Best Motorcycle Tires for Curvy Roads
A good set of tires, according to tire experts, should offer more than just their primary purpose. Instead, a good set of tires should enhance your bike's performance, and handle the power that your bike delivers, all the while maintaining a good grip on the riding surface. Otherwise, using cheap, poor-quality tires might be detrimental to your bike and even pose a safety risk.
Since it's always better to ask than assume if you're unsure about the tires you want to install for curvy roads, talk to your bike's manufacturer or a trustworthy tire specialist and dealer, as we have. Here are some of the best tires for curvy roads and slight cornering:
Continental Road Attack 3 Tires
Continental Road Attack 3 Tires sport a solid reputation among high-performance and high-mileage tires, especially in the European markets — not surprising for Europe's second-largest tire manufacturer. And as such, these are fantastic when it comes to twisty asphalt, as they're primarily designed for riders that either commute through hill and mountain roads or indulge in weekend-long cross-country commutes.
To achieve a good grip in all conditions, Continental has equipped its third-generation sports-touring tires with several key technologies that separate this model from the rest of the category. And right off the bat, some of these technologies have nothing to do with the usually featured compound content, thread design, and sidewall stiffness. Instead, Continental opted for a unique approach.
Most manufacturers use a slippery mold release agent, which allows them to easily remove the tire from the mold during the manufacturing process. While this allows for easier manufacturing, it also makes the tires smoother, more slippery, and thus very dangerous in curves and corners during the first few kilometers. In contrast, the manufacturing process for Road Attack 3 doesn't involve the use of a release agent, which makes the threads slightly rougher compared to those on competitive tires.
This simple omission of a release agent is now called TractionSkin, and it works wonderfully even in the first kilometers on a freshly installed set of tires. However, with just a small amount of heat, these hoops grip even better, offering more confidence during curves, even on wet asphalt or tarmac.
But the death grip on the riding surface can't be credited to TractionSkin alone; the entire compound has undergone a MultiGrip curing process, which forms harder layers of rubber in the centerline, with softer shoulders for better cornering traction. For anyone interested, you can find Continental Road Attack 3 tires over at RevZilla and CycleGear, at a discounted price.
- Great for sports, naked, and retro bikes
- Great mileage — at least 10,000 miles
- Great stability and feedback
- TractionSkin offers a fantastic grip
Kenda 673 Kruz Tires
Kenda Tires has built its company reputation over the past half a century on selling accessible but durable tires of good quality for several vehicle types, including motorcycles, ATVs, cars, etc. Knowing that one can be confident knowing that Kenda K673 Kruz is a good-quality tire. The tire itself is made of Kenda's proprietary brand-new rubber compound specifically designed to improve performance.
Of course, this reflects on the aspect which interests us the most: grip and cornering performance, all of which are great. The compound offers excellent traction in all conditions, be it sun or rain, and works flawlessly during cornering, ensuring that you're firmly in contact with the riding surface. This is mostly ensured by the tacky compound, as well as wide tread grooves that are specifically designed to tackle all weather conditions.
This is also reflected in the tire's H-rating, which means it's intended to operate in a variety of conditions and circumstances at speeds up to 130mph. With all of that said, the heavy-duty compound, paired with deep and wide tread grooves, offers more than just traction in all weather conditions, as users have reported improved mileage as well.
You'll be happy to hear that this tire was made especially for the larger bikes available on the current market, which is great if you enjoy taking your cruiser motorcycle on lengthy excursions. Kenda's overengineered K673 tires are thus able to withstand the weight of your bike, you, and anything you might've packed in your saddlebags for a lengthy journey.
On a more technical side of things, the tire comes with a bias-belted 3+2 design which provides the aforementioned capacity and handling while also decreasing any deformations caused by the centrifugal forces. The innovative profile aids cornering performance, and a tubeless construction is always a benefit in case of punctures on lengthy riding sessions.
- Very tough rubber compound offers high-load capacity
- Deep V-shaped grooves for excellent wet traction
- Comes in a wide variety of sizes
- While they are available for smaller bikes, they might not perform as well.
