Our first look at Pirelli’s latest/greatest sport touring rubber

Angels in the Smokies

I've staked out the Comfy Chair in the Starbucks across from my gate at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Headed home after two days on Pirelli's brand new Angel ST sport touring tire—successor to the Diablo Strada—in Asheville, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains are green, which means the roads winding through them are mostly wet this time of year. The locals don't mind. Me? I'm not so sure. If you're not so keen on carving corners in the rain – everybody who leaned to go fast on a Yamaha RD 400 wearing PZ2-compound Michelins raise your hand – the new Angels are a minor miracle. Speaking of miracles, do not miss the blueberry chipotle ribs at 12 Bones Smokehouse at 5 Riverside Drive in Asheville. Take my word for it.Confronted with everything from heavy rain and road construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway to some more technical twisty pavement near Bat Cave NC out in Henderson County, the Angels refused to flinch. Maybe a little fidgeting cranked over in a few of the soggiest corners. But still grippy enough to put a sliver of daylight under the rear if you're smooth…and brave.

The Editorial Jury hasn’t had sufficient time to deliberate, but any tire than can keep fifteen bike press types upright on these roads in this weather deserves a longer look. Especially if you still think the pointy end of motorcycle tire technology is only aimed at the track. A whole lot of Pirelli’s research and development budget is going into sport touring tires. This one comes with new carcass construction, a new rubber compound and an all-new tread pattern that blends form and function: an optimized contact patch puts more rubber on the road from corner entrance to exit.

Nobody’s passing judgment until we test a set back in Los Angeles, but initial impressions are all good. Steering is neutral, feedback is accurate and abundant, and wet grip is fantastic. Stay tuned for more details. Especially if there’s some wet weather sport touring coming up on your calendar.