Sportbike Street Motorcycle Tire Ranking
There are a number of tire tests that helped set the ranking, by Motorad, Visordown and Motorcycle USA. These more formal, comparative tests were given more weight in the ranking process than user reviews.
The Motorrad test was published in June 2012. The Motorcycle USA test was completed in 2010 and used a Honda CBR1000RR. Motorcycle USA grouped the tires into Group A and Group B based on price point. The Motorcycle USA test references Streets of Willow (1.3 mile Streets road course at Willow Springs International Raceway) and Willow Springs (2.5 mile main course at Willow Springs International Raceway). The tires were also ridden on the public roadways around Southern California.
The Visordown test was conducted in 2010 on a 2009 Honda Fireblade. The test was conducted in England at Bruntingthorpe’s, with low temperatures and water. The testers requested tires that were suitable for general road use in all types of conditions, for a heavier sports bike.
In some cases the same tire was reviewed in both tests, so this helped bridge the gap between tires being reviewed in one test but not another. Intermixed with these more formal tests are other tires that were not part of the Visordown and Motorcycle USA tests.
The Continental SportAttack 2 was rated #1 on the Motorrad road test. The tire was praised for steering precision and stability in the curves. Cold handling is also solid. Overall street/track tire ratings it was rated second. The tire life is one of the high-points for this tire, rating first in one formal test. Wet handling is not the best.
The Bridgestone S20 was rated #2 on the Motorrad road test. It was praised for cold temperature handling and braking stability. Overall street/track tire ratings it was rated first. Other reviewers prefer this tire to the Q2 and BT 003 RS. Main complaint was rear tire wear which is faster than its peer group.
The Michelin Power Pure was rated #3 on the Motorrad road test. Positive comments about response and cornering. Performance is consistent as the tire wears. Overall street/track tire ratings it was rated tied for third. Tire life was average compared to its peers.
On one of the formal tests, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tested the best on both street and track, which is difficult to do. Often tires need to choose a focus between the demands of street and track, but the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa excelled at both. The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP was rated as the best tire in the Motorcycle USA test. It was in Group A and was #1 at Streets of Willow (1:23:54) and #1 at Willow Springs (1:31:45).
The Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2 was rated #3 on the Motorrad road test. It was praised for neutrality and stability on the road. At cooler temps lacks responsiveness. Overall street/track tire ratings it was tied for third. Other reviews support this as well. The Pirelli Diablo Rosso 2 was preferred over many different tires including the Dunlop Q2 and Pilot 2CT. Cold handling is not the best, and tire life is average compared to peers.
The Metzeler M3 Supersport is rated higher by users than the Dunlop Qualifier II, and was rated #2 overall in the formal Visordown test. This is definitely a tire worth trying. In the Visordown review the Metzeler M3 Supersport was rated #2. Damp Test: 1:22:05 – Quick warm-up, don’t cut through water as well as BT-021 or Angel ST, but have more feel, rear grip better than BT-021 out of the corners. Dry Test: 1:12:63 – Grip from rear under braking is very good, mid-corner similar to Dunlop and Michelin, like the Dunlops you can get on the throttle earlier. On one site the front and rear were rated 4.5 of 5 stars, on another front and rear 4.7 of 5 stars. This puts the Metzeler M3 Supersport slightly above average on the user reviews.
The 2012 Motorrad tire test rated the Dunlop Sportsmart #5 in road tests. While the Sportsmart and Qualifier 2 are not exactly the same tire, they are close so the Sportsmart review is included with the Q2. The Sportsmart is praised for high stability in the curves, with the main caution being that the tire has sluggish steering and mid corner braking will cause the bike to sit up. Overall street/track tire ratings it was rated fourth. The tire life is one of the high-points for this tire, rating first in one formal test. The Dunlop Qualifier II, while in the more expensive group of tires, provides good performance and value. Both the Visordown and Motorcycle USA tests support this tire as being better for the street than on the track. So, if you are looking for a solid street tire you should definitely consider the Dunlop Qualifier II. In a Visordown review the Dunlop Qualifier II was rated number 1 of the tires tested. Damp Test: 1:21:58 – Warm-up fast and cut through water nicely, braking is good, Michelins seemed to hold line better, always felt in control. Dry Test: 1:12:80 – Great amount of feel, mid-corner handling is excellent, best of the group in performance and value for the money. In a Motorcycle USA test it was rated #2 as a street tire and #4 as a track tire. This tire was also in Group A, like the highest rated Pirello Diablo Supercorsa SP, #2 at Streets of Willow (1:23:91) and #4 at Willow Springs (1:33:53). Reviews from other tire sites rate the front tire higher than the rear. On one site the rear is rated 4 of 5 stars, on another rear 3.7 of 5 stars. Front 4.6 of 5 stars.
