Out of the factory, all motorcycles come with tires, obviously, but have you ever stopped to think about what kind of tires your bike comes with, specifically if your motorcycle is a naked bike or sport-touring model? Indeed, not all tires are made equal, and there are a lot of different types of tires when it comes to road riding. To keep things simple, let’s focus on two main types – sport-touring and supersport.
Sport-touring tires, as the name suggests, are designed to offer extra mileage and efficiency at the expense of sheer performance and cornering traction. On the other hand, supersport tires are pretty much race tires homologated for street use, meaning that they offer maximum cornering traction at the expense of longevity. Now, depending on your bike of choice, the manufacturer may have pre-installed sport-touring or supersport tires. For example, versatile naked bikes like the Yamaha MT-07 sometimes come equipped with Michelin Road 5 sport-touring tires. Meanwhile, sport-focused naked bikes like the Triumph Street Triple RS get Pirelli Rosso Corsa supersport tires.
Of course, just because a bike comes with a specific set of tires, doesn’t mean you need to stick to that specific type of rubber. After all, bikes are meant to be set up according to your preferences, and changing tires to a more appropriate type for your riding style is often an excellent start. That said, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of sport-touring and supersport tires, and try to determine which one is better suited for your riding style.
Supersport tires - pros and cons
Let's begin with supersport tires. As the name suggests, they are specifically designed for sporting purposes. They excel on occasional track days and spirited rides along winding roads. These tires often boast multicompound treads, featuring softer rubber on the edges to enhance cornering performance. The tread patterns are highly sport-oriented, resembling slick tires in some cases.
However, it's worth noting that they may not offer as good wet grip as sport-touring tires. The trade-off for their exceptional performance is that they tend to have a shorter service life due to the use of softer compounds. Additionally, some of these tires prioritize uncompromising traction, which may not make them the most suitable choice for highway use in terms of efficiency and comfort.
Sport-touring tires - pros and cons
Sport-touring tires aim to strike a balance between the sporty characteristics of sportbike tires and the longevity required for long-distance touring. They achieve this by incorporating multi-compound treads, with harder rubber in the center for extended lifespan and improved efficiency, and softer rubber on the sides for enhanced traction during cornering. It's important to note that some cheaper sport-touring tires are made using only one compound to reduce costs. This compromises their cornering performance, as a medium compound is typically used throughout the entire tire construction.
One of the significant advantages of many sport-touring tires is their superior wet grip, thanks to a high silica content in the rubber. Additionally, they have specialized tread patterns designed to disperse water effectively, making them suitable for all-weather use. However, there is a tradeoff in terms of sheer performance. While sport-touring tires can handle track usage reasonably well, they won't match the rapid acceleration or aggressive lean angles achievable with supersport tires. Nonetheless, they remain an excellent choice for riders seeking a blend of sporty handling and long-lasting durability for their everyday riding needs.
Some popular supersport tires
If you are searching for supersport tires, you will find a wide array of models to consider. For liter-class superbikes and naked bikes, the Bridgestone Battlax RS11 is an excellent choice, offering exceptional performance. Another option from Bridgestone, the Battlax S22, is also highly recommended for naked bikes and sportbikes, providing a sporty road riding experience along with competent track performance.
Pirelli offers top-tier choices in the form of the Diablo Rosso and Rosso Corsa range, both of which are renowned for their superb performance on supersport bikes. Additionally, Mitas has the Sport Force EV tires, featuring a combination of multi-compound technology and lightweight construction, resulting in maximum performance.
Some popular sport-touring tires
Indeed, sport-touring tires offer greater versatility and are generally more affordable compared to supersport tires. These tires cater to riders who seek a combination of sporty handling and extended mileage for touring purposes. The Bridgestone Battlax T32 stands out as a prime example of a sport-touring tire, representing Bridgestone's latest offering in this category. It is an excellent choice for riders who want to maintain some sporty characteristics while being able to ride in various weather conditions.
Pirelli's Angel GT is a well-established option in the sport-touring tire segment, providing reliable performance for riders looking for both spirited rides and long-distance touring comfort. Mitas also offers the Touring Force tires, which we previously reviewed and found to be an outstanding choice for extended journeys, offering a great balance of performance and durability. For riders seeking a tire that can handle a range of riding scenarios while being budget-friendly, sport-touring tires are a fantastic option worth considering.