Those of us who ride big touring bikes such as the Ducati Multistrada and the BMW R1200GS are usually only interested in two things; comfort and performance. You see, big bikes like these are designed to munch mile after mile comfortably and quickly. They are styled as adventure bikes but most of us will never take them onto any surfaces more challenging than a patch of wet grass or gravel – it is for this reason that you’ll see most fitted with a road biased touring tire.
But, these bikes can also be a hindrance to stress free learning. Many new track day riders are better off with a simple, low powered machine that keeps them running a bit slower until they can get a handle on racetrack riding. One reason my friend Josh was having trouble at his first several track days is because he was driven to ride his GSXR1000 faster than he should have. Read about Josh’s mishap.
When looking at buying track tyres you no doubt want to buy the very best tyres for your money, but with each manufacturer spouting endless lines of marketing gumf it’s tough to know which is best. Keep in mind that each of the below tyres have been designed, tested and manufactured to an extremely high standard, so for 99% of track day riders any of the below tyres will more than perform to the level you would expect (and want) from this type of motorcycle tyre.
Yes, they’re not as cutting edge as some of the other tires on test here but they’re also not as expensive. This particular model is coming up to a few years old now but can still hold its own against many newer offerings with many people swearing by them and fitting them to bikes such as the Honda CBR600RR. If that isn’t a testament of quality we don’t know what is.
So what you’ll find here are a selection of tyres that are designed for those riders that are more inclined to just have the odd spirited ride on dry roads (fair weather riders, as we’re known), but tyres which will also supply you with more than enough grip to hoon around on track too. And while they will work in the wet to a degree, that’s not what their principal aim.
They were new for 2011 and so have now had a few full seasons for people to try them out. Looking at the reviews from the people in the know, as well as listening to a lot of what is being said in the forums it seems these tyres are rated highly by the vast majority who have tested them, some well known sites saying they give a feel for grip like nothing they’ve tried before. They come in just the two compounds:
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Of course, it doesn’t take a hundred-fifty horses to get into trouble. A well setup 70 hp bike like an SV650 can corner just as fast as a literbike, but the nature of the Gixxer liter bike often begs riders to unleash all the available horses. However, if what you have is a liter bike, don’t shy away from a track day. Just be extra aware of the temptation you can feel when piloting a hyper-superbike and keep the throttle in check.