GRIP FACTOR SPORTS RESULTS
In a spin about which tyres to buy? Let MCN steer you to 2016’s best sports and sports-touring rubber ST 16 20
Welcome to MCN’S 2016 tyre comparison test. Over the next four pages we’ll be testing the two most popular types of tyre for your road bike: the latest sports and sports touring rubber, including four new 2016 models.
Tyres are without question the most important thing you’ll fit to your machine and choosing the right pair will give you maximum enjoyment, confidence and above all safety.
Firstly we’ll be testing six sets of sports tyres, from all the manufacturers, on a BMW S1000RR at the Aragon circuit in Spain, then six sets of sports-touring tyres on a BMW R1200RS on the surrounding roads. We’ll be judging the tyres on everything from how quickly they warm up, how well they make the bikes steer, grip and ride, and how confident they make the rider feel.
We’ll be doing all the tests ‘blind’. Each tyre will be covered up before we ride, so there’ll be no preconceptions of how they’ll behave before a wheel is turned. We won’t look at them when we get off the bike and will only find out what we’ve been riding on at the end of the test when all the scores and evaluations are complete.
It’s worth mentioning that Pirelli/metzeler are helping us facilitate the mammoth task of organising this test. They’ve sourced the tyres from retailers, assisted with wheel and tyre changes and helped us with the mechanics of performing the blind test. In the interest of fairness we’ll be free to check tyre pressures at any point during the test. We are also free to take the tyres back to the UK with us for analysis to ensure each tyre is genuine.
The only thing that can’t be judged in a test like this is durability, so that will be the job of MCN’S test fleet this year. But in general you can expect around 3000-5000 miles out of a sports rear, and 5000-8000 miles from a sports-touring tyre, depending on your bike, how much you load it and how and where you ride. Every single tyre in this test is at an extremely high level in terms of performance and safety, but they have markedly different characters and some will suit some riders better than others. Interestingly they all cost around the same (sports-touring rubber is slightly pricier than sports tyres) when you mail order from a tyre retailer.
Read on to discover our verdict.