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Old 02-13-2011, 06:40 PM   #1
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Tires, Tires, Tires

Updated 11.9.11

I want to start by saying I know that tires are sticky subject (pun intended) and that riders consider tire wear, cost and traction to help select what tires they like and don’t like. Here are my personal notes regarding tires I’ve tired, mostly on the streets and a few during track days. I currently own a handful of motorcycle and as such, have the opportunity to test a fair amount of tires.

Admonishment: I don't work for any tire company or manufacture. I don't receive, discounts or free tires from any one as well. All tires have been purchased through local shops or online. I'm open to all tires, however I tend to really get along with Michelin tires the best, which is interesting as there are 2 lines of Michelin I can't stand, more on this later.

A little about me: I’ve been ridding for over 32 years and have had 18 motorcycles to date. Two area’s where I’ve spent a lot of resources and even more money has been in connection to suspension and tires. I’m not an expert or anything like that, just a motorcycle enthusiast. Here’s a break down of tires that I have logged miles on.

New Tires:
Worth noting is that new tires suck! That shinny outer skin slips on me each and every time I've tapped into an unused area for the first time, no matter if I wait a week or one year to get into that part of a new tire. As most of us know, tapping into any part of a new tire could bring unwanted drama, so please be careful.

Michelin Power Pilot:
I think Pilot Powers is one of the best all around tires out there. Good grip when warm and their Uish V-shape tire leans smoothly. Great wear as well; a gentle rider can get upwards of 6,000+ miles out of set Pilot Powers. They (Pilot Powers) ignore rain groves and since the introduction of the Power Pure’sthey can be had for pennies on the dollar, expect to pay $200+ per set in 120/180 sizes.

Michelin Pilot Power 2 Ct’s:
The Pilot Power 2 Ct’s are more of the same as the Pilot Power with the addition of a softer side compound, but only in the last inch of wear, 80% of us won’t ever push a tire that much on the street, so these tires maybe a waste of money for the majority of us. It's also a good choice for a first or second time ever on track day. However, once your at B Group pace, it’s time to move on to something better equipped for the track such as the Metzler K3, Dunlop Q2's or Michelin's Power One etc. All these tires also differ from the regular Pilot Powers as it is a V-shaped tire, while the regular PP is not as steep of a v-shape as their 2Ct product. Some people prefer the V-shape tires as they tip in more easily (quicker steering).

Worth noting is that I'm easy on tires, I can get upwards of 5,000+ out of a set of PP/PP 2Ct's. I have gone through several set’s of the 2 Ct’s and having the last inch of the better stuff did make me "feel" better, but added little over the regular powers, the 2Ct’s are not as smooth in the transitions as the regular Pilot Powers. For some bikes (like my old 675) they were just too quick steering.

Michelin Power Pure's:
I switched from the K3’s that came stock on my S1000RR with only a 1000 miles on them to try the Power Pure's, the Pure's are supposed to be a step up from the Pilot Power 2CT's). One reason I pulled the K3's was so I could save what was left of them (K3's) so that I could do a future track day. Unfortunately the Pure's do not live-up to the confidence that the K3's inspire, and I'm a PP/PP 2Ct fan (or should I say I was) so I was surprised I didn't like these tires. The Pure's should of been essentially more of the same, in that they’re a PP 2Ct's with more areas of the softer compounds, but for me, they felt like I was on a slip n' slide. And as such, these tires were taking off within 15 days after being purchased. It must be due to the tread patterns that runs in-line with the road way since these are basically aPP 2Ct with wider compounded shoulders, this is not an issue with any of the other PPtire line, but this was also an issue withCorsa III's tires that I tested a while back.

Because of the construction used on thePure's, the Pure's are approximately 2.2 pounds lighter per set then the Pilot Powers and Pilot Power 2Ct's. That’s a significant weight loss and you do feel the lighter weight of the Pilot Pure tires. They turn in quicker than the K3’s which is aided by the V shape that Michelin uses on this particular tire. I put on Power One's (after trying the Power Pure [ which was worse tire I have ever tried in recent history]). Power Ones stick as well, maybe better than the K3's. Look's like I'll be getting 3,500 miles out of a set of Power One's. TheK3's will only good for 2,500 miles max. Power One's are about $100 less per set, but since they last another 33%, they end up being about 1/2 the cost of the K3's.

