Friday, August 24, 2012

Tyres do my head in

They really do. It's not like I am completely stupid but I have never been told exactly how to know what tyre feedback really is. I have taken a dive in the rain twice now, both times on Pirellis and both times different types of Pirellis and I must say I am not really thrilled about it.
How does an enthusiast learn about what tyres are the best for your bike? Forums? Magazines? The trusted dealer? It's impossible to know. I've done all of the above and I've also learnt to take all of the above with a pinch of salt. When it comes down to it you need to rely on a bit of everything and a reliable word from a trusted mate is probably worth more than any of the aforementioned methods. Maybe combine all of the ingredients and make an informed opinion from there. If anyone knows of a better method, I'm all ears. So I got the bike with Pirelli Super Corsa SP tyres on stock and when it gets wet that shit gets scary.
 

 These tyres claim to be for road or track, but trust me you don't want to be out in the rain with these slicks on. Yes they stick like shit to a blanket (pardon the expression) when it's hot but to me do not represent an all rounder. They had to go. So then I sought of got recommended that I should go with the Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2 for a better all-rounder.


A much better all round tyre with dual compounds so the further out you lean the stickier it gets basically. But again, I have been riding in the worst weather this year and they don't exactly inspire confidence in the rain. Look at the tread pattern.. It doesn't really go all the way to the edge... Front is probably better than the rear. Just saying. So I'm thinking of taking a leaf out of Big Steve's book and throwing on a set of Bridgestone BTs. Steve runs the BT016 up front and the BT 021 on the rear. I like the look of them... First is the BT 021 called 'Sport Touring' tyres.
 

 I like the way the tread winds right to edge on these babies. The Bridgestone Battlax series have been around for ages, now that I think of it I might have even run with a set of these at some point on my Buell. The BT 016 look pretty good too, called the 'Hypersport'. Sounds impressive.
 

Probably more a hot weather than all-rounder but a nice tread pattern, not that different from the Diablo Rosso 2 when you look at them side by side. There is also the every popular Michelin Pilot Road 2 (and 3) which I think I've also tried at some point on my old Buell.

 Nice grip and deep grooves all the way to the edge. I've also been attracted to the Pirelli Scorpion Sync, which comes standard on the beastly Multistrada 1200. I've had the pleasure of riding that bike for a while and taking it out back on some good windy stretchy long roads and felt nothing but grip grip, grip. Even in the wet I felt supremely confident that I was not going to come unstuck (with Traction on the lowest setting to boot). But I was told that this choice of tyre suits the bigger heavier bike more so than my savage lightweight ripsnorting 90bhp Hyper. Does it really? I will say that when you are quite over on a serious lean, you can potentially actually feel that deep groove that is obvisouly intended for more of an all round/off-road capability. I reckon they just look awesome too.

 So I'm starting to think a lot more about my next set of tyres. I want handling above all else, but then you really start to wonder exactly how much of your handling, comfort and general maneuvering comes down to what rubber you run and on what bike. Clearly it's the sticking point between you, your sickle, and the road so it's very important. But how do we go about learning all of this - by buying one set and sticking them on to find out they aren't what you really want? I'm starting to think how I can talk about this connection with the rubber and the road vs the rest of the bikes setup. I know my Hyper isn't quite there yet, not perfect for me just yet. Is it rebound? Maybe dampening? Does that mean my shocks are too hard or soft for my riding style? Maybe I need some risers for my bars, or maybe wider bars? How does that feedback I'm feeling translate to words that accurately describe what I want to change? Where does your rubber fit into this equation? Experience. It must come down to having experience with all of the different things that you get through the years, and a good memory for tyre brands. Had any of that experience? Like to share it with me? I'd be really keen to hear what rubber you are running on your beast in the comments below.
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