While the Avons didn’t exhibit the outright adhesion of some rivals, the Ultra Supersport’s highly predicable handling, quick warm-up and favorable flex characteristics made it easy to get a feel for them on the track.
Century-old English tire brand Avon is getting serious about the performance sport tire market with its 3D Ultra family of tires. For the B group, Avon submits its Supersport model. Introduced in 2012, the single-compound Supersport makes uses of a unique tread siping technology for what Avon believes is optimum performance on the road.
Like the Metzeler M5’s, a set of Avons will put you out over $400. That’s nearly 25% more than a pair of Shinkos and just over 10% more than the well-rounded Bridgestone Battlax. That’s a fair chuck of change for a singlecompound tire from a brand that isn’t as established or proven in the market as big name players like Bridgestone and Metzeler.
Weighed as a set, the Avon was the second-lightest, registering 6.4 ounces heavier than the class-leading M5 but 21.6 ounces lighter than the hefty Shinkos. The Avon front tire actually tips the scales 11 ounces lighter than the Metzeler, with the rear tire making up the difference. But it’s more a case of the M5 rear being light than the Supersport being heavy – as the Avon rear is second-lightest in the B group.
Although the Bridgestones steered a hair sharper than the Avon, we appreciated overall handling. Outright grip from the Ultra Supersport wasn’t quite at the Japanese rubber’s level, but it was close. True, they did flex more than the M5 and Battlax, but it was the right kind of flex – the type that gives riders the road feel to push the bike harder than they would on other shoes.
The Avon’s single-rubber compound built heat quickly, arriving at its operating temperature in just over a minute on the Big Track despite being the first morning run on Day 1. It performed even better on the second day, registering the fastest warm-up time of the group at just 19.8 seconds. When the times were combined it was second only to Metzeler.
In lap times the Avon’s were impressive right from the get-go, recording the quickest outright time on the Big Track (1’31.8). Though at the Streets they were slightly off the pace – 0.7 second slower than the Metzeler and Bridgestone. Nevertheless, when lap times were combined, the Avon claimed top score in that category.
While the Avons didn’t exhibit the outright adhesion of some rivals, the Ultra Supersport’s highly predicable handling, quick warm-up and favorable flex characteristics made it easy to get a feel for them on the track. These traits enabled us to ride closer to the limit, delivering Avon a runner-up finish in this contest.
The Avon’s single-rubber compound built heat quickly, arriving at its operating temperature in just over a minute on the Big Track
“Great tire. Not the sharpest steering, with a little bit flatter profile but highly predicable at all lean angles. It was a tad more linear feeling from center to lean than Tire 1 [Metzeler]. It was easy to get comfortable with this tire after just one lap. Grip was adequate but the rear tire seamed to squirm and flex a bit more than Tire 1. Stability was good and the tire seemed to have a good flex balance – not too stiff, not to soft. Performance was consistent after five laps. I would run these tires during a track day.”
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