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 is a monstrosity, and we say that as an entirely good thing. But before we dive into what makes this aggressive monstrosity so great, we'd like to point out that the Supercorsa is actually designed for track use — although it's entirely street legal as well. With that out of the way, let's talk about performance.
The Supercorsa SP V3 is probably Pirelli's and quite possibly the world's most advanced tire ever created. It's a direct result of decades of tire development, which are now the core of this tire set, created with entirely new compounds and equipped with innovative technologies that provide an unprecedented grip in all riding conditions.
The tires themselves have very little tread to maximize the amount of contact surface between the bike and the road, directly affecting the rubber's grip. Additional siping additionally increases grip in wet and warm conditions and aids in better thermal management so that the rubber heats up quickly and provides additional traction.
That same rubber actually consists of a few different compounds; a dual-compound rubber on the front tire and a triple-compound on the rear. Both variations offer superior durability in the centerline, surrounded by the supper-grippy sides that make your bike feel like it's riding on rails during cornering.
If you like the combination of cornering and unparalleled handling, a set of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 is one of the best tires for both track day enthusiasts and canyon carvers. Oh, and we forgot to mention that it bears a W-rating, which allows it to achieve a maximum sustained speed of approx. 170mph. Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 is currently available at both RevZilla and CycleGear.
- Excellent traction in all conditions, even at high speed
- Not as durable as the competition
Bridgestone Battlax BT46
The new Bridgestone Battlax BT46 is the replacement tire for the iconic Battlax BT45, which was a go-to touring tire for more than two decades. However, instead of reinventing the wheel, Bridgestone took a working recipe for BT45 and made it slightly better by upgrading the design with modern technology. Thus, the Battlax BT46 was born.
When it comes to performance, the dry cornering, dry grip, and overall dry handling metrics haven't changed at all compared to the old Battlax BT45. However, riding in wet conditions, including traction, braking, and overall handling, was significantly improved over the old design, making these into a very grippy set for both dry and wet riding conditions.
The set featured an inverted V-shaped front tread pattern which intercepts the working forces exerted on the tire, reduces any irregular wear-and-tear, and provides incredible input to the rider, offering superior handling capabilities. The rear tire is additionally enhanced with an adapted silica single compound for maximum performance wear and tear.
The tire's grippy compound is further enhanced using the RC Polymer, Bridgestone's proprietary construction method that optimizes the distribution of silica within the rubber compound. This significantly improves thread flexibility, which further maximizes the contact surface between the rubber and the road in both hot and cold weather conditions.
So, what does all of that mean for the daily commuter on the curvy mountain roads? Well, if you loved the BT45, the BT46 is going to delight you in the wet conditions since all wet-performance metrics have been boosted. The increased amount of silica aids grip in wet conditions, and the reduced molecular friction improves rolling resistance and boosts fuel economy, contributing to a more enjoyable ride through the hills, mountains, and canyons.
- Improved rubber compound offers exceptional grip
- Upgraded bias-ply body
- Vintage aesthetics
- Wears faster than single-compound rubber
Metzeler Cruisetec is Metzeller's high-performance take on the more traditional cruiser tires, which are ideal for straight-line riding and high mileage, at the expense of other qualities. Well, Cruisetec is Metzeler's improvement on the cruiser tire drawbacks.
The set features a single-compound front and a dual-compound rear tire that balances the strength and durability of a cruise tire by additionally enhancing acceleration, traction, and braking performance metrics. This is achieved by fine-tuning the rubber formula to fall in the golden middle between longevity, exceptional grip, and high-speed stability.
The Cruisetec gives a more continuous, big footprint on the pavement at all times, even in mid to full lean, because of its smooth, wide radius, which also enables very easy, smooth side-to-side transitions. And in terms of traction, control, and feedback, a larger footprint is generally better. But that's not all since Metzeler also improved the thread groove geometry.
The tread grooves on Cruisetec are made to overlap and cross one another to prevent the rider from sensing a sharp transition between them. This is especially crucial in the front tire, where the grooves cross over the tire's middle area, allowing for immediate feedback and quicker warm-ups, which further enhance the grip.
