Bridgestone BT-023 Japan Introduction
Friday, April 23, 2010
Bridgestone has invited MotorcycleUSA to the land of the rising
sun. A magical land of bullet trains, smorking areas, and whiskey
Smorking areas, bullet trains, whiskey vending machines, Fugu… Japan has proven to be a memorable experience thus far and we’re only halfway done. We arrived two (or is it three?) days ago courtesy of Bridgestone to test the new Battlax BT-023 sport-touring tire. A couple of fun days of down time in Tokyo, including a visit to the city’s Ueno motorcycle district, and we headed north via bullet train for some riding.
We tested the new tire yesterday at the company’s proving grounds in Tochigi, Japan, sampling the new tires on a host of bikes, including one back-to-back session on the new BT-023 and its BT-021 predecessor for comparison. The Bridgestone folks certainly knew what they were doing, setting up a regimented testing procedure with timed sessions and a set rotation. The company tests an average of 10,000 tires a month at the facility, which includes a multitude of specialty tracks, including a 50-degree banked high-speed oval. Our journalist entourage was the first non-Bridgestone employee group to ride at the proving grounds, so it was quite an honor. Quite fun too.
The grounds are located approximately 10 minutes from Bridgestone’s Nasu plant, the sole motorcycle tire
production plant for the Japanese brand. Before our afternoon test ride at the proving grounds, we were treated to an exclusive tour, witnessing the complete tire-making process, from the raw materials all the way to construction and final inspection. It was fascinating to see the steps first-hand, and quite remarkable how much human interaction there is throughout the process.
So why no tire pics? Well, photos and videos were strictly prohibited inside the plant and proving grounds, so stay tuned for the full review in the weeks to come.
Plans for today include a touring ride to the Motegi circuit. Watching the MotoGP
racing action was on the docket, until that damned smorking volcano in Iceland spoiled things. Still, should be a lot of fun and looking forward to touring the Japanese backroads.
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