Track Racing Tire
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3
For the 2022 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, Honda and I agree that the best tire is the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3, and they have officially made it the original equipment for this racing bike.
This third-gen tire is widely known as the Pirelli’s best-in-class, highest-performing tire, and all from a family that has been supplying tires to the Superbike World Championships since 2001. The track-only tire (SC) wears out quickly and is not ideal for the unpredictable nature of the road and wet weather, but the SP version is made with multiple compound components to give it better durability and quicker warm-up times for improved grip.
The Pirelli trademark lightning bolt tread design has been a standard of excellence for many generations. The V3’s surface area has only a 4% void patch for a completely usable tread grip during lean-ins with easy, quick angle changes. It has almost a 25% wider shoulder than its predecessor for more contact area and better grip, and the long tread grooves help drain water quickly. Of course, you’ll only get about 2,500 0 3,000 miles out of it but well worth it for its soft, grippy nature.
According to Pirelli, the compounds in the rear tire were tested for temperature variations over time, friction durability, and anomaly absorption in order to not only be track-worthy but structured for street-worthiness as well.
Its Enhanced Patch Technology (EPT) uses almost 25% softer elements in the shoulder and has 33% more tread patterns extending on each side which enhances the grip from mid to full lean.
The carcass is a high module fiber that has fewer deformation ratios when challenging the bumps and high-stress angles of the street. It increases resistance during early accelerating out of a turn while still in a lean position and overall strengthens the tire against aggressive riding stressors. The most important thing for a multi-radial profile is to maximize the effectiveness, balance, and uniform distribution of the contact patch throughout extreme riding conditions. The Supercorsa SP is designed perfectly for these conditions providing stability when responding to lateral pressure.
When after six years, Pirelli upgraded their hypersport tire from the V2 to the V3, professional riders, racers, and reviewers took notice. They noted that it felt like a “magical tire” with easier turning, faster warm-up times, and a sense of grounding during the ride. The stability and responsiveness of the tire were universal. Speed times were noted as well with many reviewing the ability to accelerate out of a turn more aggressively.
Another reviewer who is biased toward the Dunlop Q3+ felt the Supercorsa V3 had the same precise handling, feel, responsiveness, neutral steering, and grip as the aforementioned tire in the mid-range speeds. However, at higher speeds, he found that the V3s were more stable and precise around the corners, and he found himself being more aggressive than usual throttling up out of a bend and calling the tire “absolutely phenomenal” noting that his speed increased 10 MPH around the corners and was better than the Metzeler RR7s for deformation upon braking. On the downside, he noted that the Pirelli tire cost much more than the competition and had less tread life.
Overall, this tire is recognized by hiconsumption.com, motorbikesecure.com, motorcycle.com, thedrive.com, and others as the best 2022 sports tire available. This many experts can’t be wrong, and I agree with their conclusion.
For the CBR1000RR the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 Rear Tire (190/55ZR-17) is between $315 - $325 on Amazon, and the front tire (120/70ZR-17) is between $210 - $220. You can buy a set together on Amazon for between $475 - $500.
Sportmax Dunlop Q3+ (Honorable Mention)
The Sportmax Dunlop Q3+ is a high-performance tire reviewed as the best sports tire by Revzilla.com. The “+” signifies an 80% re-design over the Q3 improving mileage by 20 - 30% without compromising its impeccable performance.
Multiple Compound Rubber
Retaining the Carbon Fiber Technology (CFT) reinforced sidewall, it now includes a new Intuitive Response Profile (IRP) technology in its back tire which increases your line options when in the middle of cornering. This allows better and more predictable steering patterns for better control and the ability to push the limits of the CBR1000RR.
The softer shoulders and harder middle are from multiple compounds in the rubber that the best tires are made from balancing grip and durability. The softer compounds made with silica take this tire to another level even under the duress and heat of blazing high speeds. However, track conditions will wear this tire out at around 3000 - 4,000 miles.
The standard for high-speed racing is holding a line. No matter how steep the lean, every rider feels the wheels most keenly at this vulnerable position of the ride. The safety factor comes into play, not here, but days before when you’re choosing which tire you’re fitting onto your CBR1000RR. With the Q3+ rubber construction, those lines are held with confidence.
Although the Q3 and Q3+ have the same weight and tread depth, the changes in compounds increase the stability of the Q3+ with a 4% - 6% larger contact patch for maximum lean angles, less braking at the lean-in point, and faster accelerations coming out of the corner for faster lap times.
When comparing the Q3+ with its predecessor the Q3, most reviewers found a more stable, faster, and better-responding tire. They were impressed with its predictability and control with less movement helping them gain more confidence; however, the front tire did lose a little traction towards the end of their review.
Another professional reviewer using a CBR1000RR on the streets of Texas noted that the tires felt invisible which gave him confidence that a track tire was handling the roads with quick warm-up times, precision handling, comfortable suspension and responsiveness, and no deformations during hard braking. They also noted that the longevity of tread-life and pricing was attractive over the competitive Pirelli Supercorsa V3s.
