05 March 2010

Long Term Review: Bridgestone Battleax 021 Tires

My impressions after riding with a set of Battleax 021 tires for about 12,200 miles.

I bought the first set the week after I bought the bike at the end of August 2007. When I purchased the bike, he had a bt020 on the front and some kind of Metzler on the back. They had a decent amount of rubber on them and didn't need replacing right away. The ride from the dealer to the house was a little over 40 miles. I knew before I even pulled into my neighborhood from the bike dealer that the tires would have to go.

I chose the BT021s based on my experience with the 020s on my VX800 vs the Michelin Pilot Road tire. I did not like the PRs on the VX and wanted to go with something that I was familiar with since I wasn't with the bike. I think of these tires as my Starter Set.

Tire Wear:
I got about 7,000 miles on the front and replaced it in May 2009. The rear lasted about 5,200 miles longer for a total of around 12,200 miles. I'm not sure why there was such a difference in the rate of wear. When I bought the front tire, my friends who'd been riding sport-touring type bikes a lot longer than me, advised they sometimes got 2 fronts for every 1 rear. That was never the case for me in 33k+ miles of riding the VX, both tires always wore at the same.

Front tire right after I got it:

Rear tire right after I got it:

I can't find any pics of the front tire before I bought a new one.

Rear tire right before I replaced it:

Other than having to change the front tire long before the back, I am satisfied with the wear. The next time I change tires, it will be the full set.

Riding Impressions:
When I bought these tires, I didn't even know they were dual compound or even understand what that meant. These tires stuck even better than I expected almost as soon as they were installed. The first 1,000 miles with the tires were also my first with a 4 cyl engine so I wasn't pushing the tire or the bike very much trying to simply get a feel for everything. Around 3 or 4 thousand miles, I learned that low revs in the twists is what I was doing wrong. This change, moving up 2,000 rpms or more in the twists, allowed me to push the tires more and inspired more confidence while riding my favorite roads.

I discovered what dual compound meant to me on the bike. I love the way the tires grip and the way the stay on the line. It wasn't until the last 1000 miles (for both tires) before they were replaced that stable feeling started to disappear.

In the rain, you'd never know the roads were wet if your eyes weren't telling you they were. I didn't even a notice a difference in performance and, admittedly, pushed it a little harder than I would have on the old 020s and definitely more than on with the PRs. They still stuck and made me think I could've gone harder if I'd dared.

The tires heat up quickly too. The main road leading to my neighborhood (seen in my test vids) is twisty enough for that to be very important. By the time I cross the stop sign, the tires feel like they are ready to twist and turn.

I used the tire pressures recommended by Yamaha for the FZ1 on the swing arm sticker. (I kept the sticker because my Lupie brain tends to forget little things like that.)

The Battleax 021 more than met my expectations. I find them to be a great sport touring tire with decent wear. I am looking forward to see if my impressions are the same now that I have more riding experience.

1 comment:

  1. Michelin panama tire is the most reliable and top most choices amongst drivers today.


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