Gear: Motorcycle Sport Tires

Round, Black And Sticky

Dunlop Sportmax D211 GP-A
Thanks to a multi-million-dollar equipment installation at its Buffalo, New York, plant, Dunlop's U.S.-made race tires are now every bit as good as those manufactured at the firm's Birmingham, England, headquarters. The latest version of the AMA "spec" tire utilizes N-TECH carcass construction, new compound recipes and the IRP (Intuitive Response Profile) technology first used on last year's Sportmax Q2. We used the previous-generation GP-As for our Aprilia RSV4R vs. Yamaha YZF-R1 shootout and they performed exceptionally well. Based on our experience with the IRP on the stellar Q2s and what we've heard from racers regarding N-TECH, the new D211s are sure to impress. Pick some up for your next track sortie for just $360.99 a set.

The footprint on Dunlop's new D211 GP-As reaches maximum size at 50 degrees of lean. Racer Josh Herrin demonstrates what one can do with that kind of grip.

Michelin Power Pure
Michelin created its new Power Pure sport tires with lightness as the overriding goal. Lever on a set and you can shed up to 2 lbs. compared to comparable buns, which translates to nimbler handling, faster acceleration and braking, and better suspension action. The Pilot Power 2CT replacements also have better sporting capabilities thanks to more soft rubber on the tires' flanks. We tried them at Spain's flowing and fast Almeria circuit, and the tires felt sure-footed, with good braking stability and bump compliance. Improve your bike's handling with Power Pures starting at $413 per pair.

Continental Race Attack Comp
The multi-compound Race Attack Comps differentiate themselves from the competition by utilizing a compound gradient rather than distinct compound bands, plus a cool checkered pattern on the sidewalls. Continental claims the smooth, gradual transition between compound zones gives more consistent cornering feel and better wear. We've had several opportunities to try the Comps and they offer quick warm-up and neutral handling, plus they wear like iron. Traction is adequate for intermediate and advanced riders, but those chasing lap times will want to spoon on a set of Race Attack Slicks. Comp fronts are available in soft or medium compounds starting at $238.95, and rears come in soft, medium and endurance starting at $309.95.

Avon Storm 2 Ultra
The new Storm 2 Ultras' versatility has already made them popular among hard-charging long-haul riders. A three-compound tread design works in conjunction with Avon's patented variable-belt-density carcass for the best balance between the high-speed stability and wear resistance needed for touring and the cornering grip and feel you need to enjoy the turns along the way. The Storms are meant to last, thus Avon's LPE (Lifetime Profile Engineering) ensures the tires perform consistently throughout their lifespan. And they wouldn't call them Storms unless they were meant to handle inclement weather; lots of deep tread grooves and high silica content ensure good grip in the cold and excellent performance in the wet. Available in six front and nine rear sizes, the Storm 2 Ultras cover all the popular sport and sport-touring bikes, with prices starting at $382 a set.

Bridgestone Battlax Bt-023
The Battlax BT-023s supplant Bridgestone's BT-021 touring tires and use a new rubber compound enhanced with silica and an RC polymer to offer better wet performance and extended tire life. The rear tire uses two compounds, and both front and rear incorporate Bridgestone's MSB (Mono Spiral Belt), which tunes grip level, bump absorption and stability to the different areas of the tread. We rolled on the BT-023s on the streets of Japan and at Bridgestone's Nasu proving ground under mixed conditions and were pleased with the performance. For heavyweight rigs like the Yamaha FJR1300, Bridgestone offers a GT-spec tire with a modified belt setup. Fronts tires range in price from $174.23 to $189.93, and rears from $218.24 to $261.20.

Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa
Touted as high-mileage sport tires, the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsas replace the Diablo Corsa IIIs while measurably exceeding their mileage, handling and wet/dry grip. We gave them a nod of approval after testing them in the wet and dry at Assen in the Netherlands and at Pirelli's Syracusa, Sicily, test track. The Italian tires feature H-shaped beads that put more uniform pressure on the rims for better sidewall stiffness, zero-degree belt winding and a shoulder compound that's a direct carryover from Pirelli's World Superstock spec tire. Want a custom look? Display your name, your county's flag or your favorite race circuit on the tires' sidewalls with customizable stickers. The Diablo Rosso Corsas are available in common sportbike sizes starting at $205 front and $249 rear.

Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact
The Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact is advertised as the perfect all-around tire. And that classification certainly encompasses wet weather; we couldn't believe how well they worked when we tried them in a torrential downpour at Portimao in Portugal. Well enough to let us approach scrubbing the "5" lines on the "chicken strip indicators" molded into the treads. The M5s' performance doesn't just rely on an effective rubber compound; they also use a carefully researched tread design and multi-zone tension on the zero-degree steel belt to mix the benefits of a sport-touring tire with those of high-performance radials. The result is higher pressure at the crown and sidewalls for straight-line stability and durability and reduced tension at the mid-shoulder area for cornering grip and heat generation. Ride a little bit of everything? Pick up a set of M5s starting at $403 and be prepared for anything.

Gear - Sport Tires