RideApart takes a look at the Bridgestone Battlewing tires and how they perform in real world everyday riding.
Tires are the only things that keep our two-wheeled world from becoming a sliding mangled mass of guard rail debris and ruin.
Most stock tires that come on a motorcycle are, like everything else on a motorcycle, a major compromise in design. I have been riding a Yamaha Tenere with Bridgestone Battle Wing tires - pleasantly they work exceptionally well in all conditions.
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Front Tire Tread
Dry weather handling is always important, but tires really need to perform when the weather turns foul. If they are wonderful in the dry and you get stuck in a storm, you want to get home safely. The Battlewing tires will do this and do it well. The tires have a tendency to push the front end in hard riding in the dry. There's a bit of engineered understeer; it never feels dangerous but acts as a safety cushion to keep me from overdoing it. In the wet that feeling goes away. The tires handling is more confidence-inspiring, both with cornering and acceleration. The ABS on the Tenere is so good I doubt anything short of a worn-out tire would bother it under braking.
The Bridgestone Battle Wings have xcellent acceleration grip, braking performance that stops on a dime, and cornering that is almost perfect. The tires have a tendency to push in hard cornering. It's never scary feeling, and never a surprise when it happens. This definitely feels like an intentional design decision versus a flaw. The predictability of the movement and consistency of the handling is comforting and let me know exactly what's going on. That said, braking is hard to judge thanks to the excellent ABS on the Tenere, and the ABS cannot be turned off for testing without it.
With over 5000 miles and no signs of wear, the tires still look as new as the day they left the molds in Japan.
The Bridgestone Battle Wings are a 90/10 tire and definitely favor asphalt over dirt and gravel. The compound is rather good on gravel and the rubber tends to grab the rocks when scrabbling for traction, and does a good job of maintaining it. Traction control is another boon that can mask deficiencies in tires, but that can thankfully be turned off. It is possible to overpower these tires in the dirt, and a rider can find him- or herself in a bunch of trouble quickly. With a deft throttle control, a steady pace, and riding within the limits of the bike and tires I have gone down fire roads, gravel roads, and dry grass areas without a lot of issues. Mud, wet grass, and anything too slippery are all out of the question. They simply do not have enough bite from the smooth surface. For hardcore ADV riders, this will be something to consider.
Doing some gravel runs.
Buy or Sell?
These are a solid buy for any bike, but in particular a larger ADV bike. They are built to withstand the heavier weight of the bikes, featuring a slow-wearing rubber compound with excellent traction characteristics. If most of your riding is on road with only the occasional foray into the wilderness, these are an ideal companion.