Tires, Tires, Tires
I want to start by saying I know that tires are sticky subject (pun intended) and that riders consider tire wear, cost and traction to help select what tires they like and don’t like. Here are my personal notes regarding tires I’ve tired, mostly on the streets and a few during track days. At the time of the this original post, I owned a 6*street motorcycle and as such, have the opportunity to test a fair amount of tires.
Admonishment: I don't work for any tire company or manufacture. I don't receive, discounts or free tires from any one as well. All tires have been purchased through local shops or online. I'm open to all tires manufacturers, however I tend to really get along with Michelin tires the best, which is interesting as there are 2 types of Michelin I can't stand, more on that later.
A little about me: I’ve been ridding for over 32 years and have had 18 street motorcycles to date. Two area’s where I’ve spent a lot of resources and even more money on has been in connection to suspension and tires. I’m not an expert or anything like that, just s street rider and motorcycle enthusiast. Here’s a break down of tires that I have logged miles on.
Worth noting is that new tires tend to suck!
That shinny first lay of skin slips on me each and every time I ride aggressive when I type into the unused area for the first time, no matter if I wait a week or one year to get into that part of a new tire. As most of us know, tapping into any part of a new tire could bring unwanted slipping, so please be careful.
Michelin Power Pilot:
I think the regular Pilot Powers is one of the best all around tires out there. Good grip when warm and their Uish-V-shape tire leans smoothly. Great wear as well; a gentle rider can get upwards of 6,000 or more miles out of set Pilot Powers. Pilot Powers ignore rain groves and since the introduction of the Power Pure’sthey can be had for pennies on the dollar, expect to pay $200+ per set in 120/180 sizes.
Michelin Pilot Power 2Ct’s:
The Pilot Power 2 Ct’s are more of the same as the Pilot Power with the addition of a softer side compound, but only it's only the last inch of tire that has this sticker compound. 80% of riders won’t ever push a tire that hard on the street, so these tires maybe a waste of money for the majority of riders. It's also a good choice for a "first time ever" track day. However, once your at a B Group pace, it’s time to move on to something better equipped for the track use such as the Metzler K3, Dunlop Q2's or Michelin's Power One etc. All these tires also differ from the Pilot Powers 2Ct as it is a V-shaped tire, while the regular PP is not as steep of a v-shape as their 2Ct product. Some people prefer the V-shape tires as they tip in more easily (quicker steering), but beware they also tip out easier as well, which is not the best for my riding style, which is deliberate.
Worth noting is that I'm easy on tires, I can get upwards of 5,000+ out of a set of PP/PP 2Ct's. I have gone through several set’s of the 2 Ct’s and having the last inch of the better stuff did make me "feel" better inside, but added little over to nothing over the regular powers, the 2Ct’s are not as smooth in the transitions as the regular Pilot Powers. For some bikes (like my 2006 675) they were just too quick steering.
Michelin Power Pure's:
I switched from the K3’s that came stock on my S1000RR with only a 1000 miles on them to try the Power Pure's, the Pure's are supposed to be a step up from the Pilot Power 2CT's). One reason I pulled the K3's was so I could save what was left of them (K3's) to do a track day in the future . Unfortunately the Pure's do not live-up to the confidence that the K3's inspire, and I'm a PP/PP 2Ct fanso I was surprised I didn't like these tires, in fact not one bit. The Pure's should of been essentially more of the same, in that they’re a PP 2Ct's with more areas of the softer compounds, but for me, they felt like I was on a slip n' slide. And as such, these tires were taking off within 15 days after being purchased. It must be due to the tread patterns that runs in-line with the road way since these are basically aPP 2Ct with wider compounded shoulders, this is not an issue with any of the other PPtire line, but this was also an issue withCorsa III's tires that I tested a while back.
Because of the construction used on thePure's, the Pure's are approximately 2.2 pounds lighter per set then the Pilot Powers and Pilot Power 2Ct's. That’s a significant weight loss and you do feel the lighter weight of the Pilot Pure tires. They turn in quicker than the K3’s which is aided by the V shape that Michelin uses on this particular tire. I put on Power One's (after trying the Power Pure [ which was worse tire I have ever tried in recent history]). Power Ones stick as well, maybe better than the K3's. Look's like I'll be getting 3,500 miles out of a set of Power One's. TheK3's will only good for 2,500 miles max. Power One's are about $100 less per set, but since they last another 33%, they end up being about 1/2 the cost of the K3's.
The Pure front tire has a medium center and softer sides, the rear tire has harder center and medium sides and lots of it, however for me Michelin missed the boat on this one; had they gone with a hard center and softer outer out back this would've been a great (or should I say better) tire. Another issue I had with the Pure's is that they are prone to rain grooves; they picked them up like dollar bills thrown in front of a homeless camp. However, these tires will out perform the K3's when it comes to the wet, so they do have their place, but I'm trying to be nice here. Expect to get 4,000 miles out of a set of Pures as well. I also like these tires for 1st, 2nd or 3rd day track-day for a typical rider. I found them sliding at 6/10th pace, worth mentioning is that I'm not a bike slider, I‘m a medium pace canyon rider and stay-in-line 99% of the time.
As I mentioned before, Pures tires do not do well with rain grooves or imperfections in the roadway, I had what felt like 3 inch wobbles when transitioning from smooth pavement to a rained grooved roadway (Hwy 280 southbound prior to San Jose). Additionally, I’m not a big fan of V-shaped tires, some like the tip-in feel they get, but the flip side to that is they like to tip out just as easy i.e. if you're online and you look to correct back out, these tires can over correct too easily. This is only the second time in my riding history that I took off a set of new tires because they did not do what I needed them to, the other pair if you are interested, was a set of Michelin Road 2's, which were replaced with RoadSmarts, which were much better motorcycle tire for a bike meant to pull touring duty.
