In our Best Sportbike Tire series, we compiled a list of sportbike tires primarily suited for spirited street riding. Sure they could handle an occasional trackday or two, but those tires are best to be avoided if hardcore track riding, or even club racing, are in your future. If you fall in that second category, this list is for you. Here we’ve compiled some of the best track rubber you can find while still being approved by the Department of Transportation. In case you didn’t get the subtle hint, you won’t find any slicks on this list, but what we have here are nearly as good. Better still, these tires are widely available, so you don’t need the special bro deal through your local track vendor to obtain anything here. Where possible, we’ve linked to Motorcycle.com staff member reviews of said tire(s), so here they are in alphabetical order.
Avon VP2 Xtreme $135 – $182
With its minimal tread siping, you can tell the Avon VP2 Xtreme tires were meant for aggressive track or road use. The tread contours are meant to flex in such a way to provide a huge contact patch under braking, and the steel belts are wound in varying densities (tighter in the center, looser towards the edges) to provide either maximum life/stability or flexibility and grip. Looking at the VP2, and its minimal tread, it’s clear that dry weather performance is its primary target, but using what Avon calls it’s Enhanced Aqua Flow tread pattern, Avon claims the VP2 Xtremes can hold their own if a little water comes splashing down.
Shop for Avon VP2 Xtreme tires here
Bridgestone R11 $147 – $255
Bridgestone may no longer be the sole tire supplier for MotoGP, but the lessons learned from its long run producing tires for the fastest motorcycles on the planet have trickled down to the Battlax R11. The successor to the popular R10, the R11 takes advantage of B-Stone’s Ultimate Eye technology, first developed for Formula 1, to fully understand the tire’s abrasion angle and deformation during usage. The shape and design of the grooves are then made to optimize tread rigidity when cornering and also offer more stability leaned over or under power. The Variable Mono Spiral Belt construction gets tweaked from the R10, but still places the belts farther apart on the sides and closer together in the center for optimum grip and stability. While all this tech talk might be boring, the end result is a tire that’s truly impressive when it comes to optimum stick and maximum feedback, with very impressive wear. We know this because Trizzle sampled the tires on all three of Yamaha’s sportbikes – the R3, R6, and R1 – and came back thoroughly satisfied with their performance.
Shop for Bridgestone R11 tires here
Continental Conti Race Attack $110 – $164
Germany’s entry to this list is the Continental Conti Race Attack, available in different compounds to suit varying conditions. Like some of its other performance tires, the Race Attack uses Continental’s Multigrip technology, wherein a single compound is used throughout the tire. But thanks to temperature controlled curing of the tire during the production process, the shoulder area is able to remain flexible for enhanced grip and the center remains stable for better mileage. Through it all, you have a seamless transition from side to side because you’re not moving between different compounds of the tire. Adding in the tire’s stability is the 0°-degree belt construction.
Shop for Continental Conti Race Attack front tires here
Shop for Continental Conti Race Attack rear tires here
Dunlop GP-A Pro $155 – $235
Developed through the lens of MotoAmerica racing, the Dunlop GP-A Pro is the best track/race tire you can get from Dunlop before stepping into the world of slicks. New developments in compound technology over the old D211 GP-A tire (the predecessor) mean the GP-A Pro has more edge grip, better stability, and ultimately, quicker lap times. Those aren’t our words – that’s the feedback from riders like Cameron Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff, team Yamaha Superbike riders. N-TEC construction allows the carcass to be stiffer, specifically for racing purposes, while the Intuitive Response Profile gives the rear tire a steep profile for confidence at steep lean angles. A feature club racers and trackday riders alike will appreciate is the bi-directional nature of the GP-A Pros. Since many tracks place a lot more stress on one side of the tire over the other, the bi-directional ability allows you to flip the tire around to extend the life of the tire. The Jointless Tread application is key to the GP-A Pro bi-directional construction, which uses sophisticated production machinery in Dunlop’s Buffalo, New York plant to wind the tire tread onto the carcass in a continuous strip allowing the tire to be run in both directions.