The Pure front tire has a medium center and softer sides, the rear tire has harder center and medium sides and lots of it, however for me Michelin missed the boat on this one; had they gone with a hard center and softer outer out back this would've been a great (or should I say better) tire. Another issue I had with the Pure's is that they are prone to rain grooves; they picked them up like a dollar bills thrown in front of a homeless encampment. However, these tires will out perform the K3's when it comes to the wet, so they do have their place. Expect to get 4,000 miles out of a set of Pures as well. I also like these tires for 1st, 2nd or 3rd day track-day for a typical rider. I found them sliding at 6/10th pace, worth mentioning is that I never slide my bike, I‘m a medium pace canyon rider and stay-in-line 99% of the time. This is only the second time in the history of ridding that I've taken off tires soon after purchase. The last time was in connection to a set of Michelin Pilot Road 2’s that were placed on a R1200RT, they had that same slippery feel, removed them after a trip to Yosemite and opted for Dunlop Roadsmart's and have never looked back, more on Roadsmarts later.

These tires do not do well with rain grooves or imperfections in the roadway, I had what felt like 4 inch wobbles when transitioning from smooth pavement to a rained grooved roadway (Hwy 280 southbound prior to San Jose). Additionally, I’m not a big fan of V-shaped tires, some like the tip-in feel they get, but the flip side to that is they like to tip out just as easy i.e. if you're online and you look to correct back out, these tires can over correct a bit too easily. This is only the second time in my riding history that I took off a set of new tires because they did not do what I needed them to, the other pair if you are interested, was a set of Michelin Road 2's, which were replaced with RoadSmarts, which were much better motorcycle tire for a bike meant to pull touring duty.

Metzler K3’s:
Hands down the best tire I’ve ever ridden on. These tires can be ridden aggressively right-away and after 5 minutes of pushing 70% or so, you can push them around anyway you’d like.
If you make a mistake and go into a corner too hot or forget to trail brake, the K3’will take it from there provided you're smooth, look were you want to go; with that you should be able to throttle out of the corner nicely. These tires feel like they have little grippy-fingers that hold like nothing I’ve experienced in my years of "street" riding. These are a great B Group pace track tire as well.

Pirelli Super Corsa Dragon Pros:
These tires came stock on my Daytona 675, which I sold in 2010, I really got used to them. One issue I have with Pirelli’s is that they stop working when the tires seem to have what looks like a good 25% - 30% of available tire tread left. They also pick up rains grooves more than I comfortable with. Expect to get 3,000 miles out of a set of these tires.

Pirelli’s Corsa III’s:
I enjoyed this tire more then the Super Corsa Pro’s. Found that they tires warmed up quicker, stuck a bit better than the PP 2Ct’s, but that nagging issue with Pirelli’s not working when so much rubber is left is a characteristic I can not live with. They are also move around a lot when road rain grooves are present.

Bridgestone 003:
I’ve only test ridden on these tires and it was on a brand new set, so I can’t provide a comprehensive opinion regarding this tire. I’m interested though and hope to try them in the future.

Michelin Power One's:
Ended up trying the Power One's, I have just over 2,500 mile on them so far and they are absolutely a wonder tires, as good as the K3's but are lasting me about 30% longer, great bang for the buck for an ultra-high performing tire.

Dunlop Q2's/Q3's Are great track day tires and can be had for as low as $200 per set (120 & 180) I now have these tires on my Dorsoduro 750, they stick well, will last at least 3,000 miles and seem by all accounts the best track street that can be used on the track. Highly recommended for track junkies like Beauguard.

Page 2

So if you’ve read Tires, Tires, Tires the first installment, you get the sense regarding the consideration that I give to tire selection on my personal motorcycle. I’ve had 3 different sets of tires on BMW's flagship sport bike the S1000RR, with one goal in mind: Find the ultimate performing street tire.

K3's vs Power One’s:

K3's:
These tires have a unique belting system that you can actually feel, I’ve never felt a street tire that is feels so planted, it’s as if the tire extends it’s foot print by an extra 1/4" when and as you need it. Hands down one of the best tire I’ve ever ridden on. These tires can be ridden aggressively when cold (California cold that is) and after 2 or 3 minutes one can push 70% or so, with little drama.

If you make a mistake and go in to a corner too hot, the K3’s seem to take it without incident. These tires feel like they have little grippy fingers that hold like nothing I’ve experienced in my years of "street" riding. They make great C & B group track tires as well.

