In the B Group, Bridgestone enters the competition with its Battlax BT-016 sport motorcycle tire. These shoes have the distinction of being selected as OE fitment on many new sportbikes including Suzuki’s GSX-R line. As opposed to the OE tires however, the commercially available BT-016s are of a higher spec incorporating multiple compound zones front (3) and rear (5)—the most of any tire in this test.
Priced at $269.98 on Motorcycle-Superstore.com, the BT-016s are just $15 less expensive than the Pirellis which make them a much better value. However, if outright cost is a concern they are still $28 more expensive than the Power 2CTs. Weight wise the front tire proved to be the lightest not only in its class but in the entire test (9 lb 0.2 oz). Conversely, the rear tire was the second-heaviest at 14 lb 5.2 oz.
The profiles of the tires mimic that of the Power 2CT and Rosso, so steering is neutral and predicable feeling. The carcass of the tire felt similar to the Pirelli if not maybe just a hair more flexible. This helped it deliver pleasing ride quality over bumps and potholes.
We noted that the tires offered superb warm-up times that were best in class. As opposed to the dual-compound Power 2CTs the Bridgestones up the compound ante by offering two additional compound tread zones inside the rear tire. And the outright grip and performance served up at both ends needs to be experienced to be believed.
Overall grip is outstanding. When cranked over on the edge of the tire it has fantastic road adhesion and doesn’t squirm when you load the rear tire with the throttle like the Michelins. Furthermore, grip is always consistent and doesn’t fall off as the tire gets hot.
Unlike the Powers you can’t really feel the different tread zones as the tire has good grip and feel linearity as you transition across from center to edge. Equally as impressive is the feedback received from the tire which once again puts it atop the class. This allowed the rider to push the tires, especially the rear, by getting on the throttle early and hard. Sure the rear tire spun a lot but it was very controlled and simple to anticipate. Braking stability and performance was also excellent.
The Bridgestone BT-016s are a fantastic street tire with a above average level of grip and excellent feel and warm-up times.
Lap time wise we were able to circulate the Streets in 1’35.65 which was nearly a second faster than the competition and only a few tenths of the lowest A group finisher (Avon). At the big track we put in a best lap of 1’35.65 which was only marginally faster than the Rosso but almost a full second faster than the Power.
Flat out, the BT-016s are one of the best street tires on the market today. Besides their slightly high price it’s hard to find any faults with this tire. It reaches operating temperature quickly, offers fantastic grip, feel and stability at all points through a turn.
“These tires are without question the best in B Group. Heat-up time is outstanding as is rear traction at all lean angles. You have to try to get the rear tire to spin on these things—unbelievable. Plus, traction is consistent and never changes as the tires get hot. It is almost absurd that a mid-range street tire can serve up this level of performance. Turn-in is very neutral feeling and predicable much like the Rosso and Power. Stability was also at a high level. These are one of the best tires I’ve ever ridden on.”
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