Best Motorcycle Touring Tires for Going Further
Pity the poor fool who’s got nothing to do for a week or two but roll around on his motorcycle – no job, no cares, no particular place to be. And if you’re fortunate enough to have all those things working in your favor, chances are you’re carrying around quite a bit of loot in the saddlebags and trunk of your Goldwing, Ultra Glide or big BMW K-bike – possibly even an accomplice. What you want on all of those bikes are tires that stick to the pavement, wet or dry, upright or dragging peg, carry a heavy load safely, and preferably wear like iron. Is that too much to ask?
Burning Rubber: 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.
The Pirelli Diablo Shows How Racing Improves The Breed
Pirelli recently introduced the Diablo Rosso IV, the fourth generation of the popular tire intended for spirited road riders who also may find themselves attending the odd trackday here or there. By now, sport riders all over the world are likely familiar with the name Diablo – and they are certainly familiar with the name Pirelli – but that all had to start somewhere.
The genesis of the Diablo family dates back to 2002 when Pirelli introduced the first Diablo. Since the beginning, the Diablo’s purpose has always been to provide maximum performance for sport riders on the road while being strong enough to handle the racetrack. The original Diablo succeeded in this mission, but it also produced an unintentional byproduct: fans fell in love with the aggressive tread pattern and how it enhanced the appearance of their motorcycle. The following year, in 2003, the Diablo Corsa was born with dual-compound technology to cater to sport riders who wanted something just a little more track-focused while still giving great grip on the roads.
Pirelli Motorcycle Tires: Everything You Need To Know
Founded in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, the company we now know for its expansive range of tires got its humble beginnings in a different industry: telecomms. Back then several new technologies and industries were emerging, including energy and telecommunications. Throughout Europe, kilometers upon kilometers of power cables and phone lines were being put into the ground and into the ocean. All of them needed protection. Enter Pirelli and his expertise in another emerging field: rubber. Pirelli founded a limited partnership, “G.B. Pirelli & C.”, in Milan to produce elastic rubber items – primarily sheathing to protect all these wires buried in the ground. According to Pirelli’s corporate history website, by 1873, only a year after its foundation, Pirelli already had a plant in Milan. Production of carriage bands (they weren’t exactly tires) started in 1885, and by 1894 the first velocipede tire was born.
The Lightfighter Electric Superbike Is Back And Better Than Ever
If you’ve been following me on social media at all in 2020 (I’m @motrizzle, in case you’re wondering), you’ve probably noticed my feed is littered with pics of a certain orange motorcycle. It’s not that common for a single bike to dominate my feed considering the different number of bikes I get to ride (pre-pandemic, anyway). But this one is different. Both literally and figuratively. The Lightfighter electric superbike plays such a dominant role in my feed because I have a personal stake in it. I helped develop it. And now, for version 2.0, a physical object built around my feedback would be the proof in the pudding to determine whether I have any idea what I’m talking about.
For those unfamiliar with the Lightfighter, let alone version 2.0, you can read all about the bike’s genesis here. But if you want the quick Cliffs Notes version, here’s a brief recap. The Lightfighter is a one-off electric racing motorcycle designed and built by Brian Wismann and Ely Schless. The former is the VP of Product Development at Zero Motorcycles, while the latter has been riding, racing, designing and fabricating for decades, with a client list of all different genres, including aviation and aerospace.
2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR - A Detailed First Look
Kawasaki’s much anticipated, and heavily revised, ZX-10R has finally been announced, and it’s bringing along its race-bred sibling in the ZX-10RR, too. Rumors about an updated ZX-10R had been swirling about for some time, and armchair warriors really went crazy once early pictures were released from Australia. Buzz really started swirling last week, when the Kawasaki World Superbike team took part in the championship’s winter test, revealing the 2021 ZX-10RR in full race trim.
A dominant force in World Superbike since 2013, the ZX-10R has been nearly unstoppable in the hands of Kawasaki’s lead rider, Jonathan Rea. However, recent threats by Ducati, and even more recently Honda, in the form of the Panigale V4R and CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, respectively, have shown that the current ZX-10R was starting to get long in the tooth. If the results of the previously mentioned World Superbike winter test were any indication (Rea set the fastest time), it appears like the new bike is meeting its goals.
Best Dirtbike Tires
There are a dizzying array of options when it comes to dirtbike tires. From tread patterns, to compounds, to the brands themselves, it’s difficult to decipher what is the best tire. That’s mostly because deciding on the best tire requires a lot of input from the rider themselves. What kind of dirtbike are you riding? What kind of terrain are you riding on? Are you looking for longevity or for the most traction possible just to get through a hard enduro race? These are just a handful of the questions you need to answer for yourself before embarking into the deluge of different off-road tire choices.
In an attempt to add some sort of clarity to the situation, here we’ve listed some of the top performers from a number of major tire manufacturers that skew toward the “hard” end of the spectrum.
Comparing Each End of the Sportbike Price Spectrum: Ducati Panigale V4R and Suzuki GSX-R1000R
You all know the saying, “You get what you pay for.” It’s an important life lesson that rings true for many aspects of life. Like cheap tools, the pleasure we get for the minimal cost outlay quickly evaporates as soon as it breaks much sooner than it should. Shoulda bought the good one is what we inevitably say to ourselves every time.
