Whitham's Ultimate All Weather tyre test

We tested these sticky tyres to find out which worked best in both dry and damp conditions

Submitted by James Whitham on Wed, 28/07/2010 - 11:45

On a hot, sticky summer ride there’s little to separate the top road tyres. Unless you’ve got the skills of John McGuinness, and the Isle of Man cordoned off for you and your mates, pushing them to the limit is a risky game best left to the experts. But in winter, things are very different.

First of all there are grip’s two worst enemies: low temperatures and lots of water. Maximum grip levels occur at a tyre’s optimum operating temperature. For a dry-weather, road-legal race tyre like Pirelli’s Diablo Supercorsa or Metzeler’s Racetec, this is typically somewhere between 80°c and 120°c. It’s highly unlikely these tyres would reach those sorts of temperature on the road once the warm (ish) skies of September have disappeared.

Which is why we have road tyres, designed to warm up quickly without tyre-warmers, clear water if necessary, and last longer than a 30-mile, balls-out thrash to the chequered flag. The vast range of tyres we’re lucky enough to be spoilt with these days is often misunderstood. You’ve got your out-and-out race tyres, your road/track tyres, sporty road tyres, sports touring tyres, touring tyres… and so it goes on, all readily available in sizes to fit your bike. No wonder you’re confused.

So we’ve tried to make things a little simpler. We asked all the major manufacturers to send us a tyre they believed would be the most suitable for a large capacity sports bike, by a die-hard biker who’ll go out in all conditions on every type of road. We then got our hands on a Honda Fireblade, exclusive use of Bruntingthorpe’s handling track and Big Jim, the tyre-fitting man. Finally we added James Whitham, a man renowned for grinding out top results in less than favourable conditions, and set him to work.

Providing the benchmark is the standard factory fitment for the 2009 Honda Fireblade, the Bridgestone BT-015

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