The Metzeler Racetec K3 is not technically in the Metzeler racing category. Track riders seem to like them, as long as the conditions are dry. In a 2010 Motorrad tire test the Metzeler Racetec K3 Interact was rated tops.
The Michelin Power One 2CT is rated average for a sportbike tire. Both the user reviews and Motorcyce USA comparison test support this conclusion. In the Motorcycle USA tire test it was rated #3 for a street tire, #2 for a track tire. Group A: #3 Streets of Willow – 1:24:47, #2 Willow Springs – 1:33:20. One site rates the tire 4.4 of 5 stars, which puts the tire slightly below average.
The Metzeler M5 Interact was rated #6 on the Motorrad road test. The main complaints were the tire needs a long time to heat up, steering is sluggish, agility is lacking. Overall street/track tire ratings it was rated fifth. Tire life is below average.
The Avon 3D Ultra Supersport is praised as a combo track day and street tire. Of the 3D series of tires, testers preferred the 3D Ultra Supersport. Tires warm-up quickly, grip is excellent and longevity is solid.
The Michelin Pilot Power 3 grips very well. One rider prefers the Pilot Power 3 over the Pures. Another prefers the Pilot Power 3 over the BT-016. More of a street than a track tire. Quick warm-up times.
The Bridgestone BT-016 is a well-rated for a less expensive tire. It still ranked 7th overall when compared to the full population of sportbike tires. Motorcycle USA conducted a comparison test and rated the Bridgestone BT-016 #1 in the Group B. Group B was a group of tires that was generally less expensive than Group A. It was rated 1st of the tires tested in the group. Group B: #1 Streets of Willow – 1:26:75, #1 Willow Springs – 1:35:65. Reviews from other sites vary quite a bit. Some rate the tire 5 of 5 stars, others 6 of 10, others 4.6 to 4.7 of 5 stars. The reviews are generally positive.
The Michelin Pilot Power 2CT is a highly-rated by users. Formal tests put the tire more in the middle of the pack of less expensive tires. In the Visordown article it was rated #3. Damp Test: 1:21:90 – Best for rear traction and really stable under hard acceleration, took a bit to warm up. Dry Test: 1:12:83 – Warm-up isn’t great, once warmed up feel like will grip all day long, feel is on the level of a race tyre, best on brakes. In the Motorcycle USA tire test it was rated #2 for a street tire, #3 for a track tire. Group B: #2 Streets of Willow – 1:27:43, #3 Willow Springs – 1:36:53. One site rates the front and rear 4.5 of 5 stars. Another rates both 5 of 5 stars. Another rates the front and rear 4.7 of 5 stars.
Both the Michelin Pilot Power 2CT and Michelin Pilot Power are highly-rated by users. These tires are pretty much rated equally. The majority of the reviews are 4.7 of 5 stars. Both the front and rear are equally liked.
The Bridgestone BT 015 receives slightly above average reviews. In a Visordown test against sport tires the BT 015 was rated 7th of 8 tires overall. User reviews are more positive with cornering and stability praised. The tire life is also a positive.
The Pirelli Angel ST receives high marks as a sport touring tire, and even held its own when included in a test of sportbike tires. The Pirelli Angel ST was rated 2nd of 8 tires in the wet, 4th of 8 tires in the dry and 4th overall in a Visordown tire test. Confidence inspring in dry, wet, highway, back roads. One rider complained of lower than expected mileage.
