Avon has been a big player in the touring world for decades, and was the first manufacturer to introduce obese rear tires for the chopper set. But the British manufacturer hasn’t had a dog in the sportbike fight for years.
Avon's "3D" siping is hard to spot. The short slits use interlocking, three-dimensional po
The new 3D Ultra lineup is designed to change that. There are three flavors: Sport (all weather/street), Supersport (street/track) and Xtreme (racetrack only). New 3D siping is the most signifcant update, and is said to aid warm-up through controlled flex in the treadcap. Avon’s Advanced Variable Belt Density (A-VBD) carcass and Reactive Footprint (RF) technology are standard fare, balancing straight-line stability with corning compliance while providing a larger footprint at full lean.
The Ultra Sports are designed as general purpose sport tires and run a higher concentration of silica for improved performance in wet conditions. They’re also the only tires in the lineup to employ multiple tread compounds, with harder rubber along the center and softer stuff at the edges for better cornering grip. The 3D Ultra Supersports have the same construction as the Sports but use a single, softer compound with reduced silica for improved traction on dry roads and racetracks. The track-specifc Ultra Xtremes use an even softer compound and fewer tread grooves for a larger contact patch and more grip. All versions of the 3D Ultra feature Avon’s Inverted Front Groove technology that is supposed to prevent uneven front tire wear, or “scalloping.”
Since two out of three of the new tires are track-oriented, Avon debuted the 3D Ultras at Almeria, Spain, a fast, 14-corner race circuit with a mixture of sweeping turns and quick transitions. Stormy conditions kept us trapped in the garages at frst, but then the weather blew inland and we were able to sample all the tires in a controlled environment.
First to be levered on the various testbikes were the 3D Ultra Sports. These were immediately surefooted, although my pace was admittedly conservative on the cold, damp track. As the circuit dried and speeds increased, the Ultra Sports began to squirm a bit through the middle of the corners, exhibiting their street-oriented design. Nevertheless, the tires proved they could get the job done by offering great braking performance and grip in less-than-ideal conditions.
Each step up in the lineup yields a noticeable increase in performance. The Ultra Supersports offered the same superb braking performance as the Sports, but with more grip and feel from both ends that allowed faster cornering. Stepping up to the Ultra Xtremes revealed even more benefts, including more side grip at max lean and signifcantly quicker steering characteristics.
Avon says the Ultra Xtremes are still in the early stages of development and are currently only available in one compound in 120/70ZR-17 fronts plus 180/55ZR-17 and 190/55ZR-17 rears , but more sizes and compound choices will soon be available. Both the Ultra Sports and Ultra Supersports have a broader ftment chart as well as a lower price tag. If you’re looking for fresh rubber for your sportbike, you’re sure to fnd something suitable in Avon’s 3D Ultra lineup.
AVON 3D ULTRA TIRES
CONTACT: Avon North America
VERDICT: 4 stars out of 5
Avon is back in the sportbike game!