Bridgestone presents evolved T30 and new A40 motorcycle tyres
At motorcycle fairs during the spring, Bridgestone showed off the Battlax Sport Touring T30 Evo and Battlax Adventure A40, the new tyres it first presented at last autumn’s Intermot show. The first of these is – as the name suggests – a further evolution of the existing T30 sport touring tyre that will (for the time being) largely remain in the Bridgestone portfolio. The second of the pair succeeds the Battle Wing in the enduro segment. According to Bridgestone, both tyres display particular improvements in wet performance.
The 2006-introduced Battle Wing had become “a bit outdated”, comments Tim Röthig, the person responsible for Bridgestone’s motorcycle PR in several European markets. Thus, when developing the new Battlax Adventure A40, Röthig says the core strategy was to “modernise it, particularly in regards to wet grip and handling characteristics.” To achieve this, Bridgestone gave the tyre a new tread design plus a number of other developmental improvements under the surface. For example, the front tyre’s construction differs from that found in the Battle Wing front tyre; the new model contains the mono spiral belt (MSB) construction seen on the rear tyre of both the predecessor and also present, as would be expected, in the A40 rear tyre. Bridgestone says this construction offers improved damping and more ride comfort.
Changes made to the new enduro tyre’s tread angle and layout mean the Battlax Adventure A40 offers provides stability in curves and better protection against uneven wear. Röthig says the Battlax Adventure A40 offers 22 per cent better wear resistance than its predecessor. “That said, we had no problems with the Battle Wing in this area,” he adds. When it comes to wet grip, the size 110/80 R19 59V front wheel tyre and the size 150/70 R17 69V rear wheel tyre also show improvements. Röthig reports that a seven-second lap time improvement can be achieved on a wet racetrack simply by switching from the Battle Wing to the Battlax Adventure A40.
He adds that it isn’t just changes to the front and rear tread that contribute to this better performance. The tyre profile is different and a tread compound that draws on Bridgestone’s proprietary NanoPro-Tech technology has been used. Dual compounding was “not needed” in the tyre, comments Röthig.
The situation with the Battlax Sport Touring T30 Evo is a little different, as Bridgestone has employed modified compounds in both the front and rear tyres. The rear tread is evolutionary, receiving a new specification compound in the tread’s centre area, while that in the shoulder areas remains the same as on the previous model. “The front Battlax Sport Touring T30 Evo receives a completely new compound,” adds Röthig, although it must make do with the one compound over the entire tread width. In addition, the T30 Evo features a slightly changed tyre profile (on the front tyre) and detailed tread modifications. Tyre construction has been taken over from the T30 without change, however.
The aim behind all these tweaks and changes was to improve wet grip while offering sporty handling, as market feedback and comment from tyre testers indicates that this is the quality desired most of all in a sport touring tyre. Röthig reports that tests undertaken at Bridgestone’s test circuit near Rome (Italy) show an up to ten per cent improvement in lap times for the current model compared with the predecessor. And stopping distance in the wet is nine per cent less. “We already looked good in past tests and are now even better,” he adds. The Battlax Sport Touring T30 Evo was released in March and is available in three sizes, 120/70 ZR17 for the front wheel and 180/55 ZR17 and 160/60 ZR17 for the rear. The Evo tyre replaces the Battlax Sport Touring T30 in these specific dimensions, however all other T30 sizes remain in the portfolio for the time being.
While product cycle times for motorcycle tyres are shorter than those for passenger car tyres, no total ‘changing of the guard’ is imminent for the sport touring segment. Rather, the transition will be a gradual one; further ‘Evo’ sizes will enter the market next year and replace the corresponding T30 dimensions. The complete T30 Evo range will be market ready for the 2017 season, which means a total generation change in Bridgestone’s touring sport tyre segment is still two years away. And we’ll have to wait even longer for a complete changeover to the A40.