Pros:
Instant warm-up
Feels planted and sturdy
Ignores rain groove & road imperfections

Cons
Expect to a little as 1,500 miles per set
Costly as all get up and go at $450+ per set
Flat spot easily


Power One's: Best Tire Choice
This tires are light and you can feel the that when you go to throw your bike around and as smooth as butter to boot, in fact, my mirrors now vibrate less with these tires. The front tire needed no weight when mounted, that was a great start, the rear tire only needed 1/2 oz. These are well made high-end tires for sure. They warm up quick, but not as quick as the K3’s, seems they need about 3 to 4 corners to be were the K3’s are in the first corner. They are rated as being 95% slick with little to no lines but short cut outs instead. These would make horrible wet use tires, only slightly better would be the K3's.

They also have the ability to lean over further than the K3’s, I was really low on a great 30mph cambered turned, however my tires had about 1/4 chicken strip, on the K3’s they would have been all the way to the edge.

Pros:
Quality, well balanced tire
High lean angle
As near as a slick that can be ran on the streets
Dual Compounds resist flat spotting
Should last at least 3,500+ miles


Cons:
Need 1 to 2 minutes more warm up time over K3's
Inspire the same level of confidence as the K3’s
Costly at upwards of $350+ per set


At the time, my opinion these tires two tires are pretty much a tie, but now that I went from K3>Power One & back to K3's, I give Power Ones the nod and feel it would be my preferred choice of tire. Between the K3 & Power One, you get a little here and give up a little there, but if you have a brand preference, than let that be your guide. Next time around I’m going back to the K3's Both are top of the line tires and I could live with either.

PP/PP 2Ct's, Power One's, K3's, Q2's or Pilot Power cost analyst.

Here's my cost break down for today's top tires in order of value:
Pilot Powers: $50 per each 1,000 miles (@ 4,000 miles per set)
Q2's: $70 per each 1,000 miles (@ 3,000 miles per set)
Power One's: $100 per 1,000 miles (@ 3,500 miles per set)
K3's: $150 per each 1,000 miles. (@ 2,500 miles per set)

Although the price point for these tires is quite different, IMO all these tire perform well for the street and the last three are within 5% of each other as far as track performance. The Q2s' are clearly the best deal out there for a track day tire and PP for everyday street use.

Worth noting again, Pilot Power and Pilot Power 2CT's IMO, are about the best all around street tires out there, they hook up well in the cold and handle wet conditions better than any other sport bike I've tested.

Your results and mileage may vary

Keep it up!

Triple Threat

Triple Threat is an independent, non-paid reviewer of motorcycle and motorcycle related products and gear. And as such, I receive no payment nor any other consideration for my reviews or opinions.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:19 PM   #2
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No review on the Bridgestone BT016's?

I have yet to ride on a expensive tire, but the Pilot Powers have treated me well for the riding I do. I'm on the freeway alot so it wouldn't make sense for me to get a race compound tire...

Great write up though!!!
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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OP prefers the Metzlers, and also owns a BMW. Hmmm, ya think?

J/k, great write-up. Carry on Mike.

PS: Ever since the Pures came out, 2CT's are cheaper.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:34 PM   #4
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who still finds the basic pilot powers a great tire. Although, I do want to try the Pirelli Diable Corsa Rosso.

Nice write up
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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Great write up Michael, and good seeing you today. I think you should try the M5's and add them to your comparison set. I think they are excellent all around tires, but not quite as confidence inspiring as the K3's on dry warm pavement. Still close, with better life and cold wet weather performance. I do agree, the K3's are magical on warm dry pavement!
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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How do you get 6000 miles out of a Pilot Power? when I was commuting on a 919 I got about 3500 out of a rear. That's mellow riding on a modestly powered bike.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:52 PM   #7
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Q2's are the business.

Power Pure's IMO stick (almost) as well with twice the tire wear. If I had unlimited funds I'd buy Q2's all day long, but they only lasted me 2,500mi a set which is not enough for street use. They were sticky as sh!t tho and I loved them
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:23 AM   #8
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I'm surprised there's nothing on the Bridgestone BT016 as it's a fairly popular tire. Here's my take on them.

First of all, this is a very popular tire that is spec'd on a lot of bikes from different manufacturers, but many people are not aware that the OEM tires ARE NOT the same tires as one you'll find as replacements at your local tire dealer. The tread patterns and profiles are the same but they do not share the same compounds. The OEM front is a single compound tire and the rear is a two compound (three zone) tire. This is done for marketing and also for longer tire life. You can expect to get 6-7k miles, or more, out of the OEM tires.

