Tyre test: 2016 Maxxis ST review ; By Kane Dalton

New sports-touring rubber tested on road and track

Tyre test: 2016 Maxxis ST review ; By Kane Dalton

TYRE maker Maxxis has spent five years working with British Superbike legend Chris Walker on its new sports-touring tyre, the ST.

I’ve just been to Malaga in Spain where I tested the result both on the road and at Ascari circuit.

Aimed at bikes from 600 to 1300cc, the ST has a neutral profile, meaning it’s round. Race tyres typically have a high profile on each side so the rider gets the biggest contact patch at extreme lean angles. This makes the bike drop over on its side quickly, which may not suit everyone, especially on a sports-tourer. Theoretically, a neutral profile will let you more smoothly roll in and out of corners.

The test included a range of bikes from sports to full-on tourer. They included a Kawasaki ZX-10R, KTM RC8, Yamaha FJR1300 and a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Hayabusa. There were bikes with and without traction control. Bikes with the capability to wheelie, lay down black lines out of corners or carry you, a passenger and luggage thousands of miles.

All the machines spent a full day on track and then did 100 miles of hairpins through the Spanish mountains. The surfaces ranged from the grippy track to dust-covered roads, and from sandy roads to rubber-coated roundabouts.  

So how did the tyre perform?

On track

Tyre pressures were lowered to suit track use. I didn’t use tyre warmers, as I usually might, but the tyres warmed up within the first lap, quickly offering impressive grip.

The neutral profile made for smooth corner exits and gave me the confidence to get on the throttle. Lean-angle adjustments came easily at every stage of cornering and feedback from the tyres seemed excellent.

The tyres coped well under really hard braking, with no surprises.

If I wanted to lay a bit of rubber while getting on the gas, the slide was really smooth and progressive. 

The real surprise was the wear, or lack of it. At the end of the day there was very little rubber loss or deterioration or bobbling.

I checked the tyres on Chris’ bike too. He’d had it sideways in and out of most corners, but they just looked well scrubbed-in, without excessive wear. Some of the other test riders said they’d been deliberately riding to tear up the tyre but had failed.

I expected to at least see heavy wear on the big Suzuki Hayabusa but the rubber on that look good too.  

On road

The temperature was fairly low early in the day but the tyres warmed up quickly as we tackled hairpins.

At first, as I was getting a feel for the level of grip, I found myself trailing the back brake a little into and through the corners. A number of them tightened up sharply and I wasn't yet sure how much I could trust the Maxxis STs. There was also the distraction of the amazing mountainous scenery.

As on track, the neutral profile meant I could tip very smoothly into and out of corners. When I dabbed the back brake, the tyre never locked but felt solid all the way through the bend.

Soon I developed the trust to confidently increase lean angle as bends tightened, finding lots of grip as I did.

Not all the surfaces were good. Some roads were dusty, some worn, some covered in muck left by agricultural machinery. I applied the due caution and never had a worrying moment.

I would recommend the Maxxis ST as a tyre that offers good grip and durability with a comfortable, easy-going profile.

I didn’t ride in the wet but I plan to test the tyre on the road in the UK soon and will post an update.

Product tested: Maxxis ST tyres

Price: £197

Available: January



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