When it’s time to look for a new set of tires for your bike, what do you look for? 

There’s no single correct answer, of course. A number of factors will all play roles in your decision-making process.

What type of bike you have, what size wheels you’re trying to fit, and the type of riding you’re trying to do all immediately come to mind. As with track tires, you’re generally less concerned about longevity and more about grip. But with road tires, riders generally want to skew more toward striking a balance between longevity and fun.

Other important factors include your past experiences with different tires (and how they’ve informed your preferences). We also can’t forget your available tire budget at the moment.

If you’re a tire maker, then, the finer a balance you can strike between longevity and fun on your road tires, the better a recipe you might theoretically have for rider happiness and praise.

And happy riders telling other riders how happy they are with their current set of tires. You get the idea.

Apart from representing the next iteration in Bridgestone’s long-running Battlax sport-focused tire legacy (seriously, the range has been around for over 40 years now with the latest being the S22), the new Battlax Hypersport S23 is meant to carry on and refine those aspects.

How’d they do? There’s a whole lot of feel and responsiveness, and that’s definitely something you want in a sportbike tire.

So What Are They Meant To Do?

Through a combination of structure, compounds, and construction, Bridgestone aimed to increase grip in both dry and wet conditions. The shoulder compound is new, the tread pattern has been updated, and the longevity of the rear tire has been increased by around eight percent, says Bridgestone. Since rear tires wear out more quickly than fronts, that’s definitely a desirable area in which to improve.

Additionally, the S23s incorporate something Bridgestone calls its “Pulse Groove” technology, which works to channel water and drain it away from the tires so you get a better contact patch with the road, even in the wet.

The tires come in just one front size: 120/70ZR17M/C. Rear tires, on the other hand, range from 160/60ZR17M/C up to 200/55ZR17M/C.

That’s Great, But How Do They Ride?

These tires are intended for sporty street riding, although they can also be used on the track. However, since their primary purpose is as a more everyday sportbike tire, we were sent out to test their mettle on a set of roads in Southern California.

I rode a 2022 Honda CBR650R on my test of the S23s, and it was my first time both with this bike and these tires. Both the cockpit and the ergonomics of the CBR650R immediately felt like home to me, which undoubtedly made it easier for me to get comfortable with both the bike and the tires as we set off on the day’s ride.

While most of the road surface was fairly good, we went over some mild potholes (nothing like some of the nastier ones that could potentially swallow a car in Chicago) on occasion. Occasional tar snakes, too, but these seem to be much flatter and more unobtrusive than the ones I’m used to back home.

As for weather conditions, the day started slightly overcast, but the fog eventually burned off and gave us a lovely, sunny, and dry day of riding.

Previous rains had resulted in some damp patches in a few spots along at least one winding canyon road we were on. But they were minimal. What little water I rode through didn’t seem to negatively impact the grip at all, but I also wouldn’t say it was anywhere near a thorough test of the wet grip of these tires.

It didn’t take long to feel comfortable with the S23s and the level of grip they offered. Cornering, both in tight urban areas and out in the canyons, felt confident and like I could probably push it further than my skills would allow. There will always be riders who are both better and worse than I am, but I’m confident that more skilled riders will find even more grip in these tires when they push them harder than I did.

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My Bridgestone Bike Tire History

As I previously noted, the S23s are meant to carry on the legacy of the much-loved S22s. While those previous tires seem to get high marks from a great many riders and reviewers, I can’t offer an informed comparison as I haven’t ridden with them.

My first Bridgestone Battlax experience came in the form of the Battlax BT45s. They came on my Honda Hawk GT 650 back when I got it in the early 2010s. Now, to be completely fair, those tires were a bit squared off and not in their most optimal condition when I bought the bike.

So, I proceeded to put a new set of BT45s on. They were perfectly fine—though not exciting—and that's what they were made for. See, the BT45s were designed for longevity more than fun and that's how they stacked up. They seemed very much like just An Tire.

When I finally switched to a set of Metzeler Sportec M7 RRs the next time around—a very different type of tire—it was like I’d flipped a light switch. Here was the sporty fun I’d hoped for! Grins and giggles in my helmet for days.

But there were years of tire development between when the BT45s first came out and the dawn of the Hypersport S23s. Plus, they're a different type of tire, as the S23 is meant for fun and grip. Just because you don’t get along with one sibling doesn’t mean you won’t be BFFs with another.

And having confidence that your tires will grip the way you want them to as you make your maneuvers is key to fun, safe, and fast riding. It’s also helpful for building your skills because it’s one less thing to worry about as you concentrate on improving your technique.

I only rode a variety of roads (including some highway riding) over the course of a day, so I can’t offer any kind of experiential opinion about longevity, nor how they behave as they’re more worn in.

But the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S23s seem to have a lot to offer modern sportbike riders. The feel and responsiveness were great, and certainly seemed like something that most riders could easily acclimate to. 

If you’re looking for new tires for your modern sportbike, and you ride on the street a lot, they’re definitely worth considering.

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