The Dunlop Sportmax Q3 Plus Rear Tire (180/55ZR17) is a good deal at $210 - $220, and the front tire (120/70ZR-17) is around $170 - $180 with a new set costing around $400 on Amazon.com.
Bridgestone Battlax BT-023
The Bridgestone Battlax BT-023 sport/street tire has been popular with the bike community for a long time as they often rate it higher than similar brands and more often than the others specifically for the CBR1000RR. Although we are reaching all the way back to 2010 to recommend this tire, there’s something to be said about a tire that has held up under the intense scrutiny of the sports bike world for this long. The Bridgestone name is legendary, and the Battlax 023 tire is an excellent choice for those whose primary purpose will be spirited riding and commuting over the occasional track day appearance. Because of street and weather unpredictability, the CBR1000RR owner will consider safety with both wet and dry grip performance, durability, and price over race track handling only.
The Bridgestone name is so legendary because of its outstanding, revolutionary laboratory work. Their proprietary and fascinating science technology inside a lab called Ultimat Eye help them measure and visualize a tire’s high-speed road contact at 248 MPH with lean angles up to 60% and road grades and conditions tested in simulated real-world conditions.
This lab has produced a carcass constructed with several belts (GP and MS) equalizing the tire pressure to the ground resulting in a larger contact patch for improved grip during cornering and better wear distribution and strong steel filaments which reduce deformation against stress. Bridgestone calls this technology HTSPC or High Tensile Super Penetrated Cord. They insulate the inner filaments against moisture to reduce oxidation, and the steel cords hold their high conductivity to allow heat distribution transfer for safety at high speeds.
The actual rubber material has a Five Layer Compound (5LC) technology with softer, more grippy shoulders and a more dense middle for better durability. With the softer edge, steep banking becomes smoother and stabilized and balance is improved when taking blazing straight-aways into harsh lean angles.
The tire’s center is created for high-speed stability and durability in straight lines. The different compounds have been melded seamlessly by intermolecular fusing at high temperatures for smooth transitions between the materials. Bridgestone calls this SACT or Straight And Cornering Technology.
The cap tread uses their Silica Rich Ex technology which improves upon their original Silica Rich Compound greatly increasing the grip during wet-condition riding on rain-soaked roads as well as low-temperature conditions during colder months.
To increase wear resistance an “RC Polymer” was introduced by Bridgestone. Normally polymers and silica are not compatible, but through their patented NanoPro-Tech which affects the nanostructure of the tire’s makeup through molecular manipulation, Bridgestone has been able to increase the effectiveness of these materials by making them compatible. Now, not only is their tire safe on wet and cold roads, but the RC Polymer improves rolling resistance deterring friction and allowing for better fuel efficiency not to mention the noise reduction of the tire for a quiet smoother ride.
The groove design of the BT-023 improves braking, linear handling, and the longevity of the tire. The groove-free area of the rear tire is designed for a smoother and quieter ride experience. While unscientific, several reviewers who’ve taken them over 2500 miles concur that they are long-lasting and wear out evenly across the tire tread. Depending on road conditions and riding preferences, these tires can last over 9000 miles making them a durable and price-prudent choice.
The reviews for the Bridgestone Battlax S23 use words like consistent, progressive, and neutral which is exactly what you want to hear from a sport and street tire. While many reviewers found the handling and performance incredibly precise on mountain passes and down twisted bumpy roads, what really caught their attention was the durability. When putting 7,500 miles a year on your tire, you’ll be able to get more miles per dollar with the S23s than a proper sports tire. They also noted that rain traction was amazing, and while it wouldn’t be as competitive when racing as pure slicks would be, they are still fast and don’t compromise track performance.
Another reviewer was impressed with its fast warm-up times and more than-needed dry grip when cornering. It’s more than you’ll need on the road, and, of course, it is adequate for the track, but if competitively racing, you may want to upgrade to more purely sport-oriented tires. Comfortability was another issue that was rated highly with the S23 negating the bumps in the road and helping the bike’s suspension give a smooth, easy ride. Words like “outstanding, remarkable, and rock-solid” were used to describe its handling, grip, and stability, so the rave reviews continue for this sports / touring tire.
For larger bikes, Bridgestone offers a softer more comfortable GT version of the Battlax S23 especially made for heavier riders on longer roads. Some professional reviewers compared the Bridgestone Battlax S23s with the GT S23s on a long 2,500-mile road trip and found very similar road wear. They also noticed the same performance in acceleration, cornering, and decelerations without compromising comfort or stability. They thought that the S23s would perform better on the track but not on the roads. When thundering down highways or topping out the bike’s capabilities with lightning-fast speeds on private roads, there was little difference between the GTs and S23s.
think they wear the same and have the same traction (stopping, cornering, and acceleration). Maybe one could tell a traction difference on the track, but one cannot on the street. Not many can hang with us on our nine-day trips–we ride hard and push these bikes.
The predecessor of the Battlax 023, then 022, was considered by tirereview.com to be the best performing tire for the price on their list, just beating out the Metzeler M9 RR. The upgraded 023s are even better with more tread life and grip but at the same price point of about $150 - $160 for the front tire and $170 - $185 for the back on Amazon.com.
