Touring and Sport-Touring Tires Buyers Guide
The Storm 3D X-M sport-touring tire has interlocking three-dimensional points in the sipes for better stability, faster warm-up times and more grip, all while limiting tire flex. Its design includes both single- and multi-compound super-rich silica (SRS) for longer life and excellent grip and performance in wet and dry conditions. It comes in six popular 17- to 19-inch front sizes and ten 16- to 18-inch sizes for the rear. For touring and cruising there’s the Avon Cobra, a radial whitewall that outperforms bias-ply tires. The special construction, unique sidewall and aggressive tread pattern is OE for the 2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT. Available in 150/80-R16 front and 180/70-R16 rear, both with whitewalls.
(800) 624-7470, avonmoto.com
Designed specifically for the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, the Exedra G709 (front) and G704 (rear) are Bridgestone’s ultimate radial touring tires, designed with input from Honda to offer quiet mileage, good handling and impressive all-around performance for the GL1800. They’ve been the OE tires exclusively on new Gold Wings since 2012 and are also the same tires supplied for the Honda Gold Wing F6B. The G709/G704 tire set provides a quality feel in both wet and dry conditions for an enjoyable GL1800 ride. For sport-touring, Bridgestone has the Battlax T30. The rear uses 3LC dual-compound construction consisting of a durable center flanked by a high-grip shoulder compound, and the front has a new compound to broaden the working range of the tire and maximize grip and handling.
(615) 937-3442, bridgestone.com
Continental says its new Milestone Mileage Plus is the most technologically advanced tire on the market for heavy touring bikes, cruisers and Harleys. The tire delivers high mileage and exceptionally high levels of wet and dry grip through the use of Continental’s Activated Silica Compound. Another benefit of ASC is that it runs cooler, which allows Conti to build the Milestone with the deepest tread available, further increasing mileage. On the sport-touring side there’s the ContiRoadAttack 2 EVO, which sets new standards in the segment thanks to a completely new rubber compound and the characteristic Continental new-edge tread pattern that’s been refined to ensure better drainage. It’s also been optimized and adjusted to the requirements of rider assistance systems, such as traction control (TC), electronic suspension and ABS.
(740) 966-3106, conti-online.com
The Sportmax Roadsmart II picks up where the sport-touring Roadsmart left off, with even more dry grip, mileage and wet-weather performance. Tread rubber compounds include silica to help deliver impressive performance in wet conditions while also extending wear. The MT Multi-Tread rear tire incorporates a long-wearing compound in the center of the tire tread and a lateral-grip compound on each shoulder, and a cosecant-curve tread pattern helps promote even tire wear and stiffens the pattern for reduced tire squirm and extended tire longevity. The Elite 3 touring radial’s tread pattern provides class-leading wet-pavement performance, and a sport-derived profile helps provide lively response in turn transitions and a solid feel through turns. The Multi-Tread GL1800 rear incorporates a long-wearing compound in the center of the tire and a lateral-grip compound on each shoulder.
(800) 845-8378, dunlopmotorcycle.com
The Roadtec Interact Z8 sport-touring tire features Metzeler’s multi-compound technology. Its new compound has a wider application range to satisfy every sport-touring need and its Contour Modeling Technology delivers more intuitive and effective handling characteristics. The Interact three-zone technology puts harder rubber in the middle of the tire and a grippier compound on the shoulders. The ME 888 Marathon Ultra touring and heavy-cruiser tire is available with optional whitewalls. It’s five-percent shorter and 15-percent wider than the ME 888 Marathon to reduce contact-patch wear and help distribute power to the road, reducing overheating and increasing tire life. A redesigned tread pattern reduces tread squirm for longer life and better handling.
(877) 202-4993, metzeler.com
The Angel GT sport-touring tire is an improvement over its predecessor. It features dual-compound construction to combine high mileage with good cornering grip. The high silica content in the shoulder compound provides excellent traction and handling even in the wet. Pirelli says a mileage increase of about 15 percent was achieved by using new compounds and profiles designed to work in synergy with the tire’s structure and materials. Some rear applications include a 2-ply carcass for improved mileage and stability on heavier bikes.
(800) 747-3554, pirelli.com
Michelin says the Pilot Road 4 sport-touring tire stops 17-percent shorter (an average of 46 feet) than its closest competitor on wet pavement thanks to Michelin XST+ sipe technology. An all-new silica-charged rubber compound was developed for the Pilot Road 4 that provides excellent grip on a wide range of road surfaces, including painted lines and pedestrian crossings. Even heavy touring bikes benefit from the added stability of its Dual Angle Technology (2AT), which combines the stability of a bias-ply and the flexibility/comfort of a radial in the same tire.Finally, the Pilot Road 4 lasts up to 20-percent longer than the Pilot Road 3.
(866) 866-6605, michelinmotorcycle.com
Shinko’s 011 Verge radial sport-touring tire combines performance with extended tread life. It has zero-degree jointless steel-belted technology for added stability and strength. The 010 Apex front is Aramid-belted for enhanced high-speed performance. The tread compound is designed for excellent grip and extended tread life with a tread radius designed for enhanced high-speed cornering. It’s available in two speed ratings, W (168 mph) and V (149 mph), in three front and six rear sizes. The SE890 Journey touring radial is designed for larger touring bikes and cruisers and features a versatile all-weather tread pattern, excellent ride and load-carrying characteristics, Aramid belted construction, and a tread compound maximized for optimal grip and good mileage. It’s available for Honda GL1500, GL1800 and Valkyrie models.
See your dealer or visit shinkotireusa.com
The H-rated VRM 302 from Vee Rubber has a sidewall specifically made for two-up riding and maximum weight-carrying capacity. The whitewall tire offers a completely new design and compound for maximum mileage and superb grip in both wet and dry conditions. Available in all sizes for baggers, it’s priced competitively to give bagger and touring riders the best value for their money. The 387 Traveler sport-touring tire has a tread pattern designed to disperse water from the contact patch for excellent wet-weather performance and handling. Its specially formulated deep tread provides extended mileage and uses advanced compounds for both the center and the shoulders for even wear throughout the life of the tire.
(662) 719-6644, veerubberusa.com
(This article was published in New & Cool in the August 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)