The $16,500 Challenge: 2020 Ducati Panigale V2 Vs. 2019 Honda CBR1000RR
The title of this story pretty much sums it all, doesn’t it? Today’s flagship literbikes are getting increasingly expensive, putting them out of the realm of all but the most well off among us. So, let’s look at sportbikes at the lower end of the price scale, shall we? Mainly the Ducati Panigale V2. Ducati’s last V-Twin sportbike, the super-mid comes in at 955cc and $16,500 (well, $16,495 at the time I’m writing this). I had lots of good things to say about it when I got to sample it around the Jerez circuit at the end of 2019. Mainly, I was impressed with how easy it was to ride (a refreshing thing after hustling 200 hp beasts around lately. I know, I’m spoiled) and how well the electronics work.
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4 S Video Review
According to various online weather services I looked at prior to jumping on a plane to Bahrain, the desert country only gets about 10 days of rain for the entire year. With those kind of odds it’s no wonder Ducati chose this location to hold the international press launch of its new and improved 2020 Panigale V4 S in the middle of January; with beautiful sunshine, a world-class Formula1 track, and stacks of Pirelli tires at hand, it’s every track rider’s dream, and a perfect venue to test the improvements Ducati have made.
Riding the Zero SR/F Pikes Peak Racer
The official line whenever I’ve spoken to Zero reps is that the company is in the business of making street bikes, not racers. But the hot rodding spirit is alive and burning when you look into the eyes of some of the people who work there, and so it only comes naturally that a core group of enthusiasts would take an SR/F and push its limits.
Having spent a little time with a stock SR/F, I’m familiar with the bike and how it behaves. Other than the instant torque, nothing about it really screams out “race me!” The seat’s cushy, the bars don’t tilt you forward too much, and the riding experience is just… pleasant (whether I want to shell out $20-large for one is another story, but I digress). Hopping onto the Pikes Peak SR/F, where I got to spin a few laps at the world-famous Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca after World Superbike weekend, things felt… almost the same, actually. Just a little more focused. And before we go any further, if you’re not caught up on how the standard SR/F and Pikes Peak bike differ, click here to read about the conversion.
MO Tested: Pirelli Supercorsa TD Review
If you’re like me, you love ripping around at trackdays, going as fast as you want without the fear of cops or opposing traffic waiting to ruin your day. That feeling you get when you know your tires are nice and hot and can do no wrong is simply magical and adds to the allure of motorcycling you simply can’t explain to your non-riding buddies. But if you’re also like me, then you’re lazy and too much of a cheapskate to bother buying tire warmers and a generator to operate them. So what’s one to do if excellent grip is the goal, but putting those pigs in a blanket just ain’t gonna happen?
Lazy cheapskates rejoice! Pirelli has the answer. It’s called the Supercorsa TD (bet you’ll never guess what the TD stands for…). Following in a long line of hugely successful versions and iterations of the Supercorsa, Pirelli has once again taken the knowledge it’s gained from competing as the sole tire supplier to the World Superbike series, and applied it to street tires you and I can use. (If all you care about is the riding impressions, scroll down a few paragraphs).
MO Does World Superbike Weekend Monterey!
Does Kevin Cameron still have to change tires? I mean, riding your choice of the latest bikes to Laguna Seca for World Superbike weekend, followed by a Pirelli-sponsored track day Monday, is a dream come true for any motorcycle person, but maybe you don’t want to see how the MO sausage is made. Pirelli wanted us to mount up its new Supercorsa TD (Track Day) tires ahead of time, and they drop-shipped me two sets. Two sets because when Troy couldn’t make the ride this year, I volunteered my son Ryan to ride the Ducati Supersport in his place. Ryan was, to say the least, excited.
Honda RC30 and Ducati V4R: State-Of-The-Art 30 Years Apart
Everyone reading this had one particular motorbike they drooled over as a child.
For me, it started with the all-metal orange-tanked 1977 Kawasaki KD80 two-stroke dirt bike, followed by a white 1979 Yamaha DT100. These were the days of longing, need, and hopeless, waiting-to-get-old-enough to have the opportunity to reveal the mysteries which were these unobtainables.
I was not one of these lucky kids born on a ranch riddled with drivable lawn mowers and rusted pickup trucks with shredded bias-ply tires. I was stuck in a lower-middle-class suburban neighborhood with parents who, after every Christmas and birthday, could only repeat their infuriating mantra, “There’s nowhere to ride a dirt bike around here, and no one for you to go with. I’m sorry.”
Riding The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Tire Range
Race bikes evolve constantly, so the tire manufacturers must race to catch up. Race tires evolve further, passing the race bikes, but eventually allow them to catch up and get back on track. And this motorcycle of life, goes around and around and around, like a dropped forged wheel.
The most brilliant part of this artificial selection, however, is when we get to take control over both of their offspring, then reintroduce them to the natural order of things, ourselves, in the likeness of street legal sport bikes and tires.
I recently had the pleasure of testing Pirelli’s latest high-performance sport bike tires around an ultra-fast short circuit in Southern Sicily called The Autodromo di Pergusa. The motorcycles used for the two-day shakedown included the current top-shelf liter-bikes from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha ( read about how these motorbikes compare here).
Seven Liter Bikes That Left Me Weak In The Knee Pucks
For two days, a handful of journalists and I got to take turns sampling Pirelli’s reborn Diablo Supercorsa SP, Supercorsa SC, and Superbike Slicks.