Metzeler Sportec M9 RR (Honorable Mention)
The Metzeler name has been synonymous with quality tires for over 150 years, and bikerrated.com believes that the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR is the best sports tire available. This is not a surprise when considering that this is the upgrade to the M7 RR which was a brilliant tire on the road and track (Michael Rutter set a 121 MPH lap record with them at the TT.) This new iteration is said to have improved its track times over the M7 by 3.4 seconds around Sicily’s Pergusa track and 2.5 seconds around the Binetto track in Italy.
Metzeler began enhancing its line of tires based on its observation that the hyper sports biker world is increasing dramatically. Over 41% of their customers are now racing exclusively and 36% are sport/touring riders. They surveyed their customers to find out exactly what they wanted in a sports/touring tire, and the results show why the M9 RR is so well respected. Of those surveyed, 67% rode several times a week no matter the weather conditions. The survey demonstrated three must-have tire characteristics: performance durability over time, wet road grippiness, and powerful performance in dry conditions. These were the motivating factors for the upgrade from the M7 to the M9 RR.
The M9 RR is impressive compared to other brand competitors, and I have it a very close second to the Bridgestone Battlax S23 with negligible differences in most categories other than value and tread life which the S23 claims the narrowest edge.
Both the front and rear tires have multi-compound rubber with what Metzeler calls a “cap and base” with the softer edge elements overlaying the harder center elements which control grip and heat distribution under the stress of cornering and acceleration. The front tire is balanced with 33% harder compound down the center, and the rear tire with 25% of the harder compound in the middle. With full 100% silica in both front and rear tires, the M9 will keep the CBR1000RR upright in rainy conditions and keep tread life impressively between 6,000 to 8000 back tire miles and 8,000 to 10,000 front tire miles depending on use and psi factors.
The rayon cords of the M9 have 6% more durability and strength but have increased spacing throughout the caress. This space is reserved for rubberized cords that increase responsiveness and prevent oxidation. The responsiveness is most felt with neutral steering which allows for corrections mid-corner or while braking. Those that have reviewed the Metzeler M9RR found that it neither slows the steering down (as have the Michelin Power RS) nor have they sped up the steering (like the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa), but instead have found the perfect responsive feel somewhere in the middle.
The tread design continues the M7RR tradition with grooving that helps the tire warm up faster and moves water away quickly. Because the M9 is made for track speed, the grooves disappear at 30 degrees of lean angle thus making the tire virtually a racing slick for amazing dry grip at maximum lean angles.
The new tire profile now has a 5% larger contact patch over the arc. This increase in the tire-to-track surface area reduces the amount of pressure on the tire which decreases the amount of heat created. The overall strength and rigidity of the tire will limit overheating as well and will increase speed times around the track. Because of the increased lean angle (up to 2.6 degrees more than its predecessor), you have faster cornering and an increase in acceleration out of the corners.
The center of this new tire has more grooves than the M7 for increased water evacuation in wet weather.
Because of the full silica compounds over the entire tread for better wear and wet grip, most would believe that the silica weakness of not holding up well to the high temperatures of the track would be a shortcoming. However, Metzeler uses what they call Compound Continuous Mixing which blends resins into the molecular silica so well that the final result is stable enough to stand up against the blazing hot temps of race day.
Some believe a true test of a tire is in the trail braking (braking beyond the entrance of a turn and then gradually releasing the brake) around the corners to feel the stress of the sidewalls. The reviewer felt the soft sidewall responding and sliding sooner so that he could correct it sooner and prevent a larger slide or even a crash. This responsiveness was impressive; however, the reviewer did crash using the M9s because of a painted curb he hit at 20 MPH which ended up being slicker than expected. This was not necessarily the fault of the tires but did show a limit to what they can do.
Reviewers especially appreciated the light turn-ins on such a high-profile tire and high center of gravity. The stability when choosing an aggressive line was highly praised as well. The M9s were everything the M7s were with now more grip and durability. Other reviewers were excited about the obviously better warm-up times, better grip on rain-soaked roads, and even wear across the treads.
For some reviewers, the tire aesthetic is important, and the M9 does not disappoint. The groove design is a cool look that demands respect. Of course, that’s meaningless without performance, and this reviewer was surprised at the quick scrub-in time, the sensitive responsiveness, and the improved handling, especially over bumps and road anomalies. The review consensus was that this tire is perfect for the road with great grip, stability, and tread life, and can even hang with its brand competitors on the track.
The Metzeler Sportec M9 RR Rear Tire (190/50ZR-17) runs about $220 - $230, and the front tire is $150 - $160 with a set costing about $330 - $350 on motosport.com.
About THE AUTHOR
Benjamin Rathbun has been hooked on motorcycles since 1987 when he bought his first bike, a 1973 Honda CBR450 for $300. Since then he has been through countless bikes and continued his two-wheeled hobby passing it down to his 21-year-old son who rides with him on the weekends in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Benjamin believes that nothing clears the mind faster than flying 26 inches above the asphalt on his Harley-Davison.Read More About Benjamin Rathbun