The replacement tires (aftermarket) are a bit softer. The front is a two compound (three zone) tire and the rear is a three compound (five zone) tire. Depending on the type of riding you do (freeway commute, canyon riding, etc.), how aggressively you ride, suspension set up, and tire pressure, you can expect 2-4k miles from these. They are inexpensive and can be found almost anywhere.

I have personally used several sets of BT016's. Long commutes will flat spot the rear and regular aggressive canyon riding will wear the sides of the front fairly quickly. I find that I have to replace them as a set as opposed to some tires where you get the two rear to one front replacement ratio. On the track, you can run a fast B group pace with confidence. The times I had them to break loose, it was gradual and controlled.

The profile is round and initial turn in may feel slower compared to some "V-shaped" tires (Michelin PP's, etc.) but they feel like they'll lean farther without effort, and transitioning in s-curves is very smooth and linear. As with changing to any new tire, you learn to adjust.


Also, you mentioned the BT003. I believe you mean BT003RS (Racing Street) which is the street version. The former is a DOT race tire requiring warmers. I don't think you'll find these on the street as they are special ordered in a particular compound. Very common mistake when speaking about these.

I've only run one set of the BT003RS and they have a very similar feel as the BT016, with maybe a little more grip. The main thing I found was the BT003RS wears more evenly than the BT016. The BT003RS will be my tire of choice after the wet season, mainly because they lack in tread grooves for water displacement.


Hope this helped.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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I always use reg powers. Far better than the power ct's, as the ct's get harder faster than the reg powers. I don't think anyone can get 6k miles from the reg powers, though. Everything else you mentioned about the powers have been my experience, too.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:24 AM   #10
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I have personally used several sets of BT016's. Long commutes will flat spot the rear and regular aggressive canyon riding will wear the sides of the front fairly quickly. I find that I have to replace them as a set as opposed to some tires where you get the two rear to one front replacement ratio. On the track, you can run a fast B group pace with confidence. The times I had them to break loose, it was gradual and controlled.

The profile is round and initial turn in may feel slower compared to some "V-shaped" tires (Michelin PP's, etc.) but they feel like they'll lean farther without effort, and transitioning in s-curves is very smooth and linear. As with changing to any new tire, you learn to adjust.
agree 100%


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Q2's: $70 per 1,000 miles (at 3,000 miles per set)
Q2 is definitely the new king of "BIG" bang for the buck.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunnygoat View Post
How do you get 6000 miles out of a Pilot Power? when I was commuting on a 919 I got about 3500 out of a rear. That's mellow riding on a modestly powered bike.
I've hear of people getting 7,000 miles out of a set (ask Moy the tire boy at Road Rider), I've gotten 5,000 miles, being not so gentle.

Many things need to be taken into consideration, tire pressures, suspension set-up, type of roads traveled, bike weight, rider weight, braking habits, ridding habits, etc.

Your 919 is a heavy bike to start with, not sure what you weigh, don't know how smooth you are or how you brake, not sure what pressure you run etc.

Hope this helps,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdj_tim View Post
I'm surprised there's nothing on the Bridgestone BT016 as it's a fairly popular tire.
Unfortunately I have not tried every popular tire available, just the 10 or sets I mentioned. Thanks for your 2cents.

Michael
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bunnygoat View Post
How do you get 6000 miles out of a Pilot Power? when I was commuting on a 919 I got about 3500 out of a rear. That's mellow riding on a modestly powered bike.
And if on very rough loop, only get 1200-1500 good miles out of rear, and front begins to V up. I can squeeze maybe another 500 on the rear, but dang thing begins to get harder, which makes things a little trickier. No way can I get more than 2200 miles out of reg powers. Again, because of the loop, not because I'm going that fast. On R1.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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I got a pair of Michelein power road 2CTs free when I bought a City Bike T-shirt.












tht t-shirt cost me $200
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:53 AM   #14
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lol, expensive shirt but good price on those tires!
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #15
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I would be happy to just use the regular cheap (comparatively) Pilot Powers for street riding. They feel like they take 50 lbs off my VFR immediately. They stick awesome, turn in great. Warm up immediately. Work well in wet.

I actually like them more than the 2CT. I just like the consistent feel of the single compound. I'd happily use the 2CT, but I don't like the feel of riding right around that transition of compounds. Anyone else experience this?

I get the same feeling with the Pilot Road 2. Awesome mileage, but at a particular lean angle and turn entry angle, it feels like it is just about to let go for an instant, then seems to feel better once on the side of the tire. It's an unsettling feeling. Never get it with the regular PP.
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