Shop for Dunlop GP-A Pro tires here
Dunlop Q4 $154 – $273
Borrowing from the lessons learned creating the GP-A Pro, Dunlop created the Sportmax Q4 for the track rider who maybe isn’t so committed about ultimate lap times, but just wants to enjoy their time on the track with as minimal upkeep as possible. The major difference between the Q4 and almost all of the other tires here is the Q4’s ability to get up to temperature extremely quickly – eliminating the need for tire warmers. Typically, a high silica content is the recipe for fast warm-up times, but the Q4 uses a 100% carbon-black recipe with proprietary polymers and resins to achieve proper warm-up without warmers. Dunlop’s Jointless Tread technology is the same method used to create the race tires and allows for the tread to be extruded directly onto the tire’s carcass in one continuous strip. CFT, or Carbon Fiber Technology is used in the sidewalls to increase stiffness, and you can see the aggressive tread pattern meant to provide as big a contact patch to the ground as possible. While Trizzle was slightly let down by the ultimate grip and excessive tire wear in his review of the Q4, he did praise the tire for its fast warm-up and ability to achieve impressive lean angles. Depending on your skill, budget, and track intent, the Q4 could be the pick for you.
Shop for Dunlop Q4 tires here
Metzeler Racetec RR K2 $223 – $320
Metzeler’s approach to creating a worthy track tire is to develop on the street. But not just any street – we’re talking the Isle of Man TT, among others. The TT’s unique environment and length allow Metzeler to develop a very unique tire, and the Racetec RR is proof. The single-compound front tire blends a selection of polymers and resins with different grades of carbon black to maximize hysteresis. The front also conforms to the micro-granularity of tarmac to deliver more grip and wear resistance and to last longer on severe asphalt. This blend of polymers also allows high flexibility at lower temperatures. The dual-compound rears feature a highly conductive center strip, which supports the shoulder compound from underneath and warms it up during long straights by redistributing the heat generated to the shoulders, maintaining them in the operative temperature and ensuring grip when going into lean. The crown and sidewalls are designed as a flexible system to dampen shocks from the road, yet the stiff ply material and 0º steel belts provide lateral stiffness once you lean the bike over or accelerate hard.
Shop for Metzeler Racetec RR K2 tires here
Michelin Power RS $118 – $202
With the Power RS, Michelin is taking its racetrack knowledge from the highest levels of the sport and applying it to a tire available to the masses. It uses compounds developed at the track to provide quick warm-up times and predictive handling. Michelin’s Adaptive Casing Technology uses a single ply carcass to increase rigidity in the center, then folds that ply over on itself at the edges to stiffen the sidewall and provide more stability while cornering or under hard acceleration. The 2CT+ technology is the same dual-compound tech many fans are familiar with, but this latest iteration places a harder layer under the softer layers at the edges to help promote stability. In the front, standard 2CT compounds (no plus) provide optimum grip at the edges and durability in the center.
Shop for Michelin Power RS tires here
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa $189 – $309
Trusted by professional and club racers all over the world, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa is one of the most popular track/racing tires around – and for good reason, they stick. Visually, the Supercorsa’s tread pattern will look like the image above, but there are actually three iterations of the Supercorsa – SP, SC, and TD. All three offer trickle-down technology from World Superbike, where Pirelli is the spec tire for the series. For instance, the profile for each tire is directly derived from WSBK for excellent tip-in, and the compound used in the shoulders is also directly from WSBK. However, the main characteristic with a Supercorsa is the slick shoulder design for optimum contact patch leaned over. The main difference between the three versions is the compounds used within them. The SP is the most street-focused of the trio. While still plenty capable as a track tire, it’s also the most durable, to withstand the punishments that come from street riding. The TD is a new variant, meant to rival the Dunlop Q4 above. Its internal makeup is slightly different, with a greater emphasis on track performance without the need for tire warmers. The SC is Pirelli’s racing variant of the Supercorsa. Available in different compounds, the SC (in any of its varying compounds) works best when placed on warmers and can get to temperature. Then you can experience sensational edge grip and remarkable stability.
Shop for Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires here
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Source: All Bikes news one