If you ride a superbike or a performance bike on UK roads and you want to fit the stickiest road-legal motorcycle tyres, then this guide is for you.
These tyres are all more than capable of on-track action but if you want our suggestions on the best motorcycle trackday tyres click the link for our guide.
Tyres manufacturers continue to make noticeable improvements in their tyres every year. Where sticky motorbike tyres are concerned, the main areas they have improved is in their longevity and their all-weather ability.
No longer should you expect to get 1,500 miles from a set of sticky motorcycle tyres. Nor will you end up tip-toeing around if you get caught out in the rain. Modern sporty motorcycle tyres should last a minimum of 3,000 miles and most of them are sure-footed in the wet. Sports tyres are better than track-special tyres when the heavens open.
Is stickier always better?
Here at Two Tyres we are in the business of grip but the outright ‘grippiest’ motorcycle tyre isn’t always the best bet for UK riders, especially road riders. We’ll explain why.
The thing is, all the tyre manufacturers produce an ultra-grippy, barely-road-legal sports tyre and most of the time it’s essentially a track-spec tyre that comes with enough tread to meet the minimum road-legal requirements. These tyres are developed to win races where a ‘road-legal’ tyre is required, for example in Superstock races.
These tyres are designed to offer high levels of grip but in far narrower operating conditions than most of us will experience when riding on the road.
Most of the time these ultra-sticky tyres will only begin to work properly when warm, often requiring tyre warmers to get enough heat in them. They aren’t in any way fun to be on when it rains and will quickly lose surface temperature when your speed drops (i.e. when you’re cruising through a 30mph limit). You need to work them hard to get the best from them and on UK roads, with other traffic around, speed limits and changeable conditions, it’s not always possible to keep a race-spec tyre on the boil.
Yes, when conditions are good and the tyres are warm they’ll provide more grip than a more road orientated tyre but the problem is, as riders in the UK, it’s not practical to ride on a tyre that has such a narrow operating window.
What this guide does
What we’ve done in this guide is list every major manufacturer’s stickiest road-legal rubber. However, because we don’t believe that ultra-grippy, road-legal track-specials are the best bet for a majority of fast-road riders, we’ve also got some other (better!) choices for you.
We’ve listed a less focused tyre from each manufacturer’s range and where possible, the tyre that we think is the best bet for UK road riders.
These are all super grippy tyres, all more than capable of fast-group track day pace. However, our choice is the tyre that we think will work best for the majority of fast road riders.
Avon’s range might not be as broad and deep as some of the other manufacturers but they produce two very sticky sports tyres. Good rubber plus they’re made in the UK. Go Avon!
The stickiest: Avon 3D Ultra Xtreme
Our choice: Avon 3D Ultra Evo
Bridgestone’s experience gained in MotoGP has meant they’re now one of the leading manufacturers of sportsbike tyres. The V02 range of slicks are incredible and their road-legal options are highly rated, so it’s no surprise they’re the stock tyre on high-end superbikes like the Yamaha R1M.
The stickiest: Bridgestone R11
A step down: Bridgestone RS11
Our choice: Bridgestone S22
Conti are not that well-known in racing and trackday circles but they’re a firm favourite of Minitwin racers and they also produce an exceptional road-legal range of sports tyres. If you threw a Race Attack 2 at the ceiling we reckon it would stick.
The stickiest: ContiRace Attack 2
A step down: ContiRace Attack 2 Street
Our choice: ContiSport Attack 4
Boasting success at the Isle of Man and the control tyre for Moto 3, Dunlop’s forte is arguably in racing tyres, so it’s no surprise their range of road-legal sports tyres are about as sticky as you can get away with.
The stickiest: Dunlop D213GP Pro
A step down: Dunlop Sportsmart TT
Our choice: Dunlop Sportsmart Mk3
With a handful of TT wins under their belt, Metzeler clearly knows how to produce a sticky tyre. We rate the RR K3 for fast road and track work when conditions are perfect. Road riders can spoil themselves with the incredible M9RRs.
The stickiest: Metzeler Racetec RR K1 + K2
A step down: Metzeler Racetec RR K3
Our choice: Metzeler Sportec M9RR
As the official tyre of MotoGP, Michelin clearly knows how to produce a sticky road tyre but their ultra-sticky options aren’t as popular as their more road-focused option. The Power 5 is one of the softest road-legal tyres you can buy.
The stickiest: Michelin Power Cup 2
A step down: Michelin Power GP
Our choice: Michelin Power 5
Pirelli has established itself as the go-to tyre for superbike-racing classes around the world. The SC is magic on track but doesn’t last that well and would be wasted on the road. The SP tyre is commonly found on track-focused superbikes like the Fireblade SP but the Rosso IV is our choice and, for our money, edges out the older Rosso Corsa 2 as the best fast-road tyre in their range.
The stickiest: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa V3 SC
A step down: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa V3 SP
Our choice: Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV
The best tyres for you
If you’re on the fence and can’t quite decide which tyres to go for, feel free to give us a call on 0207 205 2205.
Between us, we own quite a few performance bikes and we have raced, do track days and we like to get stuck in on a twisty road when we can.
We know what tyres tend to work on different bikes and we can help you find the best superbike tyres to help you feel more confident and get more enjoyment from your fast road riding epics.