About a week and a half back, my Pirelli Angel ST decided that it would give itself up supporting the 270kg mass it has been handling for the past 21,000km (yes that's a 200kg bike + 70kg rider, for all that 21,000km of going around). Even though I am sad because I was left with almost a grand poorer after they gave up, I am happy because they last me through 21,000km.
Initially, I wanted to get the new Bridgestone Battlax S-20 tires (these are the successor of the ever-popular BT-016 sets, with improvements on durability, wet handling and cornering stability), but they seems to sell like hot cakes and the next stock only comes after a week or so. I can't wait that long. The most I can do is 6 hours wait!
So after some soul-searching (actually, reading tire reviews online right at the workshop to make my mind up). After half an hour, I've decided to get the Battlax BT-023 Sport Touring tires on Vikki (Vikki is my bike, btw). Take note, that before this, I only used Bridgestone Battlax BT-021 (it comes with the bike), followed by Pirelli Angel ST (my first tire change), so my findings will be based on these two previous tires.
Enter the Battlax
That's how the BT-023's looks like. The round, chubby shape makes me feel like biting the tires for no reason. Ok enough bizarre thoughts. Let's get onto it.
First Five Minutes
I was a little surprised on how much impact can a tire shape changes how the bike handles. Previously, with the Angels, the bike feels planted on a straight-up position, very stable and comfortable on highway runs. It's a little reluctant to lean, it is as if you have to make it lean to really lean the bike over. This gives somewhat less pleasant feeling on the turns. It does shave off some of my confidence and mood every now and then.
With the 023's the bike feels eager to lean to any sort of corners you take it into. The dual-compound system really works well in this sense. The bike feels more planted, a little more nimble and more solid in the turns. Naturally, this makes me lean even more than usual, thanks to the new found confidence.
Hard-braking with the 023's are more stable and solid, compared to the Angels. The Angels wobble a little (on the front). After the fourth day of using this new pair, I find myself enjoying my ride more than ever. It somewhat make me pay more for fuel though, because I ride a bit more spirited than usual.
Wet Road Handling
I had a bad experience with the BT-021's during wet conditions. The rear end wobbles and sways sideways every time I ride on wet roads. It gets far worse when I ran over a painted line. With the Angels, it feels very planted during wet riding. You can lean to a reasonable amount on wet roads with the Angels. On this 023's however, the wet road handling far exceeds my expectation. It doesn't slip where I expect it to slip and it grips really well when I expect it to grip a little bit.
On overall scale, after 1,000km of running hard with these pair of 023's, managed to tackle a few corners up and downhill through Kuala Kelawang, this tire gives me the satisfaction of riding I've been yearning for. Looks like that desire to switch bikes can be put down for a while.
The question is, will it last 21,000km like the Angels? We shall see, it won't take long to wait!