Good rub­ber is cru­cial

Bet­ter tyres are needed to trans­form the MT-09 SP

MCN - - LONG-TERM TESTS - Matt Wildee, Se­nior Ed­i­tor Sports­bike fan loves dis­tance and track rid­ing

Yamaha’s MT-09 SP is a lovely mo­tor­cy­cle that as stan­dard is only dragged down by two things; the harsh out-of-the-crate sus­pen­sion set­tings and the poor qual­ity of the OE tyres. Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers are no­to­ri­ous for driv­ing very hard bar­gains when it comes to OE rub­ber while at the same time hav­ing very spe­cific re­quire­ments for things like longevity and sta­bil­ity. The end re­sult is that the stock Bridge­stone S20s are very dif­fer­ent from the ones you’d buy from a dealer; right down to com­pound and con­struc­tion. Sim­ply, they let down a bril­liant bike. Slow to warm up, they of­fer very lit­tle in the way of feel and un­nerve you in the wet. How­ever, in the dry on an abra­sive road sur­face they of­fer enough grip and I found their in­her­ent harsh­ness was re­duced if I low­ered rear tyre pres­sure to 36psi. But there was a price for this. Af­ter 1500 miles they were start­ing to square off and han­dling de­te­ri­o­rated rapidly, pick­ing up on cam­ber changes and need­ing more ef­fort from the bars. My re­place­ment was Miche­lin’s Power RS. De­signed as a fast road tyre that Miche­lin claim can han­dle de­cent track use, they fit­ted the bill per­fectly. A multi-com­pound tyre, they fol­low the tra­di­tion of a sili­carich, harder cen­tre and softer edges with very lit­tle tread. Han­dling was in­stantly im­proved. Ride-qual­ity, steer­ing and chas­sis feel moved a step for­ward, im­bu­ing the MT with a weight­less qual­ity and giv­ing the con­fi­dence to use the triple’s joy­ous torque on cor­ner ex­its. They’re sur­pris­ingly good in the wet, too. On track, it was much of the same; although Cad­well Park on a very hot sum­mer’s day meant lo­calised over­heat­ing when I pushed re­ally hard, but even they re­mained friendly. Best of all, they lasted more than 3000 road miles af­ter the track­day and, although they’d started to square, the bike still han­dled well.

Since then I’ve also tried ri­val Pirelli’s Di­ablo Rosso Corsa II and Dun­lop’s SportS­mart TT. Both are slightly grip­pier track tyres but the Yamaha doesn’t steer as well on the Pirellis and the Dun­lop’s stiff car­cass means its on-road ride qual­ity is worse. But if you own an MT-09 SP, any of th­ese three will help un­lock its true po­ten­tial.

Track days have ben­e­fit­ted from Matt’s tyre change

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.