Whitham's five best winter tyres

Which is the best tyre for fast road-riding through winter? You need a combination of feel, grip and longevity. We grabbed James Whitham, a Ducati 848, a datalogger and a huge pile of tyres to find out...

As a nation of sportsbike fans, pretty much everybody knows which flavour of rubber they like best when it comes to hazy mid-summer riding. We all have an opinion on what works best for us when the time and temperature is right, but what about when it’s absolutely miserable out there? For most riders the easiest option is to slip into the default ‘get you home’ method of riding, the style that involves tensing up, riding bolt upright everywhere and making tiny inputs in a bid to just get back to the safety of home.

It’s all to easy to do tyre tests in some far flung corner of the world, on a track that has the kind of surface you could happily serve a three course dinner straight on to. But do they really represent what goes on in the real world? It’s sometimes debatable.

In a bid to replicate a typical UK mid winter’s day we used the City Course at the Millbrook Testing Facility in Bedfordshire. It’s a combination of sweeping corners and hairpins. Air temperature was steady at 9°, then we soaked the track with thousands of gallons of water. The aim was to find the tyre that gives the best feedback and feel, as well as the best performance. To provide evidence to support our findings, we hooked up our datalogger system and utilised the built-in telemetry system of the Ducati 848. And what Whitham doesn’t know about riding in the wet isn’t worth knowing. So, step forward the best all-weather performance tyres of the moment, you’re about to get properly found-out.

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