Metzeler paid close attention to the sidewall structure, including additional rubber layers that contribute to a more supple feel. This is perhaps one of the tire's best, subtle features that aren't as noticeable unless you're riding a heavier bike with a low cornering clearance. The tire's firm internal wiring and additional sidewall rubber are great for supporting heavy bikes and might even make up for the bike's shortcomings in the cornering clearance department.
- Fantastic cornering grip
- Excellent wet grip
- Relatively affordable
Michelin Pilot Power 2CT
The Michelin Pilot Power 2CT is among the first Michelin tires to use multi-compound technology, despite being used primarily as a sports motorcycle tire. They're the logical next step in Michelin's tire evolution, as it was engineered from the MotoGP rain tire, in which the three newly-added silica-reinforced compounds provide excellent grip and fantastic feedback on wet and cold surfaces.
As for the stiffness, there's a hard patch of rubber down the middle for long-lasting straight-line riding, which pretty much matches the other tires in its class. However, there's a stickier patch on the side which grants that fantastic grip during cornering, so if you're specifically looking for a daily driver on the curvy roads, the Pilot Power 2CT won't disappoint.
The tire's body has an overall medium stiffness, which makes it marginally more flexible compared to Bridgestone and a bit more rigid than Pirelli. The front tires are made of a softer compound, while the rear is made of a stiffer mix that can withstand the abuse of rapid acceleration. However, some of the rear tires' more flexible area still touches the ground when the bike is positioned upright.
The Michelin Pilot Power 2CT is a fantastic track tire, as it doesn't get heat cycles, it progresses nicely, and it's quite predictable. All of these features work really well in wet conditions as well, so you don't have to worry about slipping while taking a left on a wet road. However, there are some drawbacks to Michelin's design.
Namely, the front tire occasionally suffers from scalping. You will need to keep a close eye on your tires to avoid running into scalping problems, which can happen in as little as 1000 kilometers. In order to avoid scalping issues, be careful to watch your pressures diligently if you decide to run the Power 2 CT. But aside from that, this tire is fantastic.
- Outstanding grip and responsiveness
- Delivers steep cornering angles in dry conditions
- Super-smooth ride
- Narrower sized
Pirelli Diablo SuperSport
Pirelli Diablo SuperSport tires come from the company's line of sport performance products which happen to be ideal for commuting and open-road riding. These are developed using Pirelli's most recent, exclusive tire technology that stemmed from the years of research and development invested in their SuperCorsa racing tires, which means that they offer outstanding performance.
This mostly refers to all four major performance metrics, which include dry grip, handling, wet performance, and the overall balance of the rubber compound — all of which are truly outstanding, as they offer track-level handling performance for a street-level price, at least to an average rider looking to get the most out of their bike.
Unfortunately, Pirelli chose to keep the compound formula a secret; thus, we are unable to provide any information regarding the substances utilized in Diablo Supersports. However, the manufacturer claims that these have the highest silica content, which is said to improve performance in all parameters, and from what we can tell, the material is supple and grippy on all surfaces. It also warms up very quickly and performs admirably throughout a larger temperature range.
Although the wet performance has improved, it cannot be entirely attributed to the higher silica content. Tread and pattern form and depth have a lot to do with removing water from the tire and the contact surface, resulting in much cleaner contact between the rear tire and the riding surface. How do they perform, then? Well, the answer is: admirably.
Since the compound is softer, it only makes sense that gripping tires typically wear out more quickly. We can't say for sure what gives these tires their incredible mileage because Pirelli chose to keep the compound mix and the internal design of the tire a secret. But you can expect a solid 8,000 miles if you're running a 1000cc or a larger displacement or up to 12,000 miles on smaller bikes.
However, you should expect to pay somewhere between $160 and $310 for this mileage and overall performance. Fortunately, both Revzilla and CycleGear are currently selling them for a substantial discount.
- Top-shelf grip performance
- Extremely durable
- Heat up pretty fast
Dunlop Q3+ Sportmax
The innovative Dunlop Q3+ Sportmax is quite possibly the best tire in terms of price-performance ratio, as it offers fantastic refinements and enhancements over the widely acclaimed Q3 at a very reasonable price. This effectively makes it one of the best tires on the whole motorcycle tire market since it offers impeccable performance that doesn't actually cost a considerable fraction of an entire bike.
