Pirelli Angel ST Motorcycle Tires Review
[This Pirelli Angel ST Motorcycle Tires Review was originally published in the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine]
Dualism is the dynamic struggle between opposing forces. Good and evil, positive and negative, yin and yang, that sort of thing. Pirelli clearly understands the concept of dualism since its new Angel ST (sport-touring) tires replace the Diablo Strada, diablo being Spanish for “devil.” I’m not sure if Pirelli is suggesting that good has finally conquered evil, but in the world of motorcycle tires, sporty grip often comes at the expense of longevity.
In marketing terms, these tires are supposed to be like a guardian angel, providing the comfort, durability and wet grip that touring requires, while offering the performance demanded by the sporting demon that lurks within us all. In technical terms, the Angel ST motorcycle tires‘ new tread pattern, structure and profile have significantly improved wet and dry grip, stability and handling over the Diablo Strada with comparable mileage and comfort.
To enhance longevity and wet grip, the Angel ST’s new tread pattern features a central, long-wearing rib, low-flex tread blocks and variable width, depth and placement of rain grooves. Rain grooves on the front are connected across the entire profile for maximum water dispersal where it is needed most. Shorter grooves on the front reduce tread movement to enhance stability and braking, while longer grooves on the rear maximize drainage at all lean angles. Adding some Italian flair, Pirelli put visible imprints of angels—with eyes, wings and a halo—on the tread, but after about 650 miles they fade to reveal more demonic images with slanted eyes and forked tails. Seems a little gimmicky to me, but I can forgive Pirelli since these tires perform so well.
Pirelli uses what it calls Enhanced Patch Technology to develop tire profiles that optimize contact patch size at all lean angles and perform consistently as the tires wear. The front is designed for linear, easy handling, while the rear aims for confident, power-handling support. Pirelli’s next-generation zero-degree radial belt improves pressure distribution and bump absorption for a comfortable, stable ride. A new compound has characteristics that change as conditions demand, mimicking the behavior of multicompound tires: firm and durable at cruising speeds, soft and grippy as the pace heats up. Compared to the Diablo Strada, the Angel ST performs betters in terms of lean, braking and corner exit, but the most dramatic improvement is in terms of wet grip.
Good then that Pirelli held the Angel ST press introduction in Asheville, North Carolina, which offered plenty of wet weather for testing. Triumph provided Speed Triples, Sprint STs and Tigers, all of which are powered by 1,050cc triples that put 100-120 horsepower to the rear wheel, depending on the model. We rode for two days on the Blue Ridge Parkway and back roads of western North Carolina. Conditions ranged from dry to pouring rain, from smooth, flowing to tight, dodgy pavement, all at a brisk pace. Grip and handling were superb on all of the bikes in all conditions. I was duly impressed with acceleration, turning, leaning and braking, especially on soggy roads. Of course, I couldn’t assess longevity over a two-day test. But Pirelli set seven duration world records during a 24-hour test with one set of Angel STs per bike on a Suzuki Hayabusa and a Kawasaki Concours 14, covering 3,191 miles at an average speed of 132 mph. That’ll do.
OEM fitment will include the Moto Guzzi Breva and Norge, and Aprilia Mana GT and Shiver GT. Front sizes include 120/70-17, 120/60-17 and 120/70-18; MSRP is $179.95. Rear sizes range from 150/70-17 to 190/50-17 and 160/60-18; MSRP is $211.95-$246.95.
For more information: See your dealer or visit www.us.pirelli.com