The Michelin Pilot Power 2CT, Michelin Pilot Power and Pirello Diablo Rosso are very close in rankings. All are highly-rated by users. In the Motorcycle USA test it was rated #3 for a street tire, #2 for a track tire. Group B: #3 Streets of Willow – 1:28:44, #2 Willow Springs – 1:36:52. Reviews from other sites rate the bike higher. From one site 5 of 5 stars, from another 4.5-4.7 of 5 stars, from another rear rated 9.5 of 10 stars.
The Bridgestone BT003 Racing Street tire is very close in ranking to the Michelin Power One 2CT. Formal tests put the Michelin higher, user reviews rank the Bridgestone higher. Motorcycle USA conducted a comparison test and rated the Bridgestone BT003 Racing Street tire #4 for a street tire, #3 for a track tire. Group A: #4 Streets of Willow – 1:25:35, #3 Willow Springs – 1:33:27. Other tire reviews place it at 4.5 to 4.6 of 5 stars, which place the user reviews about average with its peers.
The Shinko 003 is consistenly praised as a good value. A number of riders use these on the drag strip. One rider picked up a full second on 1/8 mile drag strip times. Some reviewers feel the dry traction is better than the wet traction.
The Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa provide great grip and heat up pretty fast. One person reported that the tire spins stoplight to stoplight. As part of a comprehensive test on various bikes, reviews were positive – cooperative turn-in, mid-corner feedback is direct, acceleration grip is plentiful.
The Bridgestone BT 020 is an OEM tire for a variety of bikes. This tire provides better tire life than some other sport touring tires, but does not stick as well as some shorter lived tires. Miles average between 10-12,000. Tires not recommemded for cold/wet. A number of reviewers said the colder it got the worse the tire performed. Also not recommended for hard cornering. More on the touring side of sport-touring.
The Shinko 009 has fairly consistent, positive reviews. Probably best for a moderate to low aggressive rider. Seems to provide a good balance between performance and tire life. A number of reviewers say they like this tire better than a number of other tires. The tire’s value is also praised.
The Pirelli Diablo Corsa III is a great all-weather tire. They warm up quick even in the cold. Have great traction and stability.
The Shinko 005 has widely varying reviews. From 3.5 up to 5 of 5 stars. Of the positive reviews the Shinko 005 are praised as being a good value for the money. The negative reviews say the tires slide under cold or hard cornering, and the tire doesn’t last as long as others. General consensus seems to be that the tire is better in a straight line than in the curves.
The Continental ContiSportAttack provides excellent grip, warms up quickly, and is very predictable. Rear slides more easily than with the Diablo Corsa III. For track days, these tires should be run at highter temps than comparable tires. Felt the tires handled road variations better than Pilot Powers. For comparison, they usually change out Pilot Powers after 1,800-2,000 miles, and these lasted 3,000-3,500.
Tests of the Avon VP2 Supersport between the Visordown and Motorcycle USA test were pretty consistent. The Avon VP2 Supersport was well below the other tires in performance. Visordown did a comparison test between a number of tires. The Avon VP2 Supersport was rated #3. Damp Test: 1:22:58 – On the brakes the front was planted, quite a lot of grip, not as much feel, mid-corner kind of vague, need to be progressive with the throttle or it will let go. Dry: 1:13:54 – On damp and dry exits the tires spin up quite a bit, but could still move at a good pace. Motorcycle USA also conducted a comparison test with other tires. It was rated 5th of 5 tires tested in the group. Group A, #5 on Streets of Willow – 1:26:54, and #5 Willow Springs – 1:35:17.
The Maxxis Presa Sport MA-PS was part of a Visordown test with a number of other sportbike tires. The Maxxis Presa Sport MA-PA was rated last in wet and dry lap times/performance. For street riding there aren’t that many reviews, but it was praised as being stable at high speeds, heats up quickly and great for the price.
The Avon 3D Ultra Sport is a street oriented tire, not really meant for the track. Riders praise the tires all-around performance. Tire life is also solid. Steering response is slower than the Avon 3D Ultra Supersport.
In the review (link to first review) they state “quicker and more precise steering” than the others they tested. Negatives included compliance, grip on bumpy pavement and traction and max lean. This review offers a comparison of other tires in this class, so it is worth a read.