Only the best qualities and the Q3's confidence-inspiring characteristics have been carried over to the "Plus" version of the tire, which is currently the only hypersport rubber produced in the United States. However, much like its predecessor, the Q3+ version also features a plethora of technologies and acronyms in its build, and we'll try to break everything down.
The rear MT Multitread tire receives significant improvements thanks to new technologies and a new centerline compound, enhancing both mileage and cornering performance. The Q3+ has a very similar, steep, aggressive tread pattern to the Q3, and it keeps Dunlop's proprietary CFT — Carbon Fiber Technology — sidewall reinforcement that was invented specifically for the previous iteration of the tire.
However, there are some notable differences here. Instead of using carbon-black material, the rear tire's long-lasting center composition now features a unique, silica-infused resin, which has beneficial effects on the tire's wear characteristics. Although the recipe for the carbon black-based shoulder compounds is the same, Dunlop's approach changed the tread tension, which led to an even larger footprint at lean — something that's very important during cornering.
The Q3+ introduces Intuitive Response ProfileTM (IRP) technology in the rear tire, offering more freedom in choosing a new line mid-corner while also offering remarkably linear, predictable steering. You will have more room for error as a result, which means you won't have to "calculate" every turn angle during your riding sessions.
An interesting fact: Dunlop virtually made no changes to the front tire when compared with the previous Q3 iteration. The company has stated that, performance-wise, the front tire was where it needed to be in the first place. Those interested in buying Dunlop Q3+ Sportmax can do so at RevZilla and CycleGear.
- Great price-performance ratio
- Exceptional cornering stability
- Great for curvy roads
- Not great on gravel or dirt
Things to Consider
Unlike cars, bikes only have two tires, which makes them twice as crucial, implying that the transmission of twice as much engine power, steering, and braking is the responsibility of the tires. Due to the fact that bike tires don't last as long as automobile tires do, owning a bike actually costs far more than you think.
So, it's really important to consider several things before purchasing a set of new tires. This includes their price, whether or not they're a good fit for your bike, and whether they fit your riding style. Let's examine some of the factors that can help you make an informed decision when buying the best motorcycle tires for curvy roads.
You should never skimp on the quality of your tires, especially when the quality plays a crucial role in your safety while riding. When it comes to tire quality, the brands named above, like Pirelli, Bridgestone, Michelin, and others, are some of the best-known tire manufacturers. These manufacturers can provide you with several different tires and tire categories, and most of the time, they offer consultations with their customers in regards to fitting a new set on your bike.
Of course, the aforementioned tire manufacturers are far from being the only companies on the market since there are other companies that may provide great cornering tire alternatives. With that said, when making a brand selection, you can't really go wrong with selecting an established high-end brand.
When choosing the best motorcycle tires for curvy roads, price is one of the most important key considerations. You shouldn't have your heart set on a tire that is prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, you don't have to break the bank to acquire good cornering tires. Many companies, including Metzeler and Kenda, can provide you with good tires at a reasonable cost.
Your riding habit and style have a big impact on your tire life. Softer compounds perform better for superbikes and high-speed vehicles but have a shorter lifespan. However, many tires now have gripping edges with a firmer center and softer shoulder, giving you performance and a respectable lifespan. However, it's important to point out that you should always inspect the composition of the tire set, as multi-compound silica-enhanced tires tend to be more durable.
The tread pattern of your tire determines its capacity to provide traction. Compared to cruising or touring tires, sports tires typically have longer treadwear but fewer treads. A lighter tread pattern, however, results in less traction or grip. Tires with an aggressive tread pattern that performs best in both dry and wet situations are necessary for better cornering. Therefore, check the tread depth on your tires because they're essential for both braking and high-speed cornering.
When it comes to grip, traction, and longevity, tire material is also of the utmost significance. If tires aren't used, they often become harder with time. Therefore, be sure the tires you purchase were created lately or were kept in a tire warmer — as this prevents them from becoming rigid.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley