Supersport and Superbike Road Legal Tyre Guide

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This is a basic guide for someone who is unsure which tyres to fit to their sportsbike, but is looking to improve handling performance in certain conditions or is meerly looking to save money on the purchase cost of new tyres but need information on the compromise they may have to deal with.

This guide is compiled from 16 years of sportsbike riding on the road and a few years of trackdays. My ability improved for the first few years but has dropped off a bit now so I can only rate tyres as I remember them at the time. Some tyres are only rated on the front or rear if I haven't tried both. Just because a front or rear tyre performed well or badly does not mean that the pairing will necessarily perform the same although it should be safe to assume it will be in the same ballpark. I haven't included much track information because I am usually messing about with different setups, bikes and sometimes race tires.  Strangely some tires that I really don't like on the road work well on a track ( Michelin Pilot Road 2ct), I'm guessing overly hard compound never get up to temperature on the road but stay constant on a race track.  The 2ct's were on my Kawasaki Versys so they would probably be useless on a sports bike at a track, I used the rear at Mallory when my 207rr on the other wheel finally gave up the ghost.

A lot of newer tires seem quite similar to their older models, I tend to still ride the same bikes I was on 10 years ago and like to stick with tires I know as I'm not as rich as I was then and hate risking riding crap rubber.  It takes me ages to wear them out as well as I only ride 4000 miles a year tops compared to 10,000 + a year a decade ago.

 Tyres are listed in order of preference, first to last. Tyres listed in the avoid catagories are listed from best to very worst.

Wet Front Tyres  for road use.

Dunlop D207RR, Michelin Pilot Power, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Avon AM22, Metzeler MEZ1 Race, Michelin Pilot Sport, Bridgestone BT020. Metzeler M3 Sportec, Pirelli Diablo.

Front Tyres to avoid useing in the wet.

Dunlop D207, Bridgestone BT010, Bridgestone BT012, Bridgestone BT50, Michelin Pilot Road 2, Dunlop D221.

 

 Wet Rear Tyres for road use.

Dunlop D207RR, Michelin Pilot Power, Michelin Pilot Sport, Metzeler Sportec M1, Michelin Hi-Sport, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Dunlop Qualifier, Bridgestone BT020, Bridgestone BT56, Avon ST23, Pirelli Diablo.

Rear Tyres to avoid useing in the wet.

Dunlop D207, Bridgestone BT57, Bridgestone BT012, Bridgestone BT50, Michelin Pilot Road 2, Michelin Pilot Road, Dunlop D221, Dunlop D208, Michelin Pilot Race (hard compound).

Wet Front Tyres for track use

Dunlop D207RR, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Avon AM22, Bridgestone BT020.

Avoid Bridgestone BT012.

Wet Rear Tyres for track use

Dunlop D207RR,Dunlop D207GP, Michelin Pilot Power, Metzeler Sportec M1, Metzeler MEZ3 Race

Avoid Bridgestone BT012.

Dry Front tyres for road use.

Dunlop D208RR, Dunlop D207RR, Michelin Pilot Power, Avon AM22, Metzeler MEZ1 Race, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Michelin Pilot Sport, Metzeler Sportec M3, Pirelli Diablo, Bridgestone BT020, Metzeler MEZ4, Dunlop D207, Dunlop D221, Bridgestone BT50.

Fronts to avoid even in the dry.

Bridgestone BT010, Bridgestone BT014, Bridgestone BT012, Michelin Pilot Road 2

 

Dry Rear tyres for road use.

Dunlop D208RR, Metzeler Sportec M1, Dunlop Qualifier, Dunlop D208, Michelin Pilot Power, Dunlop D207RR, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Michelin Pilot Sport, Michelin Hi-Sport, Bridgestone BT020, Pirelli Diablo, Metzeler MEZ4, Bridgestone BT56, Dunlop D221, Bridgestone BT57, Avon ST23.

Rears to avoid even in the dry.

Dunlop D207, Bridgestone BT014, Bridgestone BT012, Bridgestone BT50, Michelin Pilot Road 2, Michelin Pilot Road, Michelin Pilot Race (hard compound).

Dry Fronts ideal for track use.

Dunlop D207RR, Avon AM22, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Bridgestone BT020.

Avoid Dunlop D207 and Bridgestone BT012.

Dry Rears ideal for track use.

Michelin Pilot Race (hard compound), Pirelli Diablo, Michelin Pilot Power, Dunlop D208, Dunlop D207RR, Dunlop D207GP, Metzeler Sportec M1, Metzeler MEZ3 Race, Michelin Pilot Road 2, Bridgestone 020.

Avoid Dunlop D207 and Bridgestone BT012.

Hope this guide helps, listed are only tyres that I have personaly used hence why tyres like D208RR's are not listed for track use because I havn't tried them on a track.

My favourite all round tires for track and road use were always Dunlop 207rr, these days (2015) for me their true successor to the throne are Michelin Pilot Powers, they seem to work reasonably well on all bikes no matter what is thrown at them and last longer than the 207rr did.  They don't quite have the wet grip of those old Dunlops but have a touch more in the dry and better feel.  Pilot powers are the only tire I've been able to powerslide a bike in the wet on (CBR 929 Fireblade), others just kick out, can't do it though even with the powers on a 600 as engines are too peaky.  My mate used to be able to slide his KTM supermoto with them on in wet or dry at will though which is what got me into them after the 207rr supply dried up.

I recommend a standard Pilot Power on the front as I find dual compounds wear awkwardly and a 2CT on the rear for general use although I'd stick with single compound rear for the track as you don't wear the middle first anyway and will find that they might last better as the 2ct has a softer edge.  Carcass is the same on both.

 

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