Hands down the best tire I’ve ever ridden on. These tires can be ridden aggressively right-away and after 5 minutes of pushing 70% or so, you can push them around anyway you’d like.
If you make a mistake and go into a corner too hot or forget to trail brake, the K3’will take it from there provided you're smooth, look were you want to go; with that you should be able to throttle out of the corner nicely. These tires feel like they have little grippy-fingers that hold like nothing I’ve experienced in my years of "street" riding. These are a great B Group pace track tire as well and better suited for track use over the Power Ones.
Pirelli Super Corsa Dragon Pros:
These tires came stock on my Daytona 675, which I sold in 2010, I really got used to them. One issue I have with Pirelli’s is that they stop working when the tires seem to have what looks like a good 25% - 30% of available tire tread left. They also pick up rains grooves more than I comfortable with. Expect to get 3,000 miles out of a set of these tires.
Pirelli’s Corsa III’s:
I enjoyed this tire more then the Super Corsa Pro’s. Found that they tires warmed up a bit quicker, stuck a bit better than the PP 2Ct’s, but that nagging issue with Pirelli’s not working when so much rubber is left is a characteristic I cannot live with. They are also move around a lot when road rain grooves are present.
I’ve only test ridden on these tires and it was on a brand new set, so I can’t provide a comprehensive opinion regarding this tire. I’m interested though and hope to try them in the future.
Michelin Power One's:
Ended up trying the Power One's, I have just over 2,500 mile on them so far and they are absolutely a wonder tires, as good as the K3's but are lasting me about 30% longer, great bang for the buck for an ultra-high performing tire.
These are great track day tires, and can be had for as low as $200 per set (120 & 180) I now have these tires on my Dorsoduro 750, they stick well, will last at least 3,000 miles and seem by all accounts to be the best street tire that can be used on the track.
So if you’ve read Tires, Tires, Tires the first installment, you get the sense regarding the consideration that I give to tire selection on my personal motorcycle. I’ve had 3 different sets of tires on BMW's flagship sport bike the S1000RR, with one goal in mind: Find the ultimate performing street tire.
K3's vs Power One’s:
These tires have a unique belting system that you can actually feel, I’ve never felt a street tire that is feels so planted, it’s as if the tire extends it’s foot print by an extra 1/4" when and as you need it. Hands down one of the best tire I’ve ever ridden on. These tires can be ridden aggressively when cold (California cold that is) and after 2 or 3 minutes one can push 70% or so, with little drama.
If you make a mistake and go in to a corner too hot, the K3’s seem to take it without incident. These tires feel like they have little grippy fingers that hold like nothing I’ve experienced in my years of "street" riding. They make great C & B group track tires as well.
Feels planted and sturdy
Ignores rain groove & road imperfections
Expect to a little as 1,500 miles per set
Costly as all get up and go at $450+ per set
Flat spot easily
Power One's: Best Tire Choice
This tires are light and you can feel that when you go to throw your bike around and as smooth as butter to boot, in fact, my mirrors now vibrate less with these tires. The front tire needed no weight when mounted, that was a great start, the rear tire only needed 1/2 oz. These are well made high-quality tires for sure. They warm up quick, but not as quick as the K3’s, seems they need about 3 to 4 corners to be were the K3’s are in the first corner. They are rated as being 95% slick with little to no lines but short cut outs instead. These would make horrible wet use tires, only slightly better would be the K3's.
They also have the ability to lean over further than the K3’s, I was really low on a great 30mph cambered turned, however my tires had about 1/4 chicken strip, on the K3’s they would have been all the way to the edge.
Quality, well balanced tire
High lean angle
As near as a slick that can be ran on the streets
Dual Compounds resist flat spotting
Should last at least 3,500+ miles
Need 1 to 2 minutes more warm up time over K3's
Inspire the same level of confidence as the K3’s
Costly at upwards of $350+ per set
At the time of the daft of this thread, my opinion these tires two tires are pretty much a tie, but now that I went from K3 to Power Ones & back to K3's, I give Power Ones the nob and vote it as my preferred choice of tire. Between the K3 & Power One, you get a little here and give up a little there, but if you have a brand preference, than let that be your guide. Next time around I’m going back to thePower One Both are top of the line tires and I could live with either.
PP/PP 2Ct's, Power One's, K3's, Q2's or Pilot Power cost analyst.
Here's my cost break down for today's top tires in order of value:
Pilot Powers: $50 per each 1,000 miles (@ 4,000 miles per set)
Q2's: $70 per each 1,000 miles (@ 3,000 miles per set)
Power One's: $100 per 1,000 miles (@ 3,500 miles per set)
K3's: $150 per each 1,000 miles. (@ 2,500 miles per set)
Although the price point for these tires is quite different, IMO all these tire perform well for the street and the last three are within 5% of each other as far as track performance. The Q2s' are clearly the best deal out there for a track day tire and PP for everyday street use.
Worth noting again, Pilot Power and Pilot Power 2CT's IMO, are about the best all around street tires out there, they hook up well in the cold and handle wet conditions better than any other sport bike I've tested.
Your results and mileage may vary
Keep it up!
Michael (Triple Threat)
Last edited by Triple Threat; 07-12-2012 at 11:07 AM.