The Bridgestone Battlax BT-003RS is Japan’s premium street bike rubber for the road. It is modeled after the BT-003 road racing tire but employs a unique construction to better withstand heat cycles as well as providing more versatile performance for everyday use.
Next to the Dunlop Q2s, the ‘Stones are the second-most affordable rubber option in the A Group ($284.98 courtesy of Motorcycle-Superstore.com). The scale showed that the front tire weighed 9 lb 3.2 oz which was just 1.1 oz heavier than the class-leading Pirelli. The rear tire however weighed 14 lb 2 oz which was the heaviest in its class and the third-heaviest overall.
The carcass of the tire feels very similar to the Dunlop Q2—only a hair softer. This puts it between the Michelin and Dunlop in terms of flex. Yet, the tires do an excellent job of absorbing rough and broken pavement. It’s truly amazing how forgiving of a ride these de-tuned race tires deliver on the commute to work. Braking performance was also excellent.
The general profile of the tire mimics that of the competition but turn-in wasn’t quite as sharp as the Power Ones. It did turn-in with minimal effort and felt nearly identically to the Q2. Tire warm-up time was also fantastic and on an equal level to all of the other A Group tires save for the Avons.
Lap times were also very close to the competition. At the Streets we posted a best time of 1’25.35 which put it toward the back of the pack. Even still, it was only less than two seconds behind the class-leading Pirellis. At the big track the lap times were much closer with the Bridgestone collecting a 1’33.27, barely slower than the Michelins and just over 0.5 seconds off the Pirellis.
Grip wise the BT-003RS continues to feel similar to the Q2. In fact outright traction is so close that it’s nearly impossible to tell which tire actually hooks up better. But due to its minutely softer carcass the Bridgestone did have a tendency to move around more than the Dunlops or Pirellis. But it’s more a matter of rider preference than anything else as we were content with the overall performance of all the A Group tires. Once the tire was up to temperature, traction levels stayed consistent.
The Bridgestone BT-003RS is very close in terms of performance to the other top four tires. Even better is their reasonable price tag.
Feedback from the tires wasn’t quite as high as the others but it was by no means bad. And since the tires were more firm feeling it was easier to gain trust in the front when negotiating high-speed bends like Willow’s Turn 8 at the big track.
Close your eyes and pick a tire. That’s what it basically comes down to when comparing the big brand name A Group tires. The Bridgestones did everything well. In fact, we really can’t figure out anything wrong with them besides not delivering quite as much feel while cornering. If Bridgestone could add some feel and decrease the price a bit more it would have a winner on its hands no doubt.
“These tires felt a lot like the [Dunlop] Q2s. They heated up instantly and had great grip. The Carcass felt just a hair softer than the Q2 so they had a little bit better bump absorption and moved around just a hair more. Traction with all these tires is so good—it’s insane. Turn-in was great, predicable… not as fast as the Power Ones though. Generally these tires felt very similar to Q2 but just a hair bit softer with better bump absorption.”
2010 Street Motorcycle Tire Comparison
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Michelin Pilot Power 2CT Tire Comparison Review
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Bridgestone Battlax BT-016 Tire Comparison Review
Avon VP2 Supersport Tire Comparison Review
Michelin Power One 2CT Tire Comparison Review
Bridgestone BT-003RS Tire Comparison Review
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Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Tire Comparison Review