Travelers feature a specially formulated deep-tread design for dispersing water and extending mileage. The center and sidewalls feature compounds for even wear throughout the tires’ life. The VRM-387R Travelers, as well as all of Vee Rubber’s motorcycle tires, can be found at www.veerubber.co.