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16" Tyre Options
Performance Bikes - October 2003

The VENUE: Rockingham Motor Speedway
The BIKE: 1998 CBR900RR-X
The RIDER Bruce Dunn, PB test rider





AVON : BRIDGESTONE : DUNLOP : METZELER : MICHELIN : PIRELLI


Avon Azaro SP Pro Series
Best lap 49.63s
Av lap 50.43s

£81.66 front, £112.94 rear
31 psi front & rear


"These tyres take several laps to give me confidence - maybe they're just warming up, or maybe I'm just getting used to the way they feel.
"Feedback from the front end is poorit tucks in a couple of times in the early laps, so I have to build up slowly. The bike also needs effort to change direction and it won't hold as tight a line.
As for outright grip, the back end is not so much sliding as moving around under power. It's telling me what's happening - it's not out-of-the-blue stepping out - but there's definitely less
grip. I don't feel so confident braking into turns, either. I have to get braking done upright -I can't push into the corner.
"I stick in a few quick laps at the end, but the bike needs more input and commitment to do it and doesn't feel happy. These tyres aren't as sporty. "

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Bridgestone BT012SS

Best lap 49.315
Av lap 49.615

£92.99 front, £128.99 rear
33psi front, 31 psi rear


"First thing is this is a light-steering tyre. It warms up ever-so quickly and bingo - it's straight there. And it feels good: there's plenty of grip, especially at the front. I get lots of feedback braking into turns, and I can still turn while pushing really hard.
"Getting on the power is good - it never steps out at all. The only area these tyres are lacking in is when you want to get it turning tighter - you can't adjust it too well mid-turn. Stability is good - they never get upset over the bumps.
"Overall this is a nice sports tyre, it's still a good choice for a trackday. It's not the best here, but it has no bad habits."

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Dunlop D207RR

Best lap 48.845
Av lap 48.995
£74.99 front, £100.99 rear
31 psi front & rear


"Initially these tyres feel slippery and a bit tricky. They need the full four laps to get them right. I'm not so sure - maybe they aren't so sporty. The steering is a bit heavy and they need a lot of input.
"But then I realise these are very good. I can go harder and harder, pile up to the turns, get the bike on its side... they just need a bit more effort to do it. There's plenty of grip - tons of it. I get one kick exiting the hairpin, but I'm just teasing it and it's so predictable. It feels like my hands are connected directly with the road. The front end is so planted, and I can brake later and feather off into the turns. I trust the front end. Stability is great - no qualms or faults - and there's enough grip to let you do anything you want."
"Overall, these are almost as good as the first set (Pirelli Diablos) and, if they're cheaper, I'd take these. Recommended."

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Metzeler Sportec M1

Best lap 49.425
Av lap 49.745

£79.99 front, £107.99 rear
31 psi front, 30psi rear


"First thoughts are these tyres are slightly heavy on the steering again. They warm up well, with lots of confidence early on. I can quickly tell these are not a dedicated sports tyre - they won't carry on turning into a corner. I get to their limits more quickly than the other tyres.
As for grip, these let go a couple of times and I get the feeling they're a bit unpredictable. They grip, grip, grip... then I get a big slide without warning. In that sense they don't have a lot of feedback.
"The front feels good. I can brake as late and as deep as I want - the only limit is that slight restriction in the rate of turn.
"One curious thing is I feel like I'm leaning over a lot further on these tyres than the others, as if the profile is higher. To sum up, I'd say these are a good all rounder, but slightly lacking in their ability to turn and hold a tight line."

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Michelin Pilot Sport

Best lap 49.80s
Av lap 50.04s

£86.63 front, £118.80 rear
31 psi front, 29psi rear


"This set warm up and feel confident right away. The first thing I notice is they feel light on the bars - these are not heavy tyres to steer, they're nice and light.
"In the corners they track well. I can pick lines and they stay there, right where I want them. They turn in well too - I can go as deep as I like on the brakes.
"Outright grip still doesn't match the first set (Pirelli Oiablos), but I can go straight onto the footrest no problem. Like the second set (Avon Azaros) they move around a bit firing it out of the hairpin, but feedback is good and they don't feel like they'll suddenly let go.
"Stability is good - these certainly aren't unstable tyres - but there's just a hint of nervousness about them."
"Overall, a good, sporty tyre. Nothing wrong with these on a trackday. They suit the Blade well."

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Pirelli Diablo *Recommended*

Best lap 48.95s
Av lap 49.65s

£78.99 front, £104.99 rear
31 psi front, 30psi rear


"These tyres warm up quickly; four laps is enough to get scrubbed-in and ready for action. The first thought is these lyres are stable - they've no nervousness or twitchiness. And the general feeling is very good too. The bike goes from footrest to footrest with no worries.
"We've got plenty of grip here as well. Even when I try to aggravate the rear to unhook, there's no spinning or losing grip.
"Overall, good feedback, plenty of stability and tons of grip mid-turn. I wouldn't have a problem fitting these to my